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Ski Resorts

No Summer Skiing at Whistler Blackcomb This Year

Whistler Blackcomb have confirmed they won’t open their glacier for summer skiing this June and July. The resort will be open for summer tourism, but the resort’s chief operating officer Geoff Buchheister has told staff that with the onus firmly on safety in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, snowsports would mean an unacceptable "…layer of complexity over an already complex situation," "By narrowing our focus to our summer operation, we can ensure that our team is preparing a plan that is careful, measured and realistic, while in keeping with provincial health guidelines," he told staff in a memo. Whistler has offered glacier skiing on the Blackcomb Glacier every summer for many decades. The glacier is booked up by race team…

Skiing in June and a look forward

At the time of my last report a few ski areas around Japan were still bravely remaining open in increasingly pressured circumstances. That situation did not last too long as the Japanese government was forced to announce a country-wide ‘state of emergency’. Interestingly, the Japanese government is not actually able to legally declare a ‘lockdown’ like other countries have experienced over the last few months. The Japan state of emergency was essentially more of a strong request for co-operation, and it was one that most people and businesses complied with. As of late May, the state of emergency has now been lifted in all regions of Japan. There has been skiing and snowboarding available in May though. The Yokoteyama and…

Australian Ski Resorts Publish 2020 Season Opening Dates

Following the news that ski resorts in the Australian province of Victoria could open from 22nd June, made by the province’s government a few days ago, ski areas in New South Wales where most of the rest of Australia’s main ski areas are located have also been given the go ahead from the same date.  However only some ski areas say they’ll open on Monday 22nd, with others opting for Wednesday 24th. Ski areas are also stressing there’ll be fewer people allowed in the mountains for virus-safety reasons and that advance booking is essential to ensure your space. Skiers and snowboarders will only be able to access the resorts with a pre-purchased pass or lift tickets; on-the-day lift ticket purchases…

No Restrictions In On-Slope Numbers As Alpine Summer Ski Areas Re-open

One of the big questions surrounding the re-opening of Alpine glacier ski areas this summer, and in the longer term the opening of resorts next winter, is whether limits will be placed on the numbers of people allowed on the slopes. So far the message has been fairly consistent when it comes to ski-lifts and indoor facilities that have re-opened in countries like Norway and the USA, with two-metre social distancing rules largely in place. But so far most re-opened ski areas have also set dramatically reduced limits on how many people can be on the slopes at any one time.  Mostly they’ve required skiers to buy tickets online at least a day in advance, and at many areas resorts…

Number of Ski Areas Open on Planet May Hit Historic Low This Week

The number of ski areas open on earth may be five or less for a few days next week – probably the lowest number since the rapid growth in ski area openings in the 1960s and the first summer ski areas opening. Although the pandemic closed most resorts for much of the past 10 weeks or so, ski areas kept operating in some countries like Japan until mid-May, and that overlapped with ski areas that had been closed starting to re-open in countries like Norway, meaning the world total open didn’t drop in to single figures. Late May is traditionally the quietest month of the year though as most northern hemisphere ski areas have closed and most southern hemisphere centres…

Leading Argentinian Ski Area Cancels 2020 Ski Season

The leading Argentinian ski area of Las Leñas appears to have decided not to open for winter 2020 – due to commence next month and run to late September or early October. In a media statement the resort essentially said that the realities of operating with the additional limitations that working during the pandemic would entail meant it was not feasible for them to open this season, even when restrictions on doing so were lifted. “We are obliged to act with the greatest responsibility and safeguard both our workers and the general public,” the statement concludes. Argentina has had one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns, most recently extended to this Sunday May 24th. The government there has also banned…

Riksgränsen To Re-open For Midsummer

Riksgränsen in the Swedish Arctic Circle, the only ski area in the world to have kept operating through the global pandemic, has confirmed it will re-open at the end of June for its traditional ‘midsummer’ long-weekend skiing and snowboarding festival. The resort, which has an unusual ski season running from early March to late May each winter (this year its closes on Sunday 24th May), decided to keep operating when most other Swedish ski areas closed in April.  It decided that as I already had an on-site medical team and clinic, and a big drop in visitor numbers, it could continue to operate with pandemic-prevention measures in place. However it did have to make its biggest event of the season,…

Norwegian Ski Area Hits 15.9 Metre (53 Feet) Base After Metre of May Snowfall

A Norwegian glacier ski area reports that its base has grown to 15.9 metres (53 feet) after a mid-May weekend of blizzards. Glacier ski areas in the region reported up to a metre of snow in 48 hours, leading two to delay  planned season start dates. The Fonna glacier (pictured top this afternoon) opened for its 2020 season a few weeks ago after Norway eased its lockdown rules having posted remarkable pictures of diggers tunneling through deep snow for several months to reach the area, then dig out the buried lifts. The weekend blizzards, which closed the centre, brought a further metre (40 inches) of snow and whilst conditions cleared on Monday, the area remained closed whilst lifts were dug…

No Limit To Numbers on the Mountain in New Zealand, But Later Start and Reduced Operations

In further good news for the 2020 ski season in New Zealand, which is due to start in just over a fortnight, an agreement between the country’s ski areas and government means there’ll be no limit on the number of people allowed on the mountain. The news came after the country moved to a loosened ‘Level 2’ lockdown earlier this week allowing many small businesses to re-open, but there had been a concern in the country’s ski resorts that an ongoing limit on the number of people who could be in one place at the same time would make in impractical for ski areas to operate. But the ski areas have agreed specific guidelines for operations this winter, including managing…

Bulgarian Ski Resort Plans To Thank Country’s Medics With Free Ski Holiday

Bulgaria’s largest ski area, Bansko, will be offering free ski holiday weekends next winter to the country’s medics who are working to fight COVID-19. The ski area’s operating company Ulen has announced a special partnership with Bansko Municipality and the Alliance for Promotion and Development of Tourism in Bansko, as well as different hoteliers in the resort, to provide free weekend break next winter to all medics in Bulgaria who are fighting on the front line against COVID-19. The free holiday packages for the next winter 2020-21 will include free accommodation in hotels, free meals, free ski passes and, if needed, free ski lessons and free ski equipment rental. "Through this initiative we want to show our gratitude to the…