Last Updated: 29 May 2020 at 14.10 GMT (Updates so far since 5 May: 50)


Country-By-Country Update on what’s happening to ski resorts there.


Headlines:

*** Scroll down to the country section below for more details and latest updates ***


Click the links below to see:


Please note ALL re-opened ski areas are exercising strict measures to reduce the risk of spread of the virus, see:  ‘Operating In A Pandemic – What Has Changed?’ below.

Calendar

List of resorts reopening in 2020
Arosa the day after the lockdown.

June 1: Beartooth Basin summerski area in US due to open for 2020.

June 1: Crystal Mountain in Washington State opening for summer skiing.

June 5: Mt Hutt scheduled to open in New Zealand (but may be delayed).

June 5: Stryn glacier new season start date.

June 6:  Zermatt re-opens. Crans Montana re-opening ski slopes for 9 days.

June 6: Austria’s Molltal glacier opens for 2020-21 ski season.

June 6: Les 2 Alpes and Val d’Isere hope to open for glacier skiing for ski team training.

June 7: Tiffindel, South Africa, aims to start season.

June 8: Zermatt hopes to open for glacier skiing.

June 12: Southern hemisphere ski season due to start at Mt Hutt.

June 18: Riksgransen in Swedish Arctic Circle re-opening for midsummer skiing.

June 18: Afriski in Lesoho Opening Day.

June 20: Tignes aims to open for summer skiing.

June 22: Mt Buller, Thredbo and Mt Baw Baw season start.

June 24: Falls Creek, Hotham and Perisher season start.

June 25: Whistler Blackcomb glacier season (to be confirmed).

June 26: Charlotte Pass opens for 2020 season.

June 27: Les 2 Alpes to open for summer skiing for all.

Ski Areas Global Breakdown

Southern Hemisphere

Argentina

Argentina resorts reopening 2020

*** Updated May 22nd ***

Argentina has had a strict lockdown in place since mid-March which appears to have limited the spread of the virus more effectively than in many other countries.  The lockdown has been extended several times, most recently to May 24th.

One of the country’s leading resorts, Las Lenas, announced in late-May that it won’t now open this season whatever happens. Other Argentinian ski areas so far seem to be still hoping to open.

Argentina’s ski-season is due to begin from mid-June but its currently unclear if it will be able to begin on schedule and how it will operate if it is deemed safe to open ski areas.  It seems more likely resorts won’t open before July at the earliest, but nothing is certain at this point.

Australia

Australia resorts reopening 2020
Falls Creek early May 2020

*** Updated 29 May 2020 ***

Australian ski areas normally open for the ski season around the first weekend of June, a national holiday weekend in the country.

This year anticipation has been raised by huge autumn snowfalls at the start of May, with several smaller snowfalls and lowering temperatures since..

In the last week of May the provinces of New South Wales and Victoria, where most of the country’s ski centres are, both announced centres could start their seasons from June 22nd as pandemic restrictions are eased.

Not all will open on the 22nd though, Mt Buller, Mt Baw Baw and Thredbo say they’ll open on the 22nd whilst Vail Resorts owned Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham say they’ll open on the 24 June.

Charlotte Pass will have company operated accommodation open from Thursday 25th June, with the expected commencement of mountain operations from Friday 26th June.

Mt Selwyn will remain closed during the season due to bushfire damage which destroyed lifts earlier in the year.

However pandemic-spread prevention measures will mean the now-normal social-distancing and limited numbers on the mountain.

A number of resorts have rolling updates on their status on their web pages. For example here’s Mt Buller’s.

Chile

Chile resorts reopening 2020


*** Updated May 20th ***

It remains unknown whether Chile’s season can start on time, Portillo is offering 100% refund guarantee or free re-booking for 2021 for those who want to reserve a place in the hope that they will.

Chile’s Asociacion de Centros de Ski de Chile, an association of 12 of the country’s resorts, has put together proposal on the safe operation of ski lifts and other facilities during the pandemic. The plans, yet to be approved by the country’s government, include cutting hill capacity by 50%, only one person per chairlift seat, limits on numbers in mountain restaurants and so on. If approved the ski areas have set a potential opening date of July 1st.

Lesotho

Lesotho resort reopening

*** Updated May 25th ***

Lesotho has one small ski area, Afriski (pictured above on 15 April), due to open for the season at the start of June.

Afriski has announced that now that Lesotho has fully re-opened its economy, the country’s only ski area will open for its 2020 season on 18th June.

In a statement about their opening plans, Afriski’s team said,

“The big unknown unfortunately rests on the SA governments decision on when to ease travel restrictions. Fortunately, the Lesotho government has taken a far more progressive, yet responsible, stance relating to the re-opening of their hospitality and food and beverage sector. Despite this uncertainty we have decided to take a leap of faith.”

Afriski say they were granted a care and maintenance concession enabling them to keep their team on the mountain during the lockdown period to complete critical projects ahead of the coming ski season.

These included the completion of a new high-altitude dam which will gravity feed a 40,000m3 water reserve into the resort’s snowmaking network which will add 50% more snowmaking capacity to their already extensive system.

“This will further ensure great snow production and the best skiing conditions possible,” the statement says.

The centre’s statement also confirms virus-safety is the new priority and therefore their prime focus is on being a COVID safe and ready destination.

Measures include delaying the original opening date planned for 4th June by a fortnight to allow for as much time possible for the lifting of travel restrictions.

The same Health and Safety standards applied to companies will be applied at the resort which will include temperature checks for staff and guests in combination with the required personal and company PPE standards which will soon become the norm everywhere.

Other practical measures such as adjusted seating plan and mealtimes at the Sky Restaurant together with improved take away and delivery offering from Sky and Gondola are some of the measures that will be in place to ensure your health and safety.

Commenting on whether skiers should book to visit the resort statement concludes,

“Our hope is that you do indeed say Yes! It is of course a risk but it is equally a vote of confidence and a step in the right direction to reclaim the world that we once knew. The resort, and indeed the entire tourism ecosystem, now depends on the faith of every single guest willing to contribute and support their favourite holiday destinations through this crazy period on planet earth.”  “In the end hospitality is about people and it’s a great injustice that an entire army of individuals dedicated to social cohesion are being forced toward the abyss of extinction due to an alien in town called social distancing. We hope our guests see their holiday booking as a vote of confidence for the continuation of travel and hospitality.”

New Zealand

New Zealand resorts reopening 2020

***Updated May 19th ***

New Zealand is being held up as an example of how to handle the pandemic well, with few infections there. The country moved to a loosened ‘level 3’ lockdown in May which meant ski centres were among bodies that could start to see staff back on the mountains, preparing for the start of the June or July seasons.

The further loosened Level 2 was reached on May 14th meaning mot areas say they aim to open on schedule with all now increasingly usual anti-virus-spread measures in place.

However even at level 2 there is a limit of 100 people gathering in one place, so resorts are seeking clarity as to whether more people can gather if they’re spread around the mountain. On May 15th it was announced hat ski areas would be exempt from this ruling, for outside spaces at least.

Mt Ruapehu had previously announced the southern hemisphere’s earliest opening date, May 30th, for its Happy Valley snow play and learning area at Whakapapa which has all weather snowmaking. This has now been postponed to late June however.

Mt Hutt is therefore the first full ski area opening, saying on May 17th it was delaying its planned season start by a week from the originally given June 5th date to June 12th.

Several other centres have announced their planned opening dates are delayed and that opening will be weekends-only for much of the season.

The first boarder seen there in 2020, possibly for the entire southern hemisphere, is pictured above at Coronet Peak on May 5th.

South Africa

South Africa resorts reopening 2020

South Africa has had the highest number of coronavirus cases in Africa, as of the start of May, but decided to start easing its lockdown after five weeks at the end of April due to the wider harm being caused by the restrictions. The easing of restrictions does allow for some limited outdoor activity but only for a few hours a day.  The country has one small ski area, Tiffindell, which is due to open for is 2020 season in early June.

Northern Hemisphere

Austria

Austria resorts reopening 2020
Hintertux 29 April 2020

*** Updated May 28th ***

Austria is one of the first major ski nations to ease their lockdown.  They announced in April that ski touring could resume on May 1st although then asked people not to go ski touring due to their potential medical need at a time of pandemic, and high avalanche risk.

They have also said ski lifts can re-open from May 29th and so far four of the country’s glacier ski areas: Hintertux, Kaunertal, Kitzsteinhorn and Molltal say they’ll re-open for summer skiing and boarding then.

Most will open on the 29th May but the Molltal glacier has also confirmed it will open for its 11 month ski season on 6th June. This is a few weeks earlier than the Molltal’s usual ski season opening date which is in the later half of June most years – one of the world’s longest.

The Kitzsteinhorn announced on 27th May that their area would include a small terrain park.

The Dachstein glacier will also open on May 29th – but not offer snowsports until the autumn.

The Kaunertal will have the shortest season, running for only 9 days to the scheduled end of its 19-20 season, June 7th.

In addition, it has been announced that the country’s ski team has recommenced training – after each member and the support teams have been tested for the virus.

