Covid Update – Europe and California
December 11, 2020
We here at conSKIerge would love to report only good news but, unfortunately, we follow Covid ski industry matters, and, unfortunately (getting the message here?) some of this week’s news is not good. As we recently reported, many European countries have closed all ski resorts. However, at the time of that article Austria had allowed resorts to open. Things changed this week. Succumbing to pressure from the EU, Austria has closed all resorts with one exception – which you gotta love! Austrian ski resorts are allowed to open for locals only on Christmas Eve day. The one holdout country in Western Europe allowing ski resorts to remain open is Switzerland, which is not an EU member, and, as we know, is inclined to march to the beat of its own drum. And yes, while we know it doesn’t really matter to us Americans what the hell is going on in Europe since we can’t go there this winter, we are following this pretty closely because it may be a bellwether in the worst of circumstances for our country. (And, oh, BTW, look up the word “bellwether” for its original meaning – Baaaa!) Who knew?
And then, closer to home, there is the sad state of affairs in California. The good news is that despite basically a statewide stay-at-home order, California has allowed the ski areas to continue operations. And, ok there is bad news – lodging is only available to homeowners and essential workers. Since most California areas are not near metropolitan centers, the effect of this is that the locals have their own private mountains. In another cruel twist, Nevada’s pandemic rules are not as restrictive, so Nevada areas can provide lodging. This provides an interesting dilemma for a resort like Heavenly (pictured above) with terrain and lodging in both states. So in theory one can stay in Nevada and ski Heavenly from the Nevada access point. Key phrase there is “in theory.” There isn’t skiing from the Nevada side until they receive more snow. One could stay on the Nevada side and drive over to the California base, but at what point does this all get so complicated that folks stay home? The California lodging restriction is expected to stay in place at least through December. Last time we checked that includes several key holidays.