As we get closer to the main season governments in the leading ski nations are fine tuning the rules for skiers and boarders on the slopes.
They are falling in to four categories in terms of actually getting a lift pass.
- The most stringent are requiring proof of full vaccination to get on a lift.
- Some will accept fully-vaccinated skiers or those who have evidence of recent recovery from a coronavirus infection but won’t allow you on the slopes if they just have a negative test result.
- The majority require skiers to have been fully vaccinated, recently recovered or show a recent negative test.
- Finally, some (mostly in the US) aren’t making any restrictions or requirements of skiers.
So far the full vaccination requirement is just in Canada which requires international visitors to be fully vaccinated to enter the country anyway. Some areas (Revelstoke, Sunshine and most areas in Quebec), are requiring full vaccination as the government says they can fully open at capacity if they do. Other resorts including Big White, Whistler and Lake Louise have decided not to.
It’s Germany where the Zugspitse glacier near Garmisch hopes to be able to reopen next week after being closed all last winter where restrictions are increasing as cases surge. They will not currently allow people on the lifts with only a negative test.
Both Austria and France say their rules will (or won’t) change depending on the levels of coronavirus in the wider society. In Austria according to pressure on hospitals, in France according to the number of infections per 100,000 people.
However the governments of both countries are not suggesting people won’t be able to go skiing if cases rise, only that virus prevention measures will become stricter in that case. For France that means introducing the need to show their health pass to be able to board the lifts, currently not required, in Austria greater restriction on access to some apres ski venues.
Mask wearing will continue to be required in many situations on the mountain. In France this includes indoor lifts and all lift queues but not on open chairlifts and drag lifts. In Italy, where resorts are requiring skiers show their green pass to access the slopes they are stressing more than the usual disposable or fabric mask/buff is required, but a more protective FFP2 standard mask must be worn.
Tour operators say they will guide skiers through the evolving requirements for the countries they visit with both Crystal and Inghams creating information hubs and apps to keep skiers and boarders updated on requirements and suggest the best options as required.
About 30 ski areas are already open for the season in the Alps and Scandinavia and another 10 in Canada and the US. Switzerland’s Glacier 3000 which opened this weekend is pictured.