The Stubai glacier says it won’t re-open now until the Autumn, when the Pitztal and Solden glaciers areas usually open too.

The Kaunertal and Sölden glaciers, although not open to the skiing public, are reported to have been hosting the Austrian national team.

Canada

Canada resorts reopening 2020

***Updated 21 May ***

All but two of Canada’s ski areas would normally closed by now. Sunshine near Banff in Alberta and Whistler Blackcomb stay open to late May, the latter with glacier skiing through to early July.

Sunshine have confirmed that they will not be re-opening this season.

Mont St Sauveur in Quebec has opened a summer terrain park in recent years using snow left from the previous winter and they confirmed on May 20h that they have snow left this year and will open the snowpark if Quebec’s lockdown is eased in time.

China

China resorts reopening 2020

China was where it all began of course and the country’s ski areas were closed and the country largely in lockdown from mid0January to mid-March.  It also became the first country where ski areas re-opened in the latter half of March, but with numerous pandemic-re-emergence-prevention measures in place.  

It is believed all the country’s ski areas are now closed due to the normal end-of-season in spring, although the 30+ indoor snow centres are operating again.

France

France resorts reopening 2020
Les 2 Alpes 29 April 2020

*** Updated on May 20, 2020 ***

All three remaining French glacier ski areas hope to re-open in June, if they can get approval from the French government.

Staff in the three French glacier ski areas that open for summer skiing,
Les 2 Alpes, Tignes and Val d’Isere, have been able to go back in to work since May 11th as part of the easing of the French lockdown.

“The tourist office, the accommodation providers, the activity providers and the various shops in the resort are currently preparing for the summer season and are ready to open as soon as they are authorized to do so, in accordance with the directives which will be given by the Government,” said a spokesperson for Tignes, adding, “We do hope that we will be able to open on June 20th as it is planned, summer skiing including as well. The lift company is thinking of a plan for social distancing and is waiting for Government’s directives.”

In response to the point that most countries have travel bans of one sort or another, the spokesperson added, “We do focus more on French people for this summer as we know that people will travel locally.”

Les 2 Alpes have said they are in a similar position.  on 20th May they announced they intend to open the glacier for ski team training at weekends from June 6th then to the general public from June 27th, just a week later than planned before the pandemic.

Val d’Isere usually has a shorter summer-ski season than the other two area, starting earlier too, this year planned originally from June 6 to July 11th.

They too plan to open initially for ski team training from the 6th, then for the general public later in the month.

On Thursday 7th May the French government announced easing of lockdown measures dividing the country in to red and green zones with areas in the green area able to relax restrictions a little faster than those in the red zone. The country’s summer ski areas are in the green zone.

France has had one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe with the nation coming together to stop the spread of the virus.  Many initiatives have been reported including ski instructors turning their talents to stitching old ski jackets into face masks; Michelin starred ski area chefs working to supply food to frontline medical staff, and French ski gear manufacturers switching to PPE manufacture. The restrictions began to be eased on May 11th.

Italy

***Updated May 11th ***

Italy, one of the worst affected countries from the virus, had a strict lockdown for nearly two months and remains in lockdown, although it was eased slightly from May 4th. Once lifted further, if that happens this spring or summer, there are a few areas that could re-open if they can do so safely and wish to.

The Stelvio Summer Ski Centre in Italy, the country’s only summer-only destination, is ready to open from June 1st, but for the month of June at least will only be open to Italian national team athletes.

FISI, The Italian Ski Federation, has agreed an exclusive arrangement with the centre to allow for training under strict pandemic-spread-limited conditions for the month of June.  The deal includes exclusive use of a 90 bed hotel during June.

However it does not yet appear to be confirmed that training will be possible from 1st June,  FISI President Flavio Roda said training would begin “as soon as the regulations allow” indicating the precise date was not yet known, depending on Italian government decisions as they gradually ease lockdown on the European country with the second-highest number of COVID-19 deaths after the UK.

The move follows that of Austria and Norway where on-snow training resumed for the national teams earlier this month.

It is also as yet unclear what the position will be after the exclusive-use agreement ends on June 30th, the Stelvio summer ski area normally stays open through to late October or early-November.

Val Senales said on 5th May they were concerned there was “fake news” that they might re-open this spring/summer and said they definitely will not be and are prepping the area for their usual September season start.

Cortina d’Ampezzo said on May 7th they’ll offer free weekend ski breaks to health workers involved in the country’s battle with the pandemic.

