Ski resorts hope for better times as new season starts

Ljubljana – Ahead of the new ski season, ski lift operators hope that the season will not be like the previous one, when ski resorts were on the brink of survival due to the Covid-19 measures and many of them would be in serious trouble without government aid.

“Nobody wants a season like last year and we would like to forget about it,” Manuela Božič Badalič, the head of the Association of Ski Lift Operators, told the STA.

Božič Badalič, who is also the director of the Kanin ski resort, added that representatives of ski list operators had met with the health authorities ahead of the new season.

The point was to present some of the mistakes that, in the opinion of ski list operators, were made during the previous season in terms of restrictions on the operation of different facilities used for transportation of skiers.

Due to the restrictions that forced the facilities to operate below the maximum capacity, there were longer queues before the entrances and skiers were gathering there in large numbers.

“We managed to convince the experts that such a measure is not good,” Božič Badalič said, noting that the proposal to list the restrictions in enclosed facilities had been approved by the National Institute of Public Health.

While open facilities operated last year at full capacity, this is also the case in the upcoming season for enclosed facilities, under the condition of proper ventilation and sanitation.

Skiers travelling in enclosed facilities will also be required to show proof that they have recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated, or produce a valid negative test. They will also be required to wear face masks.

Božič Badalič said that ski lift operators were satisfied with this agreement, while noting that not all ski lift operator had received the financial aid from the state, secured in a special law in the amount of 40% of the income loss.

Another issue faced by operators of ski resorts is shortage of staff, many of whom have switched to other jobs as a consequence of closures during the previous season, when they received compensation amounting to 80% of their wage.

While some ski resorts are looking for new owners or investors, there were no major investments ahead of the upcoming season, with the exception of Kranjska Gora, where works to construct a new EUR 3 million chairlift are under way.

Problems aside, Slovenian ski resorts are ready for the new season as the low temperatures and snowing in recent days have created almost perfect conditions.

On Friday, ski lifts will be launched in Rogla, Krvavec, Kope and Vogel, and while the ski resorts of Golte and Kanin will be up and running as of Saturday. In Pohorje, the new season is expected to start on 11 December.