Coronavirus Impact on Skiing & Snowboarding
27th September 2020
Last modified on October 3rd, 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 3rd October
Rise in Cases in Poland
People coming from the country to the UK will now have to quarantine as we have reported earlier today.
Poland has had 2,367 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours – the highest number since the start of the pandemic.
Poland has seen daily increases of over 1,000 in the past week and now it has doubled.
Poland has had 98,140 confirmed cases and recorded 2,604 deaths since the pandemic broke out.
From Saturday people arriving from Poland to the UK, unless they are exempt, will have to go into quarantine for 14 days.
900,000 Polish people live in the UK.
LAAX Open Set to Go Ahead
The FIS Snowboard World Cup in Slopestyle and Halfpipe is confirmed for 19-23 January 2021 in the Swiss resort.
International snowboard pro riders will take part in the Slopestyle and Halfpipe disciplines in the World Cup on Crap Sogn Gion.
This was confirmed this week during the digital FIS conference.
The freestyle World Cup circuit taking place in the form of a safe bubble through close cooperation with the local organizers.
“Special measures for protection against COVID-19 are our number one priority,” said the organisers in a statement.
“This includes developing safety concepts with Swiss-Ski, the Inside LAAX app and also visible items such as LAAX neck warmers with integrated certified masks.”
Gatherings of up to 1,000 people are now allowed in Switzerland though rules and regulations may change.
Quarantine Now Needed from Poland and Turkey
People coming back from the countries after 4AM on Saturday need to self-isolate for 14-days.
Both countries have a number of ski resorts.
They have been touted as possible destinations for next winter given that at the moment Italy and Germany in the Alps are the only alpine ski countries where quarantine is not required on return to the UK.
In a related article on PlanetSKI we have looked in detail at the UK quarantine regulations and what it may mean for next winter.
And we offer a solution to the problem.
Bond Film Delayed
The release of the new James Bond film, No Time To Die, has been put back.
It has been pushed back to 2nd April 2021 “in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience,” said according to a statement on the film’s website.
It was due to be released in April 2020 and was moved to November 2020 as the virus spread.
‘No Time To Die’ is due to be Daniel Craig’s final appearance as the British secret service agent.
No matter, we can wait.
But lets just hope we see 007 on some skis again.
It’s been a while.
Friday 2nd October
Australia Opens ‘Travel Zone’ from New Zealand
People will be able to fly from New Zealand to New South Wales and the Northern Territory in Australia without having to quarantine on arrival.
The travel corridor will be open from October 16th.
To begin with it is just one-way.
The border between the two countries was closed in March and there has been talk of the corridor opening but it had been deemed too risky.
Officials now believe the risks are now low enough to justify a travel bubble.
“The establishment of a travel zone between Australia and New Zealand has been finalised,” said Australian Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack.
“This is the first stage in what we hope to see as a trans-Tasman bubble between the two countries, stopping not just at that state and that territory.”
FWT 2021 To Go Ahead With Covid-19 Restrictions
The Freeride World Tour has released details of the 5 stops on the Tour for next season.
All though are subject to change depending on coronavirus rules and regulations.
“As health and safety is always the priority for FWT organisers, they are actively working in conjunction with local authorities to make sure each competition is compliant with current regulations,” said a statement from the FWT.
Here is the provisional schedule:
1. HAKUBA, JAPAN – January 23-30, 2021
2. KICKING HORSE GOLDEN BC, CANADA – February 8-13, 2021
3. ORDINO ARCALÍS, ANDORRA – February 22-27, 2021
4. FIEBERBRUNN, AUSTRIA – March 6-12, 2021
5. VERBIER XTREME, SWITZERLAND – March 20-28, 2021
“The venues on offer are natural freeride playgrounds giving the athletes the best platform to throw down their skills in the fight for the world title,” said the FWT.
The FWT was hit by the pandemic last season with the Verbier Xtreme cancelled.
With quarantine measures in place for many of the countries involved questions remain whether the event will take place as planned.
Ski Travel Insurance in the Covid-19/Brexit Era
Getting the right insurance cover for your ski holidays is something most of us take seriously.
It’s never been more important.
Here at PlanetSKI we have been looking in detail at what is on offer and reading the all-important small print.
The devil is in the detail.
With the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) likely not valid from January 1st 2021 as the UK leaves the EU, the correct insurance is vital.
Then there’s the small matter of covid-19, contracting it or your holiday being cancelled because of it.
See here for our full stroy:
Victoria Claims Success in Battling Covid-19 as Tough Restrictions Bring Levels Down
The state’s Premier, Daniel Andrews, has said the restrictions are working.
People could be hopeful for a “Covid-normal Christmas, a Covid-normal summer, and a virus at such a low level that we can sustain that over the long term”.
