I’m not worried about having to make reservations.
I’m not concerned about adhering to state restrictions, being exposed to a virus on a lift, or finding a limited lunch menu in the lodge.
It’s things likes cold toes that have me most worried.
Clearly, this is going to be a ski season unlike any other, filled with enough rules and regulations to make your head spin. There are going to be hurdles to overcome, but, c’mon, after the way last season ended, nothing seems to be too difficult to endure, right? So, we’ve got to plan better and sacrifice some liberties that normally come with skiing and riding. The après scene is going to be the equivalent of partying at a library, and the camaraderie normally discovered in the lodge at the beginning of a bitterly cold day won’t be happening. At least we’ll be skiing.
But I do get a bit hesitant about my excitement when I think about (Maude Flanders voice) the children.
My wife doesn’t ski (I know…), which leaves me in the care of my three children (ages, 13, 10 and seven) when we hit the mountain for the day. However, more often than not, while the four of us are carving it up, she is enjoying herself in the lodge below, whether it be reading a book, grabbing a drink at the bar, or chatting up a stranger. So, when one of the kids is, inevitably, cold to the bones, a trip to Mom, while the rest of us continue on with our day, is a fine respite. Except, in the winter of 2020-21, Mom won’t be there.
COVID-19 has upended our lives in so many ways that it seems selfish to complain about the fact that access to every base lodge will be limited, thus, keeping guests who aren’t skiing out of the fray. Yet, my wife’s presence was a luxury we just won’t have this season. I’m sure the kids will be OK booting up at the car. I have no doubt that they will settle for a bagged lunch as opposed to that mid-day cheeseburger, fresh off the grill. But when the first whine of “I’m cold” comes, what do I do then? Maybe there will be many more breaks in the lodge for the four of us, a situation that should go really well when the other two don’t want to stop.
But, given how cold the day might be, it’s easy to figure that other parents are going to be vying for the same space for their own chilly offspring. Normally, when temperatures are in the single digits, we’d make a go for it anyway, figuring that Mom would be in the lodge as a backup plan for anybody too cold to forge onward. But this season, we may have to take a more precautionary decision on those mornings.
Skiing is going to take a lot more planning this year, from making reservations to packing enough snacks to prevent frequent returns to the car. It’s going to take more hand warmers than we’d ever previously thought necessary.
We can deal. We can adapt. We just might have to prepare for more whining than usual. Still beats the alternative.
Ski expo sees new life this weekend
We were originally scheduled to spend this weekend in Boston at the annual ski show before COVID-19 put a dent in our plans. But, as they say, the show must go on. To some degree, at least.
Country Ski and Sport is re-creating the expo, albeit on a a much smaller scale, through this weekend at its warehouse in Hanover, Mass. As the official retailer of the Snowbound Festival, Country Ski and Sport had plenty of inventory reserved for the expo, equipment and apparel that will now be available at a new location.
“We’ve reconfigured our warehouse to be a 15,000 square-foot retail store,” said Ray Stenson, owner of Country Ski and Sport.
Beer and food trucks like Slacktide Coffee Roasters, Mom on the Go Food Truck, and Thyme Traveling Food Truck will also be on hand in Hanover to try and preserve some of the festive atmosphere normally reserved for the Boston expo. “Just try and make something happen,” Stenson said. “Just keep it going like a placeholder.” Stenson had been working closely with SIA since last year’s ski show because of the transition from former host BEWI Productions. Unlike the Boston ski show, there will be free admission and free parking.
Representatives from Atomic, K2, Nordica, The North Face, and Oakley will be among the many brands on hand. All social distancing procedures will be followed according to the state’s guidelines. Masks will be a requirement.
It’s all happening
Thanks to an abnormal heat wave, we’re getting an even later start on our ski season.
It’s not like we expected to be skiing in October, especially based on the commitment that Killington and Sunday River – each normally vying to be the first resort to open in the East – echoed to open as much terrain possible in order to better social distance. But that warming trend last week still really did a number on ski areas trying to open.
The good news is that, this week, the snow machines have been cranking, and it looks like a few areas might even open in time for Thanksgiving weekend. Killington is opening Friday for season pass-holders. Wachusett Mountain will have limited terrain open Friday through Sunday. Jiminy Peak will be open Saturday and Sunday. Mount Snow, Okemo, and Stowe seem bullish on opening for Epic Pass-holders in time for next weekend.
On Thursday, Cannon Mountain announced that, due to another warming trend, it was abandoning its hopes for opening next weekend and will settle for aiming at Dec. 4. Jay Peak is still aiming at getting things going for the holiday weekend, while the likes of Sunday River, Attitash, Wildcat, and Sugarbush are still posting their opening dates as TBD. It’s time. The mountains are opening. Let’s keep it that way. Wear a mask.