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Covid-19 Impact on Skiing & Snowboarding

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

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Sunday 20th December

Alpine Nations Set to Ban All Travel From UK as Europe Seals Off UK

A number of European countries have banned people arriving from the UK to prevent the spread of the new and more infectious variant of coronavirus.

The latest is France.

All road, rail, sea and air is banned for an initial period of 48-hours.

Tonight the port of Dover and Folkestone have been closed for outbound traffic.

France will stop lorry movements from the UK for 48-hours for fears over the spread of a new strain of coronavirus in the UK.

Coronavirus cases in the UK have risen by 35,928 – almost double the number recorded last Sunday.

Public Health England medical director Yvonne Doyle said the “sharp” rise in cases was of “serious concern”.

It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that a new variant of the virus was “getting out of control”.

Austria too has banned arrivals from the UK.

Italy has rushed through a ruling and Germany has suspend all travel links with the UK from midnight.

Anyone hoping to head to these alpine nations can not now do so, and it will likely affect people trying to head to the Alps and the Pyrenees for Xmas.

The Netherlands and Belgium have already suspended flights.

The Eurostar train to Belgium has also been banned.

The new mutated virus has spread fastest in London and the South-East England.

The UK has introduced a new Tier 4 level of restrictions, scrapping a planned relaxation of rules over the Christmas period for millions of people.

Health officials says the new variant is likely not more deadly, nor is it expected to react differently to vaccines.

It is was proving to be up to 70% more transmissible.

The UK has alerted the World Health Organisation about the new strain of Covid-19.

More Swiss Cantons to Close Their Ski Resorts Over Xmas

9 out the 26 cantons have decided to close their ski areas – the well-known resort of Andermatt will see some of its slopes shut.

The rest are smaller resorts.

The majority of ski resorts in Switzerland remain open.

The decisions have been taken at a regional, cantonal level, rather than national level.

The Federal Government has said they may have to close if the R-rate goes above 1.2.

New restrictions have been announced.

Andermatt is the first internationally known Swiss ski resort to have some of its ski area closed.

The Uri Canton is one of the nine cantons that have ordered ski areas to close.

There is growing concern that hospitals and medical facilities will not be able to cope as the virus spreads and if they need to treat injured skiers.

“Due to the current situation, the Canton of Uri closes the ski resort Gemsstock and the entrance to the ski resort Andermatt+Sedrun+Disentis via Andermatt from Tuesday, December 22nd  2020 until Tuesday, December 29th 2020,” said the ski area in a statement.

“On Monday, December 28th 2020, the Canton of Uri will reassess the situation and decide on a possible opening from Wednesday, December 30th 2020.”

See here for further details:

Vail Resorts Sees Sharp Drop in Revenue

The CEO of Vail Resorts, Rob Katz, has warned of a “very challenging season ahead.”

The company is the largest ski resort operator in North America and among others it runs Breckenridge, Park City, Beaver Creek, Crested Butte, Vail and Whistler

It posted a 50% revenue decline, but a record 1.4 million sales of its Epic Passes.

The sale of passes is up 20% on the previous year.

“We are in the middle of a very uncertain travel environment. In the middle of COVID-19, where there is a lot of risk, we were able to retain a lot of core customers and actually gain a lot of new customers,” Katz told investors.

The company reported a 50% decline in revenue for the first three months of its fiscal year, which ended on October 31st compared with the same period last year,

  • Resort revenue for the quarter was $131.5 million, down 50% from last year’s $263.6m
  • Earnings from ski and lodging operations fell 24% to $94.8 million.

Katz credited the smaller drop in earnings to “disciplined and rigorous cost controls” — including cuts in wages and salaries — in recent months.

“There is no doubt that operationally this will be a very challenging season ahead,” Katz said.

“Broadly speaking, we feel really good about where we sit, given, again, the environment we are in.”

Saturday 19th December

More Swiss Cantons to Close Their Ski Resorts over Xmas

7 out the the 26 cantons have decided to close their ski areas – they are all small resorts.

The majority of resorts and all the large ones remain open.

The Federal Government has said they may have to close if the R-rate goes above 1.2.

New restrictions have been announced

Updated:

More Swiss Cantons to Close Their Ski Resorts over Xmas

Covid-19 News from Ski Nations of Europe

There are new lockdowns announced in Italy and Austria, travel bans on UK tourists into Switzerland and Sweden announces more rules on facemasks.

