311 Personal Skiing

When the World Changed

On December 18, 2019, I interrupted a ski day with my friend Mark to order a concert ticket. My favorite band, 311, had scheduled a series of warm-up shows before their biennial 311 Day event and I wanted to get a good seat. The Saturday night show in Reno on March 7, 2020, looked like a perfect opportunity to attend my 36th 311 concert and squeeze in a day of skiing at a Lake Tahoe–area resort.

At the top of the Pioneer lift at Park City Mountain Resort, I left Mark and skied to the Summit House lodge to order my ticket as soon as they went on sale. I scored a front row seat to the show. Three days later I reserved a room at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, the venue for the concert.

My skiing and 311 weekend was booked.

On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) learned from media reports of a “pneumonia of unknown cause” in Wuhan, a city of 11 million in Central China’s Hubei Province.

I had read news about the mystery illness. It caused a brief pang of concern, but I figured it wouldn’t become a problem. A co-worker who traveled to Asia in mid-January told us about the new safety measures at the airports there. All the other new viruses that emerged in my lifetime either fizzled out or we learned to mitigate the risks and live with them. Why worry?

On January 30, with about 8,000 confirmed cases worldwide, the WHO declared the novel coronavirus outbreak (2019-nCoV) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, a respiratory infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, was well on its way to becoming a global pandemic.