This week I participated in a media briefing about the coming season. It was organized by Ski Utah and featured presenters from most of the state’s areas.

They confirmed what most of us already know. This will not be a normal season. Resort skiing will require more advance planning than we’re used to. Some of the details, as presented in the aforementioned media briefing, are outlined a few paragraphs down.

Those of you who live close to where you ski won’t feel the pain. Not so for those of us who must travel.

That’s one of the reasons I plan to try cross country this season. I won’t be alone.  

Cross country skiing is about to boom. Since its impact was first felt, Covid has prompted many more people to pursue solo outdoor sports. 

According to Reese Brown, executive director of the non-profit Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA), early sales of entry-level gear packages were up over 200% in August and September. This bodes well for that branch of the sport.

This issue of is dedicated to cross country and other Nordic activities. When Covid entered the scene, we anticipated that many of you, turned off by new obstacles, might look to Nordic activities as an alternative. That’s why we introduced the Make More Tracks: Nordic Resource Guide and are featuring a Nordic article in each issue. You’ll note that Alpina, which makes top-of-the-line Nordic ski boots and other gear is supporting the initiative.

Cross country, skate skiing, snowshoeing, and snow biking don’t always require traveling great distances to enjoy. If you live where there’s snow, many parks and local golf courses have groomed trails. If you’re fortunate enough to be near a cross country resort, you can enjoy extensive trail networks with many amenities. 

Clearly, Covid has turned skiing on its head.

What did I learn in that media briefing mentioned earlier? Among other things, advance ticket reservations will be required. It’s one of several ways areas will limit access. 

Places like Snowbird will regulate the number of skiers by requiring parking reservations. And at least for the first part of the season, parking spots will be for morning arrivals only.

For several seasons, Utah has encouraged people skiing the Cottonwood Canyons (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude) to take public transportation. Depending on time of day or day of week, ski buses were at their 60 passenger capacity. This season, each bus will be limited to 20.

Many senior skiers enjoy the amenities of a locker room. Now, in an effort to improve social distancing, Deer Valley will limit access locker room access. The resort already has removed all seating. 

Snowbasin is introducing portable “executive” restrooms.

Restaurants will require reservations or ordering by app. Powder Mountain will do both as well as increase take-out locations around the resort.

These changes are representative of what to expect at resorts throughout the U.S. 

In closing the media briefing, Nathan Rafferty, who heads Ski Utah, shared his metric for success for the coming season. As I recall, in the past it has been increasing the number of skiers and the number of skier days. This year, it’s simply “Get open and stay open.”

Vail, Killington, Park City Mountain Resort, Alta Opening 

source: Alta

Vail, Park City Mountain Resort and Killington each announced season openings on Friday, November 20. Alta will open Monday, November 23. Check your email and favorite mountain website for more opening dates.

The Nordic Approach

That’s the name of the new online magazine for cross country skiers. Click here to visit the free site and find resorts, retailers, lots of good articles and tips for everyone interested in or already enjoying the cross country skiing lifestyle.

Parlor Skis Backcountry Emails

Parlor Skis is the Boston-based custom ski manufacturer known for high quality skis designed for the purchaser’s individual skiing style and needs. I know several skiers who’ve invested in Parlor skis, and they absolutely love them! The company takes an intelligent and analytical approach to the customization process. Its New England heritage is reflected in a new email series exploring back country skiing in the Northeast. If you’d like to receive Parlor’s emails, send your request to [email protected].

ISHA Needs Your Support

International Ski History Association

ISHA (International Skiing History Association) is the non-profit that, among other things, publishes Skiing History magazine. If you’re not already a member, I urge you to join. You’ll receive Skiing History every other month. Click on ISHA’s ad at the bottom of the stack of ads on the right and you’ll receive the free digital version. But at this time, it’s important to send ISHA money. Like so many other non-profits, the group is feeling the effects of Covid, especially from corporate sponsors cutting back because of reduced revenues. Please help ISHA weather this particularly tough storm. A one-year membership is only $49.

U.S. Ski-Snowboard Hall of Fame, Too

This is another worthy non-profit whose revenues this year were interrupted by Covid. The Hall of Fame‘s mission is to honor and celebrate the athletes, pioneers and visionaries of the United States who have significantly enriched the global sports of skiing and snowboarding and to showcase their stories and historic memorabilia…” To learn more and/or make a donations, click here.

A Skier’s Thanks

Next Thursday the U.S. celebrates Thanksgiving, a time when we give thanks for our good fortune by stuffing our faces and tolerating people we’re obligated to have at our tables. I apologize for the cynicism. This year will be different. Like others we know, Pam and I will be alone for our traditional feast. We’ll eat well, knowing that many will not and that many will be alone. As we do on every Thanksgiving and throughout the year, we’ll remember those no longer with us and those less fortunate. As skiers, we should be expressing thanks to the people who work hard so we can enjoy our good times on the hill. There are the groomers who work throughout the night, often in dangerous conditions, to prepare slopes and trals for our enjoyment. There are the lifties, standing in bitter cold to assist us onto the chair. And patrol, up early to control avalanches and working throughout the day to make trails safer. The people preparing and serving food. Those clearing the lots. There are many we never see and whom we never have the opportunity to thank. Maybe it’s not the purpose of Thanksgiving to thank them, but this year, let’s do it anyway. And while we’re at it, let’s thank the medical researchers, especially those at Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. It sounds like their commitment to developing Covid vaccines will soon get us back to some form of normal, including a more normal ski season. Thank you! 

Frustration #1. Frustration #2.

Frustration #1: Readers are reporting that requires re-entering name and email address each time you try to open the site. We believe the issue may be the need to enable cookies on each device used to access If you’ve done that on your laptop and want to open the site on your phone, you must enable cookies on each device. On my iPhone, I went to Settings, scrolled to Safari, turned off  (grey bubble) “Block All Cookies”  and turned on (green bubble) “Prevent Cross-Site Tracking.” Other phones may require other steps. 

Frustration #2: We’d like more classified advertisers. It’s a great deal. Advertise for four weeks for $1. Once the classified section takes hold, we plan to increase the cost of advertising. For the immediate future, however, you can advertise something for sale, something for rent, a club trip, look for someone to ski with, etc. for a buck. 

Back December 4 is taking next week off. See you December 4!


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