More details on Victoria’s confirmed ski season ahead

Mt Buller
Mt Buller village. Photo credit: Mt Buller

It’s been quite the week for Australia’s ski resorts who are working hard to ensure an operating ski season in 2020, with goal posts changing daily. 

Two weeks ago the Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews made some announcements about relaxed restrictions, including groups of up to 10 people being allowed to partake in socially distanced snowsports in national parks. 

Two days later the Australian Ski Areas Association CEO, Colin Hackworth, who has been appointed as the talking head for all resorts, revealed an industry wide Covid Safe plan. This plan was being developed across all ski fields to present to relevant state, health and federal authorities.

With a number of insiders not willing to go on the record, we then compiled a piece on the many challenges facing Australia’s ski resorts including skier numbers. Then on May 19, Vail Resorts announced full refund offers for Epic Australia Passes with the hint of new pass offerings for 2020, in what was interpreted as “capped numbers” for skiers and boarders on the daily hills this year.

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A day later the New South Wales Premier, John Barilaro announced the ski season would go ahead for his state resorts, much to the surprise of the resorts who were still waiting for health authority approval.

Today, Victoria’s State Premier, Dan Andrews officially announced the ski season in Victoria can commence from June 22, though with appropriate restrictions. While New South Wales still waits for a date.

Either way the ski season may be confirmed, but the resorts have yet to announce if they will operate and on what dates, so watch this space.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria released some more details on the ski season ahead down south. 

The ski season can open following work with industry to develop plans so people can enjoy skiing facilities and resort venues safely.

Snow sports are permitted and the ski season can open at 11:59pm on 21 June. We are working with the ski industry to develop plans so people can enjoy skiing facilities and resort venues safely.

Use of shared sporting equipment should be minimised and there should be no sharing of equipment that touches the face or head (e.g. helmets, goggles or masks). 

Travel is allowed for permitted activities, including day trips and overnight stays in private residences, subject to private gathering restrictions.  

Overnight stays are permitted in tourist accommodation if there is no use of communal facilities required. 

As always though, Victorians are being asked to be considered and use common sense when it comes to their activities.

Word is that some of the ski clubs that cannot be commercially operated due to communal facilities may be utilised for staff accommodation. Just one of many potential changes you can expect for what will be a very different season in 2020.

We’ve reached out to the relevant resorts and expect to hear details in the coming days on how these resorts will be operating, and when. 

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.