This is the question that keen skiers and snowboarders are talking about, what will this ski season be like? How will covid19 affect us and, is it possible to go on a ski holiday in 2020/2021?
Possibly we will see about a 60 or 70 percent (over a five-year span) decrease in the number of ski holidays available. But that is the run-up to what we’ve seen promises to be the most unprecedented winter season.
Should we wear face masks and ski two meters apart?
I think yes, in the socially distant lift queue and on the lifts themselves, wearing masks. Hopefully a gap of at least two metres. Of course, during the European School holidays in mid-February, the exception is always on a busy Alpine home slope.
There is also another minor concern. The once common air kisses – two on the cheek in France, Austria or Italy, and three in Switzerland– are not an option and awkward now if you run into a friend on or off the slopes. A simple ‘hi’ is not the same post-covid19. You might attempt an elbow bump, of course, but honestly, it does not send the same message, unfortunately.
What will après-ski be like?
I think the ski season and the après-ski will change. There are so many jobs in the Alps, not only in the Alps but everywhere, that is entirely dependent on skiing and snowboarding. But in one way or another, it is going to happen. This will not necessarily be the type of ski season we would normally expect. I think there would be some unusual sights like people skiing in masks, and a quieter nightlife. There will be skiing and snowboarding happening come what may.
Skiers and snowboarders don’t know what the state of the coronavirus pandemic will be, as wintertime approaches, and what types of ski and après-ski activities will be available. They don’t know how relaxed they would be having to take ski holidays by air. They may also be confused about their own personal financial experiences, and what they want to spend on ski trips. Ski resort operators have had to change their sales strategies for the season to convince consumers that they won’t lose money on a ski pass they may not be able to use.
What do the experts think?
Dr. Ashish Jha, professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, and middling skier, what aspects of the skiing experience he thought could and could not be made coronavirus-safe. “The lowest risk is mountain descent,” he said. “Even if you bump into someone, crash into someone, that’s okay.” from a covid19 perspective.
Will taking a chairlift ride be safe?
“It’s probably fine — you share someone’s space for five minutes, but it’s outside, it’s usually windy, I think you can probably get away with it,” he said. “If you want to put family members together, or have people go up by themselves, that’s probably marginally safer but I don’t think it’s a huge deal.”
What about a gondola?
“You probably want to open them up a little bit and ventilate them, have some amount of fresh air going in, and get people to wear face masks, and that might be okay. But that starts getting riskier if it’s a long gondola ride.”
So to sum up, yes everyone needs to take the necessary precautions to be safe. However, we can still enjoy skiing in the crisp mountain air and enjoying the exercise we are all craving. So for now, happy skiing and snowboarding and don’t let covid19 keep you away. Life goes on!