Japan

Japan resorts reopening 2020

***Updated May 17th ***

Japanese ski areas kept operating through the initial stages of the pandemic in February and until late-April, in the cases of resorts that usually stay open to the start of May.  However, a second, worse, wave on the pandemic in mid-April caused all to close by April 24th.

On 6th May SnowJapan.com reported that one Japanese area, Yokoteyama/Shibutoge in Shiga Kogen, has announced it is re-opening on Thursday 7th May.

The Japanese ski season would be over now almost everywhere even without the premature end of the season a month ago due to the virus. The country has however lifted its state of emergency and the lone summer ski area Gassan (600/600cm / 240/240”) was given permission o operate, for local skiers in Yamagata Prefecture only, at the weekend. Skiers had to present ID to show they had not travelled from outside the area when buying tickets. It is now closed again but aims to re-open daily from June according to national guidelines.  Conditions were sunny with freeze-thaw weather and temperatures hitting +16C on Saturday, but there was low visibility, rain and generally unpleasant conditions with temperatures halved o +8C on Sunday.

Poland

Poland relaxed its lockdown and allowed mountain areas to re-open lifts at the start of May, one of the first countries in Europe to do so.

Scotland

Some long-time observers of Scotland’s challenging winters for ski area operators have pointed to the irony that conditions from late-March and though April would have been the best in recent years for several of the country’s ski areas.  On the West Coast, in particular, the snow is lying deep, the weather has been much less windy than usual and the weather service reported April was the sunniest in the country since records began.  Re-opening ski slopes seems unlikely this year whenever Britain eases its lockdown, although Glencoe does famously offer a midsummer snowsports day in late June.

Slovak Republic

The Slovak Republic became the first country to re-open a major mountain resort complete with large chairlifts, gondolas, funitel and cable-car lifts on May 1st. Jasna has full social distancing measures in place, as detailed in ‘Operating In A Pandemic – What Has Changed?’ below.

Slovenia

Kanin ski area announced it was re-opening due to good conditions up high from 14th May. The Slovenian national squad are believed to be training there too.

Sweden

Sweden resorts reopening 2020
Risgransen Pre-season March 2020

***Updated 22 May ***

Sweden has taken a different tack to most nations in locking down at a more gradual pace and still less severe than most other countries, whilst asking its citizens to behave sensibly.  This policy seems to have worked so far compared to some countries with more severe lockdowns.

Most of the country’s ski areas were closed in April however as restrictions were increased, among the last in the world to do so. Not all did though, with several agreeing with their local authorities that they could continue to operate.

The last of these that is still open and the only resort in the world to have operated through the pandemic to date is Riksgransen in the far north which remained open through to May 24th.

However skiing and boarding under the midnight sun which usually take place in May each year was cancelled in 2020 due to a lack of guests, and the annual season-ending Big Mountain Championships are a video competition this year instead.

But the resort will reopen for four days from June 18-21 for is annual midsummer opening festivities and will offer midnight sun skiing/boarding then.

Switzerland

Switzerland resorts reopening 2020
Fresh snow on 29 April, 2020

*** Updated May 28th ***

Switzerland has been slowly easing its lockdown.  Most of the country’s ski areas are now beyond the period in which they would normally operate, but Zermatt, open for snowsports 365 days a year, weather permitting, does look like it will re-open on June 8th.  Saas Fee also plans to start its 2020-21 ski season in July, as usual.

The country has been easing its lockdown restrictions fairly rapidly for its citizens in recent days with shops, bars and restaurants re-opening from May 11th although with lots of restrictions in place. 

Zermatt has a live feed on its site regarding the lifting of restrictions and is currently looking at June 8th as the probable, but not certain date, according to Swiss government plans.

In an unexpected move, a third Swiss ski resort, Crans Montana, announced on 28th May it will be re-opening for a nine-day period from Saturday, 6th June.

USA

USA resorts reopening 2020
Mt Baldy Early May 2020

***Updated 28 May***

It’s a complex picture in the US with different states having different lockdown rules, easing restrictions at different times.

All areas were closed for most of April until Mt Baldy in southern California decided that it could re-open if local golf course could. It stayed open to May 5th when the advance of spring weather appears to have led to its closure.

In Oregon an announcement of eased restrictions in early May meant
Timberline Lodge & Ski Area in Oregon re-opened on Friday, 15th May. Operating the longest season in North America, Timberline usually stays open to late summer.

Mt Bachelor, a second Oregon resort, also re-opened, from May 16th, but only for 9 days to the 24th May, and only for season pass holders.

Both areas sold out of lift tickets for re-opening day very fast.

