After weeks of deliberation and talks with public officials, the crew at Dolomiti Paganella Bike Park are ready to open up the lifts and trails for the 2020 summer season. The season will kick off with six lifts open, and roughly 85% of the trails cleared and ready to rip. Services typically begin in mid April, so the coronavirus hasn’t eaten too much of the season.
Park director Luca D’Angelo said that while there have been e-bikers riding the trails already this season, since they don’t need the lifts to reach the peak, he recognizes that the product that draws people to the park is its fast uplift access.
Face masks will be required on all chairlifts and in gondolas, as well as at the ticket office and in other tight public spaces. Riders can huddle up on chairlifts to their full capacity, whereas gondolas will be kept to a two-thirds capacity maximum. The park management has created a Ride Responsibly resource page that riders will must follow. D’Angelo added that “We need collaboration form the riders. They need to follow the procedures in terms of social distancing. Of course on the trails they don’t need the mask.”
At the moment the resort will only be open on the weekends since the usual international clients from Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and Switzerland are not yet able to travel to the Dolomites. A lot of their usual Italian guests had to use much or all of their vacation days during the pandemic, so there is also less domestic demand on the weekdays. Starting on the 29th of June the lift schedules will extend to the weekdays, and Paganella Bike Park director Luca D’Angelo expects restrictions to change and international tourism to resume to some degree.
We asked D’Angelo if he knew of other resorts and bike parks that will be opening in the Alps, and he said he thinks all of them will open eventually. Canazei is planning to open soon, LaThuile is scheduled to have lifts running on the 4th of July, while many other parks have yet to set a date. Plan de Corones (Kronplatz) in Italy and Lenzerheide in Switzerland are also opening on Saturday.
There will be fewer restaurants and hotels open than usual, so make sure to call before you load up your bikes. More of the large hotels will start offering beds after the 20th of June.