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Snow trips during COVID-19

26/06/2020

Here’s a few things to consider before booking your snow holiday this year.

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As coronavirus restrictions start to lift, it’s only natural that we start to dream about breaking free and getting away.

Given winter’s here and overseas travel is out due to the ongoing pandemic, a ski trip close to home is the obvious choice.

Of course, restrictions and social distancing are still in place –but with a little knowhow, you and your family can still enjoy a great time away and stay safe on the slopes too.

Planning when to go

Although travel bans were lifted on 1 June, resorts have taken extra time this year to put Covid-safe protocols in place before opening to the public and you’ll find information about what’s happening on the resort websites: Perisher, Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, Mount Buller, Falls Creek and Mount Hotham.

Traditionally, the snow season would open on the June long weekend but Thredbo in NSW and Mount Buller in Victoria opened on 22 June. Falls Creek and Mount Hotham are set to open on 6 July pending conditions, while Perisher and Charlotte Pass have already commenced their season.

Choosing where to stay

Where to stay? Due to the difficulty of maintaining social distancing in shared accommodation, there may be less available than there normally would.

Some hotels and lodges will only operate at 50 percent capacity to enable physical distancing in restaurants and common areas so the earlier you book, the better off you’ll be. Don’t forget to ask about cancellation and refund policies, just in case there is an outbreak and you’re no longer able to travel.

Pre-book everything you can

When resorts do open, only a limited number of people will be allowed on the mountain per day and there may be reduced staff in order to maintain social distancing and sanitization protocols. So you may be waiting in longer queues for lifts, and when you do get a quad chair you can only travel with your family members.

The advice direct from ski resorts is to pre-book as many components of your trip as possible – that includes lift tickets, SkiTube tickets or transfers, clothing or equipment and lessons. Check the terms and conditions for passes at each resort before booking as these have changed and you may have to specify your dates or join a wait list. You should also make reservations in advance for restaurants, or bring your own snacks and lunch to eat on the mountain. Most outlets will only offer contactless payments, as well.

If social distancing is maintained, you should still be able to have a ski lesson, although some other services – like snow play and tobogganing – may not be on offer this year.

Follow guidelines to stay safe

Suiting up is something we’re all used to on the slopes. But along with your warm woollies and googles, you’ll want to add a face mask to your ensemble this year, especially on over-snow transports. You may need to also get used to having your temperature taken by resort staff, and you’ll probably have to sign a declaration confirming:

  • You’re not suffering flu symptoms
  • You haven’t been overseas recently
  • You aren’t waiting on Covid-19 test results
  • You haven’t been in contact with someone who has the virus.

All resorts are also encouraging holidaymakers to download the COVIDSafe app to keep track of any cases that may pop up.

Create your own apres-ski

Apres-ski social activities are likely to be limited or off the cards this year to minimise the risk of transmission.

Solution? Create your own! BYO supplies to enjoy some quality time at your accommodation – plan a few cook ups, pack a speaker and some board games that you can play by the fire to relax after a big day carving up the slopes.

It may not be exactly the kind of ski trip you’re used to, but with a little pre-planning, you and your family can still have a great time away while supporting Australia’s tourism industry. 

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. We do not recommend any third party products or services and we are not liable in relation to them. Any links to third party websites are for your information only and we do not endorse their content.

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