Get Your Ya-Ya-Ya’s out: Outdoor Recreation During a Pandemic

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by Jeanette McQuade, Branch Manager Fraser Valley Library

The 2020/21 winter season is upon us… and everyone is heading to the great outdoors.

Feeling pent up from the pandemic, we are finding ourselves eager to get outside, searching for solace in the bright, light snow. Yearning for the ‘fluff’ of the good old days; to be carefree once again.

But as we head into the second winter season of outdoor recreation during a pandemic, doing so safely, with care, is more important than ever. Whether snowmobiling, skiing, backcountry touring, uphill skiing or hitting the trails for a cross-country adventure, being cognizant of how our choices and actions could have consequences for others – including ski patrollers, first responders, rescuers and hospitals – is paramount. Having a big picture, community-centered mindset is key.

While fresh air and outdoor recreation have long-proven benefits for mental health and personal wellness, balancing the community’s health with our individual health is something new we need to consider.

So, how do we recreate outdoors in the winter during a pandemic?
The playbook asks that we take less risks, making sure we don’t cause undue risk to others. That we are self-reliant and consider the impact our decisions will have on the big picture. That we educate ourselves with the knowledge and tools necessary to minimize harm to both ourselves and the community at large.

The Fraser Valley Library is hosting two virtual programs designed to help you recreate outdoors responsibly this winter season.

Uphill Skiing Policy:
For outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy uphill skiing at the Winter Park Resort: In an effort to make the mountain safer for both uphill and downhill skiers, the resort will require uphill skiers to pre-purchase and wear an Uphill Access Armband. Armbands will cost $15 for the season, and proceeds will benefit Grand County Search and Rescue.

Join us virtually, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, to learn about the new uphill policy at the Winter Park Resort. A representative from the Winter Park Ski Patrol will discuss details of the new policy and be available to answers questions about the skier/rider experience on the mountain this winter.

Avalanche safety in the backcountry during a pandemic:
Do you prefer recreating in the backcountry? Whether you ski first tracks on Berthoud Pass or sled secret powder stashes on
the mountains of Grand Lake, you won’t want to miss this session.

Join us virtually at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, as Grand County local and avalanche educator Jamie Wolter discusses avalanche safety in the backcountry during a pandemic. Wolter, who is a presenter for the “Know Before You Go” avalanche awareness program, will discuss the importance of minimizing risk in the backcountry and show you how to find the resources you need to help you make smart decisions.

Join us virtually at gcld.org. Click on the programs tab, then search our calendar by date. All community members are welcome.