Tamara Susa | Social Distancing Log
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Social Distancing Log

Documenting every day during Covid-19 shutdown starting March 15th.

day 1.

The governor of Colorado announced last night at 7pm that all ski resorts in the state are closed indefinitely. Tourists are still in town and they are everywhere. The Mall is full of people and families are skiing on the beginner hill either hiking back up or doing bus laps.

I decide to go for my first day of split boarding. Surrounded by dozens of people doing the same, I run into Dash. He is 89 years old and hiking up the mountain with his snowboard in order to get another day under his legs. While we’re chatting I make sure I keep safe distance between us and I even cover my face with my buff out of precaution, terrified that I could in some way transfer a virus that I might have and not be aware of to him. The thought of it haunts me for days.

day 2.

Brandon, Jordan and I go for a snowmobile ride up Independence pass for sunrise. We joke about keeping our tripods 6 feet apart while shooting. I stop by the grocery store on my way back, the town is still full of people and supplies are plenty to find. My head hurts all day since I woke up at 4am and I’m imagining I have a fever. The thermometer proves me wrong. I’m fine.

day 3.

Steve and I go for a sunset hike up Snowmass. I tell him about how much anxiety I’ve been having and he says I need to calm down. All the bars and restaurants are now closed.

day 4.

Toby and I go snowmobiling with Seth and Amy. We were hanging out together the night before everything got shut down so we figured we’re in it together. We ride up backside of Aspen mountain, everyone is having fun but I feel a lot of tightness in my chest. We decide to go home. I’m fine.

day 5.

It’s a powder day. We’re going skinning up Snowmass. They just announced groups larger than 5 are forbidden. I get in an argument with my best friend about not taking the situation seriously. She says it’s just the flu and it makes me furious. Am I taking it TOO seriously?

day 6.

I join Toby and Dave on a walk around the neighborhood. Everyone respects 6 foot social distancing and not gathering in big groups.

day 7.

Dave and I are on a schedule where we go skinning every other day. Today, the mountain is so busy. We get up to Gwynn’s but there’s quite a few people up there, everyone in their own little groups.

day 8.

Toby and I go snowmobiling up to Maroon Bells. We drive past Buttermilk on our way and the mountain seems quite busy with people uphilling. Somebody built an igloo at the Bells, social distancing at its finest.

day 9.

I read an article about a guy who started having symptoms 9 days after he was exposed to somebody with the virus. My throat immediately started hurting. Anxiety is a hell of a thing. We didn’t go skinning today. But I grabbed my camera and went for a walk around the village. It’s so eerily empty. And not in a way like it’s empty during off season. The tables are still out at the restaurants, the lights above the ice rink are on and the steam coming off the heated pavement in Base Village makes it looks so much more apocalyptic.

day 10.

Dave and I went for a short skin. The enthusiasm is starting to wear off and I’m not even bringing my camera today. Starting today at 5pm, our county is implementing “shelter in place” meaning all non essential businesses to be closed and traveling out of the county is not recommended.

day 11.

It was Dave’s turn to go to the grocery store today. He says options are limited. I went for a quick run to the Top of the village, since all the trails are covered in snow and there’s no cars on the road anyways. That road is hell of a steep. I realized I can run through the parking lots to make my run longer and less steep. I must have spent ridiculous amount of hours in front of my computer today.

day 12.

At 8am this morning, the entire State of Colorado was issued a Stay at home order. Dave and I went for another day of skinning, made it up to Up 4 Pizza covering about 3200ft of vertical. I have to admit when I bought that splitboard the last thing I thought is that it would come in handy in case of a global pandemic. We barely saw any other people. A few people still hiking in the park. Today, USA surpassed China as the country with most Covid-19 cases in the world.

day 13.

I bought a puzzle of a place we were supposed to visit this spring. It’s snowing and the village is quite empty.

day 14.

Plenty of people still hiking up the mountain, kids and adults sledding, and dogs running around everywhere. Another powder day.

day 15.

I went for another run on the roads and through parking lots, since trails are still snowy. I’m considering training for a marathon.

day 16.

Still no toilet paper.

day 17.

If someone had told me a month ago that I’d be getting to Snowmass’s high terrain powered by my legs I definitely would not have believed them. Today we covered just over 3600 ft of vertical for the best day of riding yet – equipped with our backcountry gear for safety, we got to take some amazing “quaranturns” in the powder.

day 18.

Quiet evening in the village. For about 30 minutes that I was taking photos by the main road leading into Snowmass, I saw more elk in the hills than cars driving by. They officially extended our quarantine until the end of April. I’m on day one of marathon training program.

day 19.

It has not stopped snowing all day. I walked up to the Snowmass mall around dusk, just as the walking area would be full of people heading in and out of restaurants for dinner. There was not a single soul there other than me, no footprints in the snow covering the ground that surely hadn’t been cleared out all day. In the solitude of this moment, as the snowflakes kept piling up on the tables and chairs left intact at the restaurant patios, the only sound was the shutter of my camera. I walked out on the slopes, my feet now buried in almost a foot of snow. What a hauntingly beautiful sight. 

day 20.

