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Skiing and the Pandemic: On Lockdown in Italy’s Dolomites


Nobody is immune from the coronavirus—not younger folks, not international locations, not ideologies, and definitely not skiers. In case you’re a skier, your life-style, and maybe your livelihood, has been upended in current weeks. In components of North America, backcountry snowboarding remains to be occurring, whereas all of the resorts are closed. In a lot of Europe, that isn’t the case. Individuals face hefty fines for disobeying their authorities’s orders to remain residence–and that features not snowboarding.

To take the heart beat of our world ski group, we shall be speaking with skiers in numerous international locations to find out about their present conditions, their states of thoughts, and easily life at a time not like some other we’ve skilled. Search for extra interviews within the coming days.

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Stefano Martinello, 42, has lived in Moena, Italy, since he was born. An expert ski teacher at San Pellegrino and Alpe Lusia within the Dolomites, Martinello can also be a longtime product tester for Volkl and Dalbello, notching greater than 200 ski days a yr. He and his two kids, ages 14 and 9, have been locked down like the remainder of Italy’s 60 million residents for greater than two weeks.

Photograph: Courtesy of POWDER Journal

Their nation is the pandemic’s epicenter and, as of this week, has seen practically twice as many deaths as some other nation. They’ve watched the pandemic explode from the guts of their village (inhabitants 2,600), which has 13 confirmed COVID-19 circumstances as of Friday, March 27.

What’s life like in Moena proper now?

Life in Moena? Let’s say that there isn’t a life. Everyone seems to be residence.

How did the previous couple of weeks unfold because the virus took off and the ski season got here to an abrupt finish?

At the start of March, we have been having among the best winters ever: glorious snow and ideal climate with plenty of folks on the slopes. We have been working loads, and all of the motels and resorts have been blissful. Then this virus began. Round February 22, we had like 50 circumstances in all of Italy. Then instantly it blew up like a bomb.

We have been snowboarding at San Pellegrino on March 9 after we realized the resorts have been going to close down the subsequent day. [Government officials] have been pondering of maintaining open among the small areas, however in a single hour they modified their thoughts and determined to close down all of the lifts in all of Italy.

I went ski touring with my kids the day after the resorts closed, however then the authorities requested us to not even go ski touring or snowshoeing. Not due to spreading the virus, however as a result of our hospitals are collapsing.

Was {that a} requirement or an ask?

At the start, the authorities simply stated please don’t go. However then as some folks continued going, they determined to make stricter controls within the mountains.

In the event that they catch you, you need to pay a nice. And the police put you on a listing, saying, like, you’re form of a nasty man. Then they modified once more and stated in the event that they catch you, it will likely be a very excessive nice and you’ll have to seem in entrance of a choose.

What’s the lockdown like in Moena?

You’ll be able to go exterior, however you could keep inside 100 meters of your house. And also you have to be alone. In case you exit along with your spouse or kids, it is best to keep three meters other than them.

We are able to go to the grocery store as soon as per week, simply one in all us. We have now to cowl our mouth and nostril and it’s higher to make use of gloves.

How is your loved ones?

My mother nonetheless lives in Moena, however I haven’t seen her in two weeks. She is 67 and lives with my grandmother, who’s 97. So it’s higher to not see one another, regardless that we reside 500 meters aside. We speak on a video name day by day.

In what methods has the momentary lack of snowboarding affected your life?

I’m residing a life I by no means lived earlier than. I’m all the time eager to go up within the mountains. After I open a window at my home, I see the mountains, and we nonetheless have plenty of snow.

So you’re feeling like a chunk of your life is lacking now. My pals in Germany have been nonetheless allowed to go snowboarding final week, so I requested them to not ship me any footage from the mountains. I’m avoiding all the pieces that considerations snowboarding, like movies, as a result of I wish to go.

However the constructive factor is, I’m doing issues I’ve by no means achieved. I’ve by no means been residence a lot with my youngsters in all my life. Not as a result of I didn’t need to, however as a result of I’m all the time in a rush, all the time working, all the time shifting.

Now, we get up within the morning, have breakfast collectively, we’re not in a rush. [Martinello also livestreams classic vinyl records on Facebook from his porch.] We simply must maintain pondering what to do day by day—not keep in entrance of the TV or along with your cell phone all the time in your hand or in entrance of the pc.

What are your emotions in regards to the coming weeks?

Right here within the Dolomites, we haven’t misplaced too many individuals to this point. We hope that it will likely be related within the coming weeks. After I take my automotive to the grocery store, you see that everybody is following the principles.

You don’t see anybody round. It’s not good to see your small village utterly useless when it usually has 50,000 folks throughout this time. However that’s factor. That is in all probability the one resolution.

This text initially appeared on and was republished with permission.

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