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The Flip Side – Volume 3

Stories to Keep You Outdoor-Inspired in Our New Normal

Our weekly roundup of the best outdoor stories that capture and inspire the spirit of adventure during the days of social distancing.

The Italian Who’s Been Social Distancing for 31 Years

In 1989, Mauro Morandi washed up on Budelli Island off the coast of Italy in a broken-down boat and never left. As the island’s sole resident and caretaker, Morandi passes the time by making log sculptures and taking photos, which he posts on his Facebook page—yes, the island has WiFi. And today, Morandi may be the least vulnerable Italian to the coronavirus outbreak. [National Geographic]

Should Spring Touring Be Cancelled?

With dozens of recent human-triggered slides, some avalanche centers ceasing forecasting, maxed out emergency personnel, and packed skintracks, some are saying cancel culture should also apply in the backcountry. [Powder]

A Friendly Reminder From Werner Herzog About Nature

Werner Herzog has never considered any dog to be “cute.” Just as the eccentric film director is indifferent to canines, he argues nature is indifferent to us humans. This outlook explains his recent advice on handling nature’s curveballs, i.e., the coronavirus. In short, be rational, unlike the subject of his tragic 2005 doc Grizzly Man. [NY Times Magazine]

Telluride Becomes a Corona Testing Ground

Though there’s only one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Telluride, this Colorado mountain town has become a guinea pig for a new coronavirus test. The execs of a multinational biotech company happen to live there part-time, and have donated enough tests for everyone in San Miguel County, where Telluride is located, to be screened. [The Atlantic]

Are Big Cats Patrolling St. Petersburg?

Recently, reports spread that Putin had enlisted 800 lions and 600 tigers to strut the streets of Russia to enforce lockdown. While we’d never support autocratic fear tactics, it sure would make quarantine go by a little faster if we could peer out the window for a live megafauna show. But since Reuters fact-checkers busted the myth, Russians will have to revert to Googling 3D tigers on their smartphones just like everyone else. [Reuters]

Virtual PT Has Your Back

One silver lining of the pandemic has been a surge in virtual visits with health care providers. Physical therapists, among others, are jumping on board to continue offering care to patients, without risk of exposure. So whether you have a nagging running injury or new post-ski season back pain, tele-PT could be your answer to rehab during quarantine. [Women’s Running

The Best Stargazing Apps for Backyard Camping

When you just can’t even with this planet, go spy on another one. While the date of your next camping trip might be TBD, if you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, you can still plan a very local camping trip, stars and all. Here are some of the best stargazing apps to catch a glimpse of the constellations, planets, and meteor showers hanging out right above your house. [Tom’s Guide]

Quarantine Goals: Be More Avy Savvy

While many of us may be rethinking touring right now, we can still set our sights on next season and work on improving our avalanche safety knowledge. The Utah Avalanche Center has rounded up five ways we can become more avy savvy right at home, from free online classes to beacon searches in your backyard. [Explore]

Outdoor Industry Rallies to Support Pandemic Response

There are too many stories of outdoor brands—as well as companies in other industries—stepping up to help in more ways than we can count, but we wanted to highlight a few. We’re proud to be part of such a strong community!


  • Chaco has completely retrofitted its ReChaco factory to manufacture masks and other protection for health care workers.
  • Italian cycling apparel brand Santini has set a goal of supplying the health care system with 10,000 masks a day.
  • Cotopaxi’s new #OneUtah campaign will donate the proceeds from t-shirt sales to local nonprofits responding to the crisis.
  • Canada Goose is manufacturing scrubs and gowns for health care workers and patients across Canada.
  • Swedish company Hestra is donating 38,000 pairs of nitrile gloves to Colorado first responders.
  • Crocs has launched a “Free Pair for Healthcare” campaign, offering health care workers one free pair of shoes (while supplies last!).
  • New Balance is donating $2 million to several nonprofit organizations responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Eddie Bauer is reallocating parts of production to manufacture masks that serve as personal protective equipment for healthcare workers in the state of Washington treating coronavirus patients.
  • The CEO of Vail Resorts announced he will donate $2.5 million to employees and nonprofits in several of the mountain towns where Vail operates.