Up for sunrise. Went for a skin up Snowmass by myself. Hiking up the mountain on what probably would have been the biggest powder day of the season makes me more sad than excited. A lot of time on my own makes me think too much. I miss my friends.

day 21.

First day outside Snowmass in probably two weeks. Signs on the highway saying “Essential Travel Only”. We made a trip to Ruedi but the lake is completely frozen. Saw some bighorn sheep along the road and chatted with friends from far away.

day 22.

Another day of skinning up the mountain with 3600 ft of elevation gain. Snow was great at the top and horrible by the bottom. Today would have been Buttermilk closing day.

day 23.

Still on schedule with my marathon training, week one complete with the long run being 6 miles today. In order to run without too much elevation gain, I made a trip off the mountain. Beautiful warm spring day and no signs of snow as soon as you hit the highway. 

day 24.

They’re saying that the next two weeks are the most important in avoiding the surge in Covid-19 cases. But they also said that two weeks ago and have been saying every single day since we’ve started self-isolating. So I really don’t get this part if we’ve been in quarantine for almost a month, and incubation period is 14 days, how is the biggest surge expected in two weeks from now? Somebody enlighten me. 

Other than that, we went exploring the valley on our snowmobiles. My first day in the high country in the winter. Avalanches terrify me but it sure is pretty out there. Tonight is the largest full moon of 2020.

day 25.

Technically we’re not even half way through.

day 26.

Ok but for real, we live in a town of 3,000 people, how are we still running out of toilet paper by afternoon every single day? Doesn’t everyone have enough by now?!

day 27.

I stare at this tree through my bedroom window every day.

day 28.

We tried filming Highlands closing party DJ set so we could stream it to people tomorrow so they can have a party at their house. Police shut it down quickly arguing it’s a non-essential activity.

day 29.

I forgot to bring the headphones on my run today, I never realized how loud the creek by the trail is.

day 30.

I went for an 8 mile long run in 30 degree weather with occasional wind gusts and snow approaching. Anything to get out of the house.

day 31.

It’s been a full month since we’ve started isolating. Aspen has 34 confirmed cases of Covid-19, about 300 people have self-reported symptoms and 2 people have died from the virus. We are still under stay at home order, masks are now pretty close to mandatory in all public spaces. First bike ride of the year in below freezing temperatures. Anything to get out of the house.

day 32.

It appears that most of my family in Chicago has or has had the virus.

day 33.

Noon in Aspen during a spring snowstorm with barely any footprints in the snow. The rare people walking around were either taking photos just like me, or heading up the mountain with skis on their shoulders. Yet another powder day.

day 34.

I woke up at 6am to take advantage of the fresh snow. Made it to Aspen around 7, and the town was already busy with people carrying skis on their shoulders and making their way up the mountain. It reminded me why I live here and why I love this place so much. You can take away our chairlift access, but you can’t take away our love for powder days.

day 35.

This is what’s been bothering me lately – people have stopped making eye contact. When I walk past somebody on the trails, or in the grocery store, they look away, hide their face, step aside. I’m talking about people that are more than 10 feet away. When I run past them on the trail they look at me as if I am the disease that they need to run from as fast possible. Let’s not lose our humanity in this people. We don’t need to be mean to each other just because we have to social distance.

I finished my puzzle. It felt really good to tear it all apart after I was done.

day 36.

We finally have toilet paper again. Today would have been Aspen and Snowmass closing day.

day 37.

As of today, mountains would have officially been closed.

Week three of my marathon training is complete with the long run being 10 miles. Photographs from today are scenes from my run.

day 38.

Colorado governor announced that the Stay At Home order will be lifted next Monday. It’s officially off season in Snowmass and the village would be empty whether there was a pandemic or not. First hike up the Rim trail for the year.

day 39.

Road signs.

day 40.

Post office looks different these days.

day 41.

Masks in the cars. Eagle county lifted Stay at Home order today.

day 42.

Some road signs work, some don’t.

day 43.

Social distancing pizza with our friends. Scenes from the passenger seat dashboard.

day 44.

Hike up Rim Trail. State of Colorado lifted the stay at home order today but our state extended it to May 9.

day 45.

I went for a run to Maroon Bells today. Probably something that was never even on my bucket list. Also first time ever up there without my camera.

day 46.

I hugged a human other than my boyfriend for the first time in 45 days. I grabbed some old cameras and took photos with them testing out if they even work. Apparently I forgot to take any photos with my digital camera so you’ll see those photos in about a year or two when I remember to develop the film.

day 47.

I was the only person in the grocery store without a mask on. City of Aspen is implementing mandatory masks from tomorrow on. This is where I end my project. Thanks for following along. Starting a new one that will be more centered around people than me. I still have anxiety about people letting me get close to them when taking photos, but I’m trying to get used to this mask thing. Read more about it on my next blog post.

  • Anne

    Lol youre best friend made you mad huh?? Ditch her 😜 Love you, dont go dyin on me.

    Also love the photo of the igloo at the bells👌

    March 29, 2020 at 6:46 pm
    • Anne


      Now I just made you even madder 😂

      March 29, 2020 at 6:47 pm

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