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November 2020

French & Italian Resorts Protest Proposed Christmas Closures

Ski resorts in France and Italy have become increasingly vocal in their campaign to block plans by the French, German and Italian governments to close ski areas into January. The resorts argue they have adequate measures in place to operate safely in the pandemic and say the damage the closures will cause livelihoods is disproportionate to the risk. “We ask the Government to come to its senses and listen to the mountain professionals who have shown their professionalism in the management of the health crisis,” a statement from Alpe d’Huez today says. A Facebook post by the resort received over two-and-a-half thousand likes and nearly 2000 shares within an hour of it going live. Larger protests are reported to be…

Portes du Soleil To Half Open for Christmas and New Year

The Portes du Soleil, one of the world’s largest ski areas with 600km of slopes, will have its slopes half-open for Christmas and New Year. The giant ski region straddles the French / Swiss border with ski runs accessed from around a dozen separate ski resorts on either side. On Thursday the French Prime Minister appeared to confirm that French ski slopes will definitely be closed until January, whilst Swiss leaders said they expected their slopes to remain open. The result is, what the Portes du Soleil summarise as, “an unprecedented situation.” “In Switzerland the ski lifts will be open in December above the resorts of Morgins, Champéry, Val d'Illiez Les Crosets Champoussin and Torgon.  In France the ski lifts…

Ed Leigh’s COVID Saving Snow Tips | Ep 47 | Easter

https://youtu.be/wgjNFzpHWps So, the news we’d all been hoping for, and that I was advocating for last week, has finally been announced. From 15th December, the UK government have confirmed that quarantine will be cut from two weeks to one, as long as you get a Covid test after five days (costing £65-£120). But unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that winter is back on just yet… As it looks highly likely that French ski resorts will stay closed until mid-January, or at least their lifts will, as Planet Ski is reporting, but you would still be able to hike (does that mean tour or splitboard?) and get takeaway food. As this article states, Tignes for one are not happy: https://planetski.eu/.../french-ski-resorts-can-open-in.../ And I’m sure they’re…

Switzerland Says Ski Areas Will Stay Open Over Christmas

Although nothing is certain from one day to the next in our pandemic-ruled world, Switzerland’s health minister has said it will keep its ski resorts open for the time being. Speaking at a news conference today Health Minister Alain Berset said this would remain the case  so long as there were strict safety measures in place to stop and virus spread. Earlier Swiss officials had said the wintersports industry was too vital to the country to consider shutting it down. The announcement came as three of the most powerful Western EU nations -  France, Germany and Italy – are putting pressure on the entire EU block (and in some cases the implication is on non-eu neighbours like Switzerland too) to…

24 Hours Is A Long Time in Snow Travel Politics

They say a week is a long time in politics. For the travel industry, just 24-hours is enough to flip the entire industry on its head, and then back again. So what has happened? Well firstly, for months the UK travel industry has been waiting for the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to announce a  reduction in the number of days required for self-quarantine when returning from an overseas trips (the current 'safe-travel-corridor list', where no quarantine is required, includes only a couple of ski nations).  The change means skiers and snowboarders returning from their holidays could abandon the 14-day obligatory quarantine, and instead enlist in a “Test and Release” system. Those paying for a private test after just five days isolation…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #166

Issued: 18 November 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia RoundupSouthern Hemisphere Roundup EUROPE INTRODUCTION With ski areas in Austria, France, Germany and Italy still closed due to November lockdowns there’s been no change in the number of ski areas open in Europe compared to a week ago.   And along with the COVID complications which are impacting the start of the season, we now have one of the old autumn issues from the era before the virus was even imagined coming in to play. It has turned out to be quite a warm and dry autumn so far and some ski areas are beginning to worry about whether they'll have adequate snow, particularly at lower elevations, when the main…

Leaders of Bavaria, France and Italy Call for EU Wide Christmas/New Year Ski Resort Closures

The French president, the Italian Prime Minister and the leader of southern Germany’s ski state of Bavaria have all called for ski holidays over the Christmas and New Year holiday period to be cancelled due to the pandemic risk. The three are calling for a pan-European approach to stop the danger of actually increasing travel to  ski resorts if one country closes its areas but resorts in another remain open, leading skiers to travel further to the slopes. President Macron of France said last night that he hoped a collective decision could be made by the 4th of December,  saying he favoured ski areas remaining closed until mid-January as he thought it “impossible” they could open safely. The Italian prime…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #167

Issued: 25 November 2020 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup EUROPE INTRODUCTION The virus and the battle to get infection rates down, unfortunately, remains the main talk in ski areas for another week as most of Europe passes the mid-way point in their November lockdowns.  Individual countries are now making decisions on how their lockdowns end and whether ski areas will reopen.There is much debateas to whether that's a good idea for general health and wellbeing, or a bad idea to encourage travel and get people together.  All this debate is distracting skiers from the thing that would be dominating in their minds. It's been dry and often warm in most ski areas and there's not a lot…

Plans Unveiled for New Chamonix Valley Grands Montets Lifts

Chamonix has unveiled plans for the replacement of the Grands Montets lifts above Argentière. The existing lifts were destroyed by a fire in September 2018 which has severely impacted access to the area, and deprived skiers of lift access to glacier skiing previously reached via the currently-closed top Grands Montets station at 3300m. Currently the only solution for reaching the Grands Montets glacier at present, is to “skin up” from the summit of the Bochard or Herse lifts (300m elevation). “It would be fair to say that this option has encouraged many skiers to discover the joys and rewards of ski touring, but it is not a long-term solution,” said a Compagnie du Mont lift company spokesperson. The Compagnie du…

Powder Conditions in Western Canada With Up to 92cm/3 Feet of Snowfall Reported in Past Week

The ski season is continuing to get going in Canada where snow conditions are arguably the best in the world at present. Sunshine near Banff (pictured) reported 92cm (over three feet) of snowfall in the past week taking its season-to-date tally to nearly 2.5 metres (over 8 feet) already.  There’s been powder conditions here all week, and at other open areas, with daily top ups of the snow. Big name resorts Big White (117cm/117cm / 47/47”) and Sun Peaks (95/95cm / 38/38”) are among the latest to open, with Big White posting the deepest base in North America (and probably the deepest fresh snow base in the world) from opening day. Vancouver’s local ski hill at Grouse Mountain (77/77cm /…