It was F. Scott Fitzgerald—not, like Ernest Hemingway, known for skiing prowess—who spoke for all of us when he said, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
Though ours is a winter sport, we actually can ski in the fall; the Killington Cup race, after all, is scheduled for Nov. 25-26, and that’s almost a full month before the Winter Solstice. This will be the 10th consecutive November that Jay Peak will open; back in 2017, the resort began turning its lifts on Nov. 17. Up in Quebec, Mont Tremblant is planning a Nov. 23 opening.
But Fitzgerald had it right; the life we skiers pursue starts all over again when the leaves fall, when the days grow short, when the temperatures drop—and when it doesn’t seem absolutely nutty to start thinking seriously about skiing.
If summer is for using the mountains to climb the ski trails we like to barrel down in the winter, then the autumn is for using the cooler days to do what pilots do when they are girding to take off: going through the checklist. And so here is a checklist for those whose life is measured by the chairlift: