Sports | November 29, 2020 6:00 am

Will There Be Skiing Throughout Europe This Winter?

Different countries have very different takes on the crisis

Skiing in Austria
Skiing in Kitzsteinhorn, Austria during less complicated times.
Daniel Frank/Unsplash

In winter, the mountains of Europe draw skiing enthusiasts of all levels, eager to careen downhill amidst some of the continent’s most breathtaking landscapes. At least, that was the routine before COVID-19 disrupted lives and industries across the world. Now, a host of countries across Europe face a difficult decision: do they allow skiing or temporarily prohibit it?

As a recent article in The Washington Post reminds readers, an outbreak of the coronavirus at a ski resort in Austria helped it spread across the continent. This, then, is one more factor complicating matters. Has the industry taken enough steps to keep skiers safe this winter, or would opening up skiing lead to another wave of infections and deaths?

Writing at The New York Times, Elian Peltier, Melissa Eddy and Emma Bubola explored the very different responses different governments are taking within Europe. Austria and Switzerland have announced their intention of reopening ski resorts; France, Germany and Italy are planning to keep theirs closed through at least the end of the year.

Finding the right balance is not something exclusive to Europe; ski resorts in the United States are also dealing with these questions. But given a ski resort’s role in spreading COVID-19 in Europe, there’s an even greater urgency there. There’s also a running question of whether one standard policy across the EU is preferable. The Times notes that Germany’s Angela Merkel expressed support for a halt to skiing across the EU for reasons of public health.

This is a complex debate with few easy answers. Unfortunately, the potential for things to go very wrong still exists, and could lead to an uncanny echo of the past — something no one wants.

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