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, within reduced virus spread safety limits to be able to operate at a financially sustainable level.

Right now a lot are busy looking at practical logistics and doing the maths on safely spacing people out whilst staying financially viable.

One of the first of the world’s bigger resorts, Jasna in Slovakia, has announced today it will be re-opening it’s lifts this Friday, May 1st.

Along with lots of hygiene measures and face masks they’ve made these rules for using lifts:

A maximum of two people (at either end) on their quad and six-seater chairlifts.

Jasna in normal times

A maximum number of four people in their small 15-seater cable car cabins and seven people in their 24-seater cabin funitel, and finally a maximum of 20 people in their cable car which normally carries a maximum of 50 per cabin.

Places to stand socially-distanced in lift queues will be marked in the lift stations and where to sit or stand in the (frequently disinfected) lift cabins likewise.

Of course groups of families and friends who are living together in resort accommodation anyway can travel as a normal group.

So this looks like a model for ski area operations next winter, and possibly this summer on glaciers if these re-open, as some hope, in June and July in the Alps.  Nothing confirmed on that at time of writing though.

So in the end it probably means longer, but more civilised, lift queues in peak periods.