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 have sold out of their limited daily quota very quickly.
However, the news from the Alps, so far, appears to be that whilst there’ll be the restriction on how many people can get in a gondola or cable-car cabin, or on a chair or T bar at any one time, there won’ be a limit on how many people can arrived at the slopes – beyond the standard daily limit that is always there and almost never reached for most areas.
“On the slopes, there will not be any restrictions,” confirmed Mathias Imoberdorf of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, which is due to resume its year-round skiing operation on 8th June.
“In the cabins and stations, people have to keep the distance of two metres and where this is not possible, we recommend they wear a mask. We appeal to the personal responsibility of the guests,” Mr Imoberdorf added.
Ski areas in Austria which are due to open from this coming Friday 26th May say that they are still waiting for guidance on how to operate from the Federal Government, but so far they do not expect any limit on slope numbers either.
Earlier in the month New Zealand said they would not seek to restrict the numbers allowed on the slopes there either, when the first resorts open from June 12th.