Austrian ski resorts welcome easing of Covid restrictions

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It is the latest major Alpine county to do so and the move aligns it with Switzerland, France and Italy. PlanetSKI reports from Tyrol on the welcome change and rising hopes for a good end to the season. NEW

It had been a long time coming, but finally the ski resorts are starting to feel pretty much business as usual.

Gone is the need to show a green pass to buy a lift ticket or to enter restaurants and bars.

No masks are required in most settings, although they are still required in cable cars and gondolas as they are classed as public transport.

All details in Tyrol, where PlanetSKI is located, can be seen here.

Austria is the latest of the major Alpine nations to remove many of its covid restrictions.

Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

Masks at Kapp.  Image © PlanetSKI

Masks at Kapp. Image © PlanetSKI

“We welcome the changes in Austria and it’s very good for our ski resorts,” said Elena Protopopow of the Tyrolean Tourist Board.

“It’s good that all Alpine nations now have much the same rules and we look forward to welcoming more British guests in March and April.”

Elena Protopopow, Tyrolean Tourist Board.  Image © PlanetSKI

Elena Protopopow, Tyrolean Tourist Board. Image © PlanetSKI

PlanetSKI has skied in Italy, France and Switzerland over the past two months as Covid rules are relaxed, but there has been nowhere like Austria for its enforcement of the rules.

The rules were relaxed on Saturday March 5andbut on Friday March 4and wearing a mask in the elevators was strictly enforced.

We needed our green pass and passport (photo ID) to enter this place from Lermoos ski resort for lunch.

There was a checkpoint in the umbrella bar on the left to access the restaurant building on the right.

Lermoos, Tirol.  Image c/o PlanetSKI

Lermoos, Tirol. Image c/o PlanetSKI

The same was true in Obergurgl, St Anton and other resorts we visited last week in Austria.

The other ski resorts in Italy, France and Switzerland have certainly shown a less drastic attitude since the restrictions were relaxed a few weeks ago.

The number of cases is high in all countries, but hospitals are not under intense pressure and Omicron is proving not to be serious for those who have been vaccinated.

One event that has benefited from the loosening of the rules in Austria is the SIGB Snow Tests taking place this week in Kuhtai in Tyrol.

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol.  Image © PlanetSKI

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol.  Image © PlanetSKI

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

Organizers feared that might not even happen, as there was recently a ban on outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people in Austria.

This was lifted earlier and the final go-ahead for the event only happened 3 weeks ago.

“There was general uncertainty as to whether it would even happen and it’s so good to see it in full swing,” event organizer Mike Jardine told PlanetSKI.

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol.  Image © PlanetSKI

Mike Jardine, SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

There are 18 ski brands present, 3 snowboard brands and a number of other suppliers.

“Kuhtai has been brilliant in working with us to organize everything at the very last moment and it’s great to see many restrictions lifted over the past weekend and as our event has started.”

The event is not limited to testing skis, snowboards and equipment.

He sees the UK snow sports industry coming together.

“It’s fabulous to be back in the mountains as an industry, meeting colleagues and talking about snow sports again and the easing of restrictions in Austria has allowed that to happen,” said Tord Nilson of Volkl skis at PlanetSKI publisher, James Cove.

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol.  Image © PlanetSKI

Tord and James. SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

“The easing of restrictions here in Austria has definitely helped the event and we can even test a few beers too,” added Tord.

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol.  Image © PlanetSKI

SIGB Snow Tests, Kuhtai, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

We’ve reported on SIGB snow testing in our updated snow report, which includes James testing some Volkl Race Tigers and the Elan Wingman – see here for this report.

It is hoped that the easing of restrictions in Austria will help the end of the season, which some say is one of the best times of the season to ski.

We can only agree.

This is Wilma Himmelfreundpointner from St Anton Tourist Office.

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Kappl, Tirol.  Image © PlanetSKI

Kappl, Tirol. Image © PlanetSKI

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