The NSW ski season will commence on 22 June after Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro announced the NSW ski season will start on the same day as Victoria.
However, numbers on the mountains will be capped, bookings will need to be in advance and social distancing rules will be in place to ensure the safety of skiers, Mr Barilaro said.
“We have been working with Perisher, Thredbo and Charlotte Pass, the local police, the community [and] council, just making sure that we have put all those protocols and measures in place,” he said.
“It will not become the same ski season that we have all become accustomed to. I believe we will have plenty of snow … [but] you have got to make sure you are aware of all the requirements under social distancing because we do not want to spoil it for everybody else.”
Traditionally the ski season starts on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. Mr Barilaro says the extra time will be used to make sure everyone gets COVID-19 measures right.
More restrictions will be put in place at Thredbo, including tip-to-tail queues, a limit of two people on quad-chairs and gondola cabins at a time, one person per T-bar and a 1.5-metre social distancing requirement.
Daily capacity will be limited and guests will need to prepurchase day lift passes or multi-day passes, Thredbo General Manager Stuart Diver, said.
“It is going to be different this winter, and we have been working really hard to prepare a model that works, but we need to rely on the cooperation and understanding of all of you as well,” Mr Diver said.
“Gondola construction is almost complete and it will be well and truly open for the ski season.
“I cannot imagine how great it is going to feel to get out there and do those first turns because it has been a long summer.”
The resort’s restaurants and bars will operate in line with the NSW Government’s hospitality and gathering restrictions and only private skiing and snowboarding lessons will be offered, Thredbo’s management said.
Perisher has not announced a start date for its ski season but says it will continue to make preparations for the 2020 winter season.
“We are serious about snow, and we know you are too, but we are most serious about safety,” Perisher’s website says.
“As we prepare for the 2020 winter season, we want to assure you that first and foremost we are committed to protecting the health and safety of our guests and employees.”