A season like no other?
Here in Verbier and across the alps we have enjoyed a long beautiful summer. The sun shone bright and strong from April all the way until August, bringing a long season for mountain and road bike enthusiasts, hikers, climbers, dog walkers and sunbathers. But with snow now featuring heavily in our weekly weather reports, there’s a question floating around the Alps and beyond...
Can we ski this winter?
Now there’s a short answer, and of course the inevitable longer answer.
In short: Yes. We can and will be skiing this winter.
Many resorts and the local and federal governments both in Switzerland and across Europe are announcing their winter opening dates as usual. Here in Verbier, we will be opening for weekend skiing in November (weather dependent) with our official opening day scheduled for 6 December.
Televerbier CEO announced in September that the lift system will open and operate as per usual, in accordance with current government guidelines (you can read the full announcement here). This means all Verbier lifts will run capacity free, just as they have done in previous seasons.
However, there are some necessary changes to accommodate new health and safety concerns.
Clean and Safe Program
The campaign is supported by Switzerland Tourism. When you see this sticker around the resort, you will know that safety protocols have been implemented for your safety - hand washing stations, social distancing markers, regular cleaning etc.
You will be sure to see these all over the gondolas and chair lifts this season.
Do we have to ski with masks on!?
'Non, nous ne skierons pas masques' says the RMS director (Swiss ski lift association). So whilst masks will be required on certain ski lifts, we will not have to ski with masks this winter.
Across Switzerland, masks are now required when entering shops and on public transport systems for those over the age of 12. It’s no different here in Verbier, so remember your masks when going into shops and supermarkets around the town, as well as on buses and trains.
For enclosed lifts, like the Medran – Ruinettes Telecabine, masks will be required. However chairlifts and drag lifts are exempt from this ruling, so no masks will need to be worn.
If you’re not sure what rule applies for the lift you are on, just remember:
For any enclosed space, wear your mask. If you’re out in the open air, no masks are required.
Are neck warmers ok to wear instead?
This is where it gets a bit vague.
According to the RMS announcement, along with medical face masks, neck warmers will be permissible on ski lifts as long as they are worn correctly (covering the nose and mouth). The types of neck warmers that you’ll be able to wear are those with an integrated filter or with space for a removable filter – these seem to be new on the market, and will retail at around 15CHF. By December, these are sure to be in every shop you enter in Verbier.
Our advice: Just bring a mask or two along with you just in case!
What about quarantine?
The quarantine rules across the world are changing so quickly it can be difficult to keep up. The Swiss are keeping a keen eye on surrounding nations and updating their lists regularly – if you want to keep an eye on if your home country is on the list click here to visit the government website.
But what about Powder Extreme?
We are pleased to announce that all of our Powder Extreme coaches are returning to Verbier for the coming season. They are all itching to get back on skis and to welcome you all back to Verbier.
We’ve also been busy developing some new courses for you. Our Powder Camps are back again and we are also running a Mountain Safety camp, new for this year! You can check out our dates on our camps page ---> click here
Of course, our private coaching sessions are available, and you can request your favourite coach to show you the best spots on the mountain.
Will it be the same this season?
We think so! The world has changed dramatically in the last year, and there, naturally, will have to be some changes to the way that ski resorts will run this winter. However, the snow will arrive just as it always has and always will. And as long as there’s snow to ski… we will be up there finding the best of it.