To wear their masks, the beard (and a tradition) had to go

Ski patrol members across the country are known for their beards, but many have shaved them for wearing masks in an epidemic, which has angered good-natured people.

He was stunned by the news Tony Camaramata gave to his employees. They were not losing their jobs. They were not losing their allowances.

They were losing their beards.

Camerametta, who oversees ski patrols for an area in the Rocky Mountains west of Denver, had to be down on facial hair so the patrol could properly wear her N95 respirator mask for protection from a coronary virus epidemic.

But he knew that it would be a difficult measure for his crew men to accept (47 of the resort’s 56 patrolmen). For most of them, beards and ski patrols move together like snow and mountains.

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Operations Director, Camerameta said, “You can tell people they are not getting merit increases. They said,” It’s not as bad as telling them they have to shave. Full bearded. The thing is included in our culture. “

This season requires a mask. And they fit much better without facial hair.

Dr. Kendrick Adnan said, “You need a good, tight seal, medical advisor to Arapoeh Basin, Copper Mountain and Keystone Ski Resort and a former ski patron himself.” “Facial hair will interfere with that and put that ski patron at risk.”

“I have known many ski patrollers whose facial hair is near and lovely,” he said. “This year is going to be painful for them.”

Painful does not quite capture it.

“It was shocking,” said Hunter Mortensen, a longtime Breckenridge, Colo., Ski patron who recently shaved for the first time in 10 years. “It was like that for the first time in the cold-lake-jump blowing in the air – felt.”

His colleague Ryan Dineen, who has not owned a razor since 2005 and whose wife has never seen him without a beard, agreed that there was an annoyance over hearing about the new shaving protocol.

“Knee reaction, how dare you?” This is who I am, ”said Dinen, getting ready to break the razor in the coming days. “I may have to FaceTime with my father to tell me how to use a razor.”

Ski resorts are trying to overcome short spring weather cuts by virus lockdown. Skiers now face a number of precautions, including facade requirements, social take-away measures on elevators, reservation-only time on slopes and spots from some closed indoor spaces.

Ski patrol members see it as a minor inconvenience by cutting off their beards for safety and keeping the slope active. But all shaving has come with some specialties.

In ski areas such as the Arapohe Basin, about 80 percent of male patrons have had to significantly change (or introduce) shaving regimens. A chart released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, highlighting the diversity of facial hairstyles with fitted respirator masks, has become a well-known resource.

“It’s one of the funniest government-issued documents I’ve ever seen,” Camerameta said. “This is a painting with over 40 styles of facial hair. He has named them all. We always have a long tradition of seeing these Viking looking men doing this work. When I showed him this chart, we all laughed. We are trying to keep it very beautiful. People started showing some ridiculous facial hair. “

Bearded protectors say that their facial hair serves as protection against the elements – a warm layer in the sun with strong winds, icy winds, harsh temperatures and harsh elevations.

“It’s like a hug to Mother Nature,” said Drew Niland, patrol director in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Also, it is fun how people look different than if you keep your beard or not. For some reason, people do not question anyone with a beard as if they are clean. It becomes part of your identity and how you interact with the world around you. “

And if Niland is being honest, “If you’re skiing deep powder and you come to the bottom and have a face full of snow, it’s fun.”

For Rick Hemlin, a national ski patrol historian who has covered Vermont’s Smugglers’ Notch for 48 years and a bush mustache since 1979, shaving is likely something he is willing to continue to love. .

“I will be sad about it, but given the choice between patrolling and facial hair, I will certainly do so,” Hemlin said. “One thing you can say about patrolmen everywhere is that they are used to work and do whatever is necessary to get the job done.”

Mark Hardy, a longtime patrolman at Alpental, Wash., Expects an early murmur among his notoriously hairy co-workers, but said it will not be unlike other security measures that have been in place for years.

“He connected us all to the helmet many years ago,” he said. “I thought there would be a rebellion.”

Mike O’Hare, a ski patrol supervisor from Killington, Vt., Recently shaved the beard he had played for nearly 30 years.

“We have some patrons whose beards are older than some of their peers,” he said. “After the initial setback of learning the new shaving protocol, most patrolmen took a small step to help ensure the safety of themselves, our families, our company and the entire community.”

And, in fact, it is a small step given the gravity of the epidemic.

“I’m not a frontline doctor in an ER who has to wear an N95 all day,” Dineen said. “I don’t live in a city. There are many things about Kovid that do not impress us here. As much as we love our facial hair, we love it. This beard will come back. Maybe I shave it and think, man, I look like an adult for the first time in my life. “

And many patrolmen are getting silver lining. “Most of us look much younger and less experienced,” Mortensen said.

“Beard has been part of our iconic look. There are going to be some big men with separation anxiety for a while. They may need a big hug. “

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