Switzerland: Good Start To The Winter Season

After the winter season started in December 2020 with a minus of 15% in first-time entries - there were cantonal closings of ski areas and the capacities of gondolas and cabins were reduced to two thirds - the winter season 2021/22 starts much more positively. Since the start of the season, there has been an increase of over 30% in first-time entries and in sales compared to the previous year. Compared to the five-year average, the increase is 31% in first-time entries and 19% in sales.
The winter season in the Swiss ski areas got off to a good start. After the ski areas had proven in the first Corona winter last year that safe winter fun is possible, a more favorable booking situation over Christmas became apparent even before winter. Compared to the previous year, which started more difficult due to stricter Covid measures, many ski areas were able to start operating much earlier and the guests were happy about the good snow and weather conditions. Across Switzerland, there was a 33% increase in first-time entries and 31% in sales (see Fig. 1).
Regional differences
Eastern Switzerland (+ 105%) in particular, but also the Arc Jurassien (+ 53%), Valais (+ 38%) and Central Switzerland (+ 35%) can look back on an extremely positive start to the season. However, these regions were partially affected by the closure of their ski areas in the previous year. Ski areas were closed in the cantons of Central and Eastern Switzerland. Most of the ski areas there were only able to resume operations on December 30, 2020 and January 2, 2021, respectively. The winter sports experience was generally more enjoyable this year, as the mountain gastronomy was again able to entertain guests thanks to the 2G rule.
But Graubünden, the Bernese Oberland and the Vaud and Freiburg ski areas also started with a plus. In addition to the low temperatures and good snow conditions, which led to good snow sport conditions before Christmas, the branch also benefited from school holidays that were partially postponed. Likewise, some winter sports enthusiasts who normally spend their ski holidays in surrounding countries, where stricter corona measures apply, are also likely to have booked their Christmas holidays in Switzerland. Sales correlate with first-time entries in all regions.
Comparison with a longer period (2016-2020)
The change compared to the five-year average for Switzerland as a whole is 31% for first-time entrants and 19% for sales. In the regions, too, the current start of the season is very positive compared to the five previous years (see Fig. 2; no comparison values ​​in the Arc Jurassien).
Mountain Lifts in the pandemic
Despite the positive winter start, the Covid situation remains tense. A safe winter operation for the guests has top priority. Accordingly, the mountain railways decided on a voluntary basis in mid-December 2021 and introduced capacity restrictions for large cabins and organized the waiting area in an orderly manner. This also ensured that the same rules apply throughout Switzerland and that the guests can optimally adapt to them. 

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