How Mountains and Ski Areas in NH Are Dealing With COVID-19

Ski Story Featured

Though things might not look all that different on the slopes — such as at Waterville Valley pictured here — expect to see a number of changes this season at ski areas and resorts around the state. Photo by Tyler Walker/ Waterville Valley Resorts

Shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, experts encouraged people to get outside, into nature’s open spaces. They emphasized the myriad benefits of fresh air and sunshine for our mental, emotional and physical well-being. Normally, skiing — both alpine and Nordic — would seem to check off all those boxes. But COVID-19 is having a negative impact on the skiing experience, in the lodges, in the lift lines, and on the lifts themselves. Of course, New Hampshire’s ski areas and resorts, large and small, are no strangers to negative impacts.

“Rightly or wrongly, we are total optimists in this business,” says Kris Blomback,

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‘Momentous’ errors in ski resort Covid outbreak



a group of people skiing down a snow covered slope: An outbreak in the Ischgl ski village was linked to cases in 45 different countries


© Getty Images
An outbreak in the Ischgl ski village was linked to cases in 45 different countries

One of Europe’s first coronavirus outbreaks could have been contained by the Austrian authorities, an official investigation has found.

Outbreaks at two popular ski resorts in March led to thousands of new cases and were worsened by “momentous miscalculations”, the report said.

One resort, Ischgl, was linked to cases in 45 countries after skiers brought the virus home with them.

Authorities have said they acted based on what was known at the time.

“There were errors of judgement that had consequences,” Ronald Rohrer, the head of the commission that led the investigation, told a press conference on Monday.

“They reacted too late,” he added.

What did the report find?

Investigators said authorities were too slow to close the resorts in Ischgl and nearby St Anton when the outbreaks became clear.

A group

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Failures at Austrian ski resort ‘helped speed up spread’ of Covid-19 in Europe | Austria

An independent commission has found that Austrian national and local authorities made “momentous miscalculations” by first hesitating and then rushing to evacuate an Alpine ski resort that has been described as the “ground zero” of the coronavirus first wave in Europe.

Ischgl, a town of 1,600 inhabitants in the Tirolean Paznaun valley and one of Europe’s premium skiing destinations, has been in the spotlight since the middle of March, after thousands of tourists, including at least 180 Britons, caught the virus there during the spring holidays and carried it back to their home countries.

After interviewing 53 decision-makers about their handling of the outbreak, an expert commission appointed by the Tirolean regional government on Monday for the first time officially identified individual failings that helped speed up the spread of the virus across the continent.

The commission, chaired by the former vice-president of the Austrian supreme court, said in its

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Austria ski resort virus outbreak mishandled, report finds

Local and federal authorities could have contained the spread of a coronavirus outbreak that infected thousands of tourists in two Austrian ski resorts, according to a report published Monday.

“From March 8, a correct assessment should have led to the closing of bars, the stopping of ski lifts and orderly management of departures,” of tourists from Ischgl, a village in the western state of Tyrol, the experts found in a report seen by AFP. 

Instead, after a barkeeper in Ischgl tested positive for Covid-19 on March 7, tourists were not informed. Skiing and partying continued for several days until a complete and immediate lockdown of Ischgl and Sankt Anton, a nearby ski resort, were announced on March 13.

Tourists were forced to evacuate within hours, and in the end more than 6,000 people from 45 countries, including Britain, the US and Germany, said they contracted Covid-19 on their holidays.

“There

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Expert panel faults Austrian government on botched ski resort quarantines

VIENNA (Reuters) – Crowds of possibly infected people fleeing ski resorts during Austria’s worst coronavirus outbreak was the result of poor preparation by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government before he announced a quarantine there, a panel of experts said on Monday.

In an attempt to contain Austria’s biggest cluster to date, at the ski resort of Ischgl, and another at the resort of St Anton, Kurz announced an immediate quarantine at both on March 13, but his government had not informed the local authorities that had to implement the measures.

“The Austrian chancellor announced the imposition of the quarantines unexpectedly, without immediate authority and without substantive preparations,” Ronald Rohrer, head of a panel of experts appointed by the province of Tyrol to look into its handling of the epidemic, told a news conference.

The panel’s report, published on Monday, said the federal government had failed to communicate properly with the authorities

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Largest Alaska ski resort to operate with changes for virus

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s biggest ski resort is set to operate this season with a new operations plan that includes health precautions like mandatory face coverings.

Alyeska Resort in Girdwood cut the last ski season short because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alaska Public Media reported Friday.

