Snow Australia CEO Update - 18 May 2020

Published Mon 18 May 2020

To the Snow Australia Community,

As I write, it seems that as a Nation we are on a positive path towards the continued, gradual easing of restrictions and a likely return to sport both at a community/club and high-performance level. What that means for our sport in particular and our winter season in general is still very much an open-ended question. Although we remain extremely optimistic that there will be a snow season in some form, there is little doubt that when it does eventuate, it will be unlike anything we have experienced before.

As we have remained fluid and open-minded during isolation, we need to continue to be patient as the details of the season and the inevitable constraints unfold. Snow Australia is committed to working with our resorts, clubs, programs, and community to ensure we are prepared and open to all possibilities.

In looking at various aspects below, the themes of uncertainty but cautious optimism are common, as is Snow Australia’s commitment to provide continuous updates.

2020 Snow Season

While the easing of restrictions is an obvious positive step towards a snow season, there are clear challenges the industry has to address with State and Federal health authorities in order to gain the necessary approvals to opening resorts. Limitations on things like traditional staff accommodation arrangements, communal living and the absence of international staff will see resorts and programs limited in capacity to varying degrees. It will impact each resort differently and in turn impact the operation of programs and events. We will need to remain flexible and fluid in how we approach these aspects which directly impact our sport.

Club & Program COVID safe guidelines

In anticipation of the season, Snow Australia is working to develop a set of guidelines for clubs/programs in regard to COVID safe operations. This resource is being developed in alignment with the AIS Return to Sport protocols and in collaboration with the Sports Medical Officer, our own program staff and resort operators. It is designed to provide club/programs with a resource to develop their own COVID safe operational plans inside their specific resort environment. This resource will be completed in the coming weeks and will give clubs sufficient time to adjust as required for specific situation and work with their resort partners to agree.

It will require patience and at times will be frustrating as we work to implement evolving guidelines in a manner which is both safe and practical from a community perspective.

To return to sport more quickly, the AIS and Sport Australia encourages athletes and fans alike to download the #COVIDSafe app to help authorities find and contain any outbreaks, while keeping Australia safe.

Events Calendar

As outlined, the uncertainty of the 2020 season format means that it is difficult to plan and publish an events calendar with any confidence. Snow Australia will be working with each resort to understand their capacity and appetite to host events should a winter season eventuate. This will ultimately come down to available resources, expertise and consideration of any restrictions that may be in place in terms of large gatherings. Similar to program operations, event operations will be on a resort by resort and discipline by discipline basis.

Membership & Registration

Members have previously been advised that Snow Australia has extended the previous membership year through to 30 June 2020. In this way, Snow Australia will be better placed to assess what the season ahead may look like and adjust the membership structure and registration options accordingly.  We will provide further details towards the end of May.

2020 Snow Australia Awards

Congratulations to Scotty James and Laura Peel, joint winners of the 2020 Snow Australia Athlete of the Year award (Olympic Disciplines). They join Ben Tudhope, Athlete of the Year (Paralympic Disciplines) in receiving Snow Australia’s highest individual honour after tremendous international season which saw them all finish the winter ranked #1 in the World!

The online format provided us with an opportunity to speak with our finalists and winners in more intimate and detailed manner than we usually would and allowed us to reach over 40,000 fans around the globe.

If you missed any of the interviews and announcements, I encourage you to go to the Snow Australia Awards page and catch up on all the news from last week.

Snow Active

We have received enquiries regarding the Snow Active video series. 

Unfortunately, Snow Australia’s popular SnowActive workout video series, developed in-house and featuring two-time Olympian, Sami Kennedy-Sim, was discontinued to avoid confusion regarding branding and content.  The series has engaged with recreational and competitive skiers and snowboarders throughout Australia, inspiring them to use their time in isolation to prepare and get fit for the next snow season.  We are extremely grateful to Sami for her professional and engaging sessions and wish her all the best in her preparations for the seasons ahead and, of course, Beijing 2022.

For anyone looking for alternatives, we recommend any of the train like an Olympian series presented by Australia Olympic Committee, that also features some of your favourite winter Olympians - click here. Additionally, as we have throughout isolation, we will continue to share social media posts of our winter athletes own workout activities in order to inspire and motivate our community ahead of the 2020 Snow season.

FIS Meetings

This week would have seen the FIS Congress taking place in Thailand. Naturally, the Congress has been postponed to a date yet to be determined.  However, many of the major face to face Committee Meetings will remain in place and held online as originally scheduled. We will communicate the major decisions arising from these meetings shortly after they are approved by the FIS Council. Various options for the hosting of Congress, which includes the election of a new President, are being considered by the Council in coming weeks. 


Finally, the Snow Australia community was deeply saddened by the passing last week of Edwina Wordsworth, wife of Performance Pathway Manager Ben Wordsworth. Edwina was well known to many of us and we remember her as a smart, enthusiastic and passionate young woman who sadly lost her battle with mental illness. We throw our support and wishes behind Ben, their young daughter Olivia and their families.

We remind anyone who is struggling or who may need help to contact:

•    Lifeline 13 11 14 or
•    Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or

Thank you for your patience and support as we navigate the buildup to a season unlike any other.

Michael Kennedy
CEO Snow Australia