Last Updated: 13 August 2020 at 17.40 GMT (Updates so far since 5 May: 108)
The web’s most comprehensive guide of ski resorts opening around the world.
More Than 40 Ski Areas Have Currently Re-Opened Worldwide In 10 Countries on 5 Continents: Africa: Lesotho; Asia: Japan. Europe: Austria, France, Italy, Norway, Switzerland. North America: USA. Oceania: Australia and New Zealand. South America: Argentina.
Countries where ski areas would normally be open but are currently unable to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic are: Chile and South Africa.
Browse by country:
- NEW: An increasing number of North American ski areas say they’ll operate a ‘normal’ schedule this coming winter, but with the usual social-distancing and similar measures in place. (13 August).
- NEW: Ski areas in New Zealand are having to introduce social-distancing and other anti-COVID measures for the first time after four cases found in the country, the first for over 100 days. (12 August).
- Most ski areas in Argentina are now open. (6 August).
- With the surge in virus cases in the Australian province of Victoria now leading to a state of emergency being declared, two ski areas which had so far only managed to open for three days this season, say that’s skiing over for them now until 2021 (4 August).
- There are different approaches to social-distancing emerging depending on the country you’re skiing in. Some offer self-policing by skiers; others have resort-staff policing distancing and still others have actual police occasionally checking everyone is following the rules. (29 July)
- The key Jandri Express giant gondola lift which carries skiers to Europe’s largest summer ski area above les 2 Alpes in France does not require social distancing anymore, according to the resort, although face masks must be worn. This is believed to be the first time a cabin lift has been allowed to run at capacity and may be a model of how things will be allowed to work at busy resorts next winter. (17 July)
- There are now both more ski centres currently open and more kilometres of slopes open in the southern hemisphere than the northern hemisphere for the first time in 2020. (15 July)
- Positive signs from Argentina as one ski area re-opens some facilities to locals …although not yet its ski slopes. (July 9)
- Falls Creek and Hotham ski areas in Australia have closed for at leas 10 days due top a surge in virus cases in Victoria. Mt Baw Baw will open weekends, Mt Buller will make a decision tomorrow. (July 9)
- With travel restrictions easing, innovative instructor Warren Smith is going ahead with summer ski courses on the glacier above Zermatt later this month. (July 7)
- With Mt Hotham and Falls Creek now open after fresh weekend snowfall, all of Australia’s major ski areas (Except Selwyn Snow Resort, rebuilding this year after bush fires damage) are now open for 2020. (July 7)
- It’s turning in to one of the snowiest starts to winter in years in the Andes with base depths already nearly 4 metres (13 feet). Very sad it’s not safe for the ski areas in Argentina and Chile to open. (July 6)
- Switzerland has made wearing masks compulsory on public transport – which includes cable cars, gondolas and funiculars in ski resorts. This initially affects skiers at the only Swiss area open, Zermatt, but Saas Fee is due to join them this coming weekend. (July 6)
- North American ski resorts say that as we look ahead to winter 2020-21 it’s important to consider the positives of a ski holiday whilst being aware of what’s likely to be different next season. (July 2)
- With Chile’s state-of-emergency extended by another three months to the middle-of-September, the final weeks of the normal ski season, there are increasing doubts that ski areas will be able to open there in 2020. (June 30)
- South Africa eases lockdown but says tourism businesses won’t be able to open until September – this appears to be bad news for the country’s ski area, Tiffindell, where the ski season usually runs to the end of August. (June 30)
- Mt Buller in Australia has opened with visitors to the resort receiving an SMS notification to generate a streamlined QR code registration process on arrival at the slopes. The new technology will be important if required for contact tracing, simple and effective,” a resort spokesperson said. (June 24).
