Self Isolation For Skiers | 10 Tips For Surviving Confinement

We turned an East London apartment into a ski mountaineer's dream

Unless you really have been living under a rock, and that rock happens to be in Antarctica (the only continent in the world without a case of C19), then you’ll have heard the news and will have been directly affected by C19. This virus is pretty serious and measures have been taken around the world to stop the spread and ease the pressure on the valiant efforts of our doctors, nurses, supermarket assistants and everyone else keeping society together right now.

“We’re here to see you right through these tough times”

So, if you’re one of the many, many people currently ‘socially distancing’ yourself away from society right now, or have a fast approaching lockdown deadline (hands up here at the Mpora offices in London), then we’re here to see you right through these tough times stuck between four walls (quite literally for me, as you’ll see from the comforts of my East London mezzanine studio), with this guide on how to self isolate when you’re a skier.

Note: You don’t necessarily have to do any of these activities in your full ski clobber, but it does help to set the scene a little. Just close your eyes and imagine you’re deep in the Chamonix backcountry

Practise Skiing

Pictured: Futons make fantastic steep skiing practise, just steepen the backrest as required

A bit of an odd one, this one. It really obviously depends on what kind of apartment / house you’ve got, but if you just take a look at what I had to deal with, then you’ll soon learn that anything, really is possible.

Strap on those skis, scope your line, call out the drop in to all those flats surrounding you and get ready to get gnarly. I found a fantastic 39 degree (yeah, I measured) flight of stairs leading to my bedroom to practise my steep turns on – watch out Viv [Vivian Bruchez], I’m coming for you.

Pictured: If you went skiing in your flat but didn’t get a tip shot, did you really go skiing in your flat?

PSA: Please don’t take this advice too seriously – we already have an overburdened health service around the world, I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate you rolling up with a broken neck and torn ACL just because “Mpora told you to give it a go.”

Avalanche Companion Rescue

Pictured: Cushions add that bit of realism to the avalanche rescue scenario. ABS Pack not really required

Okay, okay, indoor skiing my not be the best thing to commit to in these housebound times, but getting yourself familiar again with your avalanche safety equipment could save yourself some much needed time next season.

Watch out Viv, I’m coming for you”

Get your head in one of Bruce Tremper’s many brilliant books on avalanche safety, familiarise yourself with your shovel and probe and how they work, and of course, bury that spare transceiver to practice the three stages of companion rescue. Again, it’ll all help you out when the snow comes back next season.

Practise Abseils & Crevasse Rescue

Pictured: Not everyone has a mezzanine to climb over, but windows and balconies offer a great alternative (this is a joke, please don’t do this).

Similar to the avalanche safety tip, get your abseil and crevasse rescue gear out at home and practise in a chilled out environment. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a rappel station (or worse, your mate falling down a crevasse) and you not having a clue what to do with all this kit you’ve just dropped a chunk of money on.

Find yourself a solid anchor (especially for the rappel/abseil practice), get all your kit out and get practising these (fairly simple) rope work techniques. If your memory isn’t so hot on these techniques, then we’ll include some great videos below.

Here’s a great video on how to set up an abseil:

Here’s a great video on how to save your mate from a crevasse:

Read A Book (Or Two, Or Thee)

Pictured: Guidebooks, magazines and handbooks offer respite from the crazy world we’re all living in.

With all of this free time at home, and minimal connection to the outside world, it’s sometimes tempting to log onto social media and mindlessly thumb your way through the latest crap that Mr. Zuckerberg wants to push your way. Don’t fall into this trap – get your head into a book instead.

“These are still great tools if / when the fit hits the shan”

There are loads of great books on skiing and snowboarding; from the fantastic Whitelines Annual, to Patrick Thornes’ brilliant ‘Powder’. Oh and guidebooks – there’s lots of guidebooks to read through to plan next year’s missions – if you’re a fan of guidebooks, then I’d urge you to grab yourself a copy of Tignes’ Hors Piste: Le Guide Complet, written by yours truly (guilty of shameless self promotion? Who? Me? No. Never).


Pictured: Workouts must be completed in full ski kit.

There’s nothing really worse on your fitness than being housebound for however many weeks (months?) of self isolation that we may have to look forward to before this virus is beaten. Therefore, you’re going to have to get creative with your workouts to ensure you come out the other end fighting fit.

We’ll get a separate home workout article ready in the next couple of weeks. Until then, we recommend checking out the queen of downhill’s (Mikaela Shiffrin) home workout video, as it’ll be much better this information coming from her, rather than the Mpora crew.

Click here to check out Mikki Shiff’s home training video

Watch Ski Films

Pictured: Beer and snacks optional

Although it can give you a huge dosage of the old FOMO, getting yourselves in front of your laptop and catching up on some of the finest ski movies out there will take you back to the good ‘ol days. We wrote an article on The Best Ski Movies Of 19/20 – that’ll be a great place to start quite.

And once you’ve worked your way through that list, then you have to check out (or rewatch) the brilliant work of Robb Gaffney and the late, great, Shane McConkey in the epic ‘GNAR – The Movie’

Wax Your Skis

Pictured: Give your skis some well earned love

If you’ve been out trashing your skis day in, day out, then they’re going to need a good bit of tender loving care – now’s the time to given them that well earned loving. Get your skis up on your dining room table, balcony or any other flat space you can find around your pad, grab yourself a block of ski wax, then… wax on, wax off. Job. Done.

Grab yourself some ski wax here

Grab yourself a wax iron here

Browse Ski Sales

Pictured: You can get some cracking deals on ski gear right now

This one will really depend on your personal situation, of course. But, if you do find yourself with some spare cash, jumping onto the online sales could see you find some banger bargains on ski equipment. This will, of course, help you look like the hottest skier on the mountain when next season finally rolls through.

Check out the Surfdome winter sales here

Practice Map Reading

Pictured: Get those maps out and get practicing

This one might seem a little dull, but will really help you out when you’re next able to hit the backcountry and the cloud rolls in. Get yourself a map and compass (dads usually have a secret stash of them) and get practising how to take a bearing and a grid reference from the map. We may be deep into the 21st century, but these are still great tools if / when the fit hits the shan.

Plan Next Season’s Trip

Pictured: Mpora and some of the finest resort guides to help plan next season’s trip

You don’t necessarily have to go booking anything, but it’s always great to start thinking about what an epic season next season will be and there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll get a blinder of a deal right now.

Get on your mates group chat and get the psyche going for some good old fashioned ski missions next year. Explore areas that you may not yet have skied, explore areas close to home or even just plan a trip to your favourite ski area – you’ll feel much better doing this than reading the news, at least.

Hint: start off with the Tirol region of Austria, we’ve written a in depth Winter Resort Guide For Tirol.

Get Outside

Finally (but probably most importantly), make sure you spend time outside, whether this is by keeping yourself active, or just a walk around the park. Spend as much time (as your government allows) in the great outdoors.

But of course, when you go outside, do make sure you keep to the advisories from health specialists around the world: wash your hands frequently, maintain social distancing, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, practice respiratory hygiene. Stay safe and see you next winter.

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