Opinion » The Outsider

The outdoor industry is stepping up to help fight the pandemic



One of my morning rituals I've adhered to over the years has been listening to the CBC World Report podcast. I put on my headphones, walk my dog, pick up his poo and hear about what's going on in Canada and the world. It's my daily reality check (I always check in with the CBC before perusing the questionably sourced headlines of social media) where I realize that I'm so lucky to be living where I am and not trying to survive political oppression or a natural disaster. Not yet, anyway.

World news was generally bad news before this global pandemic. Now the bad news has taken a backseat to make room for worse news. The still-escalating casualties are sobering enough, but I also dread every time CBC business reporter Scott Peterson gets on the show to tell us how much the businesses are suffering in Canada and how much worse we can expect it to get in the next few months, or even years.

While I'm waiting for the vaccine we're all praying for to come along—I'm staying at home and minimizing my community spread the best I can (i.e. not biking in Pemberton/Squamish, not heading into the backcountry, limiting distanced driveway parties to about four people)—I'm also trying to subject myself to some good-news antibodies. The ones I've enjoyed the most are about companies that are leveraging their assets to assist healthcare workers and others in need. There are those in the outdoor industry who are doing their part, so a big salute to everyone that's made a difference lately.

"Chill the Shred, Save a Bed" Initiative—Steeds Enduro Mountain Bike Team

This crew of mountain bikers in Canmore, Alta. made the front page of Pinkbike.com with a cleverly crafted title, and has switched up its collective mantra from "Just Send It" to "You can break yourself later." By shipping out decals with the above-mentioned slogan and getting mountain bikers to spread the word to at least three friends, Steeds is hoping to start a "safety pandemic" that will ease the strain on the Canadian medical system this summer and raise money for Canmore's community food program. Our local mountain bike clubs in the Sea to Sky have urged all riders to take it easy and physical distance accordingly on trails and at trail heads, or stay at home altogether. Let's see if we can adopt the Chill the Shred mantra ourselves in this corner of B.C.

Arc'teryx shifts some of its production capacity into creating surgical gowns

The big Vancouver-based name in outerwear is helping source 90,000 gowns for frontline workers in local hospitals. It plans to produce 30,000 gowns at the ARC'One manufacturing facility in New Westminster, while the remaining units will be produced by local manufacturing partners Mustang Survival and Boardroom Clothing. Many of us wear this brand and are proud of the fact that it was founded in North Vancouver (though ownership is held by global sporting goods conglomerate Amer Sports.) In any case, it's great to see Arc'teryx using its facilities to help local healthcare workers.

Goggles for Docs

In an effort to provide goggles as Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers, GogglesforDocs.com is acting as a hub to coordinate donations and drop-offs to hospitals across the United States in need of eye protection. Burton-owned optics company Anon has already donated 1,300 pairs of goggles and California-based SportRx is offering free prescription goggle inserts. I couldn't find a Canadian equivalent of Goggles for Docs at the time of writing this, though some hospitals in Toronto have reached out to their communities for goggle donations.

Outdoor adventure films streaming for free

Now that you've burned through Tiger King, it's time to watch something a bit more inspiring. Many outdoor film festivals and production houses are releasing their works online as a gesture to the community. I'll be checking out works from the Banff Film Fest World Tour this week, but there's plenty more quality quarantine screen time coming out from the brands that sponsor the films, so keep your eyes out or check Feet's recommendations a few pages over in "Notes From the Back Row." There's also been some amazing indoor-created content such as the viral stop-motion masterpiece Freeride Skiing at Home by Philipp Klein.

Tourism Whistler: Feel-Good Stories from Whistler

While we're all adapting to the new norm it's worth checking out the feel-good stories from our own community. From weekly live shows by local musicians to the local businesses rallying together to stay afloat, let's not forget about all the good stuff right down the street. The Whistler Insider blog has been aggregating a lot of the great messaging coming through, so head over and give it a read at whistler.com/blog.

There's, of course, been a multitude of selfless acts that have taken place locally in Whistler but there are just too many to list here. I'll leave it for my newsroom colleagues to bring those to you.

Stay safe and let's all pray for some more good news.

Vince Shuley remains an optimist. For questions, comments or suggestions for The Outsider email vince@vinceshuley.com or Instagram @whis_vince.