Snow arrives with most ski resorts closed due to COVID restrictions

Posted: Thursday December 10 2020 06:31

The December Bridge has passed and with it two storms which left a lot of snow on the peninsula and which leaves the ski resorts with a bitter taste in their mouths, which could not take advantage of a key date in their business and do not yet know when to open due to mobility restrictions stemming from the pandemic and pressure from other European regions.

The celebrations of the Constitution usually mark the start of the snow season, a sector which in Spain generates more than 3,100 direct jobs. Last season, which ended with rainfall due to the coronavirus, our country welcomed 4.8 million skiers and the resorts received 118.8 million euros, barely three less than the previous one, according to data from the Spanish Association of Ski Resorts. Skiing and Mountain (Atudem).

However, despite the early closing, it appears that its opening is delayed. There is no clear directive from the administrations and mobility restrictions prevent travel between communities to reach ski resorts. Many of them decided not to open.

Only three open

From Atudem they explain that in the absence of superior orders, the opening depends on each ski resort. At the moment, there are only a handful in operation: that of Punto de Nieve de Santa Inés (Soria), the smallest on the peninsula; that of Leitariegos (León) or that of Masella (Girona). Baqueira Beret (Lleida) announced its launch for the weekend of December 11, pending orders from the Generalitat.

The authorities are not so much concerned with the performance of sport, in the open air, as with its social component. The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, declared in “ARV” that he considered it necessary to take measures “in relation to all the activities that are around skiing and also to the mobility that this can entail.

The situation of the communities is diverse and, for the moment, what prevails is the lack of credibility. In Aragon, its president, Javier Lambán, assured that he saw “unwise” to open before the end of Christmas. In Andalusia, this Thursday the experts who could advise its reopening from the 15th will meet.

In Catalonia, the public railway stations of Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) -La Molina, Boí Taüll, Port Ainé, Espot, Vallter 2000 and Vall de Núria- will not open until the entire Community has will not have passed to phase II of de-escalation. In principle, a few days before Christmas.

Winter athletes call for opening

Winter athletes ask that these stations be opened in order to be able to practice their specialties. This is what the president of the Royal Spanish Winter Sports Federation, May Peus, asked the government in an open letter: “Health is and must be a priority, but it is logical to think that the sports of snow, organized in an orderly manner and with all health guarantees, they can also be a means of containing the pandemic. Outdoor exercise has a positive influence, especially in times of physical and psychological stress, such as the one we all suffer from Unfortunately “.

Europe pushes to keep them closed

In Europe, caution prevails. This is precisely what the European Commission has called for to prevent a rebound in business. It also calls for coordination between member countries, although these decisions are the responsibility of each state.

For example, in France, President Emmanuel Macron banned the opening until January and threatened border controls to prevent travel to other countries where one can ski, such as Switzerland.

Germany was one of the first countries to announce restrictions on ski resorts and to call for a coordinated shutdown with other countries, to avoid possible unfair competition. In this country, they will be closed until at least January 10.

A similar decision was taken by Italy, whose stations contribute around 1% of GDP, and which decided to postpone the opening to January 6 and thus avoid the spread of the virus to Christmas.

Even Andorra has decided to close its stations until January, since its main clientele comes from Spain or France, two countries affected by mobility restrictions.

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