Fresh snow beckons Italian skiers returning after 20 months

After a season of being restricted to watching snow accumulate on distant mountains, Italian skiers are finally returning to the slopes that have been off-limits since the first pandemic lockdown in March 2020

Alpine Skiing, Skiing

11/27/2021 8:59:00 PM

After a season of being restricted to watching snow accumulate on distant mountains, Italian skiers are finally returning to the slopes that have been off-limits since the first pandemic lockdown in March 2020.

After a season of being restricted to watching snow accumulate on distant mountains, Italian skiers are finally returning to the slopes that have been off-limits since the first pandemic lockdown in March 2020

The Associated PressA tourist gestures while skiing, at Plan de Corones ski area, Italy South Tyrol, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. After nearly two years of being restricted to watching snow accumulate on distant mountains, Italian skiers are finally returning to the slopes that have been off limits since the first pandemic lockdown in March 2020. But just as the industry is poised to recover from a lost 2020-2021 season after an abrupt closure the previous year, a spike in cases in the Alpine province bordering Austria is underlining just how precarious the situation remains. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

SAN VIGILIO DI MAREBBE, Italy -- After nearly two years of being restricted to watching snow accumulate on distant mountains, Italian skiers are finally returning to the slopes that have been off-limits since the first pandemic lockdown in March 2020.

But just as the industry is poised to start its recovery from the lost season and the abrupt closure the previous year, a spike in cases in the Alpine province bordering Austria is underlining just how precarious the situation remains.As if on cue, snow fell overnight into Saturday, blanketing the slopes of Plan de Corones in the South Tyrolean town of San Vigilio di Marebbe, giving a fresh covering to the man-made base just in time for opening day Saturday. Skiers came from as far away as Croatia and the Italian capital, Rome, as well as from neighboring valleys where slopes have yet to open. headtopics.com

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“I have shivers up and down my spine, because we left the slopes on the famous March 8 of 2020, rushing to Rome because everything was going into lockdown,” said Monica Meloni, 53, from Rome, as snow continued to fall. “We did the last run on this slope, looking at each other and asking ourselves, 'When can we get back?' It took nearly two years."

Her companion, Massimo Vela, said he was optimistic that the season would continue unabated.“We hope it goes well not just for us tourists, but for all the workers in the Alpine region. This is a very important industry,'' he said.To ensure the safety of skiers, the Dolomoti Superski network of 16 ski resorts, with 1,200 kilometers (nearly 750 miles) of runs in the Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto regions, including Plan de Corones, have launched a special ski pass. It is integrated with the nation's

pass and is aimed at ensuring access to closed lifts only to those who are vaccinated, recently recovered from COVID-19 or have a recent negative test.

Read more: ABC News »

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