He tweeted that there were 2,352 active coronavirus cases on 1st September and “today there are 289, The strategy is working – and that’s all down to you”.
People in the Australian state of Victoria have been subject to some of the country’s harshest restrictions with ski resorts closed.
The night-time curfew was lifted earlier this week.
A further easing of restrictions on movement of people are promised by 19th October.
Victoria has had mire than 20,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 – three-quarters of the total cases in Australia.
The state also accounts for 90% of the country’s number of deaths.
Thursday 1st October
What Will Skiing Be Like During Covid-19?
Good question and here’s the answer from our good friends over at Ski Solutions.
A team has been to Cervinia in the Aosta Valley in Italy to find out what it is like to travel to the mountains and go skiing with Coronavirus restrictions in place.
Switzerland to Allow Gatherings of 1,000 from Today
The Swiss government has said sporting and cultural events should be allowed to go ahead.
It comes as cases of the virus are rising.
Strict hygiene and distancing rules will need to be followed.
The events include ski events, football and ice hockey matches, concerts and exhibitions.
The rules are strict: stadiums can only be two-thirds full and spectators must wear masks and be seated.
Local health authorities have the power to ban events if they think the risk is too great.
Earlier this week Switzerland imposed quarantine restrictions on people coming from the UK.
At the end of August the UK placed a 14-day quarantine period on people arriving from Switzerland.
A ban on large gatherings in Germany, such as public festivals, sporting events with spectators and concerts, has been extended to the end of the year.
In France gatherings are limited to 10 people.
Wedding receptions, student parties and other organised gatherings in hired venues are banned.
Across Europe cases are rising, with Italy being the exception.
In Italy all dance venues and nightclubs have been closed.
Face masks must also be worn from 18:00 to 06:00 in all public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.
In Spain Madrid has around 735 cases per 100,000 people and is by far the highest in Europe.
Critical care beds in intensive care units in many hospitals are full-to-overflowing with Covid-19 patients.
People can only leave their local area to go to work, school or for medical care.
Social gatherings are limited to six people, public parks are shut, and businesses have to close by 22:00.
Winter Park Ski Train Axed for this Winter
The Winter Park Express that runs from Denver to the ski resort in Colorado has been cancelled for the 2020/21 season due to Covid-19.
It was a partnership between Amtrak and Winter Park.
“Amtrak and Winter Park Resort evaluated seating options on the Winter Park Express and agreed that with social distancing requirements, it was not possible to operate the train successfully this season,” the two companies said in a joint press statement.
Amtrak and Winter Park said the two will take the winter season to explore ways to improve the ski train when it returns in 2022.
It is a fabulous way to get from the city to the resort.
A journey we have taken a few times.
Wednesday 30th September
The Chief Medical Adviser to the UK Government, Prof Chris Whitty has stressed that there is a “long winter ahead” and that “a lot can happen in that time”.
He was speaking at today’s Downing Street briefing.
If everyone works together and follows the guidance, “we can contain it in”.
The UK’s preparations for winter include being on track for 500,000 tests a day by the end of October and a four-month supply of protective equipment such as masks, gowns and visors.
Angela Merkel Pleads for Sense from German People
“We are in the process of risking everything we’ve achieved in recent months ,” the German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a passionate address to the German parliament, the Bundestag.
She appealed for Germans not to let down their guard against coronavirus, as rules and restrictions would be a waste of time if people did not observe them.
“I’m sure that life as we knew it will return,” she told MPs as she defended the billions of euros of extra debt Germany was facing in 2021.
Germany was facing a difficult phase, she added.
There were 1,798 new cases on Wednesday and another 17 deaths.
“Families will party again; clubs, theatres and football grounds will be full again. And what joy that will be,” she said.
“But we now have to show we can carry on acting patiently and sensibly, and in that way we can save lives.”
Ski Amis Offers Covid-19 Guarantee
The UK operator is offering safety promises – in resort and with regard to money.
“We understand that in such uncertain times, it is very important to make sure our customers can rest assured that their money is safe when booking their holiday with us,” said the company.
“We have taken a number of measures within our programme to ensure that our guests can book their holidays safely in the knowledge that you will be safe and protected whilst on holiday and that your money is safe in the event you are unable to travel.
See here for more on the Ski Amis web site.
· High quality catered and self catered chalets to choose from within our programme.
· All of our staff and guests are required to wear masks within communal areas of the chalets.
· Sanitiser freely available within every chalet.
· Chalets booked on a ‘by room’ shared basis at reduced capacity to allow more space for staff and guests to adhere to social distancing.
· A refund is offered if you are unable to travel due to FCO advice or if local government restrictions mean that your holiday is unable to go ahead.
