An Abrupt End to the Season
A letter to our readers.
As this season sadly comes to a bizarre and unfortunate early close, we want to thank you for your support in our second year of publication. We set out on a mission last season to try to cover the Northeast ski industry with the quality and in-depth style we felt the national ski media too often reserved for other ski regions out west and overseas. We continued that this year with coverage from Sugarbush and from the Killington Women’s World Cup races, we visited with the gang at Parlor Skis and with the crew at Big Snow, the first indoor ski slope in North America, and we published what we feel is the definitive guide to the ever-shifting multi-mountain pass market. We’ve built on a solid foundation of high-quality content and reporting, and we had plans for much more this season, including pieces about skiing in Quebec, Gore in the Adirondacks, and the under-appreciated glades at Stratton in Southern Vermont. We’ve also been working with new contributors to help broaden our editorial voice and expand coverage, but alas, we’ve decided to put that all on hold until next season in the wake of the pandemic crisis that has affected every corner of not only our region, but most of the globe.
The season itself was variable, as it so often is in the Northeast. The freezing line for many of this year’s storms tended to trend stubbornly well to the north of I-90 thanks to a consistently unfriendly Jet Stream pattern, and when the dumps did arrive they were often quickly followed by rain a few days later, which then refroze when temps dropped again. But when it was good, it was really good. We had powder days at Bolton Valley and at Mad River Glen, soft, sunny days at Magic Mountain and Killington, and the siren song of good snow lured powderhounds further north than usual this year—hell we even drove eighteen hours round-trip for a two-day trip to Quebec in January (look out for a feature about it this fall). And just when we thought the reliable, sun-soaked fun of spring skiing was around the corner, the coronavirus upended our season and much of our lives. No doubt many of you are binge-watching ski movies to get your fix (fun fact: the entire Warren Miller catalog is available on Amazon) and a sizeable portion of you are planