Coronavirus Impact on Skiing & Snowboarding
9th August 2020
Last modified on August 15th, 2020
The team at PlanetSKI is reporting all the news & developments as it affects the snowsports world in our ever-popular rolling blog. If you want to see its impact and the response of skiers & snowboarders then read on… UPDATED
Saturday 15th August
Will a Cross-Channel Swimmer Have to Quarantine?
An Australian swimmer, 35-year old Chloe McCardel, is hoping to complete her 35th endurance swim across the Channel tonight.
She left from Dover at 8pm.
If she’s successful, she will beat the current men’s record for the most Channel crossings, held by the British swimmer Kevin Murphy.
The swim across should take about 10 hours and then she comes straight back to the UK on her support boat.
She will have stood briefly on French territory, but not made contact with another person or been in a public space.
“We don’t go anywhere near the border officials or passport control, so I’m hoping technically the quarantine thing won’t apply,” she is reported as saying by the BBC earlier today.
“I’ve got a little celebration planned in England with the support crew, the team, the volunteers who have been so supportive throughout this. I am hoping the government allow us to do that without having to quarantine.”
An indication that she may be alright is that people can still drive across France in a private vehicle without quarantine on arrival in the UK as long as they have not left their vehicle and come into contact with people or visited a public space.
See here for our story on the matter:
People can leave their vehicle to stretch their legs if it is a remote place with no-one else around.
It seems a rocky beach in Northern France at around 6am after a swim might fit into the same category.
The Department of Transport has advised Ms McCardel to seek legal advice.
She says she has been advised by the Channel Swimming Association that her swim can go ahead.
“They said channel swims are allowed as long as you observe social distancing when you land and don’t stay on the shore for more than 10 minutes, which is standard practice for us,” Ms McCardel told the BBC shortly before embarking on the swim.
She said there was little risk of coming into contact with anyone because her swims end in a remote area near Cap Gris-Nez.
“I usually finish where there are large boulders and it’s inaccessible to people on land because you can’t walk through the boulders. There’s no sand,” she said.
Covid-19 Cases in Victoria Drop as Lockdown Continues
The Australian state of Victoria has reported a reduction in new cases,
It has recorded 303 more cases and 4 deaths indicating the peak might be over.
However there’s a warning against complacency as the virus continues to spread in areas outside Melbourne.
“Every time a poor choice is made, even one that you might think really only affects you… can potentially mean hundreds of people get this virus and that many of those potentially finish up gravely ill in hospital,” said the Premier, Andrew Daniels.
Brett Sutton, Victoria’s chief health officer, said people needed to remain vigilant.
“I do think it’s important that people understand that the actions that they have taken, especially in recent weeks, are showing up in our numbers now,” Sutton said.
“And so people should have hope and confidence that the things that we know work are now manifesting in our daily counts.”
All the ski resorts in the state remain closed.
French Ski Organisations Remain Positive for Next Winter
“The French Mountains will, of course, be ready to welcome British tourists this winter. The resorts have already reopened, now welcoming guests for the summer season'” said a joint statement from Jean-Marc Silva, executive director of France Montagnes and Laurent Reynaud, chief executive of Domaines Skiables de France.
“All health and safety measures are implemented in the resorts following the French government guidelines to ensure everyone’s security.”
Friday 14th August
Severe Fine in Austria for Woman Breaking Quarantine Rules
A warning from Austria for anyone breaking quarantine rules.
A 54-year-old German woman who tested positive in April has been fined €10,800 (£9,740) for going shopping, taking a taxi and going for a walk in the park.
Self-drive Across France with No Need to Quarantine Remains Possible
Despite the new quarantine regulations from France it is possible to drive across France from another country in a private vehicle as long as people do not get out, or allow anyone in. Quarantine measures on return to the UK are then not applicable.
It means people going to, and returning from, other countries in the Alps will not have their schedule disrupted.
This means people from the UK can still visit and return from Austria, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland in a private car.
See here for the full story:
Summer in the Aosta Valley in Italy
The Aosta Valley in the Alps in Northern Italy reports a positive summer considering the circumstances.
“The impression so far is that it is mostly domestic tourism or from the neighbouring countries of Switzerland and France, we’ll see how it evolves,” said Romina Colmar from the Aosta Valley Tourist Board to PlanetSKI.
“Many people from northern Italy have a second property in the region, and for the first time in summer all appear to be open.”
“For sure the mountain with its wide spaces is the best choice for those trying to avoid crowds and to recharge the batteries.
“Trekking, rafting, biking,horse riding, relax on the strand of a mountain lake… plenty of things to do in summer.”
Things can of course change but it is good news for Italy, the European country that was first hit by the virus with its health services overwhelmed in some places.
