Skier Responsibility

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As more and more ski areas publish their plans for operating this winter during the COVID-19 pandemic, a common theme is emerging – a polite emphasis or skiers and snowboarders to play their part by actually abiding by all the pandemic-spread prevention measures resorts themselves are putting in place.

This slightly increased emphasis beyond highlighting all they are doing, comes after issues reported at re-opened holiday destinations around the world this summer with a minority of holidaymakers ignoring social distancing and other “new normal” rules.

Ski areas are announcing dozens and dozens of measures centred around social-distancing, increased hygiene and virus-testing, but they’re increasingly politely pointing out that skiers and boarders will need to respect these rules in order for them to be effective.

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Just how politely they’re doing it seems to vary from country to country and resort to resort, with some highlighting that “we’re all in this together” whilst others are being slightly more forthright in pointing out to skiers that they need to obey social-distancing, mask-wearing, hand-hygiene rules and the rest.

“Take care of each other, take your individual responsibility and show solidarity!” The Swedish ski area of Vemdalen put it succinctly.

Ski areas in Austria are going for more practical advice, again putting the emphasis on individual skiers actions,

“Be mindful or your fellow vacationers, we strongly encourage you to wear a face mask, keep a minimum distance of one metre between you and other people outside your visitor group, avoid shaking hands and hugging, follow the instructions of the staff and use contactless payment methods like credit/debit cards … (and) take responsibility for yourself and, if necessary, your family,” one ski area advises.

In North America resorts tend to be more cajoling, asking skiers to “work with them” to ensure than can operate as effectively as possible, “in these unprecedented times.”

Big White resort in BC Canada has also recently published a series of images and sought to initiate conversations on social media asking people to think about why they’re wearing a face masks in public areas now, months before the ski season is due to begin. Although this has sparked some responses questioning the value of face masks, most respond that it’s to protect the community and to help ensure ski areas can open.

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