What Professional Snowboarders Are Saying About COVID-19

red gerard
Red Gerard, after his run during the men's slopestyle final at Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympics.Photo: Courtesy of Lee Jin-Man/AP/Shutterstock

NOT MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS! You think we have those connections? No. We are along for the ride just like you all. Check your local news or the CDC’s site for info about the pandemic. We just sent out some texts from our quarantine to see how the riders and filmers have been feeling about the global emergency. Filming, travel, and resorts have all been heavily affected.

For many, the season (and livelihoods for many seasonal positions) came to an abrupt finish. It is a tough hit that will extend well past snowboarding’s culture for some time. But it was nice to see among all of the responses that the overall public health is the main priority at this point.

We at SNOWBOARDER wish a safe and healthy time in lockdown for everyone. Wash your hands, wax your board, and take some time to appreciate those in quarantine with you (unless you are stuck with SNOWBOARDER’s Editor Stan, rumor has it that he has trapped people inside his house with him and has been forcing them to hear all of his failed stand up jokes for the past four days).

Zak Hale:

Pretty crazy to think we are mid-March right now and everyone is pretty much chilling… this is normally a time that every snowboarder is hustling to get those last few bangers in their part. The contest scene has a few more events and everyone is starting to enjoy spring riding. It’s called miracle March for a reason. This year our season is cut short by about two months… the lifts are closed. Everyone should be at home with their loved ones.

This whole epidemic is going to affect the world in a lot of ways including the snowboard industry. I think this is a time where we all need to come together and do what we can to keep this thing we all love healthy and strong. It’s a scary time but we will all get through this as long as we stick together as one. Love you all.

Gabe Ferguson:

Super, super whack! Obviously, I’d rather spend my time boarding and filming but that’s at the back of my mind right now. I’m more worried about the health of my friends and family at this point. What even is snowboarding if you have no friends to enjoy it with?

Max Warbington:

During quarantine I’m going to be working on a bunch of stuff. I’m going weed free ‘til we are all free from lockdown. Shitty, I know, but can’t be coughing for any reason these days haha.

I’m also trying eat well, drink tons of water, do as much stretching and working out as possible, get back into reading, lots of housework, art projects and Tre Squad editing. It is incredibly important to appreciate the ones you are with while in quarantine and make real efforts to put down your phones, not just watch TV/movies and shit… but actually enjoy the company you are with whether it be human or animal!

And most of all I will be doing some good reflection on my priorities and lifestyle. How will things look for snowboarders going forward? I doubt if things will ever go completely back to “normal” after this. We gotta be able to adapt to whatever happens and truly life changing stuff is going to keep happening more and more frequently if we keep poisoning the Earth.

If you live somewhere where it snows or can drive to snow, thank your lucky stars because even if we have to quarantine for a really long time, you can still go shred and if you are motivated you could stack straight bangers on a patch of snow. Snowboarding spreads stoke and stoke kills viruses, I wanna keep shredding and filming this season just without using airports, ski resorts, or big gatherings. Change is good, everything will work itself out but we need to take this seriously and try our very hardest to not let this become a regular thing. My thanks, thoughts and love to every healthcare worker, all the scientists working on COVID-19, anyone who has been affected or had family affected by the virus, & all the people out there making the world a better place however they can despite these dark times. There are so many super heroes on this planet and that makes me feel really good about the future.

Laura Hadar:

This is a great time to try splitboarding! If you have no avalanche knowledge stay on your closed resort and stick to slopes under 30 degrees after snow storms. Protect your health and the health of your community by not meeting in large groups. We have narrowed down our hangout group to our roommates and one other friend, who we had previously been in close contact with.

I urge the snowboarders in our community to take this seriously. We were skinning up the resort the other day and saw a group of 10 riders hanging very close together, drinking and smoking. The implications of this could be huge. Our parents and grandparents can die from this and you are one shared joint away from giving it to them.

If you smoke weed, don’t share joints roll personals.

Benny Milam:

Corona kind of fucked up the end of my season aha. I was planning on going to Salt Lake right after the Slide in Tour to lap Woodward and Brighton because I didn’t make it out there at all this year and now everywhere is closed 2 months early. It’s a slap in the face but I mean what can you do… I honestly can’t believe this shit is happening. When I heard that they were picking and choosing what patients to treat in Italy that’s when it hit me how serious this shit really is. Sending thoughts and prayers to all those families affected by this shitshow.

Nik Baden:

I’m lockin down. I don’t know much about this whole situation but it really seems best to lay low. I personally think going around and continuing life without any changes is selfish and lame. I like chilling but not like this haha, no one thinks this is fun but we have to be home to not spread this virus. Seems like the only solution to me. This is only the beginning and there will be lasting affects that this leaves on countries, companies, and people. This doesn’t seem like something to take lightly.

