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Victoria's skiing operators welcome the start date for this year's season

Monday May 25, 2020 - 15:10 EST
Audience submitted image
The ski industry is preparing for a ski season like none before with social distancing and further hygiene requirements to be implemented. - Audience submitted

Victoria's ski industry has breathed a sigh of relief following the State Government's announcement that the season will begin from June 22.

The news is also welcomed by the local tourism industry with many of the alpine communities, that surround the ski resorts, still recovering from this summer's bushfires.

The than the typical June long weekend start.

Australian Ski Areas Association CEO Colin Hackworth said it was the news they had been waiting for.

"It means we will be able to hit the slopes and get back to work and breathe some fresh mountain air," he said.

"It's going to be a bumper season there's already been substantial snow falls in the resorts."

Social distancing on the slopes

General Manager at Mt Buller Ski Lifts Laurie Blampied said this season would be one like no other, with social distancing changing normal operating procedures.

"We are going to see some very different aspects to the resorts.

"There will be no international ski instructors — the Austrian ski instructors are part of the folklore of the ski industry in this country," he said.

"Because of social distancing in staff accommodation, we'll have reduced numbers of staff that will mean that the range of services that we will be able to offer will be reduced significantly," he said.

The skiing industry is currently working with the State Government on a COVID-19 safe operating plan to assure adherence with social distancing and hygiene requirements.

"The health and safety of the Australian community is of course our number one priority and all of our operations will be conducted in a safe and healthy manner," Mr Hackworth said.

Planning is key to ski trip

CEO of Tourism North East Bess Nolan-Cook said 2020 had been a "shocker" with bushfires and now COVID-19 restrictions costing the regional economy hundreds of millions of dollars.

"The loss from the January bushfires sat in the vicinity of around $200 million and we estimate the June quarter would have seen a further loss of between $380 and $400 million."

Mr Blampied said planning ahead would be the key to hitting the slopes this season.

"People really need to plan their trips like never before and they have to pre-book all their visits to the snow."

"Not only your lift tickets but also your resort entry and ski school and pretty much everything else in order to be assured entry into the resorts."


© ABC 2020

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