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Australia’s ski resorts prepare for winter 2020 season amid Coronavirus uncertainty
Australia’s major ski resorts are continuing to plan for the 2020 snow season despite uncertainty as to when Coronavirus restrictions will be lifted.
With major ski resorts across Europe not operating during their season, the Australian Ski Areas Association (ASAA) is confident that there will be some sort of opening.
ASAA Chief Executive, Colin Hackworth told the ABC "it will be a different season than we're used to seeing, but once the restrictions are lifted by government(s) we can have a snow season.”
Advising that the industry is flexible and accustomed to delayed openings, Hackworth commented “all of the operators are highly experienced at onboarding large numbers of seasonal workers in a pretty short time.”
However, the Rural Doctors Association said it was too early for enthusiasts to consider skiing holidays and plans for a June opening were "unrealistic and optimistic".
RDA Chief Executive, Peta Rutherford stated “the reality is we are only two months away from the opening of the ski season and social distancing regulations may be in place for six months.
"The ski season is supposedly opening in eight weeks - that is too soon to be allowing for large gatherings of people in areas that they're not normally visiting."
Jindabyne Chamber of Commerce President, Olivier Kapetanakos said it was too premature to call the entire ski season off.
Kapetanakos advised “we're at the beginning of the shutdown period. We've still got weeks to go. A lot of things can happen.”
Kapetanakos is hoping the current restrictions on social gatherings would help flatten the curve in time for ski resorts to open this winter, even if it is late in the season.
He noted “the snow stays on until late September. Even if they start in August we'll get half a season.
"A lot of these communities live off winter. If they have six weeks or two months that's going to be a lot better than nothing."
Kapetanakos said many businesses were still counting on Perisher, Thredbo, and Charlotte Pass to open this winter, adding “we didn't have a summer. If we don't have a winter that's pretty bad.”
At Mount Hotham in Victoria, the Alpine Resort Management Board is planning for a range of scenarios to project how a delayed season might operate, or worse - the impact of not opening at all.
Thredbo, Perisher and Charlotte Pass ski resorts have all said they are closely monitoring the progress of COVID-19, but that they were also progressing plans to operate from the long weekend in June onward.
Images: Thredbo's new gondola under construction (top) and Jindabyne Chamber of Commerce President, Olivier Kapetanakos (below).
27th March 2020 - Doubts over Australian ski season as Coronavirus restrictions impact
24th March 2020 - Up to 300,000 hospitality jobs set to be lost across Australia
6th February 2020 - Extensive bushfire damage prevents Selwyn Snow Resort opening for 2020 season
7th January 2020 - Bushfires destroy Selwyn Snow Resort
14th November 2019 - Ski and Snowboard Australia launches new Snow Australia brand
8th October 2019 - Program announced for 2019 winter sports National Participation Conference
9th August 2019 - Significant snowfalls transform alpine resorts
1st August 2019 - Perisher’s new Leichhardt chairlift gets official opening
7th June 2014 - Climate change threat to Australia’s snow industry
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