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“Everyone on the slopes!”, The slogan of the Swiss ski resorts in the face of the coronavirus

The covid-19 pandemic has also changed customs in Swiss ski resorts. The staff of the cable cars that lead to the top of the slopes of the Verbier station, one of the most reputable, wear face protection visors.

“The windows of the cable cars remain open all day. The ventilation, the masks, the hydroalcoholic gel, the physical distances, are added to the protection measures”, explains to . Laurent Vaucher, director of Téléverbier, the ski lift company most important mechanics in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

In Verbier, as in other stations, the forces of order, not far from the departure area of ​​the cable cars, ensure that the anticovid rules are respected.

After having to shorten the season in mid-March due to the first wave of coronavirus, the Swiss ski resorts are committed to strengthening sanitary measures and the Swiss thirst for evasion.

“The mask is mandatory everywhere, except on the slopes to take advantage of the fresh air,” sums up former Olympic ski champion Didier Défago, president of the Valais Canton Ski Lift, to ..

Although the restaurants are closed, the regional clientele has hit the slopes in Verbier at the start of the season.

Like Ludovic Guigoz, 40, who wears a neck warmer with a covid filter.

“Covid is a brake. But if you come to ski in the morning it is reasonable. I feel safe,” he says before descending the track as a family.

– Ski lifts –

The closure of the runways in March raised concerns about the worst for the sector. And the second wave has hit Switzerland with regional incidence rates of the highest in Europe.

But the ski resorts have adapted. Wearing a mask is mandatory not only in closed cabins, but also in outdoor facilities (chair lifts and ski lifts) and in waiting lines, including those that are in the open.

The stations expect the Swiss, who took to the mountains this summer, to do so in winter as well.

“Everyone on the track!” Is the slogan that the Swiss Ski Lift Association launched this fall.

In the absence of American and Asian clientele, ski resorts are hoping that the Swiss and Europeans will save the season.

And it is that European tourists in principle will be able to go skiing in Switzerland at Christmas now that the government has removed most of the European countries from its red list that requires quarantine.

It remains to be seen if they will be able to leave their country, like the British, great lovers of the Swiss slopes, who are confined.

– Verbier or Bali –

Due to the covid, many resorts will not be able to count on the income generated by the activities surrounding skiing or with the classes, which several cantons have prohibited and which generate around “5 and 30% of the business volume of many resorts”, says Grégory Quin, a sports historian at the University of Lausanne.

But snow lovers have responded for now. By the end of October, some 110,000 people had signed up for the Magic Pass, the cheap pass that allows skiing in more than 30 stations.

This pass was launched three years ago to cope with the continued decline in the number of skiers.

“Baby-boomers adored skiing. The following generations are less numerous and partly from immigration so they do not have a ski culture. Which means that there are fewer skiers in the younger generations, although it does not mean that they do not ski “explains Laurent Vanat, author of an annual report on the world ski market, to ..

Likewise, the sports historian Grégory Quin points out, “the tourist diversification made possible by low-cost airlines and the abundance of offers from other disciplines play against skiing, which is very expensive and must rival other practices.”

But with the covid, he tells . “the Swiss may have learned to prefer to go to Verbier than to Bali.”

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