We’re supposed to be in Killington this weekend.
Maybe you’re supposed to be headed for your first weekend of skiing at Sunday River, Stowe, Sugarbush, or Bretton Woods. Or perhaps you’ve made the decision that current travel restrictions shouldn’t impede on your ability to make the fullest of Thanksgiving weekend.
There are decisions we all have to make over this holiday period, including whether to not to sacrifice time with our loved ones, never mind spending time on the slopes. Maybe you can’t get to Vermont, or perhaps you can’t get back from New Hampshire or Maine without quarantine. They are all major headaches that probably won’t be, in some part, lifted until at least the end of next month.
Vermonters can go wherever they please, as long as they quarantine when they return home. Massachusetts natives can freely visit New Hampshire, but they have to sit out two weeks, or get a test, upon return. Anyone from the Bay State that wants to visit Maine or Vermont is required to follow the same protocol. Granite Staters can go back and forth to Maine without any issue.
So, yes, if you’re altering your ideas this weekend in order to adhere to the COVID-19 restrictions, your mood is probably similar to mine; thoroughly bummed that your plans aren’t in motion.
This should have been the third-straight year that my family kicked off our season with the World Cup as a backdrop in Killington. Of course, the races were already called off earlier this year, and the five of us are woefully unprepared, as it stands right now, for a two-week quarantine to be in the books, as requested, in order to cross the state border. We had a weekend in New Hampshire at the ready as a backup, at least until the state of Massachusetts altered the travel restrictions in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Now, it’s Wachusett in the forecast, provided Thursday’s rain doesn’t soak that parade.
The question of when we will be able to get to Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine by following the proper procedures in still unanswered. By winter break will we be able to put together enough time on one side or the other to qualify as quarantine? We can only hope.
But I think the grander hope here is that, at least, the majority of us understand our own responsibilities in making sure we don’t put a premature end to another ski season. As it is, resorts are already shutting down in France, and won’t likely open again until the beginning of January.
There’s plenty of bravado out there about bucking the system and lying about quarantines. It’s not like skiers and riders need to bring a doctor’s note in order to hop on the lift.
We can only hope that’s the minority though, and that everybody else who skis — and travels — this weekend, understands the repercussions that come with such decisions.
I don’t know what else I can say about the “travel ban” to VT, other than the parking lot today at Snow was very full and 80+% of the cars were NY, NJ & CT.
— Out of Bounds Podcast (@outofpodcast) November 25, 2020
This isn’t ideal, but ignoring each state’s requests can make things a whole lot less ideal soon enough.
Let’s not get there. Again. OK?
Let’s get it started
Last weekend, Massachusetts had more ski areas open (Wachusett and Jiminy Peak) than Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine combined.
That’s a rarity, and one that was short-lived, as a number of spots have, indeed, managed to open in time for Thanksgiving weekend.
Jiminy and Wachusett will both re-open this Friday, joined, in Vermont, by Killington, Okemo, Stowe, Mount Snow, Jay Peak, and Bromley. Sugarbush plans to open on Monday.
In New Hampshire, only Bretton Woods will be open for skiing and riding. Maine has Sunday River and Sugarloaf open for business.
Skiing in the news
The New York Times named Bolton Valley and Ragged Mountain two of its top ski areas to social distance at this winter. We can only assume that Black Mountain, Magic Mountain, and Saddleback just missed the cut. For some reason.
The Times also recently wrote about Vermont’s ski season, “being on the brink.”
The Vermont economy depends on winter ski-season visitors who spend more than $1.6 billion a year in the tiny state, according to the Vermont Ski Areas Association. Vermont is something of a crown jewel of Eastern skiing, annually recording the most skier-day numbers in the East, around 4 million per season, a figure that rivals Utah. New Hampshire, by comparison, sees a little over 2 million per winter….The new rules hit hard at a big market for Vermont — people who drive up for the weekend and who are unlikely to quarantine for a week for two or three days of skiing.
Anne Wallace Allen also wrote this week about how quarantine is expected to change the face of Vermont skiing this season in VTDigger. Greg Fennell writes in The Concord Monitor how small ski areas like Dartmouth Skiway and Suicide Six hope the pandemic provides opportunity for added business.
In racing news, Mikaela Shiffrin took second place in her first slalom event in 300 days last weekend in Levi, Finland. Shiffrin finished fifth in Sunday’s race. Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop wrote about her return to racing after the ordeals she has faced in 2020. Meanwhile, retired World Cup champ Lindsey Vonn debuted her new show this past week on Amazon Prime. “The Pack” is a 10-part reality series setting a dozen dogs and their owners on a trip around the world.