Resorts in France are opening even though the ski lifts cannot run.

In Austria, the government has said the country will enter its third lockdown after Christmas.

Italy has imposed a nationwide lockdown for much of the Christmas and New Year period.

Switzerland has had significant developments in the past 24-hours.

In Sweden the government is recommending wearing face masks on public transport during the rush hour.

In France things are looking hopeful despite the lifts not running as people try to make the best of it.

See the full details here:

Covid-19 News from Ski Nations of Europsae

The Aosta Valley, Italy

The Aosta Valley, Italy. Photo Credit, PlanetSKI

Friday 18th December

Some Swiss Cantons to Close their Ski Resorts Over Xmas

Canton Lucerne has said that it will close its ski areas over Christmas due to the “very tense epidemiological situation” and the situation in its hospitals.

Canton Schwyz has followed suit.

Ski areas will be closed from December 22-29 in these cantons.

Canton St Gallen has said that it is also considering closing its resorts and it is due to make an announcement on Saturday.

Today the Federal Government revealed tighter restrictions across the country, and we detail them lower down this page.

It has also looked at a range of options if the virus continues to spread.

It has said that if the R-rate is over 1.2 on December 28th, or if more than 90%of the intensive care beds are occupied there will be what it calls a ‘partial shutdown’ with shops being ordered to close.

The Federal government said it would be difficult to justify that the ski areas could remain open if shops have to close.

The majority of cantons want to keep their resorts open.

New Restrictions in Switzerland as Ski Resorts Remain Open

The Federal government has announced new restrictions that come into force on Tuesday.

The new restrictions will see restaurants and bars, as well as sports, cultural and leisure facilities shut on December 22nd.

They will be allowed to open one month later of January 22nd.

“The evolution of the pandemic does not correspond to our expectations”, said the Health Minister, Alain Berset.

“It is a critical situation. “New infections are increasing in most cantons. The situation in hospitals is not sustainable in the long term,” he added.

The cantons where the R-rate remains below 1 for more than a week will be able to ease the restrictions and keep their restaurants and other venues open.

If the epidemiological situation continues to deteriorate, the Federal Government  said it would  take further measures quickly.

Ski resorts will still be able to stay open under strict regulation.

They include wearing face masks not only in enclosed spaces such as mountain trains and cable cars, but also on open-air chair lifts and T-bars, as well as in queues.

From December 22nd the resorts will need a permit that will be issued by the cantonal authorities when criteria have been met.

The R-rate is highest in the canton of Appenzell-Innerrhoden, where it stands at 1.17.

Next are Bern (1.12), Basel-Country (1.10) and Zurich (1.09).

The R-rate in Aargau, Luzerne, Graubünden, and Thurgau is 1.08.

The lowest rates are in Valais (0.77) and Geneva (0.83).

Zurich Canton Urges Ski Resorts in Switzerland to Close

It is concerned that hospitals and medical facilities will not be able to cope if it needs to treat injured skiers.

It comes as another Swiss ski area limits numbers on its slopes. Switzerland remains the only main alpine country open for skiing.

The canton’s minister for health, Natalie Rickli, says that “the hospitals in Zurich are hardly in a position to care for accident victims from the ski areas.”

The canton of Zurich has only a handful of very small ski areas including Steg in Tosstal, Fischenthal-Auruti and Baretswill.

Its concern is its residents returning from a main ski area in need of medical treatment after an injury on the slopes.

The canton of Graubünden, home to the major ski resorts of St Moritz, Davos, Laax and others, has suggested that injured skiers should be treated in their cantons of origin and not where they had the accident.

It is reported that the canton of St Gallen is also in favour of ski resorts closing across Switzerland.

It has 24 small ski areas.

Today the Federal Government meets in Bern to consider introducing tougher restrictions across the country.

The vast majority of the other cantons oppose closing ski areas.

See here for our full story:

English Alpine Championships 2021 Cancelled

This just in from Snowsport England:

ENGLISH ALPINE CHAMPIONSHIPS STATEMENT
Dec 18, 2020

The Organising Committee have been continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation, and have today reluctantly come to the decision to cancel the 2021 English Alpine Championships.

