I don’t know if I should feel excited, nervous, guilty, sad, or angry.
Normally about his time, I’m writing about how excited I am to be going skiing, and what we have planned for our upcoming trip. However, we are still living through a pandemic so all plans come loaded with a lot of fine print and risk of cancellation.
As I write this, we are hopefully two weeks away from a trip to Falls Creek in Victoria and six weeks away from a trip to Thredbo in New South Wales.
It is setting up to be a good season. It’s cold and there is snow falling. In fact, its puking down! Thredbo had already good base at the start of July and Falls Creek just got 53cm of snow in the last 24 hours alone. That’s pretty epic.
This will be my 38th consecutive year skiing. Skiing brings me joy and has become part of my identity. It gets me outdoors to experience some amazing environments, lets me see some amazing scenery, has allowed me to experience some great adventures in far flung places on the planet, and introduced me to my husband.
Many of my best memories involve skiing.
Having a ski trip planned gives me something to look forward to. And, I’ll be honest, I’m pretty proud of my streak. I have never missed a year since I started.
Yet, the lifts in Victoria aren’t turning.
The whole state is in the middle of a five-day lockdown and much of New South Wales is meant to be in lockdown. South Australia has closed its border to both Victoria and New South Wales.
Currently, SA residents can return from Victoria but must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. We can’t even return home from New South Wales.
It’s looking very possible that one or both ski trips will get cancelled because of the restrictions.
I’m nervous that we will miss out on the good snow and a great ski trip. I’m nervous that we will miss out on the first trip we have taken for just the two of us in 18 months. I’m nervous that I will miss my year.
I realise much of this is a first-world problem. I also realise that we have been pretty luck here in South Australia during the pandemic and that other people around Australia and the world have done it really tough.
I sympathize with the people in Victoria who are now enduring their fifth really harsh lockdown. It sucks.
So, I feel a bit guilty that I’m upset about missing out on a holiday when there are people losing holiday time, work, their life savings, or their health.
None of that changes that I’m sad.
The year has been long and filled with bad news – both personal and global, an annoyingly slow rehab, and the exhaustingly constant changes to restrictions. The ski trips give me something to look forward to and I’m sad that they might be taken away.
I really don’t want an asterisk next to my skiing streak. That thought alone makes me sad.
I’m also sad for the businesses, owners, employees and ski bums that work hard to make it in the mountain towns and in other related tourism businesses. They have been cut off from a lot of their income without any certainty that it will return this season. Plus, with every round of lockdowns and restrictions, people are more hesitant to book their next holiday, increasing the pressure on tourism and ski industry providers. Some will eventually shut down, others seem to respond by increasing prices and adopting restrictive cancellation policies, making it even more prohibitive to book a ski trip.
I’m sad that sometimes this year has felt like a competition of “whose had it worse.” I’ve seen too much commentary about how people shouldn’t complain because they haven’t had it as bad as others.
Sometimes this year has felt like a competition of “whose had it worse.” There is too much commentary about how people shouldn’t complain because they haven’t had it as bad as others.
It makes me angry that we aren’t helping prop each other up. We all have a right to mourn losses in our reality that are out of our control.
What makes me really angry is that this current outbreak feels so avoidable and unfair.
The current outbreak is because an eligible but unvaccinated, unmasked, untested limo driver picked up some international air-cargo crew then blissfully walked around greater Sydney. When New South Wales went under increased restrictions and “lockdown” to control the spread, the news showed people still surfing, lying on the beach with their friends, or shopping for clothes. Every day, dozens of newly infected people are still out in the community instead of staying at home.
Then, a group of infected removalists drove through several states and brought the delta strain to Victoria and regional South Australia. And still, there is vaccine hesitancy and antivaxxers. There are anti-lockdown people deliberately flaunting the rules and QR check-in requests created to keep us safe.
The actions of a few have impacted the lives and livelihoods of the majority who are trying really hard to do the right thing for the community.
One thing I’ve learnt this past year is that it is important to acknowledge your feelings. So, at the moment, I am excited, nervous, guilty, sad, and angry.
I also remain hopeful. Hopeful that I will get to go skiing in 2021. Hopeful that I will get to tick off another year making turns on the snow. Hopeful that I will get to make more ski-related memories with my husband.