Skiing and Covid-19: students in clubs, professionals … Who is ultimately authorized to use the ski lifts?

The closure of ski lifts to the public is causing a stir among mountain stakeholders. Small consolation, a decree published on Saturday authorizes certain categories of skiers to use them. What are these exceptions?

The ski lifts are closed to the public … in fact, not to all audiences. A new decree published on Saturday, December 6 in the Official Journal modifies the decree of October 29 and specifies the access conditions for ski lifts, chair lifts and other gondolas during this period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This text, which provides for differentiated measures according to the categories of skiers, comes into force immediately. France 3 details these exceptions to the rules related to containment.

  • Ski club students

The decree authorizes the use of ski lifts by “minors licensed within a sports association affiliated to the Ski Federation”. Until now, only young hopefuls, athletes from PPF-listed clubs who are training for a professional career to represent France in competitions were allowed.

  • The top athletes

All over France, top athletes have continued to have access to sports halls since the reconfinement. Likewise in the mountains, top-level skiers were able to continue their training on the slopes.

  • Professional and training athletes

Another exception, “professionals in the exercise of their activity”. These are technicians responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of ski lifts, and ski patrollers responsible for ensuring the safety of the slopes.
Professionals in training, such as instructors, are also authorized to practice “training necessary for maintaining professional skills”.

  • “Users” by prefectural dispensation

Finally, the prefect of the department may authorize “the reception of other users in the public passenger transport services by urban and interurban ski lifts”. Clearly, if it deems it necessary, the general public will have access to cable cars, funiculars and other lifts connecting one station to another.

The operators of the ski lifts will have to ensure “to the extent possible, to physical distancing” skiers on board each device, taking into account the constraints specific to each means of transport.

Wearing a mask is not compulsory for skiers on drag lifts and chairlifts when each suspended seat is occupied only by one person or by people leaving between them at least one empty place, specifies the new decree.

This arrangement does not calm the anger of elected officials. On Twitter, the president of the departmental council of
Alpes-Maritimes, Charles Ange Ginesy, denounces a “incomprehensible situation”.

Friday 11 December, Jean Castex will once again receive the mountain actors who are still hoping for an opening to the public before the Christmas holidays

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