The COVID-19 and the domino effect closing ski resorts

A family enjoying the pistes at Val Thorens. Photo: C.Cattin. OT Val Thorens. The COVID-19 and the domino effect closing ski resorts.

The COVID-19 and the domino effect closing ski resorts

I have been a bit away from my blog due to increase work with the mess of having had the COVID-19 affecting all and everyone all over the world.

What seemed to be something distant affecting only China and Asia, now has its epicentre in Europe, and this has caused all ski resorts to close, first in Italy, then the rest of Europe, and now in North America. The resorts that seem to be still working are in Japan and in Scotland, and Hokkaido has just lifted up their state of emergency at the moment of writing.

This is by way non an exhaustive report or list on who closed, as there are tons of information around with more detail.

The party bar at the bottom of Pleney cablecar, great if you like loud music. The COVID-19 and the domino effect closing ski resorts
The party bar at the bottom of Pleney cablecar, great if you like loud music. The COVID-19 and the domino effect closing ski resorts

But how did this start so quickly? We were coming back from Morgex in the Aosta Valley on the 23rd February, when we heard while driving through France, that some cases of COVID-19 where in some towns in the south of Milano (Codogno, and some others) and in the Veneto region, but that the epidemic was pretty localised….then it was extended quickly to lock all the region of Lombardia. This led lots of people to escape towards the mountains before the closing of the region, as everyone felt it was going to be safer there. But then the virus was already spreading exponentially within the community when many of those that came to the mountain resorts, continue in holiday mode, piling in queues by the lifts. When at first I’ve thought of COVID19, I was thinking, people are well wrapped out, they have ski gloves or mittens, goggles, they are pretty safe…maybe ride a cabin only with your family group or whoever you are skiing with, and ride more chairlifts, and you would be fine… maybe lunches in a small cabin would not be a great idea, even though I love having lunch during my ski days….

But then, when it became clearer that everyone was still not respecting the social distancing that the Italian government was asking for, the Aosta Valley had very busy weekends with people from Milano, Torino and Genova still coming, and they decided, in conjunction with the hoteliers, to close the resorts… if not the spread was going to come to their area. All mountain resorts have hospital facilities that are small, as they cater to a much smaller population.

This created people going to another resorts, and even to France through the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Sudtirol, Dolomiti Superski and Trentino followed the closures. The Tyrol in Austria followed through, as there have been some cases in Ischgl, then it was a succession like a domino. France took its time to close, and many tour operators where hit twice, as they scrambled to change trips to ski resorts in Italy and Austria towards France, to be then forced to send back home skiers that arrived on the Saturday, when resorts closed on Saturday night.

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Red, White and Basin: Ski the 4th of July at Arapahoe Basin!

Solstice Skiing at Arapahoe Basin. Photo: Arapahoe Basin Resort. How can we envision ski resorts opening with social distancing for the 2020-21 ski season?

Red, White and Basin: Ski the 4th of July at Arapahoe Basin!

Arapahoe Basin (A-Basin) will be open for skiing and snowboarding on Thursday, July 4, 2019. July 4 will be the official closing day for A-Basin’s 2018-19 winter season, capping off the longest ski season in Colorado that began October 19, 2018. The last time A-Basin was open on July 4 was 2011. Its longest season was in 1995 when the ski area stayed open until August 10.

Solstice Skiing at Arapahoe Basin. Photo: Arapahoe Basin Resort. Red, White and Basin: Ski the 4th of July at Arapahoe Basin!
Solstice Skiing at Arapahoe Basin. Photo: Arapahoe Basin Resort. Red, White and Basin: Ski the 4th of July at Arapahoe Basin!

A-Basin is able to stay open in large part thanks to higher-than-average snowfall totals and lower-than-average temperatures in the months of March and May, including nearly seven feet of snow falling during March. Even so, it was not a record snowfall year for the ski area. At the start of June, A-Basin was at 106 percent of average snowfall (about 375 inches). Other contributing factors to A-Basin’s late season are its northern-facing frontside slopes and high elevation (10,780’ base; 12,500’ at the top of the highest lifts; 13,050’ peak).

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Aspen Snowmass to Celebrate 168 days of Skiing and Riding this Season

Aspen Snowmass photo. Aspen Snowmass to Celebrate 168 days of Skiing and Riding this Season.

Aspen Snowmass to Celebrate 168 days of Skiing and Riding this Season

Aspen Mountain will open for another bonus weekend of skiing and riding Jun. 15-16 over Food & Wine Weekend

Aspen Snowmass announced today two additional days of skiing and riding as part of summer operations over the popular Food & Wine Classic this weekend, Jun. 15-16. making this one of the longest skiing and riding seasons in Aspen history. Skiers and riders will enjoy around 100 acres on a 30-inch base depth.

Group of skiers at Aspen Resort, Aspen, Colorado. Aspen Snowmass. Photo: Aspen Snowmass. Aspen Snowmass to Celebrate 168 days of Skiing and Riding this Season.
Group of skiers at Aspen Resort, Aspen, Colorado. Aspen Snowmass. Photo: Aspen Snowmass. Aspen Snowmass to Celebrate 168 days of Skiing and Riding this Season.