- Hotham in Australia says it will delay the opening of its ski lifts for the 2020 snow season until 6 July (conditions permitting) due to challenging early-season conditions, not the virus. (June 24)
- Portillo in Chile announces its planned opening date, already set back a month of July 19th, has now been “suspended indefinitely” whilst better news is awaited in the Andes. (June 23)
- Ski areas have now re-opened in 10 countries but social-distancing requirements on the slopes and using lifts vary. The distances change frequently but at time of writing they’re believed to be 1 Metre (3.3 Feet) Austria, France and Italy; 1.5 Metres (5 Feet) in Australia and Norway; 1.8 Metres (6 Feet) in the USA and 2 Metres (6.7 Feet) in Switzerland. In Lesotho and New Zealand there’s no social-distancing requirement. (June 22)
- Several ski areas in Argentina and Chile are warning backcountry skiers that they should not be hiking up to ski slopes in the Andes during the ongoing lockdown there. They warn there’s been no avalanche prevention measures and there are currently no rescue or medical staff on site whilst resorts are closed. (June 17).
- Some Australian ski areas are noting that limited snow cover may be an issue for slope access when resorts open next week, as much as limited numbers due to the pandemic. (June 17).
- Australian ski areas to initially operate at 50% capacity and with 1.5 metre social distancing in place when they open for the season next week. (June 16).
- With usual ski season start date now here, ski areas in Argentina, Chile and South Africa yet to find out when or if they’ll be able to open for winter 2020. (June 16).
- It has been snowing in the Andes but there’s no news yet when areas in Argentina and Chile will be able to open. Ski Portillo Chile say they hope for good news soon but have set back their opening day to July 18. (June 13) .
- New Zealand’s 2020 ski season has begun a week later than originally planned with Mt Hutt opening with no social distancing or off-slope mask wearing required. (June 12)
- Lift ticket sales website crashes as Australian resort opens ahead of season start due to high demand. (June 12)
- Norway’s Stryn Glacier has opened a fortnight later due to delays digging out the access road from spring snowfall (June 12)
- Italy’s first lift-served skiing for more than three months will resume at Passo Stelvio on 13th June after the government allowed it to open to the public earlier than expected. (June 9).
- New Zealand’s ski areas to operate normally without social distancing when season starts on Friday after lockdowns there eased further. (June 9)
- Southern hemisphere’s 2020 ski season gets underway with Afriski in Lesotho first to officially open slopes. (June 6)
(Headlines from earlier in the pandemic are archived below)
*** Scroll down to the country section below for more details and latest updates ***
Click the links below to see:
- Calendar of upcoming dates in world skiing.
- Country-By-Country Update on what’s happening to ski resorts there.
- Operating In A Pandemic – What Has Changed?
- Common Sense
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.
|27th July 2020||28th July 2020||29th July 2020||30th July 2020||
31st July 2020
All day: Galdhøpiggen Sommerskisenter re-opens.
31st July 2020All day
|1st August 2020||
2nd August 2020
All day: Tignes summer ski closing day.
2nd August 2020All day
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30th August 2020
All day: Afriski closing day
30th August 2020All day
All day: Les 2 Alpes summer ski season closing day.
30th August 2020All day
|31st August 2020||1st September 2020||2nd September 2020||3rd September 2020||4th September 2020||5th September 2020||6th September 2020|
*** Updated August 13th ***
Argentina Social Distancing Requirement: 2 Metres (6.6 Feet)
Argentina Ski Centres Currently Open: 6
Argentina had a strict lockdown in place from mid-March which appears to have limited the spread of the virus more effectively than in many other South American countries. The lockdown was extended several times but is currently being eased on a region-by-region basis.
On July 23rd Cerro Catedral near he ski town of Bariloche became the first ski area in South America to open for the 2020 ski season. The centre is open for local skiers only with regional and international travel difficult and not advised.
Two more areas, Cerro Bayo and Cerro Castor announced they’d open to local skiers from Saturday, August 1st and Chapelco and other Argentinian ski areas have also now opened
Earlier in July when things began to ease slightly already at Cerro Castor down near Tierra del Fuego and the world’s most southerly developed ski area. It opening its resort base and ice rink to local people in the province and also allowed cross country skiing although until 1st August its lifts were not running and downhill slopes were closed.
