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Mountains are closed but hundreds show up anyway to go skiing and sledding

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Ski resorts have been forced to turn off the chairlifts and shut down completely to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. Disregarding the pandemic, Czechs are committing the ultimate sin of having fun in the snow. 

Approximately 300 people, mostly young families, are showing up for sledding and skiing at the Monínec ski area near Příbram every day. With the chairlifts down, they’re just hiking to the top of the mountain and then skiing back down.  

Jaroslav Krejčí, director of the resort, said, “It’s total chaos here. There are more people here when it’s closed than when it’s open.”

Unlike some other countries, in the Czech Republic, mountain resorts technically don’t have the right to ban people from entering the mountains since they are public property. Since the resorts put a lot of time and work into maintaining the snow on some of the ski runs, the Monínec resort took the liberty of closing off the main run and allowed the public to ski on the smaller ones.

“Some of the people are a bit unruly and still go to the main run. The snow is expensive for us and we don’t want it to be trampled on. People are free to come here, but we just ask for compliance with not entering the main run.”

Krejčí said that it’s pointless trying to monitor everyone to make sure they’re following the restrictions; Everyone shows up in groups, without masks, uninterested in social distancing. 

According to Libor Knot, director of  Asociace horských středisek ČR (Association of Mountain Resorts in the Czech Republic), there’s not a lot resorts can do to prevent people from doing this.

“Anyone from the forest can go there, of course. The slopes can’t be secured so that no one can enter them. It’s their responsibility. If they disregard the ban on the slopes, it’s their business.”

Photo credit: Areál Monínec via Facebook

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