Half-Way Through The Season, Pat McCloskey Takes Stock.

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My Ski Lodge. Credit: Pat McCloskey

We are halfway through winter, and the groundhog has come out to let us know what he thinks about the rest of the winter. I wonder if he will be masked? In any event, this has been a different ski year with booting up in the parking lot and eating lunch in the car or at a tailgate. The good news is that, for the most part, snow has been really good this winter, and lots of folks are getting out to enjoy the slopes nationwide.

Here in Western Pa, the snow has been plentiful, and all of our ski areas have been operating well. There have been a few glitches along the way but for the most part, I am grateful that the lifts are spinning. The outside fireplaces are roaring, and, when there are only a few people in the lodge, I sneak in early to sit by the fire, one of my favorite things to do.

There’s been snow in western PA. Gratitude. Credit: Pat McCloskey

There have been a lot of changes this year in the operation of skiing. We don’t really know the half of it, but I am sure that operating a ski resort in Western PA is challenging enough let alone in a year with a pandemic. In the fall, there were questions about whether there would be skiing this season.  However, the resorts have made it possible even though their bottom lines are probably not as robust with the lack of bar and restaurant business. Tough to survive on take out and limited indoor seating. But they are doing it, and, for that, I am grateful. When I ride up that old chairlift and look out over the Laurels, I am so thankful that I have the health and the skill to enjoy skiing. And an hour and a half from where I live, I will take it.

Janet and I are headed west in February and I will be going again in March. From what I am hearing from friends out there, the resorts are doing a good job in general. Sure there has been the issues with long lines due to social distancing on the chair lifts, but it seems to have sorted itself out as the season has progressed.  This past week, most of the west has seen a significant snowfall which will hold them in good stead for the rest of the season. Outdoor recreation is essential to all of us if we want to get through this pandemic and nothing better than enjoying the snow in the winter.

As I sit in my folding chair at the beginning of the day and boot up, I look around and think we are much better off than we thought we might be. The weather has been cooperative, and it has led to good times outside for a lot of us. So the next time you see a snowmaker at the resort, any resort, thank them. They work hard in really adverse conditions. When you see the patrol, the ski school, a groomer , restaurant employee, ticket booth personnel, or management at an area, take a moment to thank them all and tell them how much we appreciate their efforts to keep us all going strong this winter. The good news is that no matter what that ground hog says, we have a lot of winter left.


One Comment

  1. Alan S Cort says:

    Thanks for your reflections, Pat. What a shame it would be to miss a season just because things are different, and we have to change our usual habits. Meanwhile – promise to make a turn or two while out west for we Eastern Skiers who won’t be venturing across the Mississippi this season.

    Thanks- Alan

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