Argentina’s ski-season would normally have begun in mid-June and runs to early October.
At the still closed ski areas in Argentina they are warning backcountry skiers that they should not be hiking up to ski slopes in the Andes during the ongoing lockdown there. They warn there’s been no avalanche prevention measures and there are currently no rescue or medical staff on site whilst resorts are closed. As there has been a lot of snowfall, the avalanche danger is extreme.
*** Updated 13 August 2020 ***
Australia Social Distancing Requirement: 1.5 Metres (5 Feet)
Australia Ski Centres Currently Open: 4
2020 has really been a season like no other in Australia.
The country’s 2020 season got underway on 22nd June with Mt Baw Baw and Thredbo opening.
Aussie 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. June was drier but the snow returned in early July.
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.
The next areas to open are Mt Baw Baw and Perisher on the 24th with fellow Vail Resorts owned Falls Creek and Hotham initially saying they’d open on the 29th June but later delaying to 6th July due to limited early snow cover.
Charlotte Pass had company operated accommodation open from Thursday 25th June with the ski slopes open from Friday 26th June.
So all of the country’s leading ski areas had opened by July 6th, other than Mt Selwyn which will remain closed during the season due to bushfire damage which destroyed lifts earlier in the year.
However from July 8th operations of ski areas in Victoria (Falls Creek, Hotham, Mt Baw Baw, Mt Buller) were in some doubt following a spike in cases around the city of Melbourne. Residents from, areas of the city now in strict lockdown again who had bookings are being refunded payment and ski areas say they are reviewing operations.
Falls Creek and Hotham have closed again for at least 6 weeks to August 19th -about 6 weeks from the end of the season.
The state’s other two areas did stay open at that point though: Mt Baw Baw is however opening weekends for snowsports and Mt Buller were open for much of July.
And in an added twist, whilst operator Vail Resorts has closed the lifts at Falls Creek and Mt Hotham, the resorts are still open, and other activities are available to people in Victoria, including back country skiing.
Pandemic-spread prevention measures mean the now-normal social-distancing and limited numbers on the mountain. Most areas say they’ll operate at around 50% capacity and there’ll be a 1.5 metre social distancing rule in place.
Thredbo initially put lift tickets on sale online on 10th June but had its site overloaded with more than 25,000 people trying to buy lift tickets in the first few hours they were on sale – so there’s certainly demand.
There was another twist later in July as the pandemic in Victoria worsened and the state’s government reimposed restrictions meaning Mt Buller and Mt Baw Baw have now had to close again, until at least September 13th when the situation may be eased. Buller say they hope they might still re-open. Vail Resorts have said Falls Creek and Mt Hotham won’t now re-open this winter though, whatever happens in mid-September.
In the meantime the season has begin at Ben Lomond in Tasmania as there’s now adequate snow cover.
It’s also worth remembering even before the virus was a known danger, one Australian area, Selwyn, had already ruled out opening in 2020 after it was destroyed by bush fires at the very start of the year.
*** Updated 13 August 2020 ***
Chile Social Distancing Requirement: 2 Metres (6.6 Feet)
Chile Ski Centres Open: 0
Chile’s season usually starts in mid-June but the country currently remains in lockdown with no clear sign of an end date for that.
Since the start of august there does seem to be some hope that ski areas might open and resorts have been stressing they have so much snow they might be able to stay open until November – if they do get the chance to open.
Some have started opening to non-skiing day visitors although lifts and runs remain closed, but that’s being taken as a step forward.
The initial three month state-of-emergency began in mid-March but in mid-June the government announced a further three month extension to mid-September, the end of the ski season. The country has unfortunately been one of the hardest hit in South America and the entire world by the virus – in terms of known infections.
