Developing a winter mask / neck tube was actually never our plan. Supporting the protective measures against the Covid virus is extremely important to us, but for a long time we saw no reason why we as a company were needed. This is basically because the materials required for the protection required by the BAG (filtration efficiency, breathability, splash resistance) do not meet our own sustainability criteria. We also felt that there were enough brands on the market that already offered good protective masks. In mid-July 2020, however, the “Impulse Group Graubünden” pointed out a challenge that we cannot neglect: the virus could become a huge problem for the operation of ski areas and mountain railways and there is a lack of suitable protection concepts. Because mountain railways are to be understood as public transport by definition, a mask is required in the ski area.
Because mountain railways are considered public transport, a protective mask is mandatory when queuing, but especially in the gondolas and other means of transport. In our opinion, there were several essential points that we considered essential on the part of Muntagnard:
- You are in nature. Using disposable masks is therefore out of the question. A horror scenario would be nothing but “disposable” masks or replaceable filters that end up as garbage in the mountains. Whether this happens due to careless guests, drifts (winds) or for other reasons is irrelevant.
- The masks must be easy to use, even with gloves, and not get in the way when wearing a helmet / headgear
- The mask must reduce the risk of infecting others by holding back the droplets when coughing, sneezing or speaking.
- The winter mask should be more like a gadget so that the guests “want” to wear it and not “have to”
- The mask must be washed and therefore it must be possible to wear it several times
- The winter mask also has a function after Covid, so that it is not simply thrown away after the corona pandemic
Start of winter mask development
We therefore discussed the situation and challenge with representatives of the Graubünden impulse group and then set about developing a solution. The result was a “mask” that is especially suitable for winter sports. It should rather be a “gadget” that you don’t “have to” wear, but “want” to wear.
We probably had the luck of the capable: We were able to find both an experienced product designer and an innovative production company within a very short time, which made the development of this product possible in the first place. The production partner was able to guarantee us right from the start that an available material meets the highest European standard “UNS-1”, which is still valid throughout Europe. Of course, we didn’t just want to meet the higher protection standard in Europe, we also wanted to meet the Swiss standard for masks.
For additional protection, we have all masks with Swiss technology HeiQ Viroblock equip. We wanted to ensure that those who wear the masks are also better protected.
As a Muntagnard, actively contribute to protection
For this reason, we have developed a product solution so that we can support the development of protection concepts for the winter. As a Swiss company, we hope to be able to make a contribution to regions severely affected by the Covid situation. With our winter masks we would like to offer a beautiful and safe mask solution and make winter safer:
- It is primarily about protecting the population. If there is something we can do to help, we will try our best to support it and offer a solution. We were happy to initiate this development through the request of the impulse group Graubünden.
- Our customers lead an active life between the city and the mountains. We would like to offer these people solutions so that they can maintain their active lifestyle as unrestrictedly as possible.
- Even if the materials used do not yet fully meet our sustainability criteria with regard to recyclability, with the Muntagnard Winter Community Mask we can offer a more sustainable alternative to the countless disposable masks (reduction of the waste problem).
- At the same time, we are always working on the further development of our products and follow what is happening very closely. So if there is a need for further development of our winter mask, we will do everything in our power to further protect the population.
Proud of what has been achieved with the winter mask
In winter 2020/2021 we were able to enter into various exciting collaborations with different ski resorts and companies. Our larger partners included the Graubünden Interest Group (ITG) with numerous Graubünden ski clubs and ski resorts, Lenzerheide Arosa and Adelboden Lenk ski resorts, the St. Moritz tourism region and the Raiffeisen Bank Graubünden. We were also allowed to create an exclusive Raiffeisen / Swiss Ski mask.
We look back with pride on a successful year and are extremely happy that our winter masks have actively contributed to the fact that a large part of Swiss winter tourism was able to function within the legal guidelines.