Around 50 ski areas are currently open on six continents around the world. Almost all are operating in a post-lockdown, pandemic-suppression mode which means things like social-distancing and mask-wearing in public indoor space is the norm for most.

But how these new rules of behaviour are policed is being approached differently on different continents.

In Europe there were initially movers to apply social-distancing on lifts with spaces left on seats between people from separate groups, but these seem to have been relaxed at most mountain resorts open for summer business.

Resorts in the Alps are doing their bit to promote social-distancing and mask-wearing with staff wearing masks themselves, spaces marked out on floors, hand-sanitiser available everywhere and lot of information notices, but actually doing it is down to ‘self-policing’ by skiers and boarders themselves.

Reports from North America and Australia indicate things are stricter at resorts that have opened here. Skiers are given time slot for arrivals at the base of the lifts and resort staff seem more pro-active in ensuring social distancing rules are followed.  So less self-policing and more resort-policing here.

In South America where Cerro Cathedral near Bariloche has recently re-opened for local skiers they’ve taken the step of deciding the day before whether or not the slopes will open next day on the basis of the weather forecast. Being ultra cautious, they’re avoiding the danger of a scenario developing where groups of skiers might otherwise be waiting at the base from 8am waiting to see if the slopes will open.

The next level up in social-distancing was witnessed in the Australian ski resort of Thredbo recently with police issuing fines to individuals who gathered in groups larger than permitted in apres-ski venues and late night parties as well as larger fines to the venues concerned and o ravel companies the groups were travelling with.  

Images top: Kizsteinhorn Credit Snowsports Academy. 

Middle Wolf Creek, Colorado, bottom Timberline, Oregon.