Portillo said in mid-June that it has proactively set is planned opening date back about a month to July 18th and was offering 100% refund guarantee or free re-booking for 2021 for those who want to reserve a place in the hope that they would be able to open then. However as of June 23rd it announced it had suspended its opening date indefinitely” – until it had “better news” on being able to open.
In May 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. It organised a Webinar with senior tourism staff from the Chilean government in late July – stressing that it had a plan to operate ski areas safely in terms of the pandemic, and the need for skiing for good physical and mental well-being, as well as economic reasons.
It’s currently unclear if the plans have any hope of being approved by the country’s government. They included the now usual operational measures at resorts that have reopened including cutting hill capacity by 50%, only one person per chairlift seat, limits on numbers in mountain restaurants and so on.
*** Updated June 30th ***
Lesotho Social Distancing Requirement: A Ski Length (1.8m/6.6 Feet)
Lesotho Ski Centres Currently Operating: 1
Lesotho has one small ski area, Afriski (pictured above on 15 April), due to open for the season at the start of June.
Afriski later announced that now that Lesotho has fully re-opened its economy, the country’s only ski area would 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.
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.”
***Updated July 2nd ***
New Zealand Social Distancing Requirement: None
New Zealand Ski Centres Currently Open: 14
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 most areas say they aim to open on schedule with all now increasingly usual anti-virus-spread measures in place. Then on June 8th they announced Level 1 would be introduced meaning no social distancing would be required on the slopes and mountain restaurants and other indoor spaces could operate normally.
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 was postponed to July 1st however.
In the event therefore Mt Hutt was the first full ski area to open, on June 12th (a week after its originally given June 5th). It also became the first ski area in the world to open with no social-distancing or other requirements for more than three months.
7 centres had opened by the end of June however – the most open in the world at that point.
The first boarder seen there in 2020, possibly for the entire southern hemisphere, is pictured above at Coronet Peak on May 5th.
*** Updated June 30th ***
South Africa Social Distancing Requirement: 1.5 Metres (5 Feet)
South Africa Ski Centres Currently open: 0
South Africa had 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 what was perceived as 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.
At the beginning of June South Africa moved to lockdown alert Level 3. Under this level, all hotels and establishments can operate only if they are providing accommodation for people travelling for business. According to the current regulations, no accommodation establishments or attractions are allowed to open for leisure purposes.
Restrictions have since been eased further but at the end of June it was reported that tourism would not be allowed to restart until September. That appears to be further bad news for the country’s one small ski area, Tiffindell, which was due to open for is 2020 season in early June and has been snowmaking and seen some natural snowfall too, however operations are currently on hold. It’s season normally runs to the end of August.
*** Updated June 29th ***
Austria Social Distancing Requirement: 1 Metre (40 inches)
Austria Centres Currently Open: 3
Austria was 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 then said ski lifts could re-open from May 29th and initially three of the country’s glacier ski areas: Hintertux, Kaunertal, Kitzsteinhorn re-opened on that date.
The Molltal glacier also began 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 has also been open again since May 29th – but will not offer snowsports until the autumn.
The Kaunertal had a short re-opening though, running for only 9 days to the scheduled end of its 19-20 season, June 7th.
The Stubai glacier says it won’t re-open for snowsports now until the Autumn, when the Pitztal and Solden glaciers areas usually open too.
***Updated 29 June ***
Canada Social Distancing Requirement: 2 Metres (80 inches)
Canada Ski Centres Currently Open: 0
Most of Canada’s ski areas would normally be closed by now however Whistler Blackcomb offers glacier skiing through to early July in a normal year. This year however, it has decided not to open that facility, although it will re-open for hiking, biking and so on.
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. However so far that does nopt seem to have happened.
*** Updated 29 June ***
China Social Distancing Requirement: 1 Metre (40 inches)
China Ski Centres Currently Open: 0
China was where it all began of course and the country’s ski areas were closed and the country largely in lockdown from mid-January 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.
