By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
With snow in the air and a dozen ski areas in the state now open, it appears that the 2020-21 season is actually going to happen. Really!
While the track of this storm tonight and tomorrow may be focused on the south, that could change.
But in all likelihood it is going to primarily benefit places like Crotched in Francestown/Bennington, Pats Peak in Henniker, Mount Sunapee in Newbury, Gunstock in Gilford, and Ragged in Danbury which are all open right now and have chairs turning.
Other ski areas open with some natural snow to help are Cannon in Franconia Notch, Waterville Valley, Loon in Lincoln, Wildcat in Pinkham Notch, Attitash in Bartlett, and Bretton Woods.
The one with the most acreage available to ski and ride right now is Loon with 135 acres followed by Cannon and Waterville Valley.
To get daily conditions to report in your email inbox for a New Hampshire ski area go to https://www.onthesnow.com/new-hampshire/skireport.html and check the appropriate boxes.
Skiing this winter is going to be a bit of a pain, at least in terms of preparation.
It used to be that the worst part was just finding all the stuff, packing your bag, and deciding where to go.
Now you have to start with the computer and some homework.
You are going to have to get an advanced reservation as you would for a fancy restaurant this year, and if you don’t have a season pass, you might find your request for a reservation denied, particularly on weekends, holidays, and yes, likely powder days.
COVID-19 spares nothing it seems, even an outdoor pursuit such as skiing.
It can be seen, however, as a throwback to the way it was around here in the 1970s when I was growing up in the state.
Since that time, skiing has become less about skiing and more about the “resort” experience and amenities. But not this year. The profit centers this year have narrowed.
There is likely no more cappuccino bar. Bring your to-go cup of jo from home and drink it in the car.
Skip the fuzzy boots in the lodge and buy a few leather botta bags, fill them full of some Burgandy, bring some crackers and cheese and pull up a rock at the end of the day for your socially distanced apres experience, the way it used to be when there were ski trains from New York and Boston.
If you need to warm up and grab a bite to eat, bring a sandwich for lunch and a thermos of soup and set it atop the dashboard of your heated vehicle.
Bring some extra dry clothes particularly fresh neck warmers and keep them in the vehicle to switch out in the car on snowy, wet, and sweaty days. It will extend your fun longer.
Leave everything in the car.
Mask up, everywhere except in the car.
Other Tough Years
While a lot of profit centers in the lodge will be paired down, the ski industry will survive this year, as it has survived in other years, so don’t worry so much about them but about your own survival.
This is a risk-averse business.
It survived the winter of 1979-80 when it rained every Thursday for 20 weeks, and that season was then followed an almost similarly disastrous winter in 1980-81.
It also somehow survived the winter of 1972-73 during the oil embargo.
I saw a television advertisement urging people to lie about being sick and take a day off of work to go skiing or riding in New Hampshire.
That message is encouraging dishonesty and it leaves employers and fellow workers to think and worry you have COVID-19.
What a stupid idea in a pandemic.
InDepthNH.org’s Paula Tracy learned to ski at Pats Peak in Henniker in 1972 and has been looking for ways to fit it into her work life ever since. Her first ski column First Tracks was for the Salem (Mass.) Evening News. She then wrote one for the New Hampshire Union Leader and later for WMUR. Paula now writes A Winter Run for InDepthNH.org when she is not busy on her State House reporting.
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