Many of the world’s leading ski resorts have now opened for the 21-22 season, some for the first time since March 2020.
It’s a period of both high-tension – not knowing how much impact rising pandemic infection rates will have on operations at ski areas in Europe, and euphoria on the slopes as ski areas finally re-open.
Lake Louise is pictured on Saturday 26th November with some of the best snow conditions in the world at this early point in the season …unfortunately leading to the cancellation of the first World Cup Downhill of the 21-22 season, also the first in North America for two years due to the pandemic, although another is scheduled for today.
In France Val d’Isère, Chamonix and les 2 Alpes are among the ski areas opening this weekend, in Italy Livigno and Dolomiti Superski whilst most leading ski areas in the Pyrenees including Baqueira Beret and Sierra Nevada in Spain are also opening. Germany, another country where ski areas couldn’t really open at all last winter, has seen its highest ski slopes on the Zugspitze open.
North America’s largest ski area at Whistler Blackcomb as well as the biggest in the USA, Park City, have both opened in the past few days, along with more famous ski areas like Alta, Aspen, Big Sky, Stowe, Mont Tremblant and Jackson Hole.
Leisure travel is also currently now possible to Canada and the US for fully-vaccinated skiers and boarders for the first time since the pandemic began.
Across in Japan resorts have started opening after a major snowfall this week. Furano and Rusutsu are along the first to do so, with Niseko (pictured below on Friday) is due to follow next weekend. Leisure travel to Japan remains closed at present however.
Altogether more than 200 ski areas are already open in at least a dozen ski nations across the northern hemisphere, with some of the best early season snowfalls reported in the Canadian Rockies (Lake Louise pictured yesterday) and the Spanish Pyrenees.
It’s unknown what the coming weeks and months will bring, but for now, in most countries – with Austria in a 20-day lockdown the current clear exception – the ski season underway almost everywhere and most countries are allowing their ski resorts to open with pandemic spread prevention measures in place.