Happy New Year, It’s January. The Year Has Flipped.

There’s a groomed trail, but lots of folks just went their own way across the pasture at Appleton Farms. Credit: A. Maginn

We launch into 2021 with the notion that positive change is just over the horizon, on the other side of the hill, beyond that copse of trees, around the next turn, and down the road.  The vaccine is coming, and, eventually, we will get out from the shadow of this miserable virus. That’s the good news.

The other side of the coin is that there is no timetable for lifting the restrictions and precautions put in place. Chances are, the entire North American ski season will be under COVID rules, perhaps loosening up in late spring when and if the cases go down.  Who knows? We don’t even have a schedule for when shots are coming our way. It’s early days, and we are hung up between the optimism of the vaccine and the uncertainty of how implementation will work.

Because of the uncertainty and changes in ski area operations due to virus restrictions, many readers have said they are putting their Alpine ambitions away for a while, taking up skinny skis and making the most of winter that way.

In any case, if you are an outdoor winter lover of snow and cold, you’ve probably already thought of making some snow shoe or cross-country tracks whenever the snow flies. We’ve been promoting the benefits of these other ways of enjoying the snow in our season long series Make More Tracks, highlighting cross-country and snow shoe stories from our correspondents.

Just the other day after a 15 inch snow fall–the first major one of the year—, a contractor came over to look at a leak in our roof. Wrapping up his visit, he looked across the road to Appleton Farms where he could see people XC skiing through the trees.  Lots of people.  “That looks like fun,” he said.  “Easy to do and inexpensive to get into,” says I. “And it’s good for you. Aerobic, full body workout. Kids can do it. Try it.” “Maybe I will,” he said getting into his truck.

Never tried it, probably will. That’s the theme this year when it comes to snow sports.  Yes, there are those devotees who will ski at their local resort, others who will venture to destination resorts, some will head to back country (be careful) and a whole bunch of people who will be trying cross-country, snow shoeing and fat biking for the first time. In fact, last week’s big snowfall here in the Boston area brought the biggest crowd we’ve even seen skiing in Appleton Farms, the 900-acre Trustees of Reservations land we are lucky to live across the road from. Cars were overflowing the regular parking lots and parked on side roads. Our local volunteer non-profit North Shore Nordic Association prepared the trails the night before, grooming with their snowmobile, creating a corduroy skating tracks as well as tracks for classic striders. It was encouraging to see so many people coming out.

Have you Made More Tracks this season? Tell us.

This Week

Reminders are everywhere. Credit: Evelyn Kanter

Correspondent Evelyn Kanter made a pre-holiday visit to Aspen and she reports on how a big destination resort is implementing its COVID plans.  Check out her “report card” here.

One of our frequent correspondents Marc Liebman has been contemplating how he will get to those big destination resorts in lieu of flying. He can’t wait to get back to skiing after a long convalescence, and he has his doubts about getting on an airplane. Here’s his story.

Back country skiing is one of the alternatives to resort based skiing that is seeing a huge surge of interest.  Correspondent Tamsin Venn overviews some resources for educating yourself about keeping out of trouble in remote areas. This is an important article to read if you have any interest in going “under the ropes” or farther afield. Read this important article here.

We have a poem for January that fits the mood.  Here’s Wallace Steven’s The Snow Man. Let us know what you think.

Ski the TOA. Race? Fun? Both? Up to you. Credit: Anchorage Daily News

Correspondent Don Burch has been producing some great videos this season. Here’s one that proves a you-are-there experience of skiing the classic New England trails at Killington, Okemo, Mt. Snow. Western skiers, this is Eastern Skiing at it’s best.  Thanks Don.

Our Question For You this week pings off Evelyn Kantor’s report card on how well COVID precautions are being implement in a big destination resort.  How say you?  Are resorts delivering on the plans they made to keep visitors and staff safe? Tell us your experience.

The next article in our Make More Tracks series tells correspondent Jonathan Wiesel’s story of his Tour of Anchorage XC race. Ill-prepared, slightly out of shape, jet-lagged, he signed up for the 50km because it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Find out what happened when his favorite candy bar saved the day.

Thanks for reading SeniorsSkiing.com.  Tell your friends and remember, there are more of us every day, and we aren’t going away.

 

 

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