Many stations have already opened their lifts (Cervinia, Val Senales, Solda, Col Gallina in Cortina), others will turn them on this weekend (Valtournenche and the Campiglio Dolomiti ski area); the remaining ski areas will kick off the winter season within the traditional Immaculate Conception holiday. Meanwhile, infections are increasing, the fourth wave is around the corner, and the situation in hospitals is becoming increasingly critical.
Yesterday at the State-Regions Conference the governors unanimously asked to avert a new stop to the plants also in the red and orange zone, where Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto and even Valle d’Aosta threaten to end soon. That is the Alpine regions with the highest concentration of slopes, together with Piedmont, Lombardy and Trentino. “Another winter without skis would definitely kill the mountain economy”, all the alpine operators agree, plant engineers in the lead, still waiting for the refreshments. A sector worth 10 billion GDP and 60,000 jobs, which, including related industries, become 300,000.
While waiting for the Government to officially pronounce on the protocol revised by ski lifts and Regions for the safe restart of skiing, the ski resorts are working to avoid the nightmare of another winter without skis and white weeks. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The latest proposal from the ski lifts provides for the possibility of skiing also in the orange and red zone, with a limited number of accesses to the ski areas, 80% capacity on the closed lifts (50% in the red zone) and 100% on those open, always with the mask.
“We are still in a moment of uncertainty but we can say that skiing is a sport in itself safe, which is practiced outdoors and with a distance guaranteed by the very nature of the activity – says the president of the Anef plant engineers, Valeria Ghezzi – . This is demonstrated by the openings without particular limitations last winter in the United States, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries, where there was no higher incidence of infections linked to skiing than that of other economic activities “.
According to the operators, there would therefore be no particular critical issues to the practice of skiing if the rules, which have already been tested in recent summers, are respected: i.e. spacing, correct use of the mask, capacity of 80% of the closed lifts and control of the green pass, which plant engineers are clamoring for it to be carried out “on a sample basis by the police”, also for a matter of privacy, given that the expiry date of the vaccination certificate is a sensitive data. Given the thorny matter, the installers also ask that they be relieved of sanctions, in force today, as in the case of restaurants.
Last rationale: allow access to the facilities only to vaccinated people, following the Austrian “2G” model. “The vaccinated cannot pay for the no-vax”, is the widespread opinion of those who work there in the mountains. And the paradox is that it is Alto Adige – a territory of slopes and lifts that are among the most advanced in the world – that is the record-holder province for denial and incidence of new infections. And that today, in addition to the nightmare of the pandemic, is experiencing the great fear of another winter without skis.