In reaching this decision we have considered not only the health and safety of the athletes taking part, but also that of the officials who run the event, and the many coaches and supporters involved.

We’re all looking forward to coming back bigger and better in 2022.

The dates for 2022 will be Sunday 20th – Friday 25th February

Snowsport England

Snowsport England

More Ski Resorts Open in Spain

Sierra Nevada in Granada fires up its lifts on Friday.

Sierra Nevada usually opens at the end of November and it has announced it will also be opening on Friday.

“We open new season December 18th. Are you guys excited for the season to start?” the resort said on Facebook earlier this week.

Some resorts including Baqueira Beret in the Pyrenees are already open, with others remaining closed but they are expected to open for Xmas.

See the full details in our earlier report:

“The important thing is to say that you can ski in Spain. Spanish snow sports are embarking on what is doubtless going to be an excellent season,” said the President of the Royal Spanish Winter Sports Federation, May Peus Espana.

Well be bringing you news on the opening of Sierra Nevada so do check back.

Tighter Xmas Restrictions Expected for Italy

Italy is to be effectively placed under a nationwide lockdown over much of the Christmas and New Year period.

All ski resorts and mountain areas will be affected.

The details are expected to be announced on Friday.

“We will all have to spend Christmas at home,” Francesco Boccia, Minister for Regional Affairs, told Italian news channel Sky TG24 on Thursday afternoon.

“We must make choices to protect the most vulnerable and the elderly, at the cost of bordering on unpopularity,” he said.

“It is evident that we are moving towards restrictions during the holiday period, if anyone thinks there will be parties, dinners, gatherings, they are very wrong”.

It comes as one of the ski lift companies in Val Gardena says it will not open for the whole season in order not to put extra pressure on local hospitals and health services.

See here for our full story:

Thursday 17th December

Italian Ski Lift Company to Close for the Season

The Saslong lift company operates part of the slopes in Val Gardena and it has said it will not open due to the chaos and confusion of Covid-19 restrictions.

It highlights the extra pressure put on hospitals if ski areas open and criticises the handling of the pandemic by the regional and national authorities.

It runs the lifts that link Ortisei and Santa Cristina in the Dolomites and it is expected a bus service will be introduced so people can continue to ski the other resorts in the huge linked ski area, if not the section run by the Saslong lift company.

The company said “given the total uncertainty on the part of politics to make a clear concrete, logical, decisive and above all human decision (we are) not opening for the 2020/2021 season.”

It is the first ski area that we know of that is remaining closed for the whole season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Italian ski areas are due to open in January, but some question whether this will happen with Covid-19 still surging in Italy, the Alps and across Europe.

There are local travel restrictions in Italy and international quarantine measures in place.

Saslong claims it is not shutting for economic reasons, but rather to stop the spread of the virus and ease the pressure on local hospitals.

See here for our full story:

Update from the Ski Nations

In Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf has given a blunt TV message telling Swedes the country has failed to save lives during the pandemic.

“We have a large number who have died and that is terrible”.

Sweden did not go into lockdown and has seen 7,802 deaths in a population of 10 million.

The country has now imposed restrictions which are likely to be tightened shortly.

Its neighbours of Norway and Finland have seen 50 and 57 respectively.

They both have populations of around 5m.

In Austria new Covid rules have come into force with overnight curfews from 20:00 to 06:00, apart from over the holiday period.

During the day up to two households can meet up and masks are required in enclosed public spaces including most workplaces.

Its ski resorts open on December 24th with strict rules in place.

Hotels, restaurants, bars and other facilities in the resorts will remain closed.

Winter X Games in Aspen Set to Go Ahead

It is scheduled for its 20th consecutive year from January 29th-30th 2021.

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the event at the resort in Colorado, USA will look and feel rather different.

There will only be skiing and snowboarding events, so the snowmobile and snowbike contests will not take place.

The public will not be allowed, but it will be streamed live.

The Aspen event will also mark the first world-class North American snowboard and freeski event of the season.

There are set to be up to 100 athletes competing in 14 disciplines on Buttermilk Mountain.

There will be ski and snowboard events for men and women:

  • Superpipe
  • Slopestyle
  •  Big Air
  • Men’s Knuckle Huck

“With the difference in the event this year, the athletes will not be coming with the large groups that you might have seen in the past,” said a statement from the organisers.