Harry Hagan:

I mean our season came to a screeching halt. Not that there was anywhere good to go, but we literally threw in the towel until this all dies down. Filming a snowboard movie isn’t worth spreading a viral disease. We’re small time in a scenario like this. Gotta play your part.

Zeb Powell:

It’s like my life as a snowboard has randomly hit a wall. And now I’m tryna figure out how to get out around it.

Maddie Mastro:

It’s changed a lot of my plans, whether it was training camps, pow trips, or just spring riding all those things aren’t happening as of now. But at the same time, it’s awesome to see all these mountains stepping up and doing what is right, keeping everyone safe.

Tips on how not to go crazy:
– if you have a dog or pet, go pet it.
– do some yoga
– call your mom
– take up napping
– do a puzzle
– binge watch The Office

Reid Smith:

Nightmare turned reality having to hang out with my thoughts all day in quarantine. Everything got cancelled, dog! Good excuse for lack of footy tho 😉 Stay safe everyone!

Red Gerard:

Yeah, when I first heard of COVID-19, I was in Japan filming for the new Burton movie and we were a little spooked… but we were there for like 7 days, then came back to the States and chilled for a bit. I didn’t really start to think of it as anything real until the travel bans started to happen and more people started to get it. But yeah, I am actually currently driving from Whistler to Tahoe where I live now. Pretty sure the borders closed shortly after we went through. Going to go home with the same crew I have been with for the last few weeks and hunker down with them. Still going to try to film a bit, but just some stuff on our own to stay away from other people. The crew has been doing our best to be responsible and stay away from big gathering and really just staying on our own. Putting health and knocking out this virus before snowboarding is definitely a priority.

Blake Paul:

I woke up at 3 a.m. in France with phones blowing up and the news of potential borders closing… we went straight to the airport and booked new flights back. Since arriving home, each day is filled with worse news, new guidelines, and feelings of uncertainty. Seems like the season is on hold. I’m definitely stuck wondering what’s okay to do or not. I think it’s important to take the situation seriously and do your part to help stop the curve/spread even if it means taking sacrifices in snowboarding/life.

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Very happy and thankful to be posted at home with my two favorite creatures ❤️❤️ True downtime is so freakin rare these days and as much as I wish the circumstances were different I’m not mad at the forced chill time 😊 in the long run, its gonna be so good for the earth to get a quick break from human abuse and for us as a species to reset our values and remember how precious life on earth is ❤️ Stay calm, breath deeply, call your loved ones, learn some stuff, take the quarantine seriously, stay healthy, send positive vibes to all the healthcare workers and scientists on the front lines of the fight & have empathy for those who are suffering all around the world. We can beat this shit together ❤️🙏🏽❤️🌎❤️ #covid_19

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Carlos Garcia Knight:

Yeah, I thought I was gonna be in Whistler and then fly to Europe two weeks ago. When I got to Whis, we were joking around about how blown out coronavirus was… two days later I had to book my flight home because AirNZ is canceling 85% of their flights and the NZ Government is warning kiwis to come home immediately. I feel like we wake up each day and it’s getting more and more hectic. (Typing this as we sit in an Uber to Vancouver airport to fly home for who knows how long). Stay sanitized out there and I hope this will all blow over soon enough.

Melissa Riitano:

It’s been a little crazier than I was anticipating. A little less than a week ago I had been planning to go to Quebec with O’Neill to film more for the movie they’re doing. O’Neill as a whole made a hard decision to halt travel for the riders and staff. Shortly after all of the resorts in Utah started shutting down. I honestly am having a hard time to know what to feel, I decided to follow the recommendation to self-quarantine. Talking time for the next week or so to do some projects at home, cook, relax, then start to get into the mountains and hike around. I feel like compared to most people out there my problem of not being able to travel and film are pretty small, just hanging tight at the moment. I feel very fortunate.

On a global scale it’s a crazy time to be alive and see. It’s forced a lot of people slow down, get out of normal routines. I think we’ll be happy in the long term in the U.S we are handling this virus as a serious matter. Seeing what happened in Italy it would be awful to have a repeat of what happened there. I don’t think it’s a move out of fear but more out of preservation of people. I don’t know though, it’s hard to say what the exact right move is.

Jesse Augustinus:

Well, I was planning on going on a filming trip right after the Slide In Tour, unfortunately most counties are on lockdown. Got back home and we are being advised not to travel. Plus, all the indoor resorts are closed. I’d love to board but it isn’t just for ourselves, but also the safety for others.

This article originally appeared on Snowboarder.com and was republished with permission.

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