Coronavirus is having an extremely high impact on the skiing industry, especially on the ski holidays industry. The skiing industry has an economic impact that turns around € 34 Billion per year.
The Alps are experiencing record high snowfalls, with certain skiing areas having already over 4 m of snow, but most of them remain closed due to the pandemic measurements from individual countries.
There have been many debates on wheater the ski resorts should open or should remain closed. The biggest arguments are that skiing is an outdoor activity where the density of the crowds can be much easier controlled than for example at the city metros or their busy metro stations. As well, all lift companies have had enough time to prepare for the winter season with most of them have already gathered experiences during the summer season.
In this article, we would like to share with you the last information about the decisions governments have taken on when the skiing holidays will be possible in full. Depending on which country you are in, there might be restrictions to travel to your loved ski resort or while returning home from your ski holidays.
Quick Antigen tests will be available on all major ski resorts!
Most of the ski resorts are aware that crossing the borders will not be as easy as it was before. Many countries will have restrictions on returning home and will require a negative COVID-19 test in order to avoid 10 to 14 days quarantine. To make it easier for the travelers, local authorities at the ski resorts are establishing medical teams that will exam rapid antigen tests, where the result will be given in about 30 minutes or so. A negative test not older than 48 hours should be enough in most countries in order to avoid quarantine after returning home. The cost of the quick antigen test is estimated between 30 € and 40 €, depending on the ski resort.
Switzerland is the only country in the Alps that is already open to skiers to enjoy their ski holidays without major restrictions.
Switzerland has decided to open the ski industry in December. Most of the ski areas are open, but some of them will open on the 19th of December for Christmas week. Swiss authorities have made the conclusion that there enough knowledge now. The learning from the Ischgl coronavirus hotspot last winter season and the summer ski lift operations gave them enough experiences to successfully battle the pandemic in the ski resorts.
There are special measurements in place, like wearing face masks on the lifts and keeping the social distance.
Laurent Vaucher, the director of Verbier ski lift company has said for CNN what is different this winter compared to last winter in order to avoid Ischgl: “We didn’t have any new measures in place. We didn’t have any masks, we didn’t have the social distancing, so now the game is different and we are pretty much sure that we can do the work in order to keep the ski resorts safe.”
Simon Widget, the director of Verbier tourism is adding: “It is not only to save Christmas holidays, but it is as well to save the whole winter. It is as well to save the reputation. We know, everybody is watching us. And if we make a mistake, we will be appointed as a bad organization.”
President Emmanuel Macron has yesterday (11th of December 2020) announced that ski lifts for the general public must remain closed until the 7th of January 2021. Some of the ski resorts will open their ski lifts already on the 12th of December 2020 but only for the ski clubs.
Accommodation providers though have the right to open already the 19th of December 2020.
This means that people, where conventional alpine skiing is not the only way to have fun on the snow, are welcome. Exploring the snowy forests snowshoeing (rackets), for more sporty people cross-country skiing or for adrenaline-addicted people ski touring and off-piste skiing will be perfect before more tourists will arrive in later weeks.
There won’t be all accommodation open, but some will. Officially the skiing holidays season will start on Saturday, the 9th of January 2021. Some accommodation providers have decided that despite the season will be open on the 9th of January 2021, they will remain closed until the 23rd of January 2021 due to a lack of tourists.
We are expecting that ski holidays on the ski areas without cable-cars or gondolas will be more popular this winter season, especially among the families. These kinds of ski resorts would be Puy Saint Vincent, Les Orres, Super Devolouy, Les Sybelles, Montgenevre, Vars.
Check prices for Ski Holidays in France
Austria is opening the ski lifts on the 24th of December, but accommodation providers will remain closed until the 7th of January 2021.
It means that the slopes will mainly be open to ski clubs and local people for daily skiing or for people that have their second home in the Alps. For some “lucky” people, this Christmas and New Year winter holidays will be one of the best in their entire skiing history, with empty ski slopes and no cues on the lifts.
Travelers that are coming from abroad before the 6th of January 2020, from the countries with over 100 incidences in the last 7 days will need to go to quarantine.
Restaurants and bars will remain fully closed until the 7th of January 2021. Apress Ski bars will remain closed the entire winter season, where outdoor bars, restaurants, and ordinary bars will home some more flexibility in operations.
Most of the Austrian ski resorts are already rolling massive marketing campaigns with a single message: “See you on the 7th of January 2021”. That is why we are assuming this date will not be moved anymore.
Traditional December Ski Opening weekends are now moved to 14th of January 2021. Join us at the Ladies Ski Opening in Zell am See 14. JAN – 17. JAN 2021, where special promotion is in place: Pay 3 Travel 4 (available for Ladies).
Check prices on all other Austrian Ski Resorts on MountVacation.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel the biggest supporter of shutting down all ski lifts until the end of the New Years Festives.
And as it looks, he was very successful at his mission. Apart from Switzerland, all ski resorts in the Alps will remain closed to the general public during the festive period.
In Italy, the ski lifts will open on the Saturday 9th of January 2021. Accommodation providers, restaurants, and bars remain open at all times with restrictions and travel ban on the 24th and 25th of December and 1st of January.
For non-Italian holiday travelers between 21st December and 6th of January 2021, a quarantine will be required. People are able to travel within the same region all the time. They are not allowed to travel (be on the road) out of their city (commune) on the 24th and 25th of December and the 1st of January. If they are already in the other city, since they have arrived not on these dates, they should have no problems. Commuting on these 3 days is strictly forbidden.
Some accommodation providers will remain open all the time, even though we see that mainly apartment houses and residences will fully operate, while most hotels will remain closed until the ski lifts are open.
Similar to France, all other outdoor activities will have no restrictions.
It looks like Slovenia at this time lacks strategy on battling coronavirus and there is still no clear date or objective when the measurements will be reduced and accommodation providers will be able to accept travelers.
Ski lifts have got permission to open, but not gondolas and cable cars. This means that Kanin Ski Resort with over 4 meters of snow and Vogel Ski Resort with 1,5 m of snow will remain closed. Krvavec ski resort is opening ski lifts on the 12th of December (arriving on the mountain is possible only by car as cable car remains closed). Other ski resorts like Kranjska Gora, Mariborsko Pohorje, and some others have started with their operations, but at the moment only for the citizens of their commune. Commuting between communes is at the time of this article still forbidden.
Representatives of the Tourism and Hospitality Chamber of Slovenia are working hard to find an agreement with the government to define the date when accommodation providers can open as well.
Skiing in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina is possible. Many foreign travelers are still waiting for their reservations to travel to these countries due to their home restrictions.
Ski and Snowboard holiday enthusiasts can’t wait to get the opportunity to go for their dream winter holidays. As well, everyone is aware that this winter season will have to have measurements that we are not used to, but we are ok with that. We all hope that these dates of opening won’t be further changed and that we will be able to travel.
Luckily, all Alps have got a lot of snow, and with some more snow to come during the winter, we will have a long ski and snowboard season. We have to start it late, but we will keep it late as well into May.