Border controls postpone Ischgl ski opening

The Tyrolean ski resort of Ischgl has postponed the opening of the ski season because of its links to the duty-free resort of Samnaun in Switzerland.

Many Austrian ski resorts opened over the Christmas period, even though it is almost impossible for foreign tourists to take to the slopes. However Ischgl authorities decided that it was too dangerous to open because of the different corona virus regulations in Switzerland and Austria, as well as quarantine obligations for those who cross the border.

The ski resort hopes to open in mid-January when, it is hoped, border and other restrictions may be lifted. Other ski resorts further down the Paznaun valley, such as See and Kappl, opened their ski areas on Christmas Eve. Galtür, the ski resort at the end of the Paznaun valley, remained closed despite having no ski connections to Switzerland but opened its lifts following New Year.

The Kappl ski area in the Paznaun valley opened on Christmas Eve
© TVB Paznaun – Ischgl

“We don’t want to take any risks”

“The different regulations in Austria and Switzerland currently speak against opening our cross-border ski area. We don’t want to take any unnecessary risks here,” said Markus Walser and Günther Zangerl, directors of the Silvretta lift company.

According to the regulations, for example, a quarantine would apply to skiers who, after crossing the border from Ischgl to Samnaun, cross back over to the Austrian side of the ski area.

In addition, there are different capacity restrictions for cable cars in the two countries. There are also different requirements for the type of mouth and nose protection on this side and the other side of the border. In addition, Switzerland – unlike Austria at present – allows mountain restaurants to offer take-away stations.

“The health of guests, staff and locals is paramount, so we will not allow any loopholes and will deliberately remain closed. After all, no less than eleven cable car installations in the joint ski area end directly at the national border,” Walser and Zangerl emphasise.

The cross-country ski trails between Ischgl and Galtür and the winter hiking trails and ice skating rinks are open.

The ski area above See in the Paznaun valley is also open
© TVB Paznaun – Ischgl

Ischgl aims for quality development of winter sports

Many of the measures taken in the past months for the coming ski season are aimed at raising the quality of what is on offer when it comes to winter sports in one of the largest ski areas in the Alpine region.

To curb ‘party tourism’, the local authorities recently decided on an alcohol ban in public places, which will apply both on the village streets and on lift company grounds.

“We are focusing on our unique ski area and the quality of what we have to offer. Thanks to the intensive efforts and preparations made by all the businesses in Ischgl and the Paznaun region, we are well prepared to offer our guests a maximum safe and relaxed holiday experience. We expect that this will indeed be possible again in the second half of January.”

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Articles updates: added that Galtür opened its ski area after New Year