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Europe's ski resorts to remain closed until mid January?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:
Maybe you haven't seen the latest ski touring tech?
Wouldn't be surprised at all at that new kit Confused - there's seemingly only Mrs MA and me mountain biking uphill under our own steam these days... rolling eyes
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

Fixed costs such as snowmaking are too high without Christmas revenues apparently.


This I can believe.

Re the EU, it's got nothing to do with the EU. Whether or not ski resorts open or not is outwith the EU's purview.

Am most astonished that Merkel (et al.) might have thought otherwise.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
polo wrote:
Maybe you haven't seen the latest ski touring tech?


I know it's been a wierd year, but did I go to sleep and miss Christmas? Is it April already?
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KenX wrote:
Ski resorts to be opened only for schools, clubs and season pass holders. This is the proposal of the mayors of Serre Chevalier. They wrote this Thursday to the Prime Minister "to suggest that Serre Chevalier could be at the heart of an experiment which would only allow clubs, schools and locals who bought their season pass before October 15 to have access to the ski area. ". The goal: to open part of the estate and therefore justify the hiring of seasonal workers because "to open on January 20 in a dry way, without having run our economic machine once is very risky

Not much help for tourists but works for me Very Happy
PS: Can't see it happening.............


s'alright sHs is a club innit? All season rolling Bash anyone? wink
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
KenX wrote:
Ski resorts to be opened only for schools, clubs and season pass holders. This is the proposal of the mayors of Serre Chevalier. They wrote this Thursday to the Prime Minister "to suggest that Serre Chevalier could be at the heart of an experiment which would only allow clubs, schools and locals who bought their season pass before October 15 to have access to the ski area. ". The goal: to open part of the estate and therefore justify the hiring of seasonal workers because "to open on January 20 in a dry way, without having run our economic machine once is very risky

Not much help for tourists but works for me Very Happy
PS: Can't see it happening.............


s'alright sHs is a club innit? All season rolling Bash anyone? wink


Well spotted Very Happy

Maybe you'd only need a couple of racers to train, support for which could be;- dietitians, transport and logistics worker bees, food safety tasters (you'd not want anyone to eat compromised food) need a lot of these for diligent work in checking all "supply" establishments likely to be used.
Also, alcohol proof technicians in case of "medicinal" use scenario.
And some of those peeps that always seem to be wobbling the skiers thighs inside those little huts the racers set off from Blush Blush
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Interview in "Der Spiegel" with Austria's tourism minister yesterday, explaining the rationale behind Austria's intention to open its ski resorts before Christmas:
https://www.spiegel.de/reise/europa/oesterreich-tourismusministerin-das-virus-holt-man-sich-nicht-auf-der-piste-a-38f55482-d30b-44ff-b05c-ac36ebb0cd35
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@tatmanstours, came up with a paywall - can you provide a synopsis please?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Austria's Minister of Tourism on the winter season
"I'm not at all afraid of being infected there"
When can the ski lifts start up again? Angela Merkel calls for the winter sports areas to be closed. Austria's Minister of Tourism, Elisabeth Köstinger, doesn't think so - the vacation in her country is safe.
An interview by Claus Hecking • November 27, 2020, 1:17 a.m.

SPIEGEL: Minister, you and your Chancellor Sebastian Kurz promised in September that there would be "skiing fun" this winter. Would you still say that despite soaring infection numbers and a new lockdown with curfews, schools and business closings?

Elisabeth Köstinger: We will do everything we can to ensure that the number of infections falls and that a winter holiday in Austria is possible. I assume that we can do this with a joint effort. Tourism is indispensable for all of Austria, especially for the rural regions. And we showed in the summer: Holidays in Austria are safe.

SPIEGEL: Chancellor Angela Merkel has doubts about that. She calls for the Europe-wide closure of all ski areas.

Köstinger: I can't get anything out of this approach. That is also not a European responsibility. I don't know on what legal basis the EU should order the closure of ski areas. Apart from that, Austria is taking all measures to enable safe holidays. You don't get the virus on the slopes, but when you party afterwards. That's why there won't be any après-ski this year.

