The ski winter 2020/21 German millions of ski enthusiasts in Europe write off because of the pandemic. Slopes are snowing in many places, lifts are still there. This year it should be different.
Skiing, yes, but probably only with proof of a vaccination against the coronavirus, a recovery or a negative test. An overview of the plans
After a complete breakdown in the past winter season, many lift operators are expecting large crowds in the Bavarian Alps. A spokeswoman for the Bavarian Zugspitzbahn says there have already been numerous inquiries for season tickets for Germany’s highest ski area on the Zugspitze. “We still have to wait with the sale.” So far, it has not been possible to make a binding statement about the conditions under which the season will take place.
According to the Association of German Cable Cars (VDS), skiers can ski in Bavaria in compliance with the 3G rules. Après-ski parties do not play a major role, says a spokeswoman for Allgäu GmbH. “Our ski areas have always been designed for families.” As a result of the Corona standstill, the region has lost an estimated revenue of around 2.7 billion euros.
In the Feldberg ski area in the Black Forest, the lift operators are planning a so-called 2G-Plus rule. Adults who want to hit the slopes must therefore be vaccinated or have recovered. Proof of this should be provided when booking the lift tickets online. For school-age children, a negative test or a student ID is sufficient. A spokeswoman says that an overall concept is still being worked on. Depending on the snow conditions, the winter season on the Feldberg begins around mid-December. The slopes were closed last season. The lift association describes the loss of sales to at least eight million euros.
In one of the most important winter destinations in Europe, entry tickets for a ski holiday include the 3G certificate and FFP2 masks in the cable car cabins. If the number of Covid intensive care patients increases, only those who have been vaccinated or recovered are allowed to celebrate in après-ski bars. The ski areas were open last season, but hotels were closed to tourists so that only locals or day visitors could come. It quickly turned into a total failure for the ski areas. You now want to build on the winter of 2018/19. At that time there were almost 73 million overnight stays, more than a third of them from Germany.
“It’s not all bliss”, says Martin Stanits of the hotelier association ÖHV about the booking situation. The industry expects that the number of deaths could be around a quarter below the values before the pandemic. The industry gives hope that the shorter German vacationers are vaccinated more often than the average.
The association of ski lift and cable car operators provides 3G rules and increased hygiene measures. Trade and Transport Minister Karel Havlicek expects a carefree start to the season. “Not only does the enjoyment of sport depend on it, but also a whole range of jobs and the future of the industry.” In the Czech Central Uplands with the winter sports resort Spindleruv Mlyn in the Giant Mountains and the Klinovec ski area in the Ore Mountains, the season usually begins in mid-December and ends in March. Fully vaccinated people from Germany & fill out a registration form upon entry. Test and quarantine requirements apply to unvaccinated persons.
Last winter, the Swiss were among the few in the world who even welcomed winter sports guests from abroad. “The Swiss tourism industry knows how a safe winter season works,” says André Aschwanden from the Switzerland Tourism marketing initiative. There were no hotspots with infections. Masks were compulsory in the lifts. At the stations, you had to keep your distance. There were a good quarter fewer hotel guests in winter than in the previous year, when the season had to be terminated prematurely due to the pandemic. But the holiday apartments were booked three percent more than in the previous year. For the Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen ski area in the Jungfrau region, thanks to a new lift, it was even “one of the best winter seasons in recent years” after the revenue from traffic.
Evidence of vaccinations, past corona illnesses or negative tests (3G rules) will be required indoors, even during après-ski. A valley station in Grindelwald will possibly set up a test center. Zermatt is “cautiously optimistic about the season. The KOF Economic Research Center in Zurich was very optimistic in May:” The number of European guests should be at the pre-pandemic level, “it said.
“Finally the conditions are there to get started with the winter sports season,” said Italy’s tourism minister Massimo Garavaglia. Last winter there was a complete Corona stop, in South Tyrol alone instead of almost ten million overnight stays – as in normal years – 621,000 were reached. “We are now in a positive mood for 2021/22,” says Wolfgang Töchterle from the South Tyrolean marketing agency IDM. Like restaurants and bars, all winter sports areas must apply the 3G rules. Only 80 percent of the capacity may be used in closed lifts and gondolas.
Where athletes get close, when and masks are worn and distances are maintained. Winter will be a logistical challenge, says Andy Varallo, President of Dolomiti Superski, one of the largest ski areas in Europe. The season should start on November 27th. “Après-ski is hardly an issue in South Tyrol,” says Töchterle. Italian ski resorts wanted to score more with nature and good Esseners. It is still unclear whether, when and how discos can open.
After the ski lifts in France were closed last season, the comeback is now planned. The exact rules for skiing are still unclear. It is still questionable, for example, whether the Corona certificate is required at lifts, as required by tourism associations and ski companies. According to the rules now in force, a 3G certificate must be shown for tourist overnight stays. If there are crowds of people, a mask must also be worn outside. The winter sports area of Les Deux Alpes, southeast of Grenoble, has already made it mandatory to wear a mask in lifts. According to the mountain tourism association France Montagnes, the loss in the ski areas last season was 1.4 billion euros.