OITAF report on the experience of the ski resorts in the countries in where one could ski (almost) normally
OITAF / FIANET survey
In collaboration with OITAF and FIANET, questions have been posed to operators’ associations from the United States, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland. In these five countries it was possible to ski (almost) with normality during winter 2020/21.
The survey included, among others, topics related to the respective applicable health protocols, such as the obligation to wear a mask, distance regulations and their control, disinfection, capacity constraints and general questions about the relationship between the pandemic and the operation of the ski resort, the opening of restaurants and hotels and the restrictions of national mobility.
The evaluation of the questions yielded the following conclusions:
The opening of the cable cars has no detectable influence on the course of the pandemic.
The operator associations of the surveyed countries have not been aware of any case contagion at cable transport facilities or at the ski resort.
Outside the operation of cableway facilities, isolated cases of contagion in those restaurants that were able to open.
Health protocols and organizational measures are identified as key factors for success of the operation.
Maintaining distance (1-2 m), obligation to wear a mask, organization of queues, sale online tickets, accompanying users at key points, avoiding crowds, disinfection of closed vehicles.
In the five countries the maximum number of users of the ski resort was not regulated.
Swiss Empa study on the risk of infection in cable cars:
Air renewal during the journey was measured at two cableway facilities. The investigations revealed the following:
138 air changes per hour in an 8-seater gondola with the windows open.
42 air changes per hour in a large cabin (80 people) with open windows.
To compare: 7-14 air changes per hour on the train, 1 air changes per hour on a office.
During the journey in a gondola lift or on a reciprocating cable car with the windows open, the probability of contagion is extremely low, due to the great renewal of the air and the short journey (normally less than 10 minutes).
The study is interesting and shows that cable transport facilities obtain extremely good results compared to other transport systems.
The study is available in German, French and English at the following link: https://www.empa.ch/web/s604/corona-risiko-in-der-seilbahn
Capacity limitations also show the other side of the coin.
With normal transport capacity, there are hardly any queues. In case of a restriction of the transport capacity, longer waiting times and large crowds can be expected.
The experiences of the aforementioned countries, where (almost) normal functioning was possible of cable transport facilities, did not reveal any verifiable relationship between the operation of ropeway facilities and the pandemic. The risk of contagion in ropeway facilities is extremely low if one observes an adequate concept of hygiene and appropriate organizational measures are taken, taking into account the great air renewal and short travel time