….and some reason for pause.
A look at Australia 2020 Winter Ski Season should provide some clues for the upcoming Ski Season in the Northern Hemisphere.
Australia is having its winter…. right now – snow conditions are reasonably good, resorts are open…. life should be good. Except – “the corona” virus pandemic / COVID 19 / SARS-COV2, or any other name you call it is getting in the way – a bit.
Ok, so, backup…. Vail Resorts, perhaps the largest winter resort operator [ticker symbol MTN] owns 3 main properties in Australia: Falls Creek, Hotham and Perisher (the largest with 4 resort villages). It is likely Vail operating policies (and lessons learned) from the Southern Hemisphere will transfer into the 2020 Northern Hemisphere winter season as well….
This is what we know right now about Vail Operations in Australia:
- Mountain operations are restricted to 50% capacity.
- Early season mandated on-line reservations (day prior) for each ski day even for season pass holders. This policy was relaxed as more terrain was open, and demand subsided.
- Night skiing and First Tracks still require a reservation each day.
- Tube / Tobogganing / snow play areas closed for season
- Indoor dining / areas restricted
- Social Distancing – you know the drill !
- No Cash accepted / no same day purchases of passes and tickets
- Live together – ride together… on lift system otherwise, 2 per Quad, 3 per 8 chair restriction.
- No ski school / lessons for 3-5yr olds/ no day-care
- Winter Team Sports reduced capacity – only Masters, Developmental and Competition teams offered; younger age groups and entry level cancelled.
- Very limited Competition for sports – intra-resort / same resort fun comp. No inter mountain at this time.
- Special out-door table / eating areas / more space and social distancing!
How is the season going so far for Australia – not well….
All 3 resorts successfully opened for the Winter Season more or less on-time, the snow being the biggest factor. However, 2 of 3 [Hotham and Falls Creek] are now shut down starting July 9th till (at least) August 19th. Vail resorts has shutdown lift operations for the 2 resorts due to the outbreak of COVID in Victoria Australia. However, the mountains are trying to remain open by offering cross country, snowmobile, backcountry tours, and tobogganing. Mountains require contact tracing questioner at check-in and they have a “safety” phone app.
On the bright side…. things seem to be going much better at Perisher!