A segment of the population is getting out of hand. We saw it at the Capitol, and we’re reading about it on airlplanes, in restaurants, and, now, of all places, ski areas. Pent up anger and resentment, stoked by misinformation and lies, is erupting in public places. It’s ugly, and it’s upsetting. Unfortunately, it’s not going away.

Most ski areas now require masks and social distancing. But not all skiers and boarders want to comply. Their resistance has led to verbal abuse of employees tasked with enforcing policy. Maybe those opposed to the rules think their freedom is being challenged. But, as history tells us, there really is no freedom without responsibility and that responsibility is to the rule of law and the public’s well-being. Without it, you could selfishly do whatever you choose…the rest of society be damned.

It’s good that some areas are enforcing their policies. The fact that Schweitzer Mountain closed night skiing for MLK weekend and this weekend suggests direct punishment for night skiers/boarders resisting mask and distance policies. Other resorts are issuing notices re-empathizing Covid requirements.

Ultimately, Covid concerns will be short term, whereas on hill collisions from reckless and/or out-of-control skiers/boarders will continue to be an issue. I can only hope for myself, other senior skiers, our children and grandchildren, that the areas will pay more than lip service to this more permanent and potentially lethal situation.

Alyeska Tops 45′

This is what 24′ of snow looks like. Think about 45′!

A few weeks ago we reported that Alaska’s Alyeska Resort was the first in North America to get more than 400’. As of this writing, Alyeska has a season total of 541”.

Park City Patrol Demonstrates for Pay Increase

The Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association, representing 200 patrollers and mountain safety personnel, demonstrated this week for a salary increase and better sick leave. The group, which has been operating without a contract since January 1, claims Vail Resorts (VR) is refusing federal mediation. The head of the group explained it wants VR to recognize ski patrolling as a full-time career, deserving salaries and benefits comparable to other Vail Resorts staff. They have a point, don’t they? And how would VR or any ski resort function without patrol? They also have a sense of humor with their picket signs: “Not on Strike. Just practicing.”

Snow in the Sahara

For the first time in 37 years, snow fell in North Africa’s Sahara Desert. With average winter temps of 57F (summer, 100F), desert snow is rare. But in the Atlas Mountain range looming above the desert, there’s a ski resort and vast backcountry terrain accessible by climbing (there are three tour operators) and Africa’s only heli-ski operation.

Canadian Teen Survives in Snow Cave

Snow cave built by Canadian teen

Last Saturday, 17-year old Robert Waldner got separated from his family while snowmobiling in a mountainous area of British Columbia where this time of year temperatures can drop to -58F. Realizing he was lost, the high schooler shoveled out a snow cave and hunkered down for the night. His breath caused the interior of the cave to ice over, stabilizing the interior temperature. Fortunately, search and rescue spotted his snowmobile and found the lad, unharmed, before midnight.

Outstanding New Skiing History

 Just-published, Ski Jumping in Washington State: A Nordic Tradition is exceptionally well-researched and a first-rate read. While the  224-page paperback focuses on the development and evolution of ski jumping in the Northwest, it’s scope covers the golden age of ski jumping throughout the nation. The volume is filled with wonderful illustrations and photographs from early to mid-Twentieth Century. It tells the story of Norwegian immigration to the US and how many of those immigrants — Alf Engen, Torger Tokle, Art Tokle, Olav Ulland, Birger and Sigmund Ruud and others — contributed to ski jumping competition. John W. Lundin, a ski historian and attorney, authored this gem. The book has a Foreward by Eric Nelson, CEO of the National Nordic Museum. Ski Jumping in Washington State: A Nordic Tradition (Arcadia Publishing) accompanies an exhibit on the same topic organized by the National Nordic Museum and the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum.

Drive the Streets of 50 Cities

Click here to take a virtual drive through more than 50 cities worldwide. You’re able to set vehicle speed, street noise, etc. Return to the city after one drive and you’ll be on a different route. I took the drive up Park Avenue in Manhattan and passed the building where I used to work.



  1. My grandmother would make the best cookies. Her way of teaching self control and patience was to offer me one cookie before diner or as many as I wanted after diner. We live in a society today where many people don’t want to wait. They want all the cookies before as well as after.

  2. MPaul Hansen says:

    Here is a new twist; decades ago an emotionally disturbed chair-lift operator was hired at a major WA State ski area. He was a ‘hot-head’. He got unreasonably P. O. at a lone lift rider once, “jimmied” the chair-lift and the rider nearly fell off. With one hand, the strong-armed rider was able to ‘kip’ up onto the chair. A series of other incidents followed, and then the chair-lift operator was let go

  3. If you start making this a political posting you can take me off your mailing list.

  4. Richard Kavey says:

    Important for us all.