We have posted some special offers from Ski Amis on the PlanetSKI Deals and Discounts Page.
Finland Postpones New 2021 Ski Event
Helsinki Ski Weeks is to be moved from January and February 2021 to the spring of 2022.
The dates are yet to be confirmed dates.
It was going to take place at the renovated Olympic Stadium next winter.
It was going to have elite races in and around the stadium plus opportunities for locals and people of any standard to take part.
The organisers remain upbeat.
“We already have an exceptionally strong partner network compared to the current pandemic situation all over the world,” said the executive director of the FSA Ismo Hämäläinen.
“Together with our partner marketing company i2, we would like to thank the partners who have set out to build a new event with us, and now, despite the postponement, they will stay with us looking to the future.”
A ski entertainment show entitled “Stadium Sprint” is set to launch the five-week event.
Tuesday 29th September
Swiss Could Soon be Testing Passengers for Covid-19
The German airline Lufthansa is to trial a rapid testing programme before certain flights to detect Covid-19 in passengers.
It starts next month and if successful will be expanded to Lufthansa subsidiaries Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) and Edelweiss.
The tests are being developed by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Roche.
It is unclear if the tests will be included in the ticket price or people will have to pay.
Testing is seen as vital to get people flying again – whether to comply with any national quarantine rules or simply to give people confidence to take to the sky again.
Ski Launch 2020 Cancelled
The UK B2B event will not be going ahead.
It sees people from across the European industry gather for morning seminars and then networking.
It was planned for September and then hoped for an October move.
Normally around 100 movers and shakers in the snowsports industry gather to examine what next winter will look like, unveil all things new, discuss the state of the industry and then retire for a good lunch and a few drinks.
“Following the Government’s recent announcements, I’m very sad to say that Ski Launch 2020 will not be going ahead as we had hoped,” said the organiser Paddy Daly.
“This is a great shame as there is obviously a lot to talk about this year.
“However, there are enough Zoom events around already without us adding to the fray, so we will now work towards Ski Launch 2021 on Tuesday 14th September 2021 and hope that we are able to run a proper face to face networking event at that time.”
PlanetSKI has been closely involved with the event chairing the industry seminars for the past few years.
And having lunch.
Quarantine Measures to Ski Countries
This week Switzerland has introduced a mandatory 10-day quarantine for people coming from the UK.
There are other restrictions in place for people coming from the UK to visit other ski countries.
Many hope they will be eased, but there are concerns it will go the other way with tighter rules as winter approaches.
So, what is the situation with other alpine and ski countries across Europe, North America and beyond?
See our full report here as concerns grow about quarantine restrictions for next winter:
Australian Resort of Mt Buller in Victoria Reopens
The resort shut shortly after it opened as the virus spread back in June/July.
It said at the time that it hoped to reopen, but it looked unlikely.
But it has turned out to be possible – just.
“Laying down the cord last night for one last hurrah for our Season Members on Bourke St today only,” said the resort as it prepared to open.
It follow a spot of snow and easing of restrictions.
Monday 28th September
Switzerland Introduces Quarantine from the UK Today
From today, 28th September, travellers who have visited the UK in the past 10 days will be required to quarantine for 10 days on entry to Switzerland.
People who have visited Gibraltar or the British Virgin Islands within the past 10 days are also required to quarantine on entry to Switzerland
Switzerland has added many new countries and areas today to its list as covid-19 spreads.
Parts of Austria, France and one region in Italy are also now on the list.
The UK introduced a quarantine for people coming from Switzerland in at the end of August.
Here is the official advice from the Swiss authorities:
Upon arrival, go immediately to your home or to other suitable accommodation (e.g. a hotel or holiday apartment).
On the way there, keep a minimum distance of 1.5 metres from other people.
If you are unable to maintain this distance, we recommend that you wear a mask.
Avoid public transport if possible.
Report your arrival to the cantonal authority responsible within two days.
Follow the instructions of the cantonal authority.
For 10 days after your arrival in Switzerland you must stay in your home or other suitable accommodation without going out.
Avoid contact with other people and follow the instructions on quarantine.
Anyone who fails to comply with the quarantine requirement or the duty to report to the authorities is committing an offence under the Epidemics Act which can be punished by a fine of up to CHF 10,000.
The mandatory quarantine requirement does not apply to transit passengers who have spent less than 24 hours in a country or area with an increased risk of infection.
Cancellation of World Cup Biathlon Races in Sweden and France
Östersund and Annecy-Le Grand Bornand have been called off by the International Biathlon Union (IBU).
The governing body decided to reduce the number of events to limit the amount of travel for athletes and support staff.
They were due to take place in November and December.
Other races are set to go ahead with Kontiolahti and Hochfilzen in Finland hosting host back-to-back World Cup racing before the end of 2020.