We were living in Aosta last winter.
Here at PlanetSKI we are planning a summer road trip to the Italian Alps shortly and are currently checking the rules and regulations.
It appears to be fine to drive across France as long as one remains on one’s vehicle and does not let anyone get in.
Here are the rules: Coronavirus (Covid-19): Travel Corridors
And here is the pertinent section:
We are currently double-checking, but hoping to go.
Thursday 13th August
UK Introduces Quarantine from France
The Foreign Office is warning against “all but essential travel” to France.
People arriving in the UK from France after 04:00 BST on Saturday will have to quarantine for 14 days.
It will have an impact on all those currently in the Alps or Pyrenees, and those planning to go later this summer.
It comes as no great surprise but will affect many.
It is estimated around 160,000 British people are currently on holiday in France.
There are now around 2,500 cases of coronavirus in France per day.
Read more here in our full and updated report:
Swedish Cross-Country Ski Team to Stay in Sweden for Training
The athletes were due to travel to France at the end of the month, but the camp has been called off.
There are fears as cases surge in France and quarantine measures may be introduced.
Instead, the athletes will train in Trollhättan on August 24th
Future camps will then take place in Torsby and Sollefteå, as reported by Inside the Games.
“Considering the world situation and the pandemic that continues to grow in many countries, we believe together with the medical team’s knowledge and experience that we should take our responsibility and stay in Sweden during the autumn,” said the national team manager, Anders Byström.
“The risks of traveling to France or Italy this autumn are considered too great compared to the benefits.
“This applies, for example, to increased spread of infection, the risk of becoming ill with COVID-19, ending up in quarantine situations or situations where we cannot travel home as we wish.”
“We have awesome training facilities here at home in Sweden in our contract locations, so I am not worried that the training will be negatively affected,” he said.
Sweden is one of the few European countries that didn’t go into lockdown back in March.
Its ski resorts remained open.
Sweden has had 83,852 confirmed cases of covid-19 with 5,776 deaths.
Its neighbours of Norway and Finland have had 9,783 cases with 256 deaths and 7,673 and 333 respectively.
Sweden has a population of 10m, twice the size of Norway and Finland.
Cases Rise in New Zealand
New Zealand has reported 14 new Covid-19 cases a day after its biggest city, Auckland, went back into lockdown.
The detection of four new infected family members earlier this week shocked a country that had recorded no locally transmitted cases for more than three months.
Of the new cases, 13 have been linked back to a family where 4 people tested positive.
One is an overseas arrival who was in quarantine.
A three-day lockdown was imposed in Auckland on Wednesday.
Ski resorts closed but have now reopened with stricter restrictions in place.
The 13 new infections traced to four family members include:
– Employees of an Auckland storage facility where one of the four infected relatives worked
– Relatives of those colleagues
– A pupil at a local school
– An employee of a loan company linked to the family and one of the employee’s relatives
Covid-19 Cases Drop in Victoria
The Australian state of Victoria has recorded 278 new coronavirus cases, its lowest daily increase in more than three weeks.
The state has also recorded eight more deaths, lower than the 21 seen on Wednesday.
All the ski resorts in the state have now closed.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the decline in numbers meant the strict lockdown measures were working.
“What this shows you, not just today’s numbers as a single day, but if you look at the trend over the last seven days or so, these stage 4 restrictions – as heartbreaking, as challenging as painful as they are – are working,” he said.
Australia’s Northern Territory says it will keep its borders closed to coronavirus-affected states for at least another 18-months.
The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, says other interstate travel restrictions will probably continue until Christmas
Last week, Queensland re-closed its borders to New South Wales.
TUI Sees Jump in Bookings for 2021
Travel firm Tui has seen a sharp jump in bookings for 2021 as customers make early plans for next year.
The UK’s largest tour operator said bookings were up by a “very promising” 145%.
TUI owns the largest UK tour operator, Crustal Ski.
News of a bounce-back came as Tui posted a £995m loss for the three months to June as lockdown brought the travel industry to a halt.
“In two years’ time, TUI Group will emerge stronger, leaner, more digitalised and more agile, in what is likely to be a much more consolidated market,” said a company statement.
Chill Factore Prepares to Reopen
The indoor snow centre in Manchester fires up its lifts next week.
It closed last March and follows other indoor slopes that are now running.
During lockdown the Chill Factore was used for another purpose as it used its cold temperatures to store food.
On Monday 17th August it will be used, once again, for its primary purpose – skiing and snowboarding.
Read more in our full story:
International Ski Federation Appoints Covid-19 Expert
The body that runs all elite snowsports competitions has appointed Rasmus Damsgaard as FIS Covid-19 Expert for Testing and Hygiene.
He is described “the expert who knows pretty much what there is to know about Covid-19 testing around the world.”
The Covid-19 Protocols and Hygiene Concept he developed for cycling are approved by the WHO, UCI/CADF and WADA.
Rasmus Damsgaard also knows the set-up of the FIS events as he served as FIS Anti-Doping Expert for more than 10 years.
FIS is also to add the Covid-19 antibodies test to all athletes undergoing doping controls.
FIS will offer the service to all athletes subject to blood collection tests.
Wednesday 12th August
Switzerland Describes Covid-19 Situation as ‘Fragile’
The health minister, Alain Berset, has said the situation in Switzerland as “fragile” but says it us “under control’.
There has been a slight rise in cases – 274 in the latest 24-hour period.
It compares well to some of the other European countries that are seeing a surge in new cases.
Switzerland has now delayed the resumption of sporting and entertainment events of 1,000 or more people.
They were due to be allowed to take place from September 1st, but they have now been delayed until October 1st.
The Swiss approach to the virus is control, rather than eradicate.
According to the BBC Berset said people would have to “learn to live with it”, adding that for now the situation, despite rising case numbers, was under control.
When big events are permitted again, organisers will have to apply for special permission from authorities, and submit a health and safety plan.
Cantons must also guarantee their test, trace and isolate systems have the capacity to deal with possible outbreaks around big events.
US Ski Resorts Join Forces to Try to Force Liftopia into Bankruptcy
Aspen Skiing Co., Alterra Mountain Co., Arapahoe Basin and others say they’re owed more than $2 million after coronavirus ended the season back in the second half of March.
The resorts have taken their case to a federal bankruptcy judge at the Northern District of California’s US Bankruptcy Court.
Liftopia is fighting the involuntary-bankruptcy petition.
Liftopia is one of the first companies in the world to sell lift tickets online.
It has more than 100 ski resort partners and in April it warned them of a delay in payments that the company owed resorts for selling their lift tickets.
The case continues.
New Zealand Ski Resorts Close as Covid-19 is Back
Cardrona and Treble Cone were closed on Wednesday August 12th while the resorts coordinate their response to a Level 2 environment.
New Zealand has its first locally-transmitted coronavirus cases in more than 100 days.
“We will update you with more information during the day tomorrow,” said the resort.
It threw into question the new event that was replacing the Winter Games NZ.
In the end the Obsidian Big Air, the first of five Winter Games NZ 2020 challenges, continued at Cardrona Alpine Resort on Wednesday after practice days earlier in the week.
It was decided the event could continue as a private event with fewer than 100 people.
And the resorts will re-open on Thursday, but with restrictions in place.
See here for our updated report: Ski resorts in New Zealand to reopen with restrictions as Covid-19 returns
Here at PlanetSKI we will keep you posted…
Tuesday 11th August
New Zealand has its first locally-transmitted coronavirus cases in more than 100 days.
We reported yesterday (see below) that the country had gone 101 days without a case.
The New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said four people had tested positive from the same household.
Auckland will go into a Level 3 lockdown for a few days while the cases are investigated.
Swiss Air Force Display Team Cancels Flights
The Swiss equivalent of the Red Arrows has cancelled all its flights for the foreseeable future.
“Due to the current situation regarding Covid-19, all training and flight demonstrations of the Swiss Air Force display teams have been cancelled until further notice,” the Patrouille Suisse says in a statement on Facebook.
“We regret the cancellation and hope to be able to fly shows again next year. We are looking forward to the next season. Until then: take protective measures, get tested immediately if symptoms appear and stay at home; keep your distance; wear a hygiene mask if you cannot keep your distance.”
The Patrouille Suisse has been looking back on better times with this video compilation of highlights from 2019…
VBS/DDPS – Schweizer Luftwaffe
“Lets hope they will be flying again in time for the Lauberhorn race in Wengen next January,” said the PlanetSKI editor James Cove.
“The sight of the planes flying, seemingly vertical up the north face of the Eiger as they put on an air display, is one of the most spectacular events in the mountains.”
They do sometimes get things wrong.
In July 2019 there was a gathering to mark the centenary of the death of the Swiss aviation pioneer, Oskar Bider, in Langenbruck in near Basel.
However the Patrouille Suisse missed its target by 6km and performed over a yodelling festival in nearby Mumliswell instead.
Much to the amusement of the yodellers.
They made a small navigational error:
Ski Train Petition Reaches 10,000
More than 10,000 people have signed a petition to restore the Ski Train for next winter.
Eurostar announced last month that it was cancelling the direct service from London to the French Alps as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions that would be required on the trains.
A campaign was immediately launched to Save The Ski Train, which the organisers said was the most direct, comfortable and sustainable way to travel from the UK to the Alps.
They called the cancellation a ‘disastrous move’ for the thousands of skiers and snowboarders that use the service and in the face of a climate crisis.
The Ski train runs from London to Bourg St Maurice in the French Alps, giving access to some of the main ski resorts in France.
It has been operating since 1997.
Monday 10th August
Australia Records Deadliest Day
Australia has recorded its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic amid a second wave of infections in Melbourne in Victoria.
Over the weekend we reported on the closure of all ski resorts in Victoria.
Victoria has had about two-thirds of Australia’s 314 deaths and 21,400 cases.
But the number of daily infections – though still in the hundreds – has dropped in recent days, prompting hope that a strict lockdown is working.
It had 322 new cases on Monday, down from 725 recorded five days ago.
New Zealand Goes 101 Days Without Recording a Locally Transmitted Covid-19 case
The last case of community transmission was detected on 1st May after lockdown was eased.
New Zealand has had 1,219 cases and 22 deaths.
Its ski areas are all open, but serving the domestic market as international travel is severely restricted.
It has replaced its big winter international snowsports event, the Winter Games NZ, with a local competition.
Austrian Company Developing Covid-19 Test That Could be Used for Country’s Ski Resort Employees
SKIDATA is working on a screening system that could allow resorts to test employees before they start work.
It is working in conjunction with Austria’s largest corona test laboratory, Novogenia GmbH.
At this stage it is just a concept – the Novo Smart Screen System.
It is a saliva test rather than a nasal swab.
The person takes their sample, alerts the laboratory who then come to collect the test.
The sample is then tested at a laboratory.
The results will be known between 6 and 24 hours.
Read more here about the new test
With the virus likely around next winter testing will be essential to meet the regulations, plus ease people’s worries that staff they come into contact with are free from the virus.
SKIDATA has installed more than 10,000 access systems in ski regions, shopping centers, major airports, cities, sport stadiums, fairs and amusement parks.
Sunday 9th August
Masks Required Outdoors in Haute-Savoie Region of France
The alpine region requires masks to be worn for groups of 10 or more gathering in outdoor public spaces.
The mask requirement was introduced to curb the increasing Covid-19 infection rate in the French department along with other areas of the country.
It will be in force for a period of one month, and apply to everyone over the age of 11-years old.
France has seen a worrying increase in cases of covid-19.
On Friday, the country reported 2,288 new coronavirus infections in its daily figures, marking a new post-lockdown high.
There are indications people coming into the UK from France may have to isolate if cases of Covid-19 continue to climb in France.
France is now on a “watch list” and some commentators say the country has just a few days to reverse the trend or a quarantine will be imposed.
Tourism to the Alps and Pyrenees is reported to be doing well this summer.
“The French mountains are doing very well with the French market this summer as French people aren’t going abroad so they are all doing better than last year,” said the co-founder of Peak Retreats, Xavier Schouller, to PlanetSKI.
The company specialises in holidays to the French mountain resorts.
“This is good news for the industry, as for the ski product to be good for next winter the various accommodation providers such as hoteliers and residence owners need money to invest.”
Many people have headed to the mountains and the cooler temperatures to escape the recent heatwave across Europe.
Switzerland is monitoring the situation in neighboring France.
Geneva is expecting that more people from Haute-Savoie, which lies over the Swiss border, will come to the city so they can congregate in larger groups.
More than 125,000 people cross the border each day to work in the Lake Geneva region.
The canton allows groups of up to 300 people to gather.
Masks are required only in shops, on public transport and at the airport.
Swiss authorities worry large groups will come from the Haute-Savoie region in France to congregate.
From Monday a face mask must be worn by people older than 11 in many parts of Paris.
More than 100 streets are covered by the order.
Popular tourist sites such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees, are exempt from the new rules.
Coronavirus Hits Work of British Antarctic Survey
It is scaling back its work with only essential teams heading back to the continent as it emerges from winter.
Virtually all science in the deep field has been postponed for a year.
This includes all work on the huge, and rapidly melting, Thwaites Glacier, which has been the focus of a major joint study with the Americans.
BAS says it doesn’t have the capacity to treat people if they get sick.
See here for the full details on the BBC.
Very strict procedures are to be put in place to keep the virus out of Antarctica.
Peope usually travel to Antarctica via South Africa, Australia/New Zealand and Chile.
UK scientists and technicians, and their supplies, will now travel direct from Britain to Antarctica on the Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross.
Here are our earlier rolling coronavirus blogs if you want to look back at all the relevant developments over the past months as we reported its impact.
We have updated daily since the pandemic began.
All you need to know about the pandemic and its impact on the world of snowsports:
August 2nd: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
May 10th: Coronavirus impact on snowsports
April 12th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
April 5th: Coronavirus impact on snowsports