In Vermont, although re-starting its summer mountain operations, Killington has decided ‘on balance’ not to re-open for late-May snowsports on its Superstar trail, although the snow is there and it would usually open to the end of the month in a normal season.

In Minnesota Wild Mountain ski area groomed some of is remaining snow and installed rails and other features to create a hike-up terrain park which it opened on the afternoon of May 9th, charging $10 for access or free to season-pass holders.

In Colorado restrictions were eased a little in early May allowing people to enjoy outdoor recreation within 10 miles of their homes but this was quickly followed by a ban on ski areas re-opening before May 22nd. This led Aspen, which said it had been hoping to do so if permitted, to now says it won’t re-open this spring. Wolf Creek had also been aiming to re-open.

On 25th May it was announced that Arapahoe Basin would re-open from Wednesday 27th May. This has proved so popular the resort has had to run a lottery to see who can buy lift tickers each day.

Crystal Mountain in Washington Stater announced they’d re-open for a fortnight from June 1st.

Other US areas that typically stay open to late spring so could possibly re-open if their states deem it safe to do so and they with and are able to include Mammoth and Squaw Valley in California, Timberline in Oregon and Snowbird in Utah.

Mammoth Mountain say they’ll update this page with any re-opening news.

Squaw Valley has an updating page here. It is not sure if it will re-open mountain operations but is now taking lodging bookings for stays from June 1st onwards.

The small Beartooth Basin summer ski area on the Montana/Wyoming border says it hopes to open for its 2020 season on May 30th.

Operating In A Pandemic – What Has Changed?

Ski resort safety

Masks and Gloves

Fortunately boarders and skiers and used to having their body’s covered to keep the cold and snow out, but most resorts now require gloves and masks to be worn at all times, not just when skiing downhill. 

Limited Numbers

Ski areas that have been operating in recent weeks and months have strictly limited the number of people allowed on site.  Many require you to buy your lift pass and book your time on the slopes at least a day in advance, you can no longer just roll-up.  Some have sold-out for several days in advance as a result.  Some have also staggered arrival times at the base.

Lift tickets

Resorts are doing all they can to minimise human contact in the ticket purchasing process. This typically means buying your pass online and adding credit to an electronic pass.  If it’s a resort with a physical pass you’ll likely pay for online or on a site with a contactless card and collect it in a way that avoids human contact.

Hygiene

Ski areas that are currently open are making a lot of efforts to clean And disinfect public areas including lifts regularly and continuously and hand sanitisers are being made widely available for visiting skiers.

Ski resort hygiene 2020

Queuing for the Lift

We should see an end to any scrums at the base of the lifts as social distancing measures are put in to place with spacings generally marked on the ground 6 feet/2 metres apart.  It remains to be seen if resorts will offer extended opening times for lifts in peak periods in order to get enough people up the mountain.

Riding the Lift

Family groups and other groups that are already together will be able to ride on chairs and in cabins together but otherwise, there’ll be social distancing with cable car/tram and gondola cabins as well as on chairlifts so the number of people getting in any individual cabin or on a chair will be dramatically reduced and face masks must be worn.

Ski Rentals

Some ski areas have re-opened but said that only those with their own equipment could visit and that rentals would not be available – another move to minimise the risk of virus spread.

Eating and Drinking

There are different approaches being employed in different ski areas at present.  Some are not offering any catering, others a counter takeaway service only and some only outdoor dining with tables spaced two metres or more apart and the same rules of social distancing we are getting used to with groups hat are together anyway able to eat and sit together but separate groups and individuals well spaced out.  A few resorts have opened indoor dining halls but again with tables well-spaced out.  Again this looks like a recipe for queues and waits at peak times and an end to crowded mountain cafes for the time being.

Toilets

A few smaller ski areas that have re=-opened have said their toilets won’t be open in a move to reduce the risk of virus spread. Others have opened their toilets but with only one persona allowed in at a time and social-distancing queuing outside, and of course lots of hand-sanitisers available.

Health Certification

It’s not yet clear how much this will be an issue next winter but skiers in China have to prove to ski centres in advance of buying a ticket that they had a certificate to say they were virus-free before they were allowed to buy a lift ticket.

Common Sense

Please note that we are a ski and snowboarding information site and exist to provide snowfall information to people who love skiing and snowboarding …whether we’re in lockdown due to a pandemic or not. By endeavouring to provide information on what is open or opening we are certainly NOT implying that now is the time to try to break through closed borders to travel to the slopes. But there will be a time in the future when we can travel again, and we think most people can cope with knowing the truth about the current state of the ski world, and dream about getting back to it when safe to do so.  That’s what we’re here for.