Some of the most popular snowfield activities including tobogganing, sledding and snow tubing will be initially banned at one of NSW’s favourite winter destinations.
Ongoing COVID-19 concerns are to blame for the unpopular restrictions being imposed at Kosciuszko National Park in the state’s Snowy Mountains.
The park is due to open on June 22 and already many people have made plans, but the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has confirmed limitations.
“There are no accessible areas in Kosciuszko National Park that allow these activities to be safely undertaken in accordance with the current COVID-19 physical-distancing requirements,” the service said in a statement.
Visitors to the national park can ski and snowboard as long as they have a pre-purchased lift pass. Cross country skiing and snow shoeing is also available to those who have completed a Trip Intention Form before arrival.
Newcastle woman Rhiannon Allomes was “absolutely gutted” when she found out snow-play had been cancelled after planning a family trip as soon as she learned snowfields would be opening in NSW.
“Before they announced that there would be no snow play we booked accommodation and were excited to take our one-year-old girl to see snow for the first time,” she told AAP.
“We have bought all new snow gear for myself – I’m pregnant so nothing fitted – and for my daughter and then I found out they cancelled snow play and I was absolutely gutted.”
Unable to get a refund for her accommodation, she was advised to buy a lift pass.
“Clearly this isn’t an option for us with me being pregnant and having a one-year-old. We now have to drive seven hours to do nothing,” Ms Allomes said.
Snowy Monaro Regional Council spokeswoman Gina Woodward told AAP NSW National Parks and Wildlife are currently considering other options outside of the resort areas for snow play.
“If people are driving on roads in Kosciuszko National Park that are not limited for winter access and there is snow, they can park where it is legal and safe to enjoy snow play – be it to build a snowman, throw a snowball or make a snow angel,” Ms Woodward said in a statement.
Some businesses in the local region may be affected by the limits to snow play, she added.
“They will be affected by this to some extent however in most cases this isn’t their primary business as many of these are ski shops … that have other business revenue in winter such as fuel and food.”
“National Parks and Business Chambers are working together to support small businesses in the region, affected not only by the snow season changes but by the impacts of bushfire, ongoing drought and COVID-19.”