Ski Season NZ Covid-19

How the Ski Season in New Zealand ran with Covid-19 restrictions

Colin Tanner 26th Sept 2020

As many of you may know, I spend my “summers” in New Zealand.
Obviously, summer in Europe is winter in NZ.

So in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic really kicked in and France, like many other countries, shut down it’s ski resorts, I packed up my bags and headed to my family in New Zealand.

Like many of us we thought that after a few months is was all going to blow over…. how naive were we?

In NZ, about 3 months out from the start of the ski season, it became very apparent that the question about whether or not the 2020 NZ ski season could go-ahead was a very real question.

As I heard one Ski Area boss say – the goal of getting a covid-19 ski season up and running successfully became a bit of a shining light of hope for the whole country…and the global ski world was watching.

NZ’s Government implemented a 4 tier Alert Level system. With Level 4 being “full lockdown” and Level 1 being life as “normal” but with the international borders closed.

In the build-up to the winter season, NZ started dropping down from the initial Level 4, to Level 3. With hard work and collaboration of ski resort management, guidelines and operating protocols were written up that would allow ski resorts to open if, and only if, Alert Level 2 was achieved.

So the goal was clear, get to Level 2 and the lifts could turn!

As it turned out opening dates were delayed because of maintenance delays that were caused by full lockdown in Level 4.

Then the alert levels dropped from 3 to 2 and then to Alert Level 1, all before the revised opening dates of 26th June.

So we opened the season on alert Level 1 – no restrictions, no masks required, no distancing required.

But would there be any customers? The international borders were closed and there are normally a lot of Australians and other overseas visitors who come skiing in NZ.

Ski Coaching in a Mask
Following Protocols On the Mountain

Turns out that New Zealanders, and those that were already inside the borders, couldn’t leave the country, so they came skiing! There were some really busy days during school holidays when the resorts infrastructures (roads, car parks, access etc) reached maximum capacity and therefore naturally limited the number of skiers in each ski resort.

The resorts were short staffed – no international workers – and things were busy.

Then on the 11th August Covid came back! As of the 12th August the whole country was at Alert Level 2 – so all the protocols that were originally written up were rolled out.

Masks were required – interestingly enough a ski buff, or neck tube, or a scarf was considered a suitable mask.
Social distancing was required which meant limited numbers of people on a chairlift at any one time – although if you were in your own “bubble” then you could all get on a chairlift as normal.
Lift line queues became longer as minimum distances between people was required.
Ski School lessons were still OK, but again distancing was adhered to and face masks/covers were encouraged.

So on the snow you were outside, in vast open areas, and things worked well.

Inside buildings and spaces were some of the trickiest areas to make changes.
Tables spaced out, limited numbers of people allowed in any space.
Bad weather was going to pose a problem, the limit to the number of people in an area would still apply. So if a storm or bad weather came in then people would have to head home, they couldn’t just squeeze into a restaurant or cafe and ride it out.
As it turned out the weather was good for the most part and outside tables were popular.

Restaurants and bars were table service only, all payments were cashless.
In fact, whole ski resorts went cashless for the whole ski season – all payments were by contactless card.

After an initial few nervous days, the ski season at Alert Level 2 got into the swing of things, and we all found ways to make ourselves and the people around us feel comfortable and safe.
It was all new, and awkward to start with, but everyone found their comfort zone, and it worked well.

To be honest, the biggest thing was making yourself and those around you feel safe.

Skiing with Covid Restrictions

Patience and kindness was the order of the day.
Things took longer!
Longer to buy a pass, longer to find a table, longer to get on the lift, longer to buy a coffee.
Everything took longer, and everyone knew this, but at first, there were still frustrations, but soon your expectations adjusted to the reality of the situation.

At the end of the day it was better to be skiing, and have to wait in a longer lift queue, than to not be skiing at all.

The NZ season is nearing the end now, and on reflection I think it will be seen as a successful season, ran under difficult conditions.
But it did run.

As the European and Northern Hemisphere winters approach, I am taken back to those feelings that we had in NZ three months before the season here.
The worry and the fear, the overall uncertainty about going into uncharted waters.

