Weather and the Covid-19 epidemic have put an early end to the ski season in the northeast. Despite some decent snow cover in the far north country, only a few places remain technically ‘open’, but most of their facilities are closed to the public, and grooming is a courtesy. To paraphrase Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, ‘April skiing rules’ are in effect.
The only ski centers that are still ‘open’ are Trapp Family Lodge and Bear Notch. Jackson is on an ‘honor system’, Great Glen and Crafstbury are doing ‘courtesy grooming’ while not open for operation, and Osceola isn’t charging but may not be grooming either.
With rain on Friday and cold weather on the weekend, the remaining snowpack is going to get thin and icy. No sign of any big snowstorm coming early next week either.
Together and apart, we’re all trying to find a balance between reassurance and anxiety, and it can be a no-win situation as Waterville Valley found. After summarizing efforts the resort made to stay open while limiting the chances of infection transmission, they admitted failure:
Our continuing operations have been met with outcry by many who choose to misrepresent our efforts and have created an environment that has incited people to act irresponsibly to the point of becoming abusive and threatening to our staff. Therefore, regretfully, effective at 4:00pm today, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Waterville Valley Resort will close for winter operations for the 2019/2020 ski season.Waterville Valley Resort Covid-19 memo, March 18 2020
With much less angst and in light of the risk of virus transmission posed by group outings, AMC activities have been suspended from March 17 through April 30.
If you’re going off on your own or with people you live with, you’ll have to deal with rain on Friday before cold weather comes in for the weekend. On Saturday, daytime temps in the north country will be teens to about 40. Downstate temps in the high 30s to about 50. Sunday will be similar in general.
Daytime temps will gradually trend upward starting Sunday. A front will come in overnight Sunday-Monday, bringing some snow showers that will change over to rain Monday evening as temperatures continue to warm, with moderate chance of rain and some spotty snow showers up north on Tuesday.
You aren’t here for advice about what to do off the snow, but here it is: if you aren’t somewhat panicky, you don’t appreciate the gravity of the situation and the risk it poses to people around you.
But don’t let uncertainty drive you crazy or allow panic to dictate your shopping list. Unlike the zombie apocalypse that some people dread/hope for, we can’t fight nature with tanks and AR-15s, and it’s not realistic to flee to a bunker till a vaccine is distributed.
To get to the other side with our lives and consciences intact, We’ll need to mobilize government, civic infrastructure and citizen solidarity. You know, the stuff a civilization maintains as standard equipment.
After-season analysis to come over the next few weeks. Thanks for reading.