Winter season 2021/2022

This is the situation on the slopes

Ski Opening in Ischgl 2021
IMAGO / Eibner Europa
Ski Opening in Ischgl 2021

The Christmas holidays are just around the corner and actually now the winter season really starts. But once again, the Corona pandemic is dominating events. What is the situation in Austria, Switzerland and the southern winter sports regions in Germany? An overview.

Admittedly, there is not enough snow for fun on the slopes in the winter sports areas in Bavaria so far anyway. But apart from that, the people in the South of Germany are currently struggling with particularly high infection rates, associated sharp Corona measures. At least on the Zugspitze, 7 of 11 slopes are currently open.

The following Corona measures are currently in place for the popular ski resort:
  • 2G-Plus detection for ski lifts (vaccinated/recovered + negative test)
  • Reduction of lift capacity
  • Online shop for ski passes
  • FFP2 mask obligation in cable cars and indoor areas
  • 2G proof for restaurants and hotels (vaccinated, recovered)
  • Daily disinfection measures
  • Limited number of daily tickets
The same rules apply roughly to the Fellhorn/Kanzelwand ski area. Here, however, only one slope of 27 is currently open (source: The remaining ski areas are still indicated as closed, such as the Oberjoch Bad Hindelangarea - here, the operation of all the mountain railways is supposed to start from 17.12., the first lifts already go into operation on the weekend around 10.12.

Difficulties due to stricter rules

In view of the sharp regulations for cable cars and lifts, Dehoga Bavaria warns: "For many accommodation businesses in southern Bavaria, the Christmas season is thus massively in danger," Thomas Geppert, chief executive of Dehoga Bavaria, told on Monday. "The stricter regulations in the cable cars are also causing enormous difficulties for our businesses," Geppert added. The regulations scare off many skiers. Therefore, the urgent appeal to the state government to improve the specifications.

Start despite lockdown

In Austria, however, some winter sports areas have started despite the lockdown - it currently applies to all until December 12. First and foremost, the resort of Ischgl, which hit the headlines at the beginning of the Corona pandemic. The ski lifts in Ischgl stood still for three quarters of a year. Skiing and nature are now to come more to the fore. "We want to have guests who take advantage of all the equipment," says mayor Werner Kurz."Skiing, eating - and then maybe having a drink." But not like in the past. That's when some roamed the streets with alcohol in their hands, he says. "That's no longer allowed." Alcohol is banned in public places.

At the cable car, Anna Kurz, junior manager of the "Fire and Ice," has opened a kiosk instead of a restaurant and bar - to-go sales are allowed. Before the lockdown, her family's hotel was nearly booked, she said. "We have a lot of regulars." Now, she said, there are also cancellations. Many in Austria fear that guests will switch to Switzerland, where hotels are open and not even 2G applies at the lifts.

PCR test on entry into Switzerland

But Switzerland is also struggling with high Corona infection figures. In some Swiss ski resorts, such as Zermatt or Saas-Fee, skiing has nevertheless already started. Most other resorts plan to start the season by mid-December. In many regions, masks are compulsory in closed railway cabins and the interiors of stations.

In addition, a Covid certificate (proof vaccinated, recovered, tested negative) is required almost everywhere in public areas, such as inside restaurants or in clubs and bars. And hosts are free to choose whether to host or entertain only those who have been vaccinated and recovered. Opting for 2G usually removes all restrictions. Nevertheless, it is worth taking a look at the tourism pages of the cantons or ski areas, as there may be different regional rules.

For some time now, the Corona infection figures have been rising rapidly in Switzerland. Most recently, 9975 new Corona cases were reported within 24 hours (as of Dec. 8). In the wake of this, the country has tightened its entry requirements. Since 4 December, PCR testing has been compulsory for all persons entering Switzerland. All entrants must therefore be able to present a negative PCR test. A second test must be carried out between the fourth and seventh day after entry and the result reported to the canton responsible. Exception: excursionists residing in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg do not need either an entry form or a negative test.