Looking back, those fears were needed as it motivated everyone to rethink and to adjust, once those adjustments were made, and the season got running then it was OK.
It was more than OK, it was good!

a personal reflection on the NZ ski season 2020

Looking to Europe and the Northern Hemisphere winter season I am sure that the next two or three months will be full of fear, and worries, and uncertainty.

But once it has started and we see that it can work, then the passion and love for the mountain and winter sports can shine through.

We will find ways to make ourselves, and those around us, feel comfortable and safe.

Here is hoping that in late spring 2021 we can all look back at what has been a successful season, ran under different circumstances.

Colin Tanner

First ski trip from USA to the French Alps

In Dec ’19 we were contacted by Juliana Gansl from ultimate-ski.com. She was coming to Europe to ski Val d’Isere, Val Thorens and Chamonix.

TDCski was delighted to have her sign up for a few off-piste backcountry guiding sessions so that we could get the chance to show her around what we already know to be the brilliant skiing on offer in Val d’Isere and Tignes.

Here is Juliana’s thoughts on Val d’Isere –
You can read the full article here.

Val d’Isere

Val D'Isere village night
Val d’Isere

©Juliana Gansl

After landing in Lyon, I got my rental car and started the 2.5-hour drive to Val d’Isere at the eastern end of the Vanoise National Park. Several Brits I met described Val d’Isere as a “chocolate box town,” meaning it’s wonderfully picturesque. They were right.

The main street is lined with ski stores, bakeries, restaurants and bars. Some of the side streets are located next to the base area, making everything centrally located and easily accessible. Val d’Isere, combined with its neighbouring resort, Tignes, make up one of the largest ski regions in France – the Espace Killy I purchased a 6-day pass with access to both resorts for USD $290 (including insurance for $2 per day, which would come in handy in case of an emergency). I also pre-booked two off-piste group guided days with The Development Centre (TDC), so that I could explore more challenging terrain and get the most out of the Espace Killy.

Pro-Tip: for skiers used to North American resorts – where mostly all trails, trees and bowls are considered in-bounds and therefore avalanche controlled, patrolled and marked – in Europe, plenty of lift-accessible terrain isn’t avalanche controlled, patrolled or marked. Make sure to familiarize yourself with Europe’s piste and off-piste definitions to avoid ending up in potentially life-threatening situations. Local piste maps are clear, but if in any doubt check your understanding on arrival.

My guides, Steve Angus and Rich Jones, were both professional, easy to communicate with, and extremely knowledgeable about the area. I happened to ski with them on two of the cloudier days, and they did an excellent job of finding untouched powder runs unaffected by the wind. Most importantly, I felt incredibly safe in their care, and would highly recommend them both.

Pro Tip: ensure you have a good low-light lens when skiing in Europe as most resorts are above the tree line, which means that visibility will always be poor when it’s cloudy.

As a solo traveler, I made a sincere effort to talk to strangers and say yes to as much as possible. My first afternoon after skiing I stopped into Chez Jules and the owner and I ended up taking shots of Génépy – an aperitif native to the region – in honor of sharing the same first name. On my second day, I started chatting with a group of young French skiers on the gondola and ended up skiing the entire day with them – including stopping for a delicious lunch at La Fruitiere and then for champagne and dessert at the infamous La Folie Douce next door. While walking around town another night, I befriended a group of lads from Manchester, UK, and met them the next several afternoons at CocoRico to dance on tables and drink caramel flavored Polish vodka.

In Val d’Isere my AirBnB apartment was in a small building located on Rue du Cachay in Rond Point des Pistes, next to the central bus round-about. It was a one-minute walk to the Solaise and Olympique lifts, 30 seconds to the CocoRico, and 5 minutes to the main street (just walk across the ski trail). The apartment luckily included a free, covered parking spot. I highly recommend staying in this area if options are available.

When my seventh day came, I was truly sad to have to leave Val d’Isere – I would have been perfectly happy spending my entire trip in The Espace Killy – but the Three Valleys was up next.

Ultimate-Ski guide to Val d’Isere >

Read Juliana’s full article here.

Special VIP SKI Package Weeks

Off Piste, Performance Clinics and Intro to Ski Touring.

24th March and 21st April

We have teamed up with top chalet operator VIP SKI again to offer TDC clients a fantastic deal.

