Hokkaido ski resort comprehensive guidelines drafted

Sapporo Bankei Ski Area bustling with skiers

The Hokkaido Ropeway & Ski Lift Association (Sapporo), a group made up of Hokkaido ski lifts and resorts, began concentrating on public relations efforts for the upcoming winter. The efforts will mainly target Hokkaido residents.
In addition to drafting guidelines in August that will apply to all resorts and lifts as a measure to counter the novel coronavirus, the Association is also currently investigating the possibility of initiating the first event to be held jointly by six ski facilities in Sapporo. With the novel coronavirus dampening prospects for customers coming from overseas, this is an attempt to rekindle a passion for skiing in the people of Hokkaido, who have long been seen as “disengaging from skiing”.

The guidelines will be announced soon, and the core concepts are expected to be procedures like generally limiting gondola lift passenger groups to friends and family, reminding skiers to wear goggles and facemasks, and requesting visitors to maintain a two-meter distance from other visitors in rest areas and around the lift departure area. The guidelines will also promote the consideration of introducing admission restrictions during rush times.

Due to the low prospect of foreign visitors this winter as a result of impact from the novel coronavirus, revenue for the six ski resorts in Sapporo is expected to decrease by thirty percent from last year even in the best case scenario. Advisor Akiyama of the Hokkaido Ropeway & Ski Lift Association said, “Hokkaido ski resorts have generally not put much energy into attracting local visitors. The coronavirus pandemic is a good opportunity to rethink our fundamental approach.”