As I sit in my Saas-Fee apartment, gazing out at the empty lift cables, it seemed only logical to write something about the situation over here in Europe regarding ski resorts and Covid-19, aka Coronavirus. There are resort closures across the continent with all, bar one, of the major alpine countries, either partially, or totally shut down.
In Switzerland, the news came almost out of nowhere. There has been a moderately severe outbreak of the virus in the country, but largely in cities rather than in mountainous areas. However, on Thursday 12th of March rumors started swirling that the season was looking likely to end early. At this point, it still looked like the government was likely to push a decision back, giving us another week or two of skiing. But as Friday progressed, it became clear that the situation was worsening and that the decisions were going to be made in the much shorter term. And as we sat around in the bar at the bottom of the slopes, a cloud of resignation settled: we'd probably had our last lift-accessed day of the season. By early evening, the final decision was filtering through: All Swiss ski resorts would close for the remainder of the season with immediate effect.
From a selfish perspective, it's a hard decision to stomach. We have the best snow of the year still to come and I certainly expected so much more to come from this winter. But ski resorts do cause both high densities of people (as anyone who's ever stood in a peak season cable car or chairlift queue will no doubt be very aware) and population movement. With tens of thousands of people coming through my home resort each week to ski, this logical move to slow the spread of the virus. Most other countries in Europe have already made the very same decision, and those that have not will surely have to follow suit in the coming days. As it stands, here is the situation:
As of yesterday evening, the national government has mandated the closure of all ski areas in Switzerland with immediate effect. The current situation is that all resorts are closed as of today (14th March), and expect to remain closed for the rest of the season. Along with the resort closures, both the World Cup in Corvatsch and Freeride World Tour Finals in Verbier, have been canceled.
Some resorts are already closed following a series of cases in Ischgl. All ski major resorts to close by Sunday 15th of March for the remainder of the season.
With the country virtually locked down due to the most serious outbreak of the virus in Europe, all ski resorts have already closed and will remain closed for the rest of the season.
All ski resorts to close as of today (14th March), with a view to remaining closed for the rest of the season.
All major ski resorts have closed for the present following advice from local authorities. Hemsedal and Trysil were among the first to announce they were closing, with Hafjell, Kvitfjell and Roldal all following suit. The duration of the closures is as yet undetermined.
At present, all major resorts are OPEN and the authorities have not yet suggested that will change. There are, however, unsubstantiated rumors that resorts will begin closing following a meeting of major resorts on Monday 16th March. *Update*: France has announced the closure of all 'non-essential' businesses. That includes all ski resorts, which will remain closed for the rest of the season