Mt Buller announce opening date and operating plans for ski season

Photo credit: Mt Buller media.

It’s the news Australian skiers and snowboarders have been waiting for as Mt Buller becomes the first Aussie resort to announce a firm opening date and reveal more operating plans. 

Buller Ski Lifts is preparing the ski area with a view to opening from 22 June, pending snow conditions, said a statement from the resort this afternoon.

“We have a lot of work to complete to ensure the resort is safe and healthy for our guests and staff” said Laurie Blampied, Buller Ski Lifts General Manager. As expected, the 2020 season will be a reduced capacity with not all products and services on offer.

“It is going to be different this winter as we all adapt to the constraints of coronavirus” added Blampied.

“We will need to limit guest volumes in resort to maintain social distancing, there will be rigid cleaning and sanitation protocols in place, our international staff will sadly not be travelling to work with us this year and our local mountain staff numbers reduced. This means that the full range of products and services normally associated with the alpine resorts will not be available in 2020.”

The resort is currently working, in consultation with government, health authorities and others to finalise their COVID-19 Operating Safely Plans.

 Once this is finalised they will share more details.

“Victorians are now familiar with physical distancing, cashless/tap-and-go payments, reduced capacity in venues and hygiene measures and the snow season will be an extension of that” said Blampied of the season ahead. 

“What will be new this year is skiers and boarders will need to pre-plan like never before, booking in their resort entry and lift access so that we can manage guest numbers on a daily basis.”

Mt Buller has been working on a considered and collaborative approach with government and industry to prepare a resort-wide COVID SAFE operating plan to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff, guests and the wider community as restrictions ease.

That plan will include capacity management measures at key points such as transport, day shelters, public spaces, food and beverage outlets and of course ski lifting. 

The resort will introduce new safety measures such as traceability of guests, physical distancing requirements and rigorous hygiene and sanitation, all adapted to the unique challenges of their alpine setting.

Currently, Mt Buller is accessible for day visits and locals and can access the resort in accordance with Victorian State Government directives.

Anyone visiting from the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend (6-8 June) will be required to pre-purchase a resort entry pass online and carry wheel chains to enter the resort However, the ski field will remain closed, along with most of the other facilities and services that usually mark the formal commencement of the season. 

Pre-purchased ticketed entry enables the resort to manage capacity in accordance with the Victorian Governments’ public health measures. It also sustains essential services including snow clearing, parking and public facilities.

Watch this space as Mt Buller releases more information for ticket holders, information on mountain access and more in the days and weeks ahead. 

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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.