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Winter sport and Covid-19 | Four elements

Snowshoe hikers

Winter sport and Covid-19 in Bavaria, Germany

In Bavaria we are now in the second wave of Covid-19 and entering our second lockdown. At the same time, snow is falling on our favourite landscapes and the skis, snowshoes and hiking boots are itching to get out and play in the winter wonderland. As we all know being active and spending time in the great outdoors plays such an important part of our physical and mental well being, yet at the same time we are faced with a bigger force and are being asked for this period of time to hold back for the greater good.

As every mountaineer knows risk analysis is a very subjective topic- each of us brings our own experiences, knowledge and emotions to a situation and the assessment can cause quite a good discussion! We also learn to listen to our instinct to make choices that are right for us and to also listen and understand when others make different choices. In the work that we do, we believe that it is most important to support people to assess risk and benefits themselves, to understand the facts and empower them in decision-making. So here a few facts and tips from us to help you manage your lockdown outdoor and mountain life this festive period.

Official current measures and restrictions relevant to mountain sports 14.12.20: Corona FAQ Bayern
  • Sport and movement in fresh air is a valid reason for being outside, as long as the contact restrictions are adhered to.
  • Contact reduction: Reduce contacts with others to the minimum. Maximum two households and no more than five people (exception of Christmas).
  • Curfew: Be home between 21:00-05:00 ie. no winter bivak/ survival experiences for now.
  • Mountain huts are currently closed across the Alps (some have winter rooms for emergency shelter only) and a few are offering To-Go food and drink – but as always check before you go.
  • Travel across the border is out for winter sport until at least 10.01.21 unless you want to do a 10 day quarantine.

Winter leaf

Considerations for tours:
  • Health is No1: Head out only if you feel fit and healthy- i.e. if you have any suspicion that you may be suffering from symptoms of the corona virus (breathing difficulties, cough, fever), even on the morning of the tour, don’t go!
  • Avoid exposure to others: Only go in the allowed group sizes, avoid points of contacts with people outside of this & maintain social distancing – minimum 1.5m stationary .g. peak times for travel, hotspots, picnicking at summits where lots of people gather and have your facemask handy for when this is not possible. When active (ie. climbing uphill) the DAV recommends keeping a greater distance since we breath heavily
  • Avoid unnecessary physical contact: Replace the handshakes, hugs and summit high 5s with hiking boot taps!
  • Hygiene: Avoid touching your face. Use hand sanitizer before applying sun cream and eating/ drinking. Wash your hands well as soon as you can.
  • Be prepared for your tour: Especially in winter when the environment is less forgiving! Have plenty of food and drink, extra clothing, first aid kit and relevant gear for your activity (download our handy winter walking guide below)
  • Know your limits: Plan tours that are well within your physical and mental comfort zone – mountain rescue and hospitals will be thankful for this.
  • Less is more: Reducing trips to the mountains at the moment can play a part in reducing the burden on the local communities and their infrastructure, as well as reducing the traffic which is not the fun part of a day in the outdoors. Plan your tours well to really maximise your time and experience there. Try switching your phone off for the entire day to be really present and get the most out of it. Perhaps add another element into it that adds a different challenge e.g. stopping to make a sketch.


Consider other ways to get your outdoor fix:
  • Get a local map and plot all the places you can walk/ bike to from your door
  • Commit to going outside for a certain amount of time every day and do something different each day- walk, run, cycle, sit on a park bench reading a book with a hot flask of tea, look for birds, sit and sketch, write a poem, collect some natural materials and make a sculpture, collect some rubbish, meditate, journal
  • Create a post lockdown adventure plan
  • Create a fitness plan for post-lockdown adventure - convince a buddy to join you- virtually or in real life and check-in on each other
  • Spend an evening without electricity – cook dinner on your camping stove, read, sing songs or play games by candlelight
Stay safe, stay well and we look forward to adventuring with you again the other side.
Check out our top tips for getting outside for winter walking or snowshoeing in Bavaria!
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