  5. Lou Vigorita says:

    It’s a shame that the lack of civility and just plain good citizenship will continue to impact our sport. This is not political but simply good manners and civility. “Track Right” “Track Left” soundings are simple and safe warnings and so is mask compliance. Who doesn’t want to be safe? T ganks for reporting what’s happening at Schweitzer and otgercski areas.

  6. Peteer Hogan says:

    Paul, It’s not politics it’s health and safety. I just went skiing for the first time since the pandemic started. I was very nervous. Using the porta potty felt scarier than any double black, and there was no reasonable way to warm up my frozen appendages. Mt Wachusett was strongly enforcing masks. The physical distancing was falling apart though. I’m not sure if I will go back. If people like me are to go to the slopes and spend our money, it can only happen if we don’t feel like we are risking our lives. If we don’t feel safe ski areas will suffer and some will not survive the pandemic.

  7. My 2 cents; its pretty simple wear a mask and follow the rules or stay home. You don’t have to go to a resort if you don’t like the rules. Resorts are trying hard to stay open and provide a safe experience for us. These folks don’t seem to get that all it would take is an outbreak linked or even assumed to be linked to a resort to close them all for the season.

    My first hand experience at NH resorts (mid week only) has been positive, masks, real attempts to keep distances and mostly civil skiers, especially in lift lines. Is it a little inconvenient, yes, but its a whole lot better than no resorts open.

  8. How in the H___ does masking and social distancing become political???? With Covid rates reaching epic proportions and deaths spiralling out of control and our medical experts [pleading for people to use easy restraints to help us rid ourselves of the virus it seems ludicrous to call such measures “political”… Where is our concern for our fellow man????”

  9. Tom Lott Lott says:

    Some confuse freedom with rules. Rules make our freedoms work. Stop signs, seat belts, it’s a long list.
    Riots and burning overstep the rules of free speech. Everyone needs to follow the same rules most of us respect. That’s not political, that’s a fact.

  10. Yvette Cardozo says:

    There’s the old…’your freedom ends where my nose begins.’
    And … you can’t just yell fire for the hell of it in a crowded theater.
    Mask wearing is pretty much the same thing. Yes, it protects you somewhat but more to the point, if you are asymptomatic, it protects everyone else.
    Meanwhile, I haven’t been to our nearby resorts outside Seattle but when they show it on TV, everyone seems to be following the rules.

  11. Patti Farkas says:

    Paul speaks for me and many, many others.

    • Who exactly are the “many many others?” Is it possible that “vastly many more others” enjoyed Jon’s thoughtful post? If you agree with Paul, that’s your opinion and your opinion only. You don’t speak for anyone else but yourself.

  12. Paul Koivuniemi says:

    I agree that this site is political. I will not subscribe any longer. If you fear life, stay home. I have skied ten times this year and the joy of the sport is dead.

    • Penny Jacoby says:

      As long as there is life , there is joy. It’s the old glass half empty, half full adage.
      We have the pleasure of choice, the ability to find happiness in the most challenging situations. I wish you happiness and joy in all your choices.
      PS Health is not political…it’s just science.

  13. I am not concerned with the collective. I will not ski with a mask that causes my goggles to fog up. I respect social distancing and face coverings in the lift line. Sorry about the politics. It’s all about power and control and it is not going away. I just go skiing as I have for 63 years. SARS, swine flu, COVID will not stop us from our beloved sport unless the lifts stop spinning.

  14. Everything about the corona virus is now political. I have really enjoyed this site and when I come here I do not want to be hit with more political nonsense and controversy. I want to enjoy my time here, not have to think about the insanity of the rest of the world

  15. Jon, Thank you for your though provoking post. It’s rather pitiful to see so many commenters clutching their pearls over the mere mention of current events. They want to censor you by threatening to unsubscribe. I, for one, will be happy to remain on your email list.

  16. Philip Brencher says:

    I’ve been skiing several times this winter and am pleasantly surprised at how respectful and cooperative people have been here in New England. Yes, some masks fog your goggles but putting your goggles up in the lift line and your mask down while skiing works pretty well. If you’re really opposed to masking up you can skin up & ski down. I think the slogan a friend told me makes lots of sense “Don’t be the reason we lose our season.”

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