Your Winter Holiday During Covid - What to Expect & How to Plan Ahead

Holiday during Covid - The snow is falling, the lifts are turning, and restrictions on some domestic travel are easing, all in time for the 2020 winter season in Australia. Hallelujah! 

And although you are undoubtedly very excited about your annual trip to the snow, this year it’s going to look a little different.

It’s been a strange year, and it’s looking like this is our new normal for the next little while. Nonetheless, like us, you are still itching to get into the fresh mountain air, lay some turns and have a blast with your crew.

The good news is, you still can!

But what is this winter season in Australia going to look like? 

Let’s dive into a rundown of the major changes at play this season and how you can plan ahead to ensure you still have an awesome time out there!

What Are the Major Changes to Mountain Operations This Winter?

The most notable changes to life as we know it comes from maintaining increased cleanliness and sanitisation, the encouragement of contactless payments, and of course, social distancing. 

With these guidelines at play, Australian ski resorts have put policies in place to ensure the safety of all resort guests and staff, and of course, see that those guidelines are met.

Here are just some of the changes you can expect when planning your 2020 snow holiday;

#1 - Resorts Will Operate at 50% Capacity

Until restrictions are eased further, resorts will operate at 50% capacity to ensure the maintenance of social distancing practices. 

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Because of these rules, we’ve seen a reduction in service and activities offered across all resorts, particularly, the reduction in restaurant and bathroom facilities as well as the availability of lift tickets and group lessons, which leads us to our next point.

#2 - You’ll Have to Plan Ahead with a Pre-Purchased Ticket

There will be little chance for last-minute ‘there’s a storm coming’ weekend dashes to the snow this year. 

Due to the reduction in capacity, you’ll have to pre-purchase all elements of your holiday including rental gear, and even parking in some resorts.

Nothing a little planning can’t fix, so don’t sweat too much!

https://www.snowcentral.com.au/rental/

#3 - Social Distancing Will be Enforced Even on the Chairlifts

The good news is that you will still be able to ride the chairlift with your family (or people from the same household). A completely reasonable rule that should also really help to ease the pressure on weekend lift-lines. 

The new friends you met at apres last night or in the lift line, however, will be encouraged to practice social distancing, meaning the total number of riders on lifts should be two per quad and one per T-bar or double-chair.

You Can Still Plan a Successful Trip to the Snow During Covid

It’s easy to feel like the restrictions in place due to covid are going to put a dampener on your holiday. 

But with some careful planning, and an open mind, you’re bound to still have a great time! Here are two key points we’d highly recommend you consider moving forwards.

#1 - Book Your Lift Tickets & Accommodation Simultaneously

The biggest surprise to come out of this year for snow lovers, was that those with pre-booked accommodation weren’t given first priority to secure lift tickets for their travel dates. Ouch!

While most resorts are holding out on releasing lift tickets for August on wards, if you’re able to find accommodation that has availability for your preferred dates, and a flexible cancellation policy, you should consider locking that in!

Otherwise, the best thing to do is to practice your best patience (we know it’s hard!) and wait until lift tickets go on sale, and simultaneously check accommodation availability. 

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#2 - Plan Your Dining Reservations Ahead

Naturally, the cafes and restaurants both on-snow and in town will also be practicing social distancing. If you can book ahead where possible, you’re likely to save yourself some stress when it comes to dinner time, especially if you’re travelling with a larger group.

This could even be done well in advance if you already know the area and have favourite restaurants to dine with. 

Alternatively, if you are lucky enough to have kitchen facilities at your accommodations, fill the car with groceries from the local store and cook up a storm at home! 

Resorts like Perisher and Thredbo have also encouraged riders to bring their own snacks and lunch where possible, as indoor seating will be limited during the day. 

Of course it is always a good idea to check the COVID plan of the resort you are travelling to and make sure you are aware of the specific operations and restrictions they have in place.

Check out the links below for up to date resort information

https://www.perisher.com.au/plan-your-trip/new-to-perisher/covid19-update

https://www.thredbo.com.au/about-thredbo/covid-19-update/

The Bottom Line

As restrictions ease further, the Australian resorts will continue to adjust their operations to allow more flexibility for your ski holiday. 

So if you haven’t booked yet, or see no availability for your preferred dates, don’t give up completely. Like with many other things this year, it’s simply a wait-and-see game.

Although things will look very different this year, you should still consider a trip to the snow this winter. The Australian tourism industry, the snow industry, and the small communities who run our resorts, need our help more than ever to keep the winter dream alive! 

Of course, if you feel unwell, for the safety of all snow lovers, please stay home. 

P.S Don't forget face coverings are now compulsory at Perisher Ski Resort!
Shop our Neck Gaitors & Face Masks online!