The 2019-20 ski season might have ended with a whimper, but now, shelved ski gear is helping people on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.
During the past two weeks, Pinnacle Ski and Sports in Stowe has collected and donated about 450 pairs of ski goggles that doctors and nurses can use as they treat patients with the COVID-19 virus.
“It’s given skiers a positive distraction, which is kind of what they need right now,” said Jeff Neagle, content manager for Ski Essentials, the online face of Pinnacle Ski and Sports.
Ski Essentials made the donation to Goggles for Docs, one of many efforts to put protective gear in the hands — and on the faces — of medical professionals who face supply shortages as they battle a virus that has claimed the lives of more than 12,000 Americans.
“The ski community has been unique in their ability to really help us out with this specific issue with eye protection,” said Mark Halperin, an ER doctor in the Bronx, N.Y., who founded Goggles for Docs. “But not to sound lame, but it’s the same ask of everyone. Keep the wheels from falling off the hospitals. The ski community is a fairly fit and active crew, so it’s the same for everybody. To use your imagination to imagine that that buddy of yours, or that small get-together of very healthy people, could potentially be very dangerous.”
Halperin made his remarks to Neagle during a recent interview, which can be read in full at skiessentials.com/chairlift-chat/goggles-for-docs-program-highlight.
The drive to collect goggles comes at a time when homebound people are looking for ways to limit the spread of the virus beyond the simple protocols of frequent handwashing and staying home as much as possible.
Here in Stowe, residents are sewing masks at home to make up for the shortfall in needed protective gear due to the lack of preparedness on the part of the federal government.
So far, Goggles for Docs has collected more than 18,000 pairs of goggles. Locally, Ski Essentials donated 150 pairs of goggles from its stock, while employees donated 50 more pairs. In addition, they collected 250 pairs from the public.
Pinnacle continues to collect goggles, which can be left in the collection box at the red door at the entrance to the shop.