SPIEGEL: How do you want to ensure that a skiing holiday in Austria is safe?

Köstinger: By eliminating all sources of danger. There are comprehensive concepts for the winter season that guarantee this security. Our Ministry of Health has carried out detailed cluster analyzes of previous infections. In the hotel and catering industry, the incidence of infections was very low. Most cases occur where people know each other well: in the family environment and in the leisure sector. We also have the largest free trial program for hotel and tourism employees in Europe . More than 500,000 tests have now been carried out. Before Christmas we will test the population all over Austria.

SPIEGEL: But last March, thousands of ski tourists in Austria were infected with the virus. You can't afford a second Ischgl .

Köstinger: We couldn't afford the first Ischgl either. But we all learned something new in dealing with the corona pandemic.

"The situation in gondolas is no different from that in a subway or tram."
SPIEGEL: What if the neighbor coughs in the gondola or in the bubble chair lift?

Köstinger: 85 percent of all lifts are open anyway, in the fresh air. The covers of the chairlifts are partly removed, partly they cannot be closed. And wearing mouth and nose protection is mandatory in all lifts. The situation in gondolas is no different than in a subway or tram. The operators are instructed to always ensure fresh air supply. And there is no cable car in Austria that takes longer than 15 minutes to travel. The risk of infection is low.

SPIEGEL: Images recently went through the social networks. In Austrian ski areas such as the Zillertal or Kaunertal glacier, they showed crowds of tourists crowding in front of cable car stations.

Köstinger: These pictures from the Zillertal and Kaunertal were catastrophic. We held intensive discussions with the cable car operators so that this would not happen again. The operators have comprehensive prevention concepts that they also implement. There are floor markings and disinfectant dispensers everywhere at the entry and exit points. And on the following weekend, these scenes no longer existed: because the health authorities and the police took over control on site. The cable car companies learned quickly - and so did the skiers. We trust that after nine months of the pandemic, people will have internalized the rules.

SPIEGEL: But what if some don't follow the rules?

Köstinger: Every cable car company has its Corona officer. There will be security services at critical points, and police or cable car employees will also take over supervision.

SPIEGEL: How should that work with food - in deep winter, in closed rooms?

"We don't give France any advice on when it can reopen the Louvre."
Köstinger: With 50 or more guests, every company has to present a prevention concept. These include: regular ventilation, sufficient space, strict rules at the buffet. Employees and guests must wear mouth and nose protection and guests are only allowed to take off their masks at the table.

SPIEGEL: Then they can still infect each other.
Köstinger: You can do that in other places within your group. Personal responsibility is required here. Our concept prevents the different groups from infecting each other. You know: in the summer we had an eruption on Lake Wolfgang. This cluster mainly affected young employees. It was able to be completely contained within a very short time without many visitors being infected. We carried out thousands of tests on site - and had extremely fast contact person management. That worked extremely well.

SPIEGEL: What have you prepared in case there is an outbreak in a ski resort?

Köstinger: If guests need health care, it will of course be made available to them anyway. The tourist regions have agreed on a system of "safe houses" for milder developments. That means: Special accommodations are provided in which the corona infected are accommodated. They can no longer infect each other. This is how we ensure maximum security for everyone involved. In consultation with the German health authorities, infected people can also be brought home without symptoms.

SPIEGEL: The restaurateurs have invested a lot of time and money in their new concepts. Nevertheless, they had to close in early November, in the second lockdown.

Köstinger: My heart bleeds that we had to close the catering and hotel tourism business even though they did everything to create maximum security. But we had to restrict contacts, and the exit restrictions from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. are taking a large part of its business away from the catering trade. It was important to me to compensate the companies as much as possible for the failures. We replace them up to 80 percent of their turnover. And the strict measures now open up prospects for the winter season.

SPIEGEL: But what if the season is cancelled or starts late, as the governments of Germany, France and Italy are calling for?

Köstinger : We don't give France any advice as to when it can open the Louvre again. Nor do we prescribe in Italy or Germany when cafes, restaurants or schools can reopen. Each country should make its own decision based on its infection rate. The EU Commission has now made it clear that it does not intend to regulate this across Europe.

