Italy has a snowy, closed ski resort

CORTINA, Italy (AP) – The granite peaks, with Cortina d’Ampezzo glittering granite peaks being the most famous snowfall of the year, are a cruel joke of nature while the Covid-19 epidemic ravages Italy’s winter resorts.

Cortina will be flashing on TV sports channels for two weeks this month, as past and future Olympic host city hosts the 2021 World Ski Championships, sending skiers downhill flying down the ip. But a small portion of the hotel rooms available at the event will be allocated, and it is unlikely to bring much business to the city’s luxury boutiques. No viewers allowed.

In fact, the drag of activity seems to be the only flicker in the ski season that is never set to take off, as the Italian government delays reopening the lift for leisure skiers. The World Championships will provide good optics in view of the 2026 Milan-Corti Winter Olympics, but little financial relief for local businesses and workers carrying the winter sports economy, which has been closed for almost a year.

“In November, we made snow in November, because we didn’t know what to do,” said Marco Jardini, chief executive of Cortina’s Skyworld. Had to prepare. ” There are now only four lifts to be used by local clubs and aspiring world-class athletes that must be in shape for future seasons.

Italy’s 2019-2020 ski season ended unexpectedly in early March last year, when the country became the first western country to be hit by an epidemic. Unlike neighboring Switzerland, a new season is yet to begin, which allowed the lift to open with restrictions in December, or in Austria, where residents can still ski. France’s ski lifts are closed at least during February.

In Italy, the epidemic-hit industry is hit, generating 1.2 billion euros (1.5 1.5 billion) in annual revenue and employing 5,000 permanent and 10,000 seasonal workers, according to the Association of Ski Lift Operators ANEF.

The association said revenue fell 20% late at the start of last year’s season and the current season was a total loss. The ski industry generates 11 billion euros (13.2 billion euros) in annual revenue from hotels, rest restaurants, rentals and other services, but travel restrictions have kept activity close to zero at the top of the steeled lifts.

“Mountains, you cannot give up for yourself. They need to be taken care of, “said ANEF President Valeria Ghezi.

The paradox is that 2020-21 would have been a record history in Cortina, and nowhere else in the Italian Alps, where the amount of snow has increased, Jordini said.

In any season, Cortina’s Tony Corso de Italia Shopping Street can compete with Milan’s Montanapolion Golden Triangle for the concentration of its luxury brands, including Dior, Fendi and Moncler. But the shops are empty of customers and most of the hotels have shutters. Many hotels have several feet of snow on the roof and terrace.

In a normal year, Italians make up about half of Cortina’s annual 1 million annual visitors, and more foreign visitors than Americans, Germans and Britons.

While global fashion brands can expect to balance the sharp decline in business with booming sales in China, this is not the case for local businesses. Sports store owner Bruno Pompenin Dimai called the season a “disaster” for Cortina. He has sold a few pairs of boots and a ski jacket all winter. His only reassurance is that ski brands have promised not to upgrade their ings fur next season so he can sell his remaining inventory.

“With so much snow, I can’t do a double job,” Dimai said.

Ingrid Siorpais, who runs a local handicraft shop, said sales are down 90 percent. The only people walking on the snowy main street are locals and the people riding the epidemic in their other homes.

“Even if I have to lay down a salesperson, we stay open,” Siorpace said. “The store is missing foreign tourists.”

It is not so different from other ski areas around the Alps and en Peninis where instead of generating cash, many lift operators are spending for the season which never comes.

While ski resorts generate cash in four months of the year, maintenance and upkeep is a year-round expense – something ski resort operators say the government in Rome has slowed to understand.

No aid package is coming for the ski industry, and the situation is dire for the workers. Permanent workers may be placed on short-term layoffs, but such programs are not available to seasonal workers, making up the bulk of the industry’s lift operators, ski instructors, mountain guides, rental shop workers and hotel and restaurant workers.

Ghezi, president of the Ski Lift Association, doubts the lift will open on February 15, according to current plans.

“Unfortunately, I have to say that this season has been indefinitely compromised,” he said. “We can say that there is a total loss of the season. If we could open in March, it could be 90% or 95%. I can’t deny that some companies can fail. “

In early March, Giulio de Luca, who runs a ski school in Siat Vito, will spend most of his time teaching, which is part of Cortina’s skiworld. Since last spring he has seen only 600 euros (22,722) being paid by the government – which was then quickly followed by a tax bill of 950 euros (14 1,143).

De Luca from the government said the trainers did not receive a single penny in November, December and January. As well as ski schools are not yet eligible for assistance, while rent, utility, phone and tax bills continue to come.

“I have the money to pay taxes now, but not next month,” he said.


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