“They are here to do a job, and they will be coming with a manager or a coach. … It will not be an athlete plus 10.”

Regular testing will take place and if an athlete tests positive for COVID-19, he or she will be placed in isolation and not allowed to compete.

Bansko Starts its Season

The Bulgarian resort will have strict coronavirus rules in place on Thursday as it fires up its lifts.

It follows heavy snow in the area.

“Due to the heavy snowfall we warn that there is avalanche danger from the very beginning of the season and recommends the practice of winter sports only within the marked and groomed slopes,” said the resort.

It’s looking good.

The resort “kindly asks all guests of the ski area in Bansko to follow the regulations and instructions of the staff.”

It advises people to read its Covid-19 rules.

The most important rules that must be followed by all:

  1. Observance of at least 1.5 meters distance from strangers
  2. Proper wearing of the face protection mask in indoor public places
  3. Do not shake hands when greeting
  4. Cover your nose and mouth or wear a protective mask when you are surrounded by many people
  5. Wash your hands often
  6. Sneezing and coughing should be done in the curve of the elbow or in a handkerchief
  7. Regular ventilation of enclosed spaces
  8. If symptoms occur or if you feel sick, do not go out and do not meet other people

Protective face and nose masks must be worn in the following places in the resorts:

  1. Public transport, shuttle buses, taxis
  2. Pharmacies, polyclinics, clinics, hospitals, social homes, nursing homes
  3. Shops and all retail outlets
  4. Banks, post offices and all public institutions
  5. Tourist information centers
  6. In restaurants before and after food consumption
  7. All closed public places

In case a tourist feels sick:

  1. Avoid contact with other people
  2. The person has to stay at her/his accommodation and inform the manager or receptionist, ask for assistance and for contact with a medical institution or contact phone nr. 112.

Gondola lifts, chair lifts and ski lifts

Tourists must cover their mouth and nose during their stay in the gondola, as well as in all spaces of the lift stations by a protective mask, scarf, buff or other type of cover.

This will also apply to all lifts, drag lifts, magic carpets in the beginners area, as well as in front of the cash desks, where lift passes are purchased.

In case needed the number of passengers in lift gondolas may be reduced at the discretion of the operator.

The gondolas should be disinfected on schedule at least three times a day with detergents that are authorized by the Minister of Health for product type 2.

Disinfectants for hands approved by the Minister of Health must be placed at specifically marked places before and after the use of the gondola lift.

The operation of the gondola lift should be carried out at open windows in order to assure air ventilation.

Stickers showing a face with a protective mask should be placed in each gondola.

The distance between passengers in the queues for the lifts should be at least one meter.

Restaurants in the ski areas and ski lockers

Restaurants on the territory of the ski areas should follow the adopted Guidelines for Operation of Catering Establishments in the Conditions of Danger of Infection with COVID-19 in Bulgaria – version 7.

On the territory of the ski lockers it is obligatory to cover the mouth and nose with a mask, buff, scarf or other type of cover and applying hand sanitizers approved by the Minister of health on designated places.

Regular disinfection of all contact surfaces will be carried out.

An organization should prevent gatherings of people and assure a physical distance of 1.5 m between the users of the services.

Ski schools

The activities of ski schools must be subject to strict rules: the groups can consist of maximum 10 people.

Persons in a visible unhealthy condition are not allowed to participate ski or snowboard lessons.

Relocation of persons from one group to another or combining groups is not allowed.

The training in the ski schools must comply with the requirement for physical distance between guests and instructors.

Persons should cover mouth and nose by a protective mask, buff, scarf or other cover.

Before starting the training there should be a “filter” (measuring the temperature for teachers involved in the process, ski school staff and all students).

The distance between the students during their training should not be less than 1.5 m.

The individual form of training is recommended and is considered to be the safest.

Awareness

There should be information signs and screens and other information materials with instructions and rules that must be observed at all spots where there is a significant flow of tourists – cash desks, stations of ski facilities, parking lots, ski lockers, receptions, etc.

If any questions occur tourists should ask for assistance the employees of the tourist site, who must be familiar with safety measures.

 Wednesday 16th December

World Health Organisation Urges Caution for Ski Resorts

The WHO has issued wide ranging guidance as Covid-19 spreads again.

It has specific advice for ski resorts and skiers in Europe as the season gets underway.