“We love that we can celebrate this historic season of snowfall with both skiing and summer activities in Aspen,” says Katie Ertl, senior vice president of mountain operations. “This is the perfect time of year to get outside, and get in two or even three sports in a day, with skiing, biking, hiking, golfing and more.”

The Silver Queen Gondola will be open for sightseeing and the Sundeck, located at the top of Aspen Mountain, will offer food and beverage options as well as a DJ on the deck Saturday. The first Bluegrass Sunday of the summer season will kick off Jun. 16.

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Aspen Snowmass Adds Another Bonus Weekend for Skiing and Riding

Matt Ross skiing at Aspen Resort, Aspen, Colorado. Aspen Snowmass. Aspen Snowmass Adds Another Bonus Weekend for Skiing and Riding.

Aspen Snowmass Adds Another Bonus Weekend for Skiing and Riding

Aspen Mountain Open for Skiing and Riding Jun. 8-9 

Aspen Mountain will once again offer skiing and riding as part of continued summer operations this weekend, Jun. 8-9, with 130 acres of terrain on a 58-inch base depth.

Aspen Snowmass Adds Another Bonus Weekend for Skiing and Riding. Photo: Aspen Skiing Company.
Aspen Snowmass Adds Another Bonus Weekend for Skiing and Riding. Photo: Aspen Skiing Company.

The Silver Queen Gondola will be open for sightseeing and the Sundeck, located at the top of Aspen Mountain, will offer food and beverage options as well as a DJ on the deck Saturday.

The gondola will operate from 9 a.m.—4 p.m. for sightseeing and the Ajax Express chairlift will run from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., as long as conditions permit, for laps on Aspen Mountain’s upper blue runs as well as black runs such as Summit and Blondie’s. Everyone will be required to download on the gondola.

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Aspen Mountain Announces Bonus Weekend June 1-2, 2019

Aspen Mountain Announces Bonus Weekend June 1-2, 2019. Photo Aspen Snowmass.

Aspen Mountain Announces Bonus Weekend June 1-2, 2019

ASPEN SNOWMASS, Colo.—May 28, 2019— Aspen Mountain will reopen this weekend, June 1-2, for the continuation of summer operations with skiing and riding on 130 acres of skiable terrain. The gondola will be open for sightseeing and the Sundeck will offer food and beverage options as well as a music on the deck during the day.

Darcy Conover skiing fresh corduroy down a steep snow covered groomed slope in the mountains at Aspen Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado - Aspen Mountain Announces Bonus Weekend June 1-2, 2019. Photo Aspen Snowmass.
Darcy Conover skiing fresh corduroy down a steep snow covered groomed slope in the mountains at Aspen Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado – Aspen Mountain Announces Bonus Weekend June 1-2, 2019. Photo Aspen Snowmass.

The Silver Queen Gondola will operate from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. for sightseeing and the Ajax Express chairlift will run from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., as long as conditions warrant, for laps on Aspen Mountain’s upper blue runs as well as black runs such as Summit and Blondie’s. Everyone will be required to download on the gondola.

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Squaw Valley offering $5 passes to ski or ride in June

Squaw Valley Tram. Photo: Squaw Valley. Squaw Valley offering $5 passes to ski or ride in June.

Squaw Valley offering $5 passes to ski or ride in June.

Squaw Valley is to offer $5 advance-purchase lift tickets every Friday in June with all proceeds benefitting the non-profit Tahoe Fund

Resort to match skier contributions with an additional donation of up to $10,000

Skiers and snowboarders are invited to celebrate spring on the slopes at Squaw Valley with $5 lift tickets on Fridays in June (all ages). “Five Dollar Fridays” will benefit the Tahoe Fund, a nonprofit organization that supports environmental improvement projects that restore lake clarity, enhance outdoor recreation, promote healthier forests, improve transportation and inspire greater stewardship of the region.

A rider is ready to take the plunge - Squaw Valley photo. Squaw Valley offering $5 passes to ski or ride in June.
A rider is ready to take the plunge – Squaw Valley photo. Squaw Valley offering $5 passes to ski or ride in June.

All proceeds from advanced online lift ticket sales on Friday June 7, 14, 21 and 28 will support the Tahoe Fund’s goal of raising $35,000 to assist the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition in providing “Bike Racks for Basin Businesses.” Through this program, the Tahoe Fund and Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition will provide low- or no-cost bike racks to businesses in the Lake Tahoe Basin to encourage locals and visitors to ride instead of drive.

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PURGATORY Re-Opens for Memorial Day Weekend for the First Time Ever!

PURGATORY Re-Opens for Memorial Day Weekend for the First Time Ever!.Photo: Purgatory Resort.

PURGATORY Re-Opens for Memorial Day Weekend for the First Time Ever!