SPIEGEL: What do you do if the number of infections does rise again in January after the lockdown is lifted?

Köstinger: It is clear that we will have to prepare for tough, difficult months, not just in Austria, but throughout Europe. We will do everything we can to ensure that the number of infections remains down - with strict hygiene concepts and more personnel.

SPIEGEL: How much tourism do you expect this winter?

Köstinger: We now expect a slump of up to 50 percent compared to normal years. That's a problem. The hotel industry in Austria has only eight percent equity base.

SPIEGEL: How do you intend to prevent companies from going bankrupt en masse?

Köstinger: We provide guarantees for loans, hourly taxes, offer fixed cost subsidies, and short-time work for employees. We have reduced the sales tax for restaurants and hotels to five percent. And we offer the companies a reimbursement of 80 percent of the turnover compared to the same period in 2019. In the holiday hotel industry, the majority of the companies will make it: with massive support from the state. How big the support has to be depends on the number of visitors.

SPIEGEL: What does it depend on how many guests come?

"The risk of getting infected in a hotel in Hamburg is no smaller or greater than in a hotel in Serfaus."

Köstinger: Almost half of the visitors come from Germany. The quarantine requirement for returnees from Austria currently applies there. The greatest risk of infection comes from acquaintances - not from the hotel industry, where people wear masks and keep their distance. The risk of getting infected in a hotel in Hamburg is no smaller or greater than in a hotel in Serfaus in Tyrol . In my opinion, it would be key here to enable the most free. That means: If you come from Austria, a negative PCR test should be sufficient and you don't have to be in quarantine for days.

SPIEGEL: Virologists would disagree: In some patients in the early stages, the tests show no infection. Do you expect the German authorities to be convinced of your argument?

Köstinger: I believe that we need to deal with the corona pandemic differently. Of course, measures such as wearing mouth and nose protection, keeping your distance and maintaining hygiene are necessary. But I believe that quick tests will be a real game changer. We use them to filter out super spreaders very quickly. You know, we are the only country in the world that regularly tests employees in the hotel and catering industry. In the summer, we were able to isolate employees who tested positive very quickly, and the virus did not spread.

SPIEGEL: Will you go skiing yourself this coming winter?

Köstinger: Definitely . I'm not at all afraid of getting infected there. Distance, mouth and nose protection and hygiene concepts ensure maximum safety; there is no après-ski. And you don't get the virus out skiing. I'm looking forward to skiing fun.
.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Fri 27-11-20 20:42; edited 1 time in total
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j b wrote:
@tatmanstours, came up with a paywall - can you provide a synopsis please?


I can see the content without restrictions on Android tablet, along with translation.

Basically emphasize embeded testing and procedural methods to ensure low risk of transmission, along with closed aprè ski to avoid last season scenario.

Fully plan to go ahead with tourist ski season.
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Oops, crossed over there with tatman Embarassed
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We have had a Club Med holiday to France booked since early Feb 2020, going 17 January 21; yesterday we were advised that we could take a refund or ATOL-protected credit note and rebook for any time (including summer), up 12 months after our original trip should take place. Given the uncertainty of what/where will be open, current high case and death numbers in U.K. and France, lack of suitable insurance in place for some of our group etc., we accepted the credit; frankly, it wasn’t a hard decision. Today, we had a call from CM advising that they plan to have all their hotels open, in all Alpine resorts and countries, on 17th January, so did we want to reconsider? We’re not. This information offered here, purely to show that the ‘mid-January opening’ seems to be having a hat hung on it....
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
They need the money. They want the money.
And they believe the tailoring done in the summer will be enough.
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Quote:

They appear to have learnt nothing.

Judging by the precautions that are to be introduced, and the lack of après-ski (which must have contributed significantly to the Ischgl situation), they have learned quite a lot.
(Update: the above was a response to Whitegold’s comment, which now seems to have disappeared.)
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Thanks @tatmanstours for more than a synopsis.

