Winter before COVID-19
In January, a dream of mine came true: I headed to Japan to guide a few Dutch clients on a freeriding trip. I had been training and guiding almost non-stop as of October, so I felt strong. At the same time I was also a bit anxious because I wanted to make sure the guests had an amazing trip and an unforgettable experience. But spending nearly four weeks with two different groups in the Japanese mountains was a blast! Although the conditions were the worst conditions since a long time (according to the locals), we were lucky to get 3 out of the 5 best powder days this season. Also, besides the fun we had in the snow, Japan is a very special place with incredible people and an interesting culture.
My winter adventures were supposed to continue in Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy and even the Lyngen Alps in Norway (another big dream). In other words, my agenda was quite full, but who needs free time with so many trips and countries to visit while doing something you love?
Winter during COVID-19
On March 5, I received a call and was informed that my week of guiding in the Ortler area of Italy had been relocated to the Stubai Alps in Austria because of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy. It didn’t come as a big surprise as I had been following the news. Nevertheless, I still found it sad as I love Italy and the tour is great.
Shortly after, I was asked whether I was interested and available to guide a group in Kazakhstan. The tour looked great but after reading a bit more about the Corona virus crisis and the measures several countries already had taken such as closing down borders and limiting social activities, I decided not to go because I didn’t want to take the risk of getting stuck in Kazakhstan. In the meantime, the situation in Europe was changing quickly. I had to create an alternative tour for the group that I was supposed to guide in the Silvretta Alps because all mountain cabins were closed. At this point there was not a lot to choose anymore and the only option was to go on a tour in Germany.