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Technique / Safety

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…

Re-opening US Ski Resort Sells Lift Tickets by Lottery

Arapahoe Basin ski area in Colorado has resorted to selling lift tickets for its re-opening day, 27th May, by lottery after an online ticket reservation system failed to cope with demand. “Due to incredibly high volume, we are not able to use our original reservation system. Access to Arapahoe Basin, at this time, will be via a random drawing. We are only doing one day at a time. …No need to rush. One entry per person. No purchase necessary to enter this random drawing,” an online statement posted on the 26th said. Those who win in the lottery will then be contacted have the option to purchase up to four $99 lift tickets. Arapahoe Basin is the fourth US ski…

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…

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…

Several US Ski Areas Re-Opening – Lift Tickets Sell Out Fast

Several US ski areas in the state of Oregon are re-opening after the state’s governor signed an executive order allowing them to do so. However one immediately sold out of lift tickets – which must be bought online in advance, the other is only allowing existing season pass holders on its slopes. Timberline is open from today (15th May) although it sold-out of lift tickets for today within an hour of them going on sale.  The centre, on Mt Hood, has North America’s longest ski season, running almost year round from early-autumn through to later-summer the following year, subject to snow conditions. A second Oregon area, Mt Bachelor, has also announced it is re-opening, for nine days, from Saturday 16th…

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…

Cortina Offers Free Ski Holidays to Health Professionals Fighting Italy’s Coronavirus Pandemic

Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Italian Dolomites has announced an initiative by a dozen of the resort’s hotels in partnership with other businesses to offer free holidays to medical staff who worked long hours during the COVID-19 Coronavirus emergency in Italy, and in many cases still are doing. The offer is for a free-of-charge long-weekend break in the mountains, in most cases this summer but in some cases next winter too. The offer does not just cover accommodation but also things like mountain guiding services, ski school lessons, equipment rental, guided activities and restaurant lunches and dinners will also all be provided free-of-charge. “Our gratitude to the commitment and courage of our friends, healthcare workers, doctors, nurses and other emergency staff…

Riding A Ski Lift in a Pandemic

A number of ski areas in Norway and so far one in the US have re-opened following a period of pandemic lockdown and many others are now looking at how they’ll re-open. So far they re-opened areas are small, using with T Bar or Poma rope tow lifts or a double chairlift and it’s a case of one person per t Bar/chair and with limited numbers on the slopes this isn’t causing many problems.  Mt Baldy in California this week But what of the world’s leading ski resorts next winter which operated gondolas, cable cars, funicular lift and 4, 6 or 8 seater chairlifts to whisk bigger numbers up the slopes.  They’ll need to get enough people on the slopes,…

More than 500 Ski Areas in Europe Now Closed by Coronavirus

The number of ski areas closed by the coronavirus outbreak in Europe is accelerating rapidly and is now believed to have passed the 500 mark. Around half of those closed are in Italy, where the country went in to ‘lock down’ with many measures including closing all ski resorts earlier this week. Today it has been announced all ski areas in the Austrian province of Tyrol will close from this weekend. That includes many of the world’s most famous destinations including Kitzbuhel, Innsbruck, Solden and St Anton. Many of Norway’s ski areas have also announced they are closing too including Trysil, pictured. Here resorts decided whether or not they should stay open, based on government advice that they ensure they…