Ski season lives!
You don’t need us to tell you that coronavirus has upended life as we know it. And you certainly don’t need us to summarize how rough it’s been to trade ski season for a constant state of malaise, worry, or unease.
What you may need, however, are some ideas on how to keep ski season alive—even if you’re quarantined at home. Recent cutting-edge research (*ahem* Instagram polling) has shown that around 70% of our fans in the skier universe are still in ski mode versus biking or running mode.
So, in that light, we present some tips on how to keep ski season alive this spring.
Binge-Watch Ski Flicks
You know how parents or old friends say they’re living vicariously through you when they see photos of your skiing exploits? Well, now that you’re self-quarantining, the time has come to live vicariously through athletes. Or your past self, for that matter, if you have an abundance of footage from ski days gone by.
There has probably never been a better time to re-watch your favorite ski movies or catch up on the ones you’ve missed. A sampler of our favorites, you ask? Well, for one thing, Matchstick Productions has opened up free access to its full archive. We love “1999,” which features some EPIC Berthoud Pass footage from the days when it used to be a ski area.
For more, see our full list of recommendations
Fancy yourself a gamer? Coronavirus has thousands of people wishing they didn’t sell their Playstations.
If you’ve still got a gaming system, check out Steep. It’s a fan-favorite in the world of virtual ski experiences and one of the most addicting extreme mountain sports games ever. Available for PS4, Xbox, and PC, Steep takes you to the tops of the world’s biggest and gnarliest mountains and lets you choose your means for descending: ski, snowboard, wingsuit, or paraglide. It may not be the real thing—but dropping the Matterhorn in your living room beats obsessively reading about COVID-19.
Read or Listen
We’re all guilty of mindlessly scrolling through our Instagram feeds, especially now that we’re isolated at home. But ballooning your social media time doesn’t do much for your brain. Not much good, at least.
Engage those synapses by diving into some ski writing and reporting. Stories from the vaults of Powder Magazine, SKI, Freeskier, and Outside offer entertainment and insight at article length. Books about the history of the sport or its pioneers can make you a more informed winter enthusiast—and take up more of your downtime. And podcasts and stories highlighting the current state of the ski industry can give you some background and context for what’s going on.
Here are some of our top recommendations:
For ski industry insight: COVID Quickpods – Wintry Mix Podcast
In mid-March, host AK (Alex Kaufman) produced six “quickpods” as coronavirus began to rock the skiing world. He speaks with a variety of mountain people, from shop owners to marketers, across North America about the impact of COVID-19 on the ski industry.
For the love of skiing: Where Everything Makes Sense – Powder Magazine
Back in 2018, Matt Hansen wrote one of our all-time favorite odes to sliding on snow. If it doesn’t make you tear up, it’s still likely to strike a chord.
For humor: Curse You, I-70 – Outside Magazine
This one is mostly for skiers here in Colorado, but anyone who has visited the I-70 corridor will be able to commiserate. Written in 2017 by Marc Peruzzi, it holds up alarmingly well in 2020.
This piece of interactive multimedia journalism documents the tragic avalanche at Washington’s Stevens Pass in 2012. It is a sobering look at how even experts can end up in trouble—and a good way to begin your journey as a safety-conscious backcountry skier.
For ski history: The Story of Modern Skiing – John Fry
Published in 2006, John Fry’s book has become a definitive source for ski history, ranging from the culture to the competitions that have defined the sport and lifestyle we love.
For adventure: Higher Love: Skiing the Seven Summits – Kit DesLauriers
“Kit DesLauriers made history by being the first person to ski from the summit of each continent’s highest mountain—after climbing it. Centered on her quest to climb and ski the Seven Summits, Higher Love is a hero’s journey, rich with personal insights, life-threatening consequences, and a thrilling crescendo.”
Understanding ski stoke runs deeper than reading a glossary of terms like “pitted.” This is the funny, insightful, and passionate look at ski culture you’ve been looking for.
Learn Basic Ski Care Skills
With ski shops limiting or suspending ski tech services—or closing altogether—it’s not a good time to be seeking a wax or tune. How about some DIY TLC for your skis!
Powder7 sells basic tuning kits that include wax, brushes, gummy stones, and files. Add a ski wax iron, and convert a corner in your garage, living room, or basement to your very own mini tech area. Then, dive into “YouTube University,” to learn skills like waxing, edging, and Ptex repair. Here’s a sampler:
Plan Future Trips
Whether this new reality we are living in lasts three months or 18, resort skiing and ski travel will return. Yes, our industry may be left with massive changes. But in lieu of doomsday-style guessing, we recommend distracting yourself. Make a list of dream trips, and learn about the logistics, costs, and timing it will take to pull them off.
Here are some resources from the Lift Line Blog to get you started:
With resorts closing, people who want to keep skiing need to walk or skin uphill to do it. Some resorts have allowed skiers to do so on their slopes, while others have shut down uphilling. Meanwhile, popular backcountry zones are seeing extra traffic.
The prospect of continuing to ski in Spring 2020 is a double-edged sword. On one hand, if you can backcountry ski safely while practicing adequate social distancing, skiing will help you stay healthy and sane. On the other, this may not be the time. Some mountain towns are explicitly telling visitors to stay away, while search and rescue teams emphasize that they may not be able to save you if you have an incident—and forcing them to potentially be exposed to the virus when they come to your aid is a dark prospect.