Dramatic endings

Here’s what I missed by spending more than a week away from thoughts of skiing:

Sturm and drang, and the fat guy starts to sing

Opera finale

A pretty good winter snowstorm in the northeast on the weekend of March 11-12 put about a foot of snow onto the north country, and even helped keep some XC skiing alive south of Albany. At least until the 15th, when a warm spell started.

For a few days ski touring centers soldiered on, grooming (or not) for the temperature. Then Mother Nature saw fit to deliver rain this weekend, and with it the coup de grâce for skiing in much of our region, up to and including the Tug Hill. All of which means… rather than die with a whimper, this season is coming to an operatic ending of brief but false hopes and crushing disappointment. Just like an Italian opera.

There’s still a tiny bit of skiing to be had in parts of the Adirondacks and White Mountains, but it’s getting pretty thin, slushy, and bare. Some touring centers have called it a season already, letting their grooming and trail crews go off for their next employment gig. Barring an unlikely combo of polar vortex + late snowstorm that delivers more than a foot of snow, it’s about time for skiers to consider cleaning and prepping skis for storage.

Here’s the bad news in pictorial form:

Snow depth as of March 20, 2022 (NWS), with XC ski areas marked
Snow depth as of March 20, 2022 (NWS), with XC ski areas marked

Happy endings for the US Ski Team

On the other hand, the US Ski Team finished off their season in Falun Sweden with some of the best results ever for individual team members, and maybe the best across the entire team for a single weekend’s worth of racing:

True, the Russians weren’t there, nor were most of the Norwegian team’s male sprinters, but the women’s field and distance race fields for both genders were stacked with some of the best (including Therese Johaug in her farewell appearance as a professional ski racer).

It comes on top of a successful Olympics for the Cross-country ski team, and Jessie Diggins in particular. Long-term work done in the USA by clubs and supporting organizations, plus changes in the selection model for US Ski and Snowboard looks to be paying off. Congrats to them all, especially the coaches, wax techs, and therapists/soigneurs; plus the many and miscellaneous support crew, and of course the sponsors.

Thanks for reading.