It has given advice to the governments, communities and individuals across Europe in a wide-ranging document published today.

It says that skiing itself does not spread coronavirus, but the activities around it in the resorts themselves do.

“There are over 1000 ski resorts across the European Region. Eleven months into the pandemic, we know that ski resorts played a significant role in seeding the pandemic across Europe and that social gatherings were key in its resurgence during and after the summer,” said the World Health Organisation.

“Skiing does not spread Covid-19, but busy mountain resorts do.

“During the upcoming holidays, WHO recommends that countries carefully consider adapting the setup of seasonal activities to remove the possibility of crowding, especially in confined or closed settings, including during travel.”

See here for our full story:

World Health Organisation Urges Caution for Ski Resorts

News from the Ski Nations of Europe

For a full and detailed round up of the state of play in the ski nations of Europe see this earlier story on PlanetSKI that we posted at the beginning of the week.

Resorts Open/Close + What Rest of Ski Season May Look Like

Here are some updates:

In Italy the death toll in recent days has surpassed the UK’s as the highest in Europe.

It has recorded 65,857 deaths.

There are now called for a total lockdown to avoid a “national tragedy”.

Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, has banned travel between regions but there are calls for stricter measures.

Ski resorts remain closed to January at the earliest.

Latest restrictions in Italy revealed with huge impact on mountain areas

“We are in a war situation, people don’t realise it but the last time we had this many deaths, bombs were dropping on our cities during the war,” said the public health expert, Professor Walter Ricciardi.

“We have the highest number of deaths in Europe,” he said.

“What more does it take to make people understand what needs to be done?”

La Thuille, Aosta Valley, Italy

La Thuille, Aosta Valley, Italy. Photo Credit, PlanetSKI

Austria will set out its plans for Christmas today and it is likely to include further rules on wearing a masks indoors.

Today The World Health Organization has urged Europeans to wear masks during family gatherings at Christmas.

It said Europe was at “high risk” of a new wave of coronavirus infections in the early part of 2021, as transmission of the virus remained high.

In Austria private meetings are set to be limited to six people, from two households, but the rules will be relaxed for two days over Christmas.

Austria will be opening its ski resorts on December 24th.

Skiing and snowboarding will be for locals only with hotels, restaurants, bars and other services/facilities closed.

Austria opens ski resorts for Xmas, but only just and not for many

Today Germany has gone into a lockdown that will last until at least 10 January.

Bavaria in the south-east is going even further with a night-time curfew from 21:00 to 05:00.

Bavaria is home to the main ski resorts in Germany and they will be closed over the festive period.

In Sweden an independent commission has delivered a scathing report on the lack of protection for care home residents during the coroanvirus pandemic.

The report says that:

  • The authorities were unprepared to handle the pandemic
  • It had  revealed structural failings in the care system for the elderly.

The Commission head, Mats Melin, said that while several authorities were culpable, “ultimate responsibility” lies with the government.

Sweden did not impose a lockdown in March like nearly all other European countries.

It also did not close its ski resorts like the rest of Europe.

They are now re-opening for the 2020/21 season.

The state epidemiologist of Sweden, Anders Tegnell, has admitted that too many people died.

The country has recently brought in more restrictions and they are expected to be tightened further.

Stockholm hospitals have warned they’re running out of intensive care beds, and public health authorities are calling on people to do more to limit their social contacts.

Sweden has had 329,000 confirmed cases and 7,514 deaths from a population of 10m.

Neighbouring Norway has a population of 5m and has had 41,003 cases and 387 deaths.

Finland has a population of 5m and has seen 30,810 cases and 453 deaths.

EasyJet Puts Winter Flights for 2021/22 on Sale

The airline has more than 200,000 flights available between 1st October 2021 and 26th March 2022.

With skiing this winter remaining under question, some may want to book for the following season when it is highly likely things will be returning to some sort of normality.

The airline claims passengers will be able to make “huge savings” if they book now.

Those with existing bookings have the option to move their flights to next winter without incurring a change fee.

“We know many people’s holiday plans have been disrupted this year and so we’ve taken the decision to put our winter schedule for 2022 on sale early,” said UK Country Manager, Ali Gayward.

“Our customers can either make plans for next winter by booking a new break or, if they are rearranging their travel plans, have even more dates and destinations to choose from.”

