Ski tourers asked to stay out of the mountains

17th March 2020, by Abi Butcher

Police appeal for ski touring to end in Switzerland. Photo: Tristan Kennedy

Police appeal for ski touring to end in Switzerland. Photo: Tristan Kennedy

While more ski resorts across North America shut their lifts, European mountain areas are appealing for skiers and snowboarders who have taken to ski touring and split boarders to exercise caution — or stay out of the mountains.

Police in the Swiss canton of Valais – home to ski resorts including Verbier and Zermatt — issued a statement today on behalf of the police, rescue teams and hospitals in Valais, appealing to everyone participating in mountain sports.

“Given the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic, it is essential not to overload hospital emergencies. Consequently, we call on the population to unite as much as possible and to practice certain sports activities such as ski touring, mountaineering, climbing, canyoning, etc with caution.

“Rescue teams must be able to concentrate on the Covid-19 fight without having to be engaged in mountain rescue exposing doctors and rescuers to additional risks at the expense of other patients.”

One Verbier resident told Where to Ski & Snowboard that “everything is shut” in Switzerland including outdoor tennis courts.

Meanwhile in Norway, the same edict has been issued, asking climbers, ski tourers and paragliders to stay out of the mountains to free up rescue helicopters and the emergency services to deal with coronavirus patients.

The travel industry, like the rest of the world, is reeling from the current situation and we can only appeal to skiers to postpone and rebook for next year, rather than cancel their holidays to minimise the impact of this devastating situation.

Stay safe everyone.

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