Well, 2021 certainly showed us that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. At the beginning of the year we thought Australia had largely contained the spread of COVID-19, with relatively few positive cases being recorded in the lead up to the 2021 ski season. Early snow provided all resort operators with hope and a good dose of optimism, and all of us geared up for a great snow season. Bookings were made, mountain staff were engaged and businesses were prepped for a long and busy winter. Opening weekend, particularly in NSW, was incredibly busy and broke all sorts of records.
Then the Delta variant inveigled its way into our lives and seemingly spread to all corners of our society. Lockdowns and travel restrictions came thick and fast, with resorts being forced to close a number of times during the season. Skiers and snowboarders were champing at the bit to get to the resorts, but with borders closed and major population centres in total lockdown, making travel and holiday plans became an impossible dream. To taunt us further the NSW ski season finished prematurely with the imposition of yet another lockdown. The resorts in Victoria did struggle to the end of the designated season, but only for the few regional Victorians prepared to get a COVID-19 test and take their chances.
The good news is that the gloom is lifting. A high vaccination rate was always going to be the solution to the pandemic, and that is what we now have. Society is opening up to long forgotten freedoms, with the reimposition of lockdowns seemingly behind us for good. Summer in the resorts looks firmly on the agenda which is great news for local and regional communities and the jobs that rely on alpine tourism. Even better, winter 2022 is something we can all look forward to with confidence.
While we thought 2021 was our “Welcome Back” year, to be sure 2022 will be ours to raise our voices even louder and say – “WELCOME BACK”! Stay tuned and see you next year.