24 days until the Stubai Glacier opens, as the first snow arrives.

It’s hard to believe that the Stubai Glacier will be welcoming skiers and snowboarders to its slopes in just over 3 weeks. Then again, what is believable about 2020?

August snow isn’t unheard of in the Alps, but it somewhat disturbs the bathing routines. However, September snow is common and mighty useful as it facilitates the opening of the glacier skiing areas. So, a first of September, first snowfall of the season could be described as perfect timing. And so it was, that 25cm of snow fell on the Austrian skiing glaciers, whilst the valleys got lashed with rain.

The Stubai Glacier is proposing a 25th September ski opening (depending on conditions) and for those unable to wait that long, then the Hintertux Glacier is already open for business, and in fact doesn’t close for business. Jagged Horizons ltd have been taking enquiries and making bookings for the upcoming season, even before all the pandemic protocols are released by the resorts. The summer mountain activities offer an insight into the likely mitigations that will operate, and it is reasonably likely that the shoulder to shoulder, après ski bars might not be operating conventionally over the coming winter. As well as the bad press that followed outbreaks in some of the big-name après ski venues, the science has caught up with the facts on the ground and indoor proximity is a no, no. Until the regulations are released, it can’t be said definitively that wall to wall revellers will be missing this winter, but it seems an easy win for public health. 

Before the après ski die-hards sink further into 2020 despair, there are many après ski venues that offer great après action, social distancing and fresh, open air (the latter 2 seemingly reducing transmission risks greatly). Think the White Lounge in Mayrhofen, with its deck chairs, wonderful views and ambient beats. How about the terrace at the Seegrube, with stunning views over Innsbruck or our favourite, the rickety Dohlennest in Axamer Lizum, Innsbruck which ensures every patron sits on the terrace beneath some of the most staggering rock in Austria. 2020/21 is going to be a different winter, with some venues having to adapt or close, but there will be a whole lot more that is recognisable than absent. On the chair lifts, amongst the circulating alpine air, with snoods pulled up, bubbles open and gloved hands, we may notice very little change. We await the published policies in the coming days / weeks, along with the early season blankets of snow.

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