LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KTXL) – After the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the shutdown of ski resorts, ski and snowboard shops and mountaineering companies, many skiers and snowboarders are tempted to venture off on their own into the backcountry.
World-class mountaineer Adrian Ballinger is keeping a positive attitude but Alpenglow Expeditions, his mountaineering business, is having to make big sacrifices while the new coronavirus continues to be a concern.
“Right now, we’ve canceled all of our international expeditions through May. So that was about eight expeditions, including our big Mount Everest Trip in Tibet,” said Ballinger.
Alpenglow’s backcountry expeditions in the Tahoe area are also on hold.
But that’s not stopping many people from venturing out on their own, which can be risky.
“So, we think what’s happening is a lot of people are trying to go backcountry since the resorts aren’t open and they don’t necessarily know the risks they’re taking on,” advised Ballinger. “So, we just want to encourage people, right now is not the time.”
Ballinger explained how a lot of those people do not have the proper equipment.
“Not only are there more people out there but there’s a lot more people with limited experience, and often with no backcountry equipment, things like avalanche transceivers or shovels and probes. The things we use when we’re skiing outside of ski resorts,” explained Ballinger.
When asked how he is looking at the positive side of things, Ballinger offered this perspective.
“I know we are going to get to go and have big adventures out there in the future again. And my whole life, especially climbing mountains like Everest, has been all about suffering but knowing that suffering will end,” he said. “There will be a finish. Standing on the summit, celebrating and then getting back down to safety, and I truly believe that’s true now.”
To help weather this rough time, Alpenglow is offering gift cards loaded with a 5% bonus on their website.