Purgatory Resort will add its name to a short list of U.S. resorts spinning lifts during Memorial Day weekend when it opens for a bonus weekend of skiing this Saturday and Sunday. May 25 will not only mark the kickoff to summer but also the first time in resort history Purgatory has opened for skiing on the last weekend in May.

Purgatory is waiting for people with lots of snow for this weekend. PURGATORY Re-Opens for Memorial Day Weekend for the First Time Ever! Photo: Purgatory Resort.
Purgatory is waiting for people with lots of snow for this weekend. PURGATORY Re-Opens for Memorial Day Weekend for the First Time Ever! Photo: Purgatory Resort.

After picking up 8” of snow through Monday morning (with up to two feet expected through Thursday according to OpenSnow), Purgatory officials announced today it will open Lift 1, an expected 130 acres and one terrain park (conditions permitting) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday. Winter operations are expected to conclude after Sunday, May 26 and summer activities will continue to be open every day.

Less than a dozen ski areas will be open in the U.S. this weekend – Purgatory is the southern-most resort.

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Ischgl rocked with Lenny Kravitz for their season finale.

Lenny Kravitz closes the ski season at Ischgl. Photo: TVB Paznaun Ischgl. Ischgl rocked with Lenny Kravitz for their season finale.

Ischgl rocked with Lenny Kravitz for their season finale.

With the ’Top of the Mountain Closing Concert’ in Ischgl, Lenny Kravitz concluded a snowy skiing season at 2,320 m above sea level on 30 April 2019. 18,000 winter sports fans got to see the superstar with his band before a spectacular mountain backdrop in the ski area and an unforgettable air-show.

Optimal piste conditions, an aerial stunt show of the highest order and an animated Lenny Kravitz – at the Ischgl season finale on 30 April, nothing was left to be desired for the 18,000 attending fans and winter sports enthusiasts.

Silvretta bahn. Photo: TVB Paznaun-Ischgl. Ischgl rocked with Lenny Kravitz for their season finale.
Silvretta bahn. Photo: TVB Paznaun-Ischgl. Ischgl rocked with Lenny Kravitz for their season finale.

At 13:00, a beaming Lenny Kravitz took to the stage and immediately set an exuberant mood at 2,320 m altitude at the ’Top of the Mountain Closing Concert’ on the legendary Idalp-stage with his strong voice power and a sensational, two hours open-air performance.

The hits performed by Lenny Kravitz and his seven-member band included classics such as ’Are You Gonna Go My Way’, ’It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over’ and ’Fly Away’. But the superstar also played tracks from his latest and eleventh album ’Raise Vibration’.

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Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood Resorts Announce Extended Ski Season

Northstar Black Diamonds runs- Photo: Elisabeth Biebl. Northstar Resort. Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood Resorts Announce Extended Ski Season.

Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood Resorts Announce Extended Ski Season

  • Heavenly Mountain Resort season extended through April 28, 2019, plus 3-day-weekend May 3-5
  • Northstar California Resort season extended through April 21, 2019
  • Kirkwood Mountain Resort season extended through April 14, 2019, plus 3-day-weekend April 19-21

After record-breaking snowfall throughout the Lake Tahoe region in February, the Best of Tahoe Resorts, including Heavenly Mountain Resort, Northstar California Resort, and Kirkwood Mountain Resort announced plans today to extend the 2018-19 ski and snowboard season. Plans may change based on weather, conditions or US Forest Service approval.

View of Lake Tahoe from the mountain. Photo: Heavenly Ski Resort. Elisabeth Biebl. Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood Resorts Announce Extended Ski Season.
View of Lake Tahoe from the mountain. Photo: Heavenly Ski Resort. Elisabeth Biebl. Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood Resorts Announce Extended Ski Season.

During the month of February alone, Heavenly has received 269” of snow, Northstar has received 286” and Kirkwood has received 271”.

“Record-breaking snow conditions paired with the hard work of our mountain operations teams have made for a truly unforgettable season so far,” said Mike Goar, vice president and chief operating officer of the Best of Tahoe Resorts. “With even more snow on the way, we are thrilled to extend the winter operations at all three of our Lake Tahoe resorts and offer skiers and riders additional opportunities to take advantage of these amazing spring conditions across the region.”

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Due to a slow season Las Leñas and Portillo are closing their seasons one month early.

Las Leñas, Cenidor, a black short steep piste in Las Leñas connecting the two sectors of the mountain. .

This winter season in the Southern Hemisphere in Argentina & Chile has been weird. Unfortunately for some of the resorts of the High Andes, the season has not been good. This is the case for Las Leñas in Argentina and Portillo in Chile. Valle Nevado seems to have a better snow base – maybe due to its altitude, as today was having all lifts opened but one, and only 9 pistes and the boarder cross park are closed.

Las Leñas view from the Piramide shopping center - 6th September 2018.
Las Leñas view from the Piramide shopping center – 6th September 2018.

More in the south, Chapelco and Bariloche seemed to have got better luck and got snow.

Continue reading “Due to a slow season Las Leñas and Portillo are closing their seasons one month early.”