Two ski areas in the COVID-19 hit Australian province of Victoria will not re-open this winter their operators, Vail Resorts, have announced.
Mt Hotham and Falls Creek would normally open for the ski season in early June but the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown in Australia delayed the usual opening date for all Australian areas to at least June 22nd, when ski areas were allowed to re-open, with strict pandemic-virus-spread-prevention measures in place as the lockdown eased.
However Falls Creek and Mt Hotham continued to delay their opening date for several more weeks as lack of snow cover meant they couldn’t open trails, eventually doing so in early July.
But a resurgence of the virus in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, led to Vail resorts announcing Falls Creek and Mt Hotham would close again within days of opening until at least late August.
Now with the new ‘State of Disaster’ declared in Victoria until at least 13 September the Vail resorts have announced today the two centres won’t re-open this winter. The Australian ski season normally runs to the end-of-September or start-of-October.
“On 9 July, we made the decision to suspend operations at Hotham in support of the efforts by public health officials to address the growing challenge of COVID-19 in the region, and out of concern for the health and safety of our employees, guests and community. It was a difficult decision which has unfortunately been reinforced by the worsening COVID-19 trends and the declaration of a State of Disaster in Victoria until 13 September,” a statement from the resorts reads, continuing,
“We are disappointed to mark the end of the season this way and extend our gratitude to our employees and the businesses in our communities who worked so hard to open this winter. To our loyal guests: Thank you for your patience and understanding during these challenging times. We look forward to welcoming you back to our resorts for the 2021 season.”
Although Falls Creek and Mt Hotham closed in early July, two other Victoria ski areas, Mt Buller and Mt Baw Baw did stay open, the latter open only at weekends. In addition the resort communities at Falls Creek and Mt Hotham stressed thy were open too for winter holidays doing everything except lift-served downhill skiing.
That looks set to change now with Mt Buller announcing its operations are scheduled to continue as usual until Wednesday 5 August when Stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions are implemented in regional Victoria. Mt Buller and Mt Baw Baw have not yet said if they’re definitely finished for the season yet though.
The closures come just as fresh snow falls across Australia (Thredbo in NSW pictured above). Ben Lomond in Tasmanian (pictured below), one of the world’s most southerly ski areas, says it will now open for the season this coming weekend as it now has adequate snow cover.