*** Updated 2nd July ***
Czech Republic Social Distancing Requirements: 2m (6.6 Feet).
Face masks are no longer required outdoors as they were initially, but are still mandatory on indoor transport and in indoor public spaces where 2-metre distancing cannot be maintained.
Czech Republic Ski Centres Currently Open: 0
The Czech Republic was one of the first country’s in the world to ease its pandemic to an extent that some ski areas could re-open only about a month or so after lockdown began, by the latter part of April. Most Czech areas had already ended their ski seasons by then anyway but one, Praded, re-opened slopes for a short time.
*** Updated on June 29th, 2020 ***
France Social Distancing Requirement: 1 Metre (40 inches). Wearing a mask is compulsory in lift queues and throughout the ski lift journey for people over 11 years old.
France Ski Centres Currently Open: 3
All three remaining French glacier ski areas re-opened in June.
Lifts are also running again at some resorts resorts like Chamonix, with temperature checks for users, to access high altitude ski touring terrain,
Staff in the three French glacier ski areas that open for summer skiing,
Les 2 Alpes, Tignes and Val d’Isere, were able to go back in to work since May 11th to prepare for the easing of the French lockdown.
Initially resorts are focused on French visitors but borders have re-opened across the EU through June.
Val d’Isere is open to July 11, Tignes to August 2nd and Les 2 Alpes to 30 August.
On June 2nd Val d’Isere released detailed of its summer operating plans with a range of pandemic-spread-prevention measures in place including a requirement to buy lift passes at least 48 hours in advance, online.
Originally the centre had thought it too would initially only open for race team training initially then for the general public later in the month but it is now open for both with a maximum of 500 tickets a day in the first week to recreational skiers and boarders then 600 from week two.
A month in to operations a spokesperson for the centre said, ” It has all gone really well, helped by fabulous snow conditions. Social distancing for the lift, wearing masks on the lift, and booking online with numbers limited is working very smoothly.”
France 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.
***Updated July 2nd ***
Italy Social Distancing Requirement: 1 Metre (40 inches).
Italy Ski Centres Currently Open: 2
Italy, one of the worst affected countries from the virus, had a strict lockdown for nearly two months, which has been progressively eased since May 4th allowing for an ever increasing amount of outdoor activity.
The Stelvio Summer Ski Centre in Italy, the country’s only remaining summer-only destination, reopened for Italian national team athletes at the start of June and then re-opened to all skiers and boarders from 13th June.
Besides the Italian squads, racing superstars Petra Vlhova from Slovakia and upcoming star Alice Robinson from New Zealand, have been training there. There were however reports of several virus cases in the Italian ream in late June.
The move follows that of Austria and Norway where on-snow training resumed for the national teams in May.
The Stelvio summer ski area normally stays open through to late October or early-November.
Access to a second summer ski area, accessed from Cervinia but located on the Swiss side of the border above Zermatt, re-opened with summer skiing from 20th June, earlier than previously hoped.
In an interesting twist from the pandemic prevention measures, there are different social distancing requirements on each side of the border – 1 metre (40 inches) in Italy but 1,5 meets (5 feet) in Switzerland. However the resort reports all is fine with skiers sticking to the rules on each side.
A third Italian area that formerly operated through summer, 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.
***Updated July 2nd ***
Japan Social Distancing Requirements: 2 Metres (6.6 feet).
Japan Ski Centres Currently Operating: 1
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.
The country has now lifted its state of emergency and the lone summer ski area Gassan is now open again, usually ending its season at some point in July.
Initially this was for local skiers in Yamagata Prefecture only, and at one point skiers had to present ID to show they had not travelled from outside the area when buying tickets, but is now open to all once more.
*** Updated 2 July ***
Norway Social Distancing Requirements: 1 Metre (40 Inches).
