Ski goggles are still being donated and The North Face is giving 50 percent discounts to frontliners, Ikon is extending earlybird offers, there's virtual apres ski and FOGO is now the new FOMO...
Isolation is leading to a new FOMO – FOGO, the Fear Of Going Out – but, once lockdown starts to ease and we dare to resume our new-normal daily diversions, it’s going to switch to FOTO: Fear Of Travel Overseas.
Fighting FOTO (Fear Of Travel Overseas)
Airlines worldwide are starting to devise safety precautions to woo travellers back once the coronavirus crisis is over. In the Middle East, Emirates Airlines has already introduced a 10-minute COVID-19 test to ensure all passengers and crew are virus-free. And tourism experts anticipate more innovations on these lines for every airline – think wider-spaced seating, tests before you get on and at disembarkation, higher standards for disinfecting and sanitising, face recognition connected to a digital quarantine list - and of course higher priced tickets to pay for all this.
Another post-pandemic ploy is for airlines to offer no-fee flight change and cancellation policies in order to encourage people to book vacation flights from July onwards.
Staycation for the Nation
Around the US there is much confusion about when things will start opening up for work, education and travel again, with very different opinions being touted from state to state. California, Washington and Oregon have joined forces, intent on developing a shared strategy for reopening their economies.
In Canada, there is a more concerted approach across the country but, with vast differences in virus stats province-to-province and between rural and urban areas, things will probably open up in orchestrated stages. Ahead of the game, Alberta now has the ability to test for COVID-19 anyone with any symptoms, aiming for 10,000 tests per day. With FOTO a major deterrent to international travel, a ‘staycation for the nation’ is predicted this summer with domestic tourism trending.
Virtual Après Ski
As part of a Virtual Après Music Series in aid of Goggles for Docs, the grassroots effort to provide healthcare workers with ski/snowboard goggles to fill the gap in traditional eye protection, Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall – now based in Los Angeles - paired with US Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin for a virtual live performance on Facebook.com/REVERB, yesterday, featuring Shiffrin’s self-taught singing and guitar skills.
To date, nearly 30,000 goggles have been donated to hospitals/clinics around North America. The music series, in partnership with REVERB.org, showcases a variety of musical artists volunteering their time to perform 30-45-minute après ski-style sets from their living rooms. In addition to cash donations can also be made via REVERB to purchase additional goggles at cost from participating brands. Check out @gogglesfordocs on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
From Mountain to Medical
Furloughed Vail and Beaver Creek ski patrollers have offered their services to help ambulance crews in the Colorado coronavirus crisis. The group of 20 patrollers will allow the county to deploy as many as six reserve ambulances and help as back-up staff should any of the department’s 65 health care providers fall ill.
Emily Selonik (below left) joined the initiative and is awaiting her first call-up. “After Vail closed, myself and about 20 ski patrollers were given the opportunity to become ‘surge’ help at the Eagle County Paramedic Service,” she says. “We did some online and in-person training to be able to help out if the regular employees there become too busy or if they become sick. So far they have not had to use us. But if they call, we will be ready to help.”
Ski Area Management (aka SAM) teamed up with North Pole Designs chief creative designer, Senan Gorman to produce a weekly cartoon (above) relevant to the challenges that the ski industry and its personnel are facing. “We all need a little levity right now, so we hope these put a smile on your face,” says SAM’s President Nick Sargent. Last week’s was ‘The Quandola’, the latest innovation in social-distanced aerial transport.
After suspending its hotel operations, the Banff YWCA is now offering isolation housing for anyone in need. It will also continue offering some emergency shelter, domestic and sexual violence outreach, affordable housing residence and the short-term housing option Project Home.
Collective ski pass prices and details started rolling out this week with Ikon Pass leading the way. Their 2020/21 earlybird deals extend to 27th May with the promise that ‘Sweet Days Await Us’. Ikon Pass member resort, Mammoth Mountain announced the launch on Facebook with this message: “Here’s to a community borne from mountains. Because, while seasons change, the mountains always endure. From big city or small, snowy town – we’re all skiers and riders. And, when we stand together, we’re as tall as the mountains. We are the mountains.”
Today, Saturday, 18th May, Ikon have launched Adventure Assurance, allowing next season's pass to roll over to the following season, winter 21/22 with no fee if the COVID-19 outbreak is still raging. Other recent benefits made available to 20/21 Ikon Pass holders as a show of community gratitude include double the renewal savings – up to $200 to provide some value back to Ikon Pass holders due to the shortened 19/20 winter season.
This was the subject of Snowsports Industries America’s recent Town Hall Discussion: Recreating Responsibly During the Pandemic. Moderated by freelance writer and editor, Megan Michelson, guests included Sarah Carpenter, co-owner of American Avalanche Institute, Jay Miller, Physician Assistant at Cedar Point Health and Mark Schroetel, GM Powder Mountain.
Last month, SIA launched #CurbYourTurns to engage the snow community in flattening the curve. This comes in the wake of an accident at Big White, Canada when a snowboarder was gravely injured in the closed terrain park as well as accidents in several closed resorts and backcountry areas across the US.
Porch Light Campaign
Blue Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania, joined the ‘Porch Light Campaign’ in conjunction with 40 local schools to show support for 2020 graduating seniors who are missing out on spring graduation celebrations as well as nurses, doctors and first responders on the front lines of COVID-19.
After being closed for several weeks, Blue Mountain turned lights back on across the mountain for a Friday night light show. “With around 1,000 400watt high pressure sodium lights, Blue Mountain is visible for miles across the Lehigh Valley and Pocono Mountains,” says Ashley Seier, Marketing Manager. “Typically, the mountain is lit from the start of snowmaking in fall until the last day of the season. When the lights are turned on in fall, it is a ‘famous’ sign around the area that winter is on its way. This time, we’re hoping the lights show that we are proud of all the 2020 graduating seniors, and thankful for at the healthcare heroes.”
To show gratitude for the dedication and bravery of frontliners in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, The North Face is offering 50 percent discounts to US healthcare workers and first responders for the rest of the year. This discount can be used for the purchase of non-sale items on thenorthface.com and at The North Face-owned retail stores in the United States.
With numbers still climbing in coronavirus hotspots around the States, the simple pastime of shopping will be a welcome treat when the crisis is over. And a great opportunity to stock up on ski gear for next season!
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