It was 82 degrees when the 2021-22 ski season officially began.
OK, so nobody in this hemisphere is going to be skiing or riding anytime soon. Still, there are plenty of indications that summer is waning and winter is waiting. Schools are about to get back into session, apple picking and football afternoons are on the horizon, and we’ll start waiting for the first snow guns to fire up later in September.
But my family’s first beacon of the upcoming ski season always comes during our annual, late-summer trip to renew ski leases for the year, a pilgrimage that, despite the heat, signifies a first step into winter.
It’s fun to have the kids dig out some semblance of ski socks while I unearthed their skis, poles, and boots to return to Country Ski and Sport in Westwood, where my three children have held their seasonal leases for the past six-seven years. It’s exciting to see what new boots they’ll be sporting this season, as well as discovering how much bigger of a ski size each of them will receive.
Despite my daughter having to trade in her decidedly-pink skis from last season in exchange for a new pair of Elans, all of them were satisfied with the equipment they would be sporting this season on the slopes. With any luck, that could be only three months away.
Three long months away.
And yet, as the days get shorter, there are more and more moments suggesting that the beginning of winter may be closer than we think. Take for instance:
— Sunshine Village in Banff, Canada, saw its first snowfall of the season earlier this week. The resort followed up its social media post with a look at the aftermath of the season’s first “storm.”
The first snowfall of 2021/22 season! 🌨️🌨️🌨️ pic.twitter.com/bl4NmzPa39
— Sunshine Village (@SunshineVillage) August 17, 2021
— It’s only about a fortnight until a number of season passes increase in price, which means it’s really time to start thinking about where you’ll be doing your most skiing this season. The Indy Pass has a current deadline of Aug. 31. The Epic Pass increases in price on Sept. 6. More info here.
— We’re starting to get more notifications about capital improvements across the Northeast, something that was quite limited during last season’s pandemic-tinged season of uncertainly. New lifts are in the works for Loon, Okemo, and Ski Butternut, among others. Pats Peak is getting an upgrade on its parking lot. Saddleback Mountain is seeing progress on its new, mid-mountain lodge.
I get it. It’s all not exactly snow falling from the sky-sort of stoke that normally comes with the kickoff to the season. We’re still a ways away from cooler temperatures that will truly start the discussion about when we might see our first days on snow.
But seeing my kids get their new equipment for the season always does it for me. It’s my own official proclamation about the promise of another winter on snow.