Innsbruck airport

Easyjet at Innsbruck airport. Photo Credit, PlanetSKI

Swiss Resort Raises Numbers Limit

Andermatt is to limit the number of people skiing and snowboarding to 8,000 per day as more lifts and ski runs open.

The Andermatt-Oberalp-Sedrun ski area is planned to open this Saturday, December 19th.

Up until now with a smaller area open the numbers had been pegged at 1,000.

Restrictions are intended to reduce the gatherings of people, waiting times and implement the coronavirus protection measures.

“With this step we are ensuring more security and well-being,” said the CEO of the resort, Rainer Flaig.

People must reserve a ride in the GütschExpress gondola online.

The lift is running with two thirds capacity as instructed by the Federal government, which means five people per cabin.

The mountain restaurants have 50% more outside seating.

Switzerland is the only main alpine nation with ski resorts currently open to the general public as Covid-19 cases in Switzerland continue to rise.

The seven-day average of new positive daily cases in Switzerland is 4,283; a rise of 10% on last week.

It has 340 confirmed cases out of a population of 100,000 over a 7-day period.

Last week it was 304.

The director of the Zurich University Hospital, Gregor Zünd, said at a joint Zurich hospitals’ media briefing that he feared a third coronavirus wave mid-January after the skiing holidays.

Martin Ackermann, head of the Swiss National Covid-19 Science Taskforce, said that “the new measures introduced last Friday are insufficient.”

He added that from “a scientific point of view we should have new measures as quickly as possible – similar to the lockdown in spring.”

Further restrictions to battle the virus as expected to be announced this Friday by the Federal Government.

The ski resorts maintain they have imposed all the necessary measures and that if people follow the rules then it is safe to visit a ski resort.

Winter tourism is seen as vital to many areas of the alpine economy.

Skiing in Switzerland

Skiing in Switzerland. Photo Credit, PlanetSKI

Staff Outbreak at Big White in Canada

60 people have tested positive with many more in isolation after staff parties.

According to local media the resort said that those who tested positive for Covid-19 were not in contact with the general public and wider testing is ongoing.

Health officials said that the spread of the virus was mostly due to shared housing and people socialising.

“Large households and social gatherings appear to be responsible for much of the COVID-19 transmissions related to this cluster,” said a statement from Interior Health Authority.

“This highlights the importance of limiting social activities and following COVID-19 protocols when indoors.”

The resort is in the Kelowna area that has seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 in recent weeks.

Daily new cases have risen tenfold since early November and it has among the highest rates in British Columbia per head of population.

The health authority said it is confident with the ski resort’s safety plan.

It said outdoor activities at the resort are safe as long as people follow the rules.

Criminals Exploit Pandemic to Con Skiers

One fraudster has been posing as a ski chalet owner, offering his property to rent at a bargain price over Christmas due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The chalet is advertised on a website under a false name.

You might think it not worth the effort this winter, with so few skiers and snowboarders able to book holidays.

But the criminals are as active as ever.

The annual chalet scams are up and running with the aim of conning unwitting holidaymakers out of many thousands of pounds.

Read our full story here:

Tuesday 15th December

Winter Park in Colorado Aims to ‘Shred Another Day’

The US resort has asked visitors to do their bit to help keep the resort open for the duration of the 2020/21 winter season by helping to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Winter Park Resort has defined five pillars to help everyone “Shred Another Day:”

They could be applied to any resort you are lucky enough to get to this season.

Plan Ahead – All activities, lodging, rentals and lessons must be pre-booked. There will be no walk-up lift ticket sales and dining will be grab-and-go only.

Avoid Peak Days – Guests should avoid traditionally popular times like weekends and holidays if at all possible.

Embrace Time Outside – There will be limited access to inside areas. Guests should plan to gear up, warm up and eat in their individual lodging or in their vehicles.

Follow All Guidelines – Masks are required everywhere at the resort, including in the base area, in lines, while loading, unloading and riding lifts, and in any indoor facility. Guests should always maintain six feet of distance from unrelated parties, frequently wash their hands, and stay home if they’re sick.

Stay with Your Crew – Guests must stay with the people they came with and not come in close contact with anyone outside of their group.

“Because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, this season at Winter Park will look and feel different,” said Liz Agostin, marketing director for Winter Park Resort.