It underlines one of the main issues underlying any of the policy decisions - we don't really know enough to be sure. I think it is completely plausible that the risk of outdoor transmission in ski resorts is small provided indoor hospitality venues are closed - but the only evidence comes from successful summers when numbers at lift stations were much lower and temperatures are higher. All across Europe, restrictions that worked well in August were failing to control infections in October when temperatures fell. So (unfortunately for members of this forum) claims that ski resorts should be kept closed can't be proved wrong.

My personal guess is that transmission risks are extremely low when skiing and on chairlifts (without covers) and drag lifts. And are probably (a guess) sufficiently mitigated by controlling numbers and requiring masks in gondolas. But I am less sure about the unintended consequences, for example the risk that skiers will still meet indoors to socialise in private accommodation. Plus I have the luxury of proferring my opinion without it resulting in a decision that could adversely affect a lot of others' health.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@j b, who knows who the vectors were, but more likely school kids, students, office/factory workers, pub/club goers, than open air sports enthusiasts.
The gondolas are a concern, but I for one will be trying for a gondola on my own (which will have been empty with open windows for the previous ten minutes) whenever possible, and I will be certainly be wearing gloves and masks and refraining from any hand to face contact. Any socialising will be in the open air and sensible distancing will be maintained.
So, looking forward to some good skiing on quiet pistes from 7th December onwards.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Restaurants all over Europe are closed, and will remain so well over Christmas.
And now Austria and Switzerland are saying all is fine in hotels with 50 or 100 or more guests...
Last week Zermatt had police to make sure the queues were keeping distance. How on earth is this going to work in highseason? Might get very, very ugly.
What is going to happen on a day that starts sunny, but gets cloudy and cold before noon, with all people, including kids on the mountain having nowhere to go for indoors-lunch? Again, might get very ugly.
Must say I think Austria and Switzerland are one a slippery slope. Quite embarrassing.
(Still I’m convinced it will not happen, lifts will close, also in Switzerland)


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sat 28-11-20 22:25; edited 1 time in total
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

with all people, including kids on the mountain having nowhere to go for indoors-lunch?

@Langerzug, my understanding is that they will be able to eat in mountain restaurants, provided that all guests are seated and appropriately distanced, and that the staff wear masks.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@tatmanstours, that would be completely immoral given the current situation all across Europe, with so many businesses in hospitality going bankrupt etc.
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@Langerzug, you do realise that this will all be happening after the current lockdown has ended, and that those businesses will presumably be permitted (even encouraged) to take proportionate steps to avoid going bankrupt?
If the situation calls for drastic measures, no doubt they will be taken; if it doesn’t, are you suggesting that mountain restaurants should be treated differently from other hospitality businesses?
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In CH restaurants will be able to re-open from Dec 14th. Après-ski bars will remain closed. Was much busier in Verbier yesterday, with police patrolling at Ruinettes, and the Funispace running with full cabins of 10-15. They are reducing restrictions rather the increasing them so no idea why you think they are going to close. Unless the numbers get worse in the next few days (which seems very unlikely) I’m pretty sure we’ll be skiing at Xmas. Suspect there will be some upwards impact on Covid numbers but hopefully it’ll be manageable.
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Some weird stuff in here. Switzerland has broken the back of the second wave and so is rightfully reopening where and when it can, with sensible precautions. Nobody would comply with restrictions if the reward for being careful is to then stay pointlessly miserable in solidarity with other places which still have work to do.

The people going skiing aren’t going to cease to exist if they shut the lifts. It’s probably better they spend all day on the slopes with the occasional gondola ride or indoor lunch break, than in the shops or hanging out with friends and relatives all day.
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I think we all agree that the skiing is not the risk of spreading. It’s the travel, shared accommodation & apres.
If they mandated you have to travel in your own car, stay in a single household accommodation & closed the bars. They would be hung up for being elitist.
There is no winning
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
j b wrote:
But I am less sure about the unintended consequences, for example the risk that skiers will still meet indoors to socialise in private accommodation.


That's true, but I'm not sure it's really an increased risk. Granted people tend to let their hair down a bit more on holiday, but equally people tend to do that at home in the run up to Christmas, after Lockdowns are lifted etc... And possibly more vigorously than after a long day on the slopes?