Norway Ski Centres Currently Open: 3
Norway was one of the first countries in Europe to ease its lockdown, in late April, allowing smaller ski areas to re-open, if agreed by local government and health bodies and social distancing and other measures in place. About a dozen areas re-opened and some got another 4-6 weeks of the season in before closing in late-May as the snow melted.
However three glacier ski areas are now open there, the third, Stryn, opening for is season on 12th June. There has been so much snow this winter and spring the main issue for them has been clearing snow, more than the pandemic, but they are also operating with social distancing and all other anti-virus-spread measures in place.
*** Updated 12 June ***
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. However he season is ended there now anyway.
*** Updated 12 June ***
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 and has hinted hat could potentially happen with some fresh June snow flurries on top of the winter?spring acumulation.
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.
***Updated 12 June ***
Kanin ski area announced it was re-opening due to good conditions up high from 14th May. The Slovenian national squad were training there and organised the first national competitions anywhere since lockdown began. The centre closed again on 31st May.
***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.
*** Updated June 30th ***
Switzerland Social-Distancing Requirement: 1.5 Metres (5 Feet)
Switzerland Ski Centres Currently Open: 1
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, re-opened on June 6th.
However on July 6th the country made wearing face masks on public transport (previously advised but not a legal requirement) a legal requirement. In terms of ski resorts operating ski lifts, this initially only impacts skiers at Zermatt.
“Since this morning it has become mandatory on all cable car cabins and gondolas run by Zermatt’s lift company to wear face masks. We ask you to observe these for the protection of yourselves and others and thank you for understanding,” a statement from Zermatt Bargbahnen advised on July 6th, adding,
“If you don’t carry a mask with you, you can buy mouth-nose protection at the kiosks of Zermatt Bergbahnen AG as well as in the Matterhorn glacier paradise restaurant.”
Saas Fee also plans to start its 2020-21 ski season in July, as usual.
Shops, bars and restaurants re-opened from May 11th although with restrictions in place.
Although now closed again, Crans Montana, announced on 28th May it would re-open its glacier slopes for a nine-day period from Saturday, 6th June.
***Updated 30th June***
USA Social Distancing Requirement: 6 Feet (1.8 Metres)
USA Ski Centres Currently Open: 1 (+1 For private race camps only)
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 and has said it will stay open to September 7th this year.
Currently Timberline is the only US resort open, although the US ski team and other private groups are reported to have been raining on snow at Copper Mountain in Colorado.
In terms of other US ski areas that are usually open in late spring and in some cases early 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 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 then say it wouldn’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 proved so popular the resort had to run a lottery to see who can buy lift tickers each day. It later announced it would close for the season on June 7th due to snow conditions.
Crystal Mountain in Washington State announced a similar short re-opening, just 7 days after initially saying they’d re-open for a fortnight. They were open from June 1st to June 7th.
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 and Snowbird in Utah but all gave snowsports a miss in sporing 2020, although re-opening for summer activities.
Mammoth Mountain say they’ll update this page with any re-opening news.
Squaw Valley has an updating page here. It looks unlikely now to re-open mountain operations but began taking lodging bookings in May for stays from June 1st onwards.
The small Beartooth Basin summer ski area on the Montana/Wyoming border reopened for its 2020 season on June 1st and operated for just over three weeks to around June 23rd when it closed due to thin cover.
THE A-Z OF THE ‘NEW NORMAL ON THE WORLD’S SKI SLOPES…
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.
For ski areas that attract a lot of self-driving clientele they’re promoting a “your car is your base lodge” approach with skiers encouraged to bring their own food and drink to consume in their cars during breaks.s
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.
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.
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.
Some 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. Reports from Australia indicated tickets at some resorts were snapped up for much of the season there. Some have also staggered arrival times at the base.
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, particularly in indoor public spaces, in line with most governments around the world, not just when skiing downhill.
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.
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.
Some re-opened resorts aren’t offering group lessons, only private classes.
A large number of ski areas are now scanning foreheads for your body temperature as well as your lift pass to check its valid.