“The focus will be all about the skiing and riding experience itself and tapping into the real and unvarnished Colorado mountain culture. At the end of the day, we all just want to keep carving down the mountain and finding joy in the outdoors.”

PlanetSKI was in Winter Park a couple of years back:

France Ends National Lockdown

Plenty of restrictions remain in place with lifts not turning in ski resorts, but from Tuesday 15th people can now travel to the mountains.

Locals have been skinning up, though some districts have banned touring as so many are heading uphill and threatening extra pressure on hospitals.

It is not a full end to lockdown as, though the rate of increase has fallen, the number of Covid-19 cases remains stubbornly high in France.

It wanted cases down to 5,000 per day but they are at 11,533 over a 24-hour period.

This is down from 32,095 a month ago.

Out of 100,000 of population there are 125.8 new cases over a 7-day period.

Ski lifts will stay closed until at least January 7th as lockdown ends.

It is now possible to travel to resorts in the Alps or Pyrenees, though along with the ski lifts other infrastructure will remain closed

It is thought a number of people, both within France and outside, will now head to the Alps and the Pyrenees at the French lockdown ends.

The ski lifts may not be turning but, ski touring, cross-country skiing and snow shoeing are allowed.

The areas around Chamonix report a huge increase in interest.

“60cm of fresh snow is good for boosting moral and sports shops are buzzing with customers collecting their gear,” said Claire Burnett from the Chamonix Tourist Office.

“To enjoy the powder it’s uphill first and, if the weekend is anything to go by, then ski touring and split-boarding are most definitely in vogue.

“At Le Tour it was very much a family affair as hundreds skinned (or hitched a ride) up to Charamillon and Balme along the designated ski touring itinerary.”

Read our full story here as lockdown ends:

France Ends its National Lockdown

UK Quarantine reduced from 10-days to 5-days

Quarantine for people arriving in England is to be reduced to five days and then people will need to take a test to end their self-isolation.

People will have to self-isolate immediately on arrival in England but will then be allowed to take a test after five days.

The test must be done by a government approved test centre.

If negative they can end their self-isolation.

People will have to pay for the private test themselves, and the cost is around £100.

See here for our full story:

All the ski nations in Europe require quarantine except for Norway, Finland and Iceland.

These three countries have quarantine restrictions on people entering from the UK.

Border controls

Border controls. Photo Credit, PlanetSKI

Monday 14th December

Sunshine Village in Canada Changes Gondola Rules

“With cases of the novel corona virus continuing to climb in our province we at Banff Sunshine Village have made the decision to load the gondola only with parties who travelled to the resort together until further notice,” said a statement from the resort.

“For most of the ski season to date, we have been offering a “no mix” line for our gondola, which the vast majority of guests have opted for.

“Our decision to only load our gondola with parties who have travelled to Sunshine together merely formalizes what is already happening.”

The use of a mask remains mandatory for all when waiting in line, riding the gondola and lifts, or entering a building.

Food or beverage may not be consumed and smoking/vaping is prohibited while riding the gondola.

“Together, we believe we can bend the curve and reduce the spread of Covid 19. From our family to yours, thank you for your cooperation,” the resort added.

Sweden Closes Schools as Restrictions Tighten

The country known for not having a lockdown has many rules in place now as Covid-19 continues to spread.

It has many times more cases and deaths than its Scandinavian neighbours of Finland and Norway.

Its ski resorts continue to be open with Hemavan, Branas and Idre Fjall among those firing up their lifts.

Schools in Stockholm are switching to distance learning for all pupils aged 13 to 15 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

A week ago there was a nationwide decision to switch to remote learning for those over 16.

Stockholm hospitals have warned they’re running out of intensive care beds, and public health authorities are calling on people to do more to limit their social contacts.

Sweden has had 329,000 confirmed cases and 7,514 deaths from a population of 10m.

Norway has a population of 5m and has had 41,003 cases and 387 deaths.

Finland has a population of 5m and has seen 30,810 cases and 453 deaths.

Sweden has seen a sharper fall in its GDP during the pandemic.

Germany to Have Hard Xmas Lockdown

Non-essential shops will close across the country from Wednesday, as will schools, with children looked after at home.

The Chancellor, Angela Merkel, blamed Christmas shopping for a “considerable” rise in social contacts.

All its ski resorts will remain closed.

