Many Romanians spend weekend in the mountains following fresh snowfalls and opening of ski slopes.
With the extension of the
state of alert over the coronavirus pandemic, a number of measures were taken
in Romania regulating mountain tourism during the winter season. Ski slopes are
still open, but measures are in place to prevent overcrowding, which the
authorities view as the main factor in spreading the virus. Cable cars are allowed
to fill half their usual seats and restaurants and hotels near the ski slopes
are subject to restrictions.
There's been a lot of snow
in Romania in recent days and many people have travelled to the mountains over
the weekend. The roads were full of traffic, almost like before the pandemic, as
tourists flocked to the mountain resorts. This was the first weekend this season
when almost all ski tracks were open, owing to the fresh layer of snow. To avoid
overcrowding, skiers had to wait tens of minutes in line for a cable car. The authorities
dispatched security forces to make sure rules are complied with.
To cope with the high demand
at the weekend, the Romanian Railways Company added more carriages to the
trains linking Bucharest to the mountain resorts in Prahova Valley and to the
mountain city of Brașov. The so-called "snow trains" were also put into circulation.
Until the end of February, 36 such trains will be ensuring daily connections to
mountain resorts such as those in Prahova Valley and in Dorna Valley. While a train
journey from Bucharest to Brașov takes a little over two hours, travelling by
car takes a longer time, owing to the traffic queues that form on certain sections
of the road and which sometimes stretch for several kilometres. And if it also
snows, then traffic becomes really difficult. This happens every winter in
Romania because of a lack of alternative routes to the maintain resorts.
Romania only has some 200 licenced
ski tracks with a total length of approximately 162 km. This isn't a lot, in
fact it's what you get in a single ski resort in Austria or France, where tens
of millions of euros are invested every year in skiing infrastructure. (CM)