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.H
News Headlines From Earlier in the Pandemic
- NEW: A second Argentinian ski area will open its lifts on Saturday, joining Catedral. Cerro Castor, the world’s most southerly resort, will run its lifts for the first time in 2020. (29 July).
- If not ‘normal’ New Zealand ski areas nonetheless appear to be having a better season than feared, with some opening daily this week due to demand having planned only weekends at this point in the season. (July 23)
- Catedral becomes the first ski area in Argentina, the Andes and South America to open for the 2020 ski season. (22 July)
- What’ happening at ski areas in Australia’s state of Victoria during the pandemic surge? Well it’s complicated: Mt Buller and Mt Baw Baw are staying open for now but the lifts at Mt Hotham and Falls Creek are closed for at least six weeks. HOWEVER the resorts themselves are open for tourists and back country skiers, for example. The good news is it’s snowing, a lot. Here’s our summary. (12 July)
- It just keeps snowing in the Andes. This would have been one of the best winters this century if resorts were not closed by the pandemic. Corralco is one of several reporting bases now nearly 5m/17 feet. One sign of light Cerro Castor, the world’s most southerly resort, has re-opened its base area to locals and is allowing backcountry skiing. (12 July)
- Is there light at the end of the tunnel in the Andes? Cerro Castor down near Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and the world’s most southerly developed ski area has opened its resort base and ice rink to local people in the province. It is believed it is the first ski area in the Andes to also permit back country skiing this winter, although its lifts are not running and it’s open to locals only. (12 July)
- Australia’s 2020 ski season has started, the third southern hemisphere ski nation to open for 2020. (22 June)
- Crystal Mountain has joined Arapahoe Basin in announcing it will close again tomorrow, 7 days after it re-opened. Beartooh Basin and Timberline Lodge ski areas remain open through June in the US. (June 6).
- Cervinia has announced that ski lifts will re-open to the public on June 20th, earlier than expected (June 5th).
- After snowless May, Arapahoe Basin announces closing for season on Sunday June 7th. (June 5th)
- Australian media has noted that one of the first resorts there to publish 2020 winter season pricing has increased the lift ticket cost by 20% in a bid to cover the impact of having fewer skiers allowed on the staff but needing to employ more staff due to the virus. (June 4th)
- Val d’Isere publish details of their glacier opening on Saturday. Among pandemic spread prevention measures ticket sales will be limited to 500 a day initially and must be bought online at least 48 hours in advance.(June 3rd).
- Whistler’s Blackcomb Glacier won’t open for summer skiing this year. (June 2nd)
- Italy’s Passo Stelvio expected to open for international race team training, but not public access, from June 3rd. Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova and upcoming star Alice Robinson from New Zealand are also reported to be expected to be training there according to Italian media (June 1st).
- Japan’s Gassan ski area re-opens until July. (June 1)
- With Australia’s 2020 season only days away at least one resort says it has sold out of its current quota of lift tickets for much of the season, and bans snowballing. (June 19).
- Cervinia opens for summer skiing from 20th June and has announced it will be open to the end of September, about three weeks later than usual. Tignes re-opens too (June 19).
- Australian ski resorts firm-up 2020 season opening dates – with most opening on June 22nd or June 24th. (May 29)
- In an unexpected move, the Swiss ski resort of Crans Montana has announced it will be re-opening for a nine-day period from 6-14 June (May 28th).
- Crystal Mountain in Washington State is sixth US area to re-open since pandemic, and will be one of four in the country open on June 1st. (May 28)
- Kitzsteinhorn says it will have a terrain park when it re-opens tomorrow. (May 28)
- Zermatt says there’ll be no limit on the number of people on the slopes when the resort re-opens for year-round snowsports on 6th June. (26 May)
- Australia’s province Victoria says resorts there can open from June 22nd (25 May).