The latest figures from Germany show 20,200 more infections and a further 321 deaths.

Germany currently has 170 confirmed cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

This time last week it was 156.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said giving Christmas presents could wait.

He said that efforts to save lives and stop the health service from collapsing could only succeed if people radically restricted their contacts over the coming weeks.

The new lockdown will run from 16th December to 10th January.

Slovenia Resorts Open with Tight Restrictions as Cases Surge

The skiing season has started in Kranjska Gora, Pohorje above Maribor and at Krvavec, but only for locals.

All facilities such as bars, restaurants and ski schools are shut.

Lift passes have to be bought online.

The first ski lift in Kranjska Gora turned last hursday, although only locals may visit the resort due to the ban on travel between municipalities.

More lifts are set to open as conditions and numbers allow.

Skiing season is also starting on Saturday in the Pohorje Hills above Maribor

Skiers will be required to wear face masks, and restrictions related to the number of persons riding open-air ski lifts are also in place.

While waiting in lines and skiing, skiers are required to keep a safety distance of at least 1.5 metres.

The remaining major ski resorts in the country – Rogla, Kope, Vogel, Kanin and Golte are not open ither because of the municipal travel ban or the ban on the use of enclosed gondola lifts.

Slovenia currently has 505 confirmed cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population over a 7-day period.

It is one of the highest rates in Europe and the most of any ski nation.

Updated Round Up of Resorts Open/Closed + What Rest of Ski Season May Look Like

Which ski resorts are open, what are the restrictions and when might we see the others opening?

Check out our weekly review of where we now stand as the situation has changes across the Alps and the Pyrenees.

A week ago we posted a detailed update of the situation in the Alps, the Pyrenees, Scandinavia and beyond to try to keep you informed on an ever-changing situation.

So far almost 35,000 people have read it so it is clearly of interest and it’s time for an update on how things stand on Sunday 13th December.

Much has changed in the past 7-days.

In the Alps France has confirmed its decision to close all lifts and announced the reopening date, while Switzerland has introduced tougher restrictions.

Resorts have opened in Slovenia and Slovakia.

In the Pyrenees Spain has announced it is opening some ski areas this week.

In Scandinavia Norway is set to ban all UK visitors from January 1st due to high levels of Covid-19 in the UK, as more resorts open.

Finland and Sweden are also opening more ski areas.

Closer to home in Scotland resorts are preparing to open on December 19th if weather conditions allow.

See here for the full details of the latest situation:

Updated Round Up of Resorts Open/Closed + What Rest of Ski Season May Look Like

The Italian Alps

The Italian Alps. Photo Credit, PlanetSKI

Spanish Resorts Open in the Pyrenees Today

Baqueira Beret in the Pyrenees opens on Monday 14th after delaying its planned opening on Friday December 11th.

“We open the 2020-2021 season next Monday, December 14,” it said in a statement on Friday.

“Together with the rest of the Catalan stations we will open doors with all the relevant Covid19 security measures.”

In the Aragon region of the Spanish Pyrenees the resorts of Formigal, Panticosa, Cerler and Valdeinares and Javalambre have delayed opening until the situation is clearer.

Sierra Nevada in Grenada is set to open on 18th December, Some main Spanish ski areas set to open this week.

In Spain travel has been restricted between December 23rd and December 6th, with Spaniards only able to cross regional borders for family visits.

Other reasons include work, study and medical treatment.

The rules currently make no exception for skiing.

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:

December 6th : Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

November 30th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

November 23rd: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

November 16th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

November 9th: Cornoavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

November 2nd: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

October 26th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

October 18th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

October 11th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

October 4th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

September 27th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

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

July 26th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

July 19th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

July 12th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

July 5th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

June 28th: Coroanvirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

June 21st: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

June 14th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

June 7th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

May 31st: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

May 24th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

May 17th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

May 10th: Coronavirus impact on snowsports

May 3rd: The coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

April 26th: Covid-19 impact on skiing & snowboarding continues

April 18th: Coronavirus impact on skiiing and snowboarding continues

April 12th: Coronavirus impact on skiing and snowboarding

April 5th: Coronavirus impact on snowsports

March 29th: Our rolling blog on the impact of Covid-19 continues

March 23rd: PlanetSKI’s rolling blog on the coronavirus impact on skiing continues

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