The ski season is set to officially kick off in NSW and Victoria after weeks of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But it will not be quite business as usual when the mountains open up from June 22, with social distancing rules in place and lift passes needing to be pre-purchased at some spots.
Thredbo in NSW and Mount Buller in Victoria will start operating ski lifts from Monday, while Perisher and Victoria’s Mount Hotham and Falls Creek will start turning lifts on from Wednesday.
Ski resorts will operate at a reduced capacity and group ski and snowboarding lessons are not permitted, while all accommodation and facilities at the ski fields will have screening and safeguards in place.
The late start to the ski season comes days before school holidays in Victoria and a few weeks ahead of NSW school holidays in what will hopefully give the areas a much-needed tourism boost.
Perisher and Thredbo are forecast to receive only a smattering of snow in the coming days, while Falls Creek, Mount Hotham and Mount Buller can expect a bit more powder than their NSW counterparts.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Monday said in a statement rapid COVID-19 testing will be available for those in the Snowy Mountains region.
“Communities in the Snowy Mountains and those on major roads in and out depend heavily on tourism dollars and I know they will be very appreciative of the business brought in by visitors to the region, but it is imperative that we remember to be COVID safe,” Barilaro said.
“While our regional communities are ready to welcome you with open arms, the message remains clear – if you are sick, get tested and don’t travel.”