Dec 4, 2020 - World

Ski resorts stay closed in most of Europe, but not in Switzerland

Empty slopes on the Zugspitze. Photo: Angelika Warmuth/picture alliance via Getty Images

France and Italy are keeping ski resorts closed through the holidays, but Switzerland's share of the Alps is already open.

Driving the news: French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced random border checks to keep French skiers from hitting the Swiss slopes and returning to France. Germany has called for EU-wide closures of ski resorts until Jan. 10.

Flashback: Some of Europe's earliest outbreaks were traced back to ski resorts like Ischgl in Austria, where skiers from around the world caught the virus and brought it home with them.

  • The WHO says the concern isn't skiing itself, but crowded lodges, lifts, shuttles and airports.

Where things stand: Countries like Austria would take a massive economic hit if resorts were forced to close. Austria's government currently plans to start the ski season on Dec. 24, and it's said it will demand compensation if any EU-wide closures come into effect.

  • Switzerland isn't in the EU and plans to keep its lifts running. So far, resorts report that most of the skiers are Swiss.
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