Stay safe on the slopes
This winter season will no doubt be special. Tignes and Saas-Fee are covered in snow, looking like a winter paradise we've all been dreaming of. And on the other side of the alps, ski hot spots like Val Gardena and Sölden are prepping for what looks like an amazing season. But, no matter where you look, one thing remains the same; Resorts all across Europe are doing everything they can to keep skiers safe and their lifts open.
At Spyder, we want to do our part to keep our customers safe by providing a general guide on how to stay safe during what seems to be the second wave of this thing called Covid19.
It's probably fair to point out that we aren't scientists, nor politicians. We are just a bunch of ski freaks who want others to have as much fun on the slopes as we do by providing them with useful tips on keeping it Corona friendly this season.
THIS is not a definitive guide and should not replace official government announcements and restrictions.
Let us start with some general information first. As you probably know, restrictions vary from country to country. It's best to check with local authorities before you travel, just to make sure you won't be confined to a hotel room to quarantine or sent back home upon arrival. Government websites or https://reopen.europa.eu/ are a pretty good starting point, providing you with essential updates and information on travel restrictions.
But what is the current situation in some of our favorite ski destinations?
Covid numbers are soaring, and Spain is currently in a state of emergency that can last as long as May 2021! It sounds worse than it actually is, though. All it means is that the Spanish government is handing power over to the regions, cities, and communities to do what's necessary to slow down the number of new cases. Current measures range from closed borders to neighboring states (Basque Country) to closed bars & restos to curfews at night. What it doesn't mean (for now) is a total lockdown. Borders are still open, and Spanish resorts have indicated that the snow season is definitely happening - with facemasks and social distancing measures, of course! Check here for the latest updates and information.
France had a rough few days with daily new cases as high as 52,000 nationwide. That number has since dropped, but the government still requires people to wear masks in enclosed spaces and recommends people to say "bonjour" to each other from a safe distance. While not everyone can currently travel to France without having to quarantine, the snow season is still very much on the cards, with resorts officially kicking off their season at the end of the month. Check for the latest updates on safety measures and travel restrictions here.
Italy is following the trend of rising case numbers over the last few weeks. The government imposed tighter restrictions to avoid a total lockdown, but that doesn't mean that Italy won't have a cracker winter season this year. However, there are travel restrictions in place for some countries, so it's best to check here before you pack your gear and head off to the Dolomites.
Switzerland is another winter paradise that made headlines for all the wrong reasons. With over 17,000 new cases over the weekend, Switzerland is taking all the necessary precautions to keep travelers safe. Travel restrictions apply to various countries subject to 10 days in mandatory quarantine if you find yourself on the BAG's Risk list.
Austria's numbers are somewhat "manageable" compared to other ski destinations, but that doesn't mean Ischgl or Sölden are ready to throw apres-ski parties just yet. With just over 3,000 cases over the last few days, Austria is still very much in damage control and advises travelers to play their part to help to slow down the numbers. Ski resorts are ready, though, working with a strict Covid safety protocol that includes facemasks, limited group activities, and sit-down apres-ski sessions. Check here for updated travel restrictions and safety measures.
The Spyder Guide to staying safe in the mountains
As already mentioned, this is new territory for us, but we're trying to make sense of all the information thrown at us daily. The following recommendations are some of the measures folks at Spyder, both athletes, and staff, have been working with to make sure they are safe while on the skis.
Wear a mask!
This one is kind of self-explanatory, but we recommend to wear a mask whenever you can. Yes, that includes outdoors, lifts, cable cars, and waiting areas - even if not mandatory! Perhaps make a neck gaiter a part of your ski wardrobe this winter. It's not only keeping you warm, but doubles as a stylish accessory to cover your mouth and nose when needed.
Need a face covering? We have inexpensive gaiters in tons of colors to choose from. Not to mention they will keep you warm!
Purchase your lift passes online
We have all been there. We show up pumped for our first day in the snow only to face a huge line to get our lift passes at the station. This usually isn't a big deal, but in 2020 / 2021, things work slightly differently. Skip the line and avoid contact with total strangers by buying your lift passes online. We know this might not be available everywhere, but it's definitely worth checking it out.
Social distancing is also a thing in the mountains.
Unless you are freeriding in the backcountry somewhere, be mindful of your surroundings. Keep at least 1.5m between yourself and others on and off the slopes whenever / wherever you can. This shouldn't be too hard - you're skiing outdoors!
Skip the Apres Ski drink
At this stage, we aren't even sure if there will be any after-ski parties as we know (and love) them. Nevertheless, skip the round at your local mountain bar and head back to your chalet or hotel for a drink (or two) instead.
Keep your entourage tight
We all know that ski holidays are perfect for getting together with a good bunch of people. However, this year, we recommend traveling either solo, in small groups, like families or people who live together. Also, make sure to only share lifts and cable cars with people from your group (whenever possible) and avoid large gatherings at stations, restaurants, shops, and ticket offices.
Purchase a COVID19 coverWe've got wind that many travel insurance providers cover your travel arrangements in case of COVID19. It's best to check with your local travel insurance provider and spend a few extra coins to bump up your premium in case you have to tank your ski holidays due to Corona.
Are we forgetting something? What are your favorite COVID safety measures? Let us know.