Langerzug wrote:
Restaurants all over Europe are closed, and will remain so well over Christmas.
And now Austria and Switzerland are saying all is fine in hotels with 50 or 100 or more guests...
Last week Zermatt had police to make sure the queues were keeping distance. How on earth is this going to work in highseason? Might get very, very ugly.
What is going to happen on a day that starts sunny, but gets cloudy and cold before noon, with all people, including kids on the mountain having nowhere to go for indoors-lunch? Again, might get very ugly.
Must say I think Austria and Switzerland are one a slippery slope. Quite embarrassing.
(Still I’m convinced it will not happen, lifts will close, also in Switzerland)


I don't know what the situation in Holland is, but restaurants here are only closed until the 7th (that may well get pushed back, but the decision hasn't been made yet). Restaurants on the mountain will operate in the same manner and under the same restrictions as all other restaurants in Austria.

It seems like you feel Austria is suggesting this season will go ahead as normal? It won't, clearly, and the authorities are being quite clear on that if you listen. Anticipated 50% reduction in visitors, for example. To take your example, if the restaurants aren't open at that point (certainly a possibility) or are too busy, then people will either have to tough it out on the mountain or go back to their accommodation with a supermarket lunch (same as locals). Simple as that. Just as we already know apes ski is banned and off the agenda, it is likely other 'normal' aspects of a ski holiday may not be possible at all times either. The point is, that doesn't have to impact the actual skiing part of the equation.

On another note, I think a lot of lessons were already learnt this Autumn when the glaciers were open. I visited Stubai twice; the second time there were police on the mountain and every single lift had one member of staff purely to patrol the queue and enforce mask wearing and distancing, for example. I'm also not aware of any infection clusters that were linked to glacier skiing this Autumn (even when I tested positive a few days after the first visit, neither the person I was skiing with all day nor the colleague who randomly happened to be near me in the first cable car up in the morning caught it).
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Switzerland may have 'broken the back' of the 2nd wave. The shape of the 7 day rolling average of new daily cases is very similar to the UK. But that 7 day average is still double that of the UKs so could very easily spike again if the Swiss authorities get it wrong. Their mismanagement of the second wave does not fill me with hope.
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Certainly a very interesting contrast between the language used by Köstinger and the recent COVID proclamations from the têtes de bite that 'run' the UK - think Gove, Hancock and BoJo the Clown (polite c word deployed).

Until vaccines are a) successful and b) widely implemented, we are all stuck in the merry-go-round of open some of the economy for some of the time then close the economy for some of the time. Give freedoms. Remove freedoms.

No-one can know yet if this was the best approach; what is clear is that the economic cost is going to be fairly cataclysmic and for a very long time. This may, or may not, be a price paying for the lives saved. Depends on the opinion of the individual.
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Very interesting thoughts here. Another point not to be underestimated here for Austria/ Switzerland is the optics of being an outlier if things do go pear shaped, all the I-told-you-so, the history of Ischgl.

I do think it will be seriously difficult for Austria to open ski resorts for Christmas if France, Italy and Germany are all closed, unless their 7-day incidence nosedives well below those countries
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Also I'm sure even if Kurz knows they won't be open at Christmas, it will look politically much better for him if he grandstands now that Austria will be making its own decisions regarding this
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@clarky999, @tatmanstours,
Given recent experience here in NL (we are about two weeks ahead in this second wave, and Austria had double the infections of NL), and throughout Europe, it appears very unlikely that Austria can really go out of lockdown on December 7.
Apart from that, look back at Merkel’s pressconference last thursday and her words on Austria. She is not amused.
And Kurz has no other choice than to stay friends with Mutti. Toofy Grin
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Langerzug wrote:
@clarky999, @tatmanstours,
Given recent experience here in NL (we are about two weeks ahead in this second wave, and Austria had double the infections of NL), and throughout Europe, it appears very unlikely that Austria can really go out of lockdown on December 7.


I also think that's unlikely. Maybe some shops can open again or something, but I doubt restaurants or bars will be opening on the 7th.

