Wipeout Piste Maps are now making Face Masks. It is diversification at its best, there is a demand, and we have a supply! Careful thought and consideration went into every step of this journey, I thought you might like to know more.
It was Friday the 13th (March 2020), and I was being propelled up the mountain in one of the world’s largest cable cars, sharing the steamy air between 200 skiers crammed in goggle to goggle. I was having a great time. Lap after lap, skiing until my legs couldn’t ski anymore, it did occur to me at the time, the inappropriate proximity of us all in this enclosed space, when the impact of Covid-19 was making itself felt around the world. Italy had already gone into ‘lock-down’, yet here we were, ‘making turns while the sun shined’.
The French Government soon turned out the lights. By Sunday 15th March all of France’s ski resorts were to be closed. By Monday 16th March all schools in France were closed. Then at midday on Tuesday 17th March, what felt like the portcullis being dropped, all exercise was restricted to within 1km from the house.
My usual work of dealing in Wipeout Microfibre Piste Maps was quickly replaced by home schooling (in French) and the fresh re-stock of products just arrived for the latter half of the season, were now ‘on the shelf’. A few weeks into lockdown, there was a drive by the community to provide a face mask free of charge for everyone and my local area was calling out for volunteers. So I virtually stuck my hand up, and before I knew it I embarked on a nightly ritual of mask making. (For the record I made 100 in total, a small contribution to the 16,000 which were locally made.)
As I have a lot of Wipeout products at home, including goggle bags and Wipeout microfibre piste maps, I decided to use these to make my masks. I also played with using sheets, pillow cases and (on request) one of my friend’s favourite t-shirts! It was time consuming, but fun and I soon learnt that the demand was definitely there. I decided that perhaps Wipeout should
diversify, and with our strong contacts in materials and manufacturing, we could make some high quality reusable masks.
As I continued to learn what worked and what didn’t and what complied with international guidelines, I decided to add a mask which uses microfibre cooling fabric into my main order, as well as requesting all masks included soft ear loops and a nose wire. As a wearer of glasses, I know the problems that come with wearing a mask and glasses together. I leafed through lots of technical documents, looking at the strict fabric and manufacturing guidelines, and after some decisions on design, an order was placed.
So now the Wipeout masks have arrived and (even if I say so myself), they look great! Like most people I was very self-conscious when first wearing a mask, but the more I wear one the more it becomes normal. Now it is part of my essential list for leaving the house; keys, phone, wallet and face mask.
So that has been Wipeout’s ‘making masks’ journey so far, but in reality, this is only just the start! Little did I know that four months after standing in that cable car, wishing we were all wearing a mask, that Wipeout would now be putting its energy into providing face masks that are comfortable and that people are happy to wear – most likely well into the next ski season. Now let me see if I have one which matches my ski jacket…