“No mask, no service here at Alyeska Resort,” Marketing Director Ben Napolitano said. “That includes all public spaces, that includes lift lines, and that includes being inside the aerial tramway as well.”

Skiers will be allowed to temporarily remove masks only while moving down the slopes, Napolitano said.

Skiers will no longer be allowed to get close to strangers on chairlifts or while using the resort’s tram system. Lines to board the lifts and tram will be configured to encourage social distancing.

“Inside the tram we’ll have a reduced capacity per tram car, as well as sanitizing between rides,” Napolitano said. “And

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Botched Austrian Ski Resort Shutdown Spread Virus and Sowed Panic, Judge Says

(Bloomberg) —

Austrian authorities should have shut down the ski resort of Ischgl at least four days earlier than they did because the risks it would spread Covid-19 were evident, said a panel of experts appointed by Tyrol province.

Ischgl, known as “Ibiza of the Alps” for its apres-ski culture, should have been closed by local authorities on March 9 after infections of guests and bar staff became known, according to Ronald Rohrer, a retired judge from Austria’s highest court, who headed the panel. Then, the mishandling of the resort’s evacuation caused chaos which may have accelerated the spread of the virus, he said on Monday as he presented the 287-page report in Tyrol’s capital, Innsbruck.



a man with a mountain in the background: Ischgl GETTY sub


© Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Ischgl GETTY sub

Summer tourists take the Flimjochbahn ski lift up to Flimjoch peak in Ischgl, Austria on Sept. 9.

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Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The actual start

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Vermont ski resort leaders share plans for a hopeful and more careful winter

Skiers and snowboarders head for a lift at Sugarbush ski resort in 2018. With the Covid-19 pandemic, ski lifts and other resort operations will look considerably different this winter. Photo by Mark Johnson/VTDigger

This article by Tommy Gardner was first published in the Stowe Reporter Oct. 8.

Smaller ski resorts may benefit from Vail Resorts’ August announcement of its winter season plans. For example, the Colorado operator of Stowe Mountain Resort takes all the heat for its 2020-21 plan, enabling others to adjust accordingly.

On Sept. 24, the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum hosted a lecture discussing how some resorts plan on opening.

Parker Riehle, a museum director and former president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, said Vermont is the fourth-largest ski state in the country, with an average of 4 million skier visits per year.

He said those visits typically generate more than $900 million in direct spending,

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Tahoe ski resort reverses hated parking policy after legal battle

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Free parking, as precious to some skiers as virgin mountain powder, has returned to one Lake Tahoe resort but not before its corporate owner waged an expensive year-long legal battle with two season-pass holders.

An 80-year-old attorney and another man whose first job out of college was parking cars at the mountain now owned by Vail Resorts filed separate lawsuits when Northstar California replaced traditional free parking with $20 daily fees ($40 weekends) — after they’d purchased their passes.

Unlike visitors from San Francisco who spend the weekend skiing, locals like attorney Steven Kroll and Robert Grossman make a few quick runs in the morning then jump in their nearby cars to head for work.


Both navigated the steep slopes that way for decades. They never imagined the uphill battle they’d face when they learned months after they’d renewed their passes for 2019-20 it would cost

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Tahoe ski resort reverses parking policy after legal fights

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Free parking, as precious to some skiers as virgin mountain powder, has returned to one Lake Tahoe resort but not before its corporate owner waged an expensive year-long legal battle with two season-pass holders.



FILE - This Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 file photo shows Northstar Ski Resort in Truckee, Calif. where people were skiing in whiteout conditions during the day.  After an expensive year-long legal battle with two season-pass holders free parking has returned to the resort. An 80-year-old attorney and another man whose first job out of college was parking cars at the mountain now owned by Vail Resorts filed separate lawsuits when Northstar California replaced traditional free parking with $20 daily fees ($40 weekends) after they'd purchased their passes. (AP Photo/Daisy Nguyen,File)


© Provided by Associated Press
FILE – This Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 file photo shows Northstar Ski Resort in Truckee, Calif. where people were skiing in whiteout conditions during the day. After an expensive year-long legal battle with two season-pass holders free parking has returned to the resort. An 80-year-old attorney and another man whose first job out of college was parking cars at the mountain now owned by Vail Resorts filed separate lawsuits when Northstar California replaced traditional free parking with $20 daily fees ($40 weekends) after they’d purchased their passes. (AP Photo/Daisy Nguyen,File)

An 80-year-old attorney and another man whose first job out of college was parking cars at the

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