My Winter in Tirol. An Unexpected End of the Season


March 12th. Last Day of the Season in St. Anton am Arlberg. Picture: Ski Paradise

A friend suggested that I should write an article about my thoughts and personal experience of how I am living this moment of self-isolation. But before I start, I wanted to document the process that ended with the closure of the ski resorts in Tirol.



The COVID-19 outbreak is and undesired effect of our time. Globalization offers many benefits and opportunities but also presents new risks. Globalization has made our world a smaller place allowing people and goods to move more freely and more frequently around the globe.

Human migration has been the main factor for infectious disease transmission throughout recorded history. But, as the world becomes more interconnected, the volume, speed, and reach of travel increase exponentially the opportunities for rapid and effective disease spread growth.

And this is the case of the COVID-19 outbreak. travel and mobility play a critical role in the rapid dissemination of disease.

International tourist arrivals grew 6% in 2018, totaling 1.4 billion according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. Tourism is today one of the most powerful drivers of economic growth and development but as an undesired effect, we also saw tourists, students, and professionals spreading the COVID-19 around Europe and the world.


On Monday, February 24th a 24-year-old Italian living in Innsbruck and her boyfriend of the same age reported to Coronavirus symptoms after a stay in Lombardy at the Tirol control center. On Tuesday, a second test confirmed the suspicion and the couple was immediately isolated in the Innsbruck Hospital.

On February 25th Coronavirus officially reached Tirol.

It turned out that the sick student works as a receptionist in the Hotel Europa at Innsbruck Central Station. All employees and guests, 62 persons, who dealt with the Italian woman were examined and tested. Due to the close contact with her, nine of these 62 people tested were quarantined. Also in quarantine were three other people who belong to her close social environment.


On March 5th a 22-year-old Norwegian student who had been in Milan and Bologna at the end of February tested positive in Landeck district. Also, 14 people from Iceland who were already leaving at the weekend spent their skiing holiday in the Tirolean Oberland when they returned to Iceland tested positive for the coronavirus.

After a stay in Verona, which is located in one of the risk regions in northern Italy, a 22-year-old woman from Kitzbühel showed flu-like, mild symptoms. Swab samples were taken immediately. The test results from the Virological Institute in Innsbruck confirmed coronavirus disease.


On March 6th three other people have contracted the coronavirus in Tirol. All three people were Norwegian citizens, friends and all between 23 and 24 years old. They said they had had close contact with other Norwegians in the past few days who tested positive for Corona in Norway.


On March 7th a 36-year-old german citizen was tested positive in the Landeck city of Ischgl. He worked as a bartender in the Kitzloch, one of the après-ski bars in Ischgl. The Tirolean State Medical Directorate asked all bar visitors, from February 15to March 7 showing flu-like symptoms, to contact the 1450 telephone health advice service and would then be examined by a doctor. The health authority surveys had also shown that 22 people were currently close contacts of the man. They were isolated and quarantined for 14 days.

On March 7th six people in Tirol were confirmed of coronavirus.


On March 9th the health authorities announced a new case that tested positive for the coronavirus. It was a 48-year-old neighbor of Innsbruck.

After it was announced on Saturday evening that a bartender in the Landeck district had tested positive for a coronavirus disease, 16 more people tested positive on Monday. Fourteen of these sick people were tested in Ischgl, and one in the neighboring community of Kappl. In all these 15 cases, there is a direct connection to the 36-year-old bartender who worked in the Kitzloch district of Ischgl. Fourteen of these 15 people come from the immediate work environment of the 36-year-old man, and one is a close contact person from the social environment of a now sick employee of the Ischgler Bar.

On the same day, after several coronavirus diseases were confirmed, the Ischgl bar "Kitzloch" was officially closed in agreement with the operator.

A night skiing event in Ischgl scheduled was also canceled.