STA, 11 December 2020 - Despite the restrictions related to the Covid-19 epidemic, skiing season is starting in Kranjska Gora, Pohorje above Maribor and at Krvavec, but only for locals. The accompanying activities are prohibited, though, so the question is whether ski lifts will operate for long if restrictions are not lifted.
The first ski lift in Kranjska Gora was launched on Thursday, although only locals may visit the resort due to the ban on travel between municipalities. Another ski lift is scheduled to be launched today.
The local ski lift operator is thus the first to start the skiing season in the country, and although all accompanying programmes and activities are suspended, the locals have already hit the slopes in Kranjska Gora.
Blaž Veber, the director of the tourism company Turizem Kranjska Gora, says that such a start of the season nevertheless raises a lot of questions.
"We are all actually confused, because we don't know what is right and what is wrong," Veber told the STA on Friday, adding that coronavirus measures had been expected to be relaxed in accordance with the government's plan adopted last week.
"Only ski lifts are allowed to be launched. This is too little for any serious ski resort to operate with economic feasibility. This is exactly the situation we have found ourselves in," he added.
One of the problems is that skiers are not able to purchase passes in person, but only online, and that no other services could be provided in the ski resort.
For the time being, skiing is allowed only to locals, with the entire municipality of Kranjska Gora numbering only around 5,200 residents.
Skiing season is also starting on Saturday in the Pohorje Hills above Maribor. Marprom, the company operating the ski resort, said that daily passes would cost EUR 20, with discounts for students, pensioners, children and disabled persons.
Skiers will be required to wear face masks, and restrictions related to the number of persons riding open-air ski lifts are also in place. While waiting in lines and skiing, skiers are required to keep a safety distance of at least 1.5 metres.
While Kranjska Gora could have problems with attendance due to the small size of the municipality, Pohorje is looking at a much higher potential number of skiers as the Maribor city municipality numbers more than 112,000 residents.
Four open-air ski lifts will also be launched on Saturday at Krvavec, north-east of Kranj, the operator RTC Krvavec said, noting that the gondola lift would not operate, and that access to the resort would be possible only by car.
The remaining major ski resorts in the country - Rogla, Kope, Vogel, Kanin and Golte, will not open at the weekend either because of the municipal travel ban or the ban on the use of enclosed gondola lifts.