COVID-19 Coronavirus Ski Resort Updates & Safety Protocols
After an abrupt end to the 19/20 ski season last spring, many ski resorts have spent the summer working hard to make sure they are able to open safely this winter. As skiing and snowboarding is an outside sport, in the fresh air and distanced from others, it is largely a safe holiday to take. Combined with social distancing measures in restaurants, shops and bars in resort and the regular cleaning of ski lifts, hotels and chalets, we're hoping for a safe and enjoyable winter season on the slopes!
We will add resorts and ski regions to this list as and when we receive official announcements. For all resorts (unless otherwise stated) ski buffs, neck warmers, multifunctional cloths, bandanas and ski masks are considered appropriate face coverings if they cover both the nose and mouth. Please note that all the protocols below are subject to change.
For up to date information on official travel advice from the UK Government, please visit the FCO Advice Page for the country you are travelling to and sign up for email alerts.
The Austrian government has developed a nationwide programme to regularly test people working in travel and tourism.
Ischgl was one of the first resorts to officially announce a large range of protective measures for this coming winter season.
When buying a ski pass, guests will be given a free 'multifunctional scarf' face covering for use in the resort. Face coverings will be mandatory when travelling in cable cars or using chairlifts in the ski area, and passenger numbers within cable cars will be strictly monitored. There will be a limited number of skiers in the Silvretta Arena ski area overall to ensure safe distances are possible between skiers.
Ischgl has also introduced a comprehensive range of cleaning procedures. For example, all cable car cabins will be disinfected multiple times a day using a 100% biodegradable, skin and eye-friendly anti-viral agent which is non-toxic for humans and animals. Regular hand sanitising stations at cable car facilities and mountain restaurants. There will be limited numbers of guests allowed in restaurants and bars, with social distancing required between tables. All food and drinks menus will be provided in digital form to prevent contamination.
All staff will be tested for COVID-19 before starting work. Staff who regularly work in close contact with guests (e.g waiters, rescue teams and ski lift officials) will be required to wear face coverings and undertaking regular testing.
The annual Top of the Mountain Opening Party festival has been cancelled. It is hoped that the Easter concerts and closing party festival will be able to go ahead, but this is subject to strict guidelines. There will also be no traditional 'apres-ski' in the resort this year, as Ischgl moves to separate itself from party tourism this season.
When travelling in Austria, it is recommended that you download the official Austrian contact tracing app: 'Stopp Corona'. The app automatically records any and all contacts while adhering to strict data protection guidelines. As soon as a user reports an infection, all contacts are automatically notified. For more information and links to the App Store and Google Play store, please visit the official Austrian travel portal.
In the Ski Amade region, face coverings will be required at all times in public areas. This includes in lift facilities and on the ski lifts themselves, at the ski bus stops and on the ski bus itself. One face covering will be given for every ski pass purchased at the ticket office. Face coverings are not required on the slopes.
Cable cars will be ventilated as best as possible. As all passengers will be wearing masks, cable cars will run at capacity e.g. 8 people in an 8-man gondola. All ski lifts will be regularly disinfected. There will be hand sanitising stations available in public areas including toilets, ticket offices and at the ski depot. The cable car companies each have one employee who is responsible for planning and implementing measures against Corona.
All employees of Ski Amade will be tested at the start of season. They will also undergo daily health checks, including temperature and symptom checks, and be tested again if required. All employees in regular close contact with guests will be required to wear masks or be separated from guests with a suitable safety measure (e.g. Plexiglass screens).
The Tirol region of Austria includes resorts like Solden, Mayrhofen and the Arlberg region (St Anton, Lech, Zurs and St Christoph). It also encompasses Innsbruck airport. Local authorities are currently planning to continue all COVID-19 safety protocols which have been used over the summer season.
Face masks will be mandatory in all public spaces including shops, bars, restaurants and public transport (incl. cable cars). A 1m social distance is required between individuals not in the same family or 'social bubble'. Public transport is currently running at full capacity.
