Last year, my oldest son and I began what we figured would become an annual tradition. As long as the Patriots (or, bless his soul, the Pittsburgh Steelers) aren’t playing in the Super Bowl that year, he and I would spend the day skiing. No younger brother. No younger sister. The time was reserved just for me and him, earning some valuable time on the slopes together.
Except, only in its second year of observance, we have to call an audible.
As I write this, I am in the midst of spending a third, full day in the solitary confinement of my bedroom, having tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. Despite only experiencing a few, mild symptoms, the detection means my family and I are all under lockdown until the middle of next week. That means, not only will I be watching the Super Bowl, alone, in my room, but there will obviously be no skiing date with my son prior to the festivities.
Add it to the list of frustrations that have come with this season.
Of course, the first day of quarantine would come on a powder day, one where many areas throughout New England saw 15-plus inches of snow. I watched from afar as ropes dropped across the hills, with more terrain opening as conditions allowed. The powder is fresh, the woods are open for business, and here I am, trying to figure out which season of whatever TV show to binge-watch today.
As if that weren’t all gloomy enough, I was already growing a bit crotchety in the days prior to learning about the test results, hearing about friends and colleagues who were abandoning any attention to our states’ local travel guidelines.
Last Friday, an acquaintance of mine relayed what a good time he had had at Okemo the previous weekend in Vermont. Seeing as I was with him the day before he arrived in the Green Mountain State, I think the state’s requested quarantine didn’t exactly happen. Over this past weekend, a high school friend of mine took his daughter to Mount Snow. The activity on his timeline did not suggest he’d been holding it out at home prior to his trip.
This happens all the time on social media, and I eventually have to take a step back to decompress. I haven’t skied in any of Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine this season based on the rules that come with traveling back and forth. Not to be a goody-two-shoes, but why am I suffering while everybody else is going where they want, whenever they want?
A family member recently told me that I should just go north and not write about it. That way, nobody would find out and I’d still be able to get some skiing in. But, I just can’t. I have too much respect for the communities of Vermont to do anything but what is requested. I have too much at stake in Massachusetts to not do what this state requests upon return from our neighbors to the north.
That’s why, this month, my three kids and I are going to be using our Indy Passes at Berkshire East and Catamount. We’ll probably pick a quiet time after the school break to visit Wachusett once or twice. Maybe by March some travel restrictions will ease and we can widen out spectrum.
That’s the hope, at least.
We had hoped to go skiing on Sunday too. But maybe it’s the last curveball my family will see this season.
After all, the groundhog did say six more weeks of winter.
At least somebody is on our side.
New management for King Pine
Effective March 1, Highway West Vacations will be providing full property management for Purity Spring Resort, King Pine Ski Area, Tohkomeupog Summer Camp for Boys and Danforth Bay Camping and RV Resort. Highway West will be developing marketing strategies and providing resources to enhance the current hospitality approach for guests, campers, skiers and employees.
The Hoyt family will remain owners of the resort.
“We are excited for the team at Highway West Vacations to share their hospitality expertise and their resources to enhance our current businesses,” vice president of Purity Spring Resort Steven Hoyt said. “Their values are directly aligned with how the Hoyt family conducts business and treats their guests and employees. We are excited for them to help grow our offerings and meet the interests of the current traveler. We hope our returning guests find their visit the same only better.”
Must ski TV
The World Alpine Skiing Championships begin Monday with the women’s super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Every event through Feb. 21 will air live on NBCSN and Olympic Channel and will stream live on Peacock Premium.
Burke Mountain Academy product Mikaela Shiffrin, currently ranked third in the world,is planning to race four individual events at the worlds for the first time — combined (Feb. 8), super-G (Feb. 9), giant slalom (Feb. 18) and slalom (Feb. 20). Vermont’s Ryan Cochran-Siegle remains doubtful for the events with a broken neck.
— Vermont Public Radio takes us into the role of ski patrolling during a pandemic.
— Freeskier has a look at how buying habits for skiing equipment have changed during the pandemic. The piece references the NPD Group, which tracks retail sales from 600,000 stores and websites. The numbers are startling. From August through October, 2020, Alpine touring equipment sales were up 51 percent. Backcountry accessories were up 74 percent, Nordic equipment was up 121 percent, and splitboard sales were up 151 percent. That all paled in comparison to snowshoes though, which were up a whopping 254 percent in sales.
— The 26th annual Jimmy Fund Snow Challenge fundraiser should be taking place this month at Nashoba Valley, but the date remains TBD. Stay tuned.
Catch a new episode of New England Ski Journal TV
We’ve got the latest episode of New England Ski Journal TV, hosted by Meredith Gorman, featuring segments on Bretton Woods, Jay Peak Resort and Burke Mountain.