“Biathlon, like all sports, is facing challenges we have never faced before,” said the IBU President, Olle Dahlin.
“While disappointing, we have to accept that changes to our original plans are absolutely necessary.
“We will continue to follow expert medical guidance and implement carefully considered safety measures at all our events”.
Lockdown Measures Eased in Melbourne
In Australia, the city of Melbourne in Victoria has eased some of its its lockdown restrictions.
Primary school children are set to return to school in October.
A travel bubble with New Zealand that has been planned for months may start up before the end of the year, according to New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.
In Victoria the ski resort of Mt Buller has reopened to locals only for a few final spiring turns.
It shut at the start of the season shortly after it opened, with a hope that it might be able to offer some Spring skiing.
In New South Wales Perisher remains open for another week and has just seen 40cm of fresh snow.
Germany Declares the Tirol a Corona Risk Area
It follows an increase of reported Covid-19 cases in the Austrian province.
Germany has already listed Vienna and Vorarlberg as risk areas.
It does not mean there is a travel ban.
“The German government issued a travel warning (NO travel ban) for Tyrol. You can be sure, we are as surprised as you are, because especially in our region there is currently no cause for concern,” said the ski resort of Hintertux.
Austria has relatively low numbers overall with 42,940 cases and 787 deaths.
However cases are growing with 113 people out of 100,000 contracting the virus over the past 14-days.
This compares to 29 in Germany, 36 in Italy and 96 in the UK.
Austria remains much better than France and Spain that have 229 and 319 cases respectively.
Last week the Austrian government revealed how ski resorts would operate under covid-19 restrictions with a ban on large apres ski gatherings.
Sunday 27th September
Wizz Air Expects 50% Cut in Winter Flights
It is forecasting to cut October capacity by 50% and the same across the winter.
Its flights give access to some of the ski resorts in eastern Europe.
We have used it to fly to Jasna in Slovakia.
Our chief reporter, Jane Peel, was there in 2019:
And our editor, James Cove, was there in 2015:
“The protection of its solid balance sheet and excellent liquidity position as well as minimising cost across all areas of the business remain Wizz Air’s top priority,” the airline said in a statement.
“The Company has strongly improved its strategic position and its ability to respond to opportunities in its markets during the past six months.
“While conditions continue to be challenging, the relentless focus on creating a competitive advantage and strong liquidity will allow Wizz Air to emerge from this crisis as a structural winner.”
United Airlines Offers 15-minute Covid-19 Tests
It is the first US airline to do and the pilot Covid testing programme will begin on 15th October for travellers flying from San Francisco International to Hawaii.
Testing at airports is seen a vital measure to get people flying again – whether to meet quarantine regulations or give people the confidence to fly again knowing that other passengers have tested negative.
Passengers will be given the option of taking a rapid test at the airport or they can choose to send in a “self-collected” test within 72 hours of their trip.
Under the plan, passengers who test negative for Covid would not have to quarantine for 14 days when they reach Hawaii.
Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer at United Airlines, said: “Our new Covid testing programme is another way we are helping customers meet their destinations’ entry requirements, safely and conveniently.
“We’ll look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and US airports later this year to complement our state-of-the-art cleaning and safety measures that include a mandatory mask policy, antimicrobial and electrostatic spraying and our hospital-grade Hepa air filtration systems.”
Banff Resorts Prepare for a Covid-19 Winter
Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Mt Norquay in Alberta, Canada, will be operating under the guidance and policies outlined by Alberta Health Services, Parks Canada and local authorities to ensure the safety of visitors, employees and our local communities.
“Covid-19 safety protocols are ongoing and are subject to change based on updates from regional authorities,” said a statement from the resorts, SkiBig3.
“You can expect physical distancing and mask-wearing requirements to be in-place across much of the destination and around ski resorts.
“SkiBig3 is committed to keeping you informed about what to expect when travelling to Banff National Park.
This winter Lake Louise has some new in-bounds terrain for the first time in 25 years, the West Bowl.
Previous side-country and back-country slopes found just beyond the former ski resort limits will now be accessible to resort guests.
Boundary lines have been adjusted and a new quad chairlift added.
The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has unveiled an “ambitious plan for an unprecedented reality” amid rising Covid-19 cases in the country:
– A plan to create more than a million jobs
– A commitment to extend wage subsidies until next summer
– Support for industries hardest hit by the virus – like the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors.
Mr Trudeau warned Canadians that a second wave of the pandemic was “already under way”.
“We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring,” he said.
Here are our earlier rolling coronavirus blogs if you want to look back at all the relevant developments over the past months as we have 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:
September 20th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
September 13th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
September 6th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
August 30th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
August 23rd: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
August 16th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
August 9th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding
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