Restaurants and bars currently have a curfew of 1 am. All staff are required to wear masks. There is a maximum number of 10 people per table. Contactless payments are strongly encouraged.
Within hotels and chalets, there is a mandatory 1m social distance between individuals in public spaces. Face masks must also be worn. Booking accommodation in advance is strongly encouraged. Please note, at mountain ski huts, pre-booking is mandatory this year and you will not be able to stay without a reservation. You are required to provide your own sleeping bag and pillows.
The ski kindergarten will not be operating for Winter 20/21. However, ski lessons are expected to go ahead.
Within Val d'Isere, it will be mandatory to wear face masks on public transport, including all closed lifts. There are no current plans to reduce lift capacity. Regular hand sanitizing stations will be available, and gondolas will be regularly cleaned. Plexiglass screens will be installed between customers and staff at locations like the lift pass offices and tourist offices.
Face coverings must be worn in the ski rental stores, as well as at the start and end of ski lessons. All leased equipment will be disinfected.
Restaurants in resort will be operating a 'sitting-only' service. Tables must be spaced at least 1m apart, or screens will be installed to provide physical separation. Face coverings are mandatory when not seated at a table.
Switzerland will not require people to wear masks on chairlifts. As some French resorts will be requiring face coverings, skiers in areas like Portes du Soleil will need to be mindful of crossing international borders whilst skiing to ensure they are following the correct precautions.
Current social distancing measures and cleaning procedures have been working successfully over the summer season on the mountain railway and in restaurants, hotels and shops. These protocols will be continued through to the winter. The local authorities are confident it will be a safe and enjoyable ski season!
Guests will be required to wear face coverings in public spaces when a social distance of 2 metres cannot be kept between individuals. Face coverings will be mandatory on gondolas, however, there will not be restrictions on passenger numbers in each cable car. This will be left up to guest discretion, similar to public transport. Face coverings will not be required on chairlifts or whilst skiing.
Other measures include:
- Regular disinfection of 'closed vehicle equipment'.
- Contactless payment or pre-booking strongly encouraged.
- Regular cleaning of surfaces 'a large number of people may touch' e.g. payment kiosks, door handles, railings etc.
The Zermatt Bergbahnen are offering special booking conditions for ski passes booked online through their webshop. If you can't use your lift pass due to coronavirus restrictions (e.g. illness due to COVID-19, the resort being closed, entry ban to Switzerland) you will be given credit, which can be redeemed for a period of 3 years. Terms & conditions apply, please see the Zermatt Bergbahnen website for further details.
Masks are required in all public indoor spaces in Italy, and also outside when a safe distance of 3 metres or more cannot be guaranteed. Between 6pm and 6am, masks must be worn both indoors and out.
Hotels in Italy are required to regularly sanitise public spaces and guest rooms. There are strict guidelines for air conditioner maintenance and filtration systems that prohibit recirculated air. Staff must wear masks at all times, and guests must wear masks in public spaces. Restaurants have similar regulations, but also cannot serve buffets or bar snacks. They must provide ample space between separate dining groups and tables.
Public transport services also have strict sanitising regulations, alongside compulsory mask-wearing, increased ventilation and social distancing. This may include partitions or extra empty seats between drivers and passengers, and social distancing between guests from different parties. Contactless ticketing is also widely encouraged.
The UIAGM/IFMGA, the certifying body of Professional Mountain Guides, has set new safety guidelines for leading trips. Whilst many of these are already best practice for running safe ski guiding trips (including listing group size, establishing an itinerary before departure and maintaining lists of guests and contact details), guides and guests are now required to keep a social distance of 2 metres apart. This is also required between guests from different parties in group guiding sessions. The same guide will lead a group for the entire trip. Sharing food, drinks, clothing, equipment or safety devices is not permitted, and equipment must be disinfected at the end of each use.
Covered cable cars will run at reduced capacity and at the highest possible speeds to reduce time spent in an enclosed environment.