Included in the package is unbeatable luxury accommodation in a fully catered VIP SKI chalet, flights, transfers and a place on a TDC Clinic.

Click here VIP SKI to book your place and see full package details.

Dates and prices

TDCski and VIP SKI are offering this fabulous package in March and April 2019.

24 March 2019

  • 7 night holiday & 3-day ski clinic – package price £1199 pp
    – saving £455
  • 7 night holiday & 5-day ski clinic – package price £1249 pp 
    – saving £516

21 April 2019

  • 7 night holiday & 3-day ski clinic – package price £929 pp
    – saving £296
  • 7 night holiday & 5 day ski clinic – package price £949 pp
    – saving £276

Clinic Levels

We are passionate about helping people really improve their skiing in an enjoyable and relaxed environment.
Our Clinics are adapted to fit the goals of the group and the conditions on the day.

CONFIDENCE CLINIC (on request) – for strong green run skiers…improve and consolidate on the basics of ski technique, learn to make easy flowing turns in control

DISCOVERY CLINIC (on request) – for strong blue run skiers…discover more of the mountain, make skiing easy, learn how to ski more challenging terrain, increase your speed whilst maintaining control, learn to carve

DEVELOPMENT CLINIC – for strong red run skiers…improve your technique, take on steeper slopes, ski more runs with greater confidence, take on different snow types to develop your performance

DEVELOPMENT PLUS CLINIC – for strong red run /ok black run skiers…use the skills you already have to take on more varied slopes, start to learn the basics of skiing bumps and skiing off the piste

CHALLENGES CLINIC – for strong black run skiers…take on new goals in the bumps, on the steeps, in difficult snow, on the piste; challenge yourself – there are always ways to get better…

INTRO TO SKI TOURING – for skiers with some off piste experience, no touring experience required.
Ski Touring is called “Ski Randonnée” in French, and it requires some specialist equipment. The first essential is ski touring bindings that lift at the heel when walking uphill but lockdown when you are ready to descend. You will also need skins that are fitted to the base of your skis when climbing. Skins prevent the skis from sliding backwards but allow the skis to slide forwards.

To Book a VIP SKI package week please contact VIP SKI – website.

Some of the above courses are available without the package deal, if you are looking to take part on these dates, then please email us
[email protected] or call +33615553156

Sweet Value Highs

“Shall We Go Skiing In December?”

Call in Early SeasocnSki Clinics or Start of Season Ski Clinics.

Have a read of this great article in the Independent Travel section about what it is like on a tdc – the development centre early season clinic in Val d’Isère staying with VIP SKI.

Get value, great accommodation, get coaching!

TDCski Early Season Clinics

Shall we go skiing in December?
Even at the start of the ski season, France’s Espace Killy is an enticing prospect, offering high-altitude snow and accessible luxury.

Find out more – https://www.vip-chalets.com/ski-courses

Jan 27th 2017 Snow Conditions Val d’Isere Tignes

This week Clare is telling us all about the current snow conditions in Val d’Isere and Tignes…

Conditions On Piste Are Fantastic…Again

TDCski Coach Clare
Clare’s Report

Dustings of snow, Off Piste is good, can be wind effected, some good snow in the gullys.

Things are looking good for February.

Watch a honest and open summary of the current snow conditions.

If you are keen to see this seasons reports then be sure to watch out for them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo.

Keep Watching!!!

TDCski The Development CentreSki Lessons Val d’IsereSki Lessons Tignes

Want To Know What The Snow Conditions Are Like?

In recent weeks there seems to have been quite a lot of internet discussion about what the snow conditions in Europe and the Alps have been like.

Snow Conditions Val d’Isere and Tignes

Snow Report
Video Snow Report Gi Tells It How It Is

The Alps cover a big area and there are lots of different weather patterns that will bring different amounts of snow to different regions.

At TDCski The Development Centre – we have been making weekly videos that will give you an honest opinion about what the snow is like in Val d’Isere and Tignes.

So if you are coming to Val d’Isere or Tignes, or maybe you are just thinking about which ski resort you should go to, then have a look at our weekly snow reports.

Last Seasons Wrap Up

We are honest and try to maybe bring a smile to everyone’s faces; just a little!

Here is an end of season wrap up (out-takes) of all of the snow reports from last season (2015/2016)

If you are keen to see this seasons reports then be sure to watch out for them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo.

Watch this space!!!

TDCski The Development CentreSki Lessons Val d’IsereSki Lessons Tignes

 

Surviving Winter

OK, “surviving” might be a bit strong, but keeping warm on the slopes in the middle of winter can be a challenge. As well as the main clothing like jackets and trousers, there are other things that can make a big difference for people who struggle to stay warm:

Wear Thermals

Extremities get cold first. It is what the body does to protect itself from cold. So, if your hands or feet get cold, it might not be down to the gloves or boots, but because you haven’t got enough layers on. Wear good thermals, and if your hands and feet are still cold, wear another jumper.

Wear Thermals TDCski
Wear Good Thermals

Helmet and Hat

Helmets can expose the neck to cold mountain air. Neck warmers, thin balaclavas or multipurpose tubes keep you toasty warm. Like scarves, but better.

Get your feet out

Particularly for skiers: if your feet have been cold and numb for more than an hour, you need to warm them up. Get inside, take off the boots and get the feet warm again. This will allow you to ski again afterwards, rather than developing serious cold injuries.

Lange Boots
Get Your Feet Out

Dry your boots

Damp or wet boots are bad news. You need to dry your boots overnight, so if the hotel or apartment doesn’t have specific boot heaters, you need to make your own arrangements. Portable boot dryers work really well and are easier than balancing boots on radiators.

Giles Lewis Dynastar
Dynastar Skis

Giles Lewis is an ambassador for Dynastar skis and Lange boots. He is a ski Instructor with the development centre, who operate in val d’isere Tignes and the Three Valleys, FranceHe is a trainer and examiner of Instructors for BASI and a member of the British Demo team.

 

www.tdcski.com

#tdcski #basi #valdisere #dynastar #lange

You Want To Go Skiing, But Your Partner Is Not So Keen

You want to go skiing, but your partner is not so keen – “what else is there to do on a ski holiday apart from ski?” they keep saying.

Well once you are out there on the slopes, ripping it up here are a few ideas from our friends at Ski Bonjour.

Not a Keen Skier? Here’s What Else You Can Do on a Skiing Holiday…

So you’ve somehow found yourself being roped into a skiing holiday with family or friends, despite the fact that your idea of an active holiday is one that involves more than a minute’s walk to the bar. First things first, don’t panic! Whether you’re a ski connoisseur or ‘can’t-oisseur’, we’ve got your back.

Apres Ski in a Spa
what could be better than the chance to enjoy a soothing massage

If you’re about to jet off very soon, we’ve put together a few things you can add to your to-do list to ensure you don’t find yourself feeling too bored when everyone else is hitting the piste.

Of course, you could join them; there’s nothing wrong with starting out on a small slope after all. But if you can’t think of anything worse than the prospect of a tumble in the snow, go for one of the following options instead…

Check Out Your Resort’s Spa

Love to kick back and relax? You might just be in luck if you go skiing then, with many of the resorts having a spa on site. In the chalets themselves, you might find everything from hydro-massage baths fed with thermal water, or even a Jacuzzi or hot tub outside.

The resort spas will no doubt offer everything from facials to mud wraps, and even Turkish baths. And what could be better than the chance to enjoy a soothing massage when your skin’s feeling cold and tingly following a day facing the elements?

Make the Most of a Quiet Chalet – If you’re someone who’s constantly dashing around, you’ll probably appreciate the chance to kick off your shoes and relax. And if you’re joining family or friends on a skiing holiday, the good news is there will most likely be out on the slopes for the majority of the day. With that in mind, treat the break like you would a relaxing beach holiday; start the day with a lie in and grab a good book or two to get stuck into. Later, take a hot bath while watching a film via your in-bathroom TV – many ski resorts have them, so make sure you check the brochure or website to check before you go!

Try a Husky Ride – You might not like the sound of hitting the ski slopes but that doesn’t always mean that, as a non-skier, you won’t enjoy other snow-based activities. So why not let man’s best friend show you around in the snow and experience dog sledding? Husky rides are one of the most traditional ski break pastimes and nothing beats the chance to enjoy the scenery without having to hobble around in the ice and snow.

