Dear powder friends,
With the fast-moving Corona virus (Covid 19) spreading all over Europe our winter has come to an abrupt end. All lifts and ski resorts in the Alps have been closed in no time. Even the ski resorts in Norway are closed. Powder is our passion, but those early closed skilifts are just first world problems for our continent that is bracing for impact for what is to come.
In the past few days I was able to catch up (online) with (powder) friends from Italy. I was able to hear their stories about the lock down and the consequences for thier lives. Even worse are the ethical questions that a society will have to face when the health care system is completely overloaded. In Italy, the health care system is overflowing. For other countries it will be challenging: will the system be able to handle the demand for acute health care in the near future and the upcoming months?
In many countries, measures are in place to inhibit the exponential growth of the corona cases. Their goal is not to overlode and explode the health care systems. Meanwhile, the higher alpine is loaded with snow. Lots of snow. If you are not subject to a total lock down I can imagine the mountains are calling.
But because of the risks, experts prefer better not to go out and expore the backcountry. Of course you can break your leg in the bathroom and the way to and from your local supermarket is full of risks. Nevertheless, mountain guides and mountain rescue services are actively calling on us to stay at home. The health care system is currently not waiting for complex rescue operations and an occupied bed due to a broken leg. All beds and medical personnel are currently required. Directly or in the near and further future.
The where to go advice for the coming weeks (and months) is simple:
Mountain guides and mountain rescue services are always there for us in times of need. Now let us be ready for them by following their call until they turn the signal back to green.
I never believed in the saying, "No friends on a powder day." I kave had the best days with powder friends. Be ready for each other, for better or for worse. Together we can make a difference in this turbulent period. By being ready for each other where possible and helping with small and big things.
With the prompt end of winter, many of our friends in and outside the mountains are struggling or are going to have a hard time. Mountain guides without work, hoteliers with empty hotels or ski and snowboard shops with no turnover to name just a few examples. I also notice this at Powfinder Snowboards where stock remains, which puts us in a pinch for next season. Together we can help our friendes and locals on their way to a new winter. By already booking a trip at your favorite mountain guide and paying in part, booking a bed for the coming winter and ordering or pre-ordering ski and snowboard gear at your favorite (local) shop.
In times of uncertainty, everything revolves around hope. We can all keep the fire burning. Governments do everything they can to keep the economy and health care running. You and I can contribute by helping friends and locals. Maybe you can even (temporarily) help your local health care system by volunteering and following a quick (refresher) course. And we can keep feeding the stoke. Share your best trip reports from last season or the seasons before on wePowder so that we keep the fire burning.
If you have any suggestions on how we as freeriders can help each other and others without endangering vulnerable groups, please share them here.
These are confusing times when, on the one hand, we need to keep our distance from one another and, on the other, we want to be able to support or rely on the support of others. Friday, March the 20th at 8:45 am central European time, many radio stations in Europe will broadcast this song. The full lyrics can be found here.
Walk on walk on with hope in your heart. And you'll never walk alone
Stay strong and healthy. Stay stoked!
Your powfinder Morris