Wear a mask and weekend warriors

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I witnessed a disrespectful person at a grocery store in the Bow Valley last week. A woman working at the store, who was around my mom’s age, asked him to put a mask on. The man laughed and said, “Whatever, old lady.” She said, “I’m serious, it’s a bylaw, please put it on or leave.” To which he responded, “You put on my mask, old lady.”

As a number of people walked towards the situation, he dropped his groceries and escorted himself out. Yes, he had a mask in his hand, but wouldn’t put it on. You could see in the women’s eyes that she was sick and tired of having to communicate health-bylaws to people.

Also last week, I saw a couple walk into a secondhand gear store without masks. After being asked to put them on by an employee, the man said they had asthma and quoted some sort of constitutional law. Bystanders moved in and repeated the worker’s claims that it’s a bylaw. The two walked out, and said, “Bad publicity coming your way.”

Both of the “resistors” were men in their 20s, but I’m not pointing fingers, I know that being a douchebag isn’t reserved for testosterone-driven bros. I’ve seen men and women of all ages practice the timeless art of douche-baggery when they’re asked to put a mask on.

It’s pretty simple: wear a mask.

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Nothing gets the blood going more than public disobedience during a global pandemic when there are vulnerable and at-risk people in our community. If you choose not to wear a mask, physically distance and to follow the simple rules in our public spaces, you’re not just a douchebag, you’re potentially a lot worse. If one of those non-face-mask-wearing punters was part of a transmission chain that led to the death of someone you loved, what would that make them to you?

On another note, it’s rad to see how many people are getting out to play in the mountains. Ice climbs in the Ghost, Kananaskis Country and Icefields Parkway had line-ups on them this weekend. Banff Sunshine ski resort had a lower gondola lift line that zig-zagged back through the parking lot towards the access road. Gap Lake once again had crowds of skaters carving across the wind-blown surface. And hiking trails close to town were busy with locals and out-of-towners.

There’s been a lot of avalanche activity in the local mountains. Don’t get complacent with mid-early-season sessions. Practice avalanche skills, carry avi gear and check Avalanche Canada for conditions.

I was flipping through an old climbing magazine the other day and came across a quote by the late Alex Lowe: “There are two kinds of climbers, those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.”

Keep your distance in lift lines and don’t crowd each other, but heading outside this winter is probably the healthiest thing we can all do – that, and to wear a mask.