- Hintertux announces it will have 26km of runs open and a base of over 3 metres (10 feet) when it re-turns to year-round ski operations on Friday 29 May. (24 May)
- Leading South American ski resort Las Lenas says it won’t open this winter due to the pandemic, even if Argentina’s lockdown eased (22 May).
- Riksgransen is to re-open for midnight-sun skiing over midsummers weekend in late June.
- Mont St Sauveur in Quebec Canada says it will open its summer snow park if permission granted by province’s leaders (May 21st).
- Les 2 Alpes has confirmed it expects to open its glacier for summer skiing to those able to get there safely on June 27th, a week later than originally planned (May 20th).
- Australian ski areas have begun confirming they won’t be able to open for the season from June 6th as planned, however the loosening of the lockdown in New South Wales has raised hopes that the opening won’t be too much delayed (May 20th).
- Although re-starting its 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. (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 (May 20th).
- Mt Ruapehu confirms Whakapapa ski area won’t open May 30th, earliest New Zealand ski area opening currently Mt Hutt on June 12th. (May 19th)
- Ski areas in South American Andes appear unlikely to open for 2020 season before July (May 18th).
- Mt Hutt delays season start by a week from planned June 5th date to June 12th, Coronet Peak will open June 26th.
- Following a new agreement with their government, ski areas in New Zealand will be able to open for the 2020 season next month with no limit on the number of people on the hill. However several centres have announced their planned opening dates are delayed and that opening will be weekends-only for much of the season (May 16).
- Mt Bachelor joins Timberline in Oregon to announce it is re-opening, from 16 May, but in its case only for nice days and only for season-pass holders. Both areas sell out of lift tickets very fast (15 May).
- New Zealand moves to ‘Level 2’ lockdown making it possible for ski-areas to open for the season in June and July (14 May).
- Colorado decision on re-opening ski-areas now due May 25th, Appears only Arapahoe Basin may still re-open (14 May). Austria’s Kaunertal is 4th in the country to announce 2020 summer skiing, although for only 9 days… (13 May).
- Kanin ski area in Slovenia re-opening May 14th (13 May).
- Timberline ski area in Oregon, USA, to re-open on 15th May (13 May).
- Austria’s Hintertux glacier will re-open for snowsports on 29th May.
- Chamonix re-opens mountains for ski touring, with restrictions.
- Aiguille du Midi cable car to resume operation at the weekend.
- Italian Summer Ski Centre ready to open from June 1st exclusively for national team training if permission given.
- Norwegian ski areas that had re-opened in April begin closing again due to natural season end.
- Austria’s Molltal glacier second in country to confirm summer ski opening – from 6th June.
- Italy’s Cortina d’Ampezzo offering free ski holidays to the country’s health workers
2020 Calendar Archive
June 1: Beartooth Basin summerski area in US opened for 2020.
June 1: Crystal Mountain in Washington State, opens for summer skiing.
June 5: Mt Hutt scheduled to open in New Zealand (delayed to June 12th).
June 5: Stryn glacier new season start date (delayed again to June 12th).
June 6: Zermatt re-opens. Crans Montana re-opens ski slopes for 9 days.June 6: Austria’s Molltal glacier opens for 2020-21 ski season.
June 7: Tiffindel, South Africa, aimed to start season (but could not).
June 7: Arapahoe Basin, Crystal Mountain and Kaunertal end ski seasons.
June 12: First full scale southern hemisphere ski resort starts 2020 season – Mt Hutt in NZ.
June 13: Italy’s ski-season restarts at Passo Stelvio.
June 18: Riksgransen in Swedish Arctic Circle re-opening for midsummer skiing.
June 20: Tignes aims to open for summer skiing.
June 20: Cervinia provides ski lift access to Zermatt’s glacier as borders reopen.
June 22: Thredbo and Mt Baw Baw season start.
June 24: Perisher and Mt Buller season start.
June 26: Charlotte Pass opens for 2020 season.
June 27: Les 2 Alpes to open for summer skiing for all.
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.