Langerzug wrote:
Apart from that, look back at Merkel’s pressconference last thursday and her words on Austria. She is not amused.
And Kurz has no other choice than to stay friends with Mutti. Toofy Grin


Normally I'd agree - Austria needs Germany to allow its citizens to travel here for tourism. But no skiing = no (or vastly reduced) German tourists over the winter anyway, so maybe less than you think. And he really will be slated domestically if he stops Austrians from skiing in their own mountains at the behest of Germany.

We will see!
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brianatab wrote:
polo wrote:
Maybe you haven't seen the latest ski touring tech?


I know it's been a wierd year, but did I go to sleep and miss Christmas? Is it April already?


Agreed! Very Happy Very Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The Germans are here anyway, there are loads of German cars about as usual. Quite a few Czech, Hungarian, Slovenian, etc. cars too. The borders aren't closed. Some might be day trippers and some might be people who own second property here. Once the lifts open (likely to be 18th December), the Germans will be here. Frau Merkel can't chain them in their homes can she? Laughing
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

I also think that's unlikely. Maybe some shops can open again or something, but I doubt restaurants or bars will be opening on the 7th.

Saalbach has not changed its position that the lifts will open on 7th December. The snow cannons are going full pelt. No doubt they want to encourage people like me to buy the season pass.
Quote:

the Germans will be here. Frau Merkel can't chain them in their homes can she?

Presumably insistence on a quarantine, on returning from Austria, would require border checks. That would obviously deter German visitors (as it seems it is deterring U.K. visitors, who can’t agree to quarantine).
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@tatmanstours, yes apparently there is a quarantine restriction from tomorrow for anyone who stays in Austria for more than 24 hours. So not people who cross the border for work, or day trippers.
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tatmanstours wrote:

I also think that's unlikely. Maybe some shops can open again or something, but I doubt restaurants or bars will be opening on the 7th.

Saalbach has not changed its position that the lifts will open on 7th December. The snow cannons are going full pelt. No doubt they want to encourage people like me to buy the season pass.


That's interesting. I think the earliest any of our resorts plan to open now is Obergurgl on the 11th (should have opened a month ago), and most seem to be talking more about the 18th. Stubai Glacier is technically still running lifts for pros to train in the park though.


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Mon 30-11-20 8:35; edited 1 time in total
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@queenie pretty please, hard to imagine that they will be able to effectively screen all the German drivers returning from Austria. What is to stop anyone saying that they are merely a day tripper? Am I missing something?
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@tatmanstours, my thoughts entirely. Around 10% of our workforce cross the border for work every day. They report that border checks are pretty rare. My guess is that the Bavarians will come skiing in their droves once the lifts open. There already seems to be plenty of them here at weekends anyway.
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@clarky999, 18th seems to be the general date here. There seems to have been an agreement for all ski areas to open on the same day. Normally Reiteralm and Planai like to be first. Of course Reiteralm is already open for race training.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@tatmanstours, some will have luggage do easier to spot, but yes they may stop cars just because they can!

What % of the skiing day trippers come from Germany but not Bavaria would you guess? There are always coaches at Kaltenbach but never sure how far away they come from. I assume it’s the same at Stuben etc?
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The French resorts seem to have accepted that Christmas is a no go and are pushing strongly for a 5th January reopening. Given the lack of visitors then it seems like it could work.

The Pyrenees - where there is a lot of spare bed capacity in hospitals want to reopen whenever there is snow but were told no by the govt. today.
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tatmanstours wrote:
@queenie pretty please, hard to imagine that they will be able to effectively screen all the German drivers returning from Austria. What is to stop anyone saying that they are merely a day tripper? Am I missing something?


It's called ANPR. It would be relatively simple to just log all the cars number plates as they cross the border in each direction, and get an instant flag on number plates that have been out the country for more than 24 hours, and then pull those over. You can do this on a RaspberryPi for buttons all with free software. In fact you can do it on a RaspberryPi ZeroW which is like £10. You need to add a camera but these start at £15, a case and PSU cost a bit more but this sort of stuff is really really cheap these days.
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