Thrill Seeker? Give Paragliding a Go – If snow’s a no-no for you, try soaring above the mountains – tandem or solo – with a spot of paragliding. It’s fast becoming a must-try non-ski activity in a host of skiing resorts and it’s one of the best ways to make the most of the gorgeously wintry surroundings

Join the Others for Après-Ski Socialising – Have you spent the day on your own, mug of coffee in hand and roaring fire lit? By the time the others make their way back to the chalet you’ll be crying out for some company, we bet, so think about taking advantage of the party atmosphere many ski resorts offer. There are plenty of things to do and places to go after a day’s spent on the slopes, so feast on some of the area’s delicious foods and order a local beer to wash it down with. It’s right about now that you’ll realise exactly why your friends and family were right to persuade you to join them for the break!

Ski Bonjour
www.skibonjour.com
OUTSTANDING AFFORDABLE CATERED CHALETS
VAL D’ISÈRE • TIGNES LES BRÉVIÈRES • TIGNES LE LAC

What’s New in the 3 Valleys?

This Summer sees a lot of work going on around the 3 Valleys with 3 new lifts going in.

In Mottaret the old fixed chairs of Arolles & Table Verte are removed along with the Combes 4-man chair. A new Combes 6-seater routed to the right of where it is now and with a mid-station exit to a new floodlit green run is being constructed. A new beginners area with a short Arolles drag lift are also being built.

Over in the Belleville Valley the occasional bottleneck of St Martin 2 is to be relieved with an upgrade to a 6 seater hi-speed detachable hooded chair with the old 4-man being moved to replace the old Bettex 2-man chair to now give access to the bottom of the Gros Tougne piste for direct access in to Les Menuires.

Watch La Société des 3 Vallées video animating some of the new upgrades

Are you Skiing in Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Motteret, St.Martin or Les Menuires?

Why not try a Private Development with TDCski in the 3 valleys this winter ?
There’s no better way to hone old and new skills than to take a 3 hour private development lesson with one of our BASI 4 coaches.
We can tailor each lesson specifically to your requirements and concentrate on your strengths and weaknesses to produce a better performance all over the mountain.
Lessons start at 9am or 1pm and are available at just 250€ for 1-4 people.
We can meet you in Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Motteret, St.Martin or Les Menuires.
To book contact [email protected] or call +33 6 85 88 05 91

TDCski Meribel
Hone Your Ski Skills with TDCski coaching

The thing I love about skiing most is…

Win a lesson with
the development centre 

Photo/Story Comp

photo credit Siobhãn Miller
photo credit Siobhãn Miller

As our thoughts start to turn to winter, we find ourselves, starting to think more about the excitement of the oncoming season.
We find ourselves getting skis and boots out of the locker, even though we know that it is another two months until we get to play on them.

Computers are busy with preparations and talk of new snow, and our minds start running wild with thoughts of seasons past. Memories of the best powder days, of the finest blue bird days, of the friends, of the laughter, of the fun all start to coming to the fore of the mind.

With all these thoughts and emotions flying around, here at TDCski we have found ourselves starting to tell each others stories.
“Do you remember that time when…”, “What about when we…”, “The thing I loved that day the most was…” the stories go on.

If we’re having these thoughts then we bet you are too.

it was deep
it was deep

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get everyone to share their stories?

So we thought it might be fun if we run a little competition – the winner gets a free TDCski Val d’Isere 3hr Private Lesson (€230-€280), or a free place on a 5 day Early Season Clinic (€300).

Win a Free Private Lesson or 5 day Early Season Clinic

Fun with a Helicopter
Fun day out with friends

To win this prize all you need to do is to post a photo and a story,  or an heartfelt recollection, of what it is that you love about skiing the most on our Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/tdcski

A great photo, well written words, an overall passion for skiing.

The competition will be open until Val d’Isere’s opening day 28th Nov 2015.

Photos and stories will be reviewed by a select TDCski panel.
The Panel is looking for/judging based on – a great photo, well written words, an overall passion for skiing.
Winner will be announced on Val d’Isere opening day – 28th Nov.

We love skiing, we know you do too, so share those stories.

We love skiing, we know you do to, so share those stories with us and win some fantastic ski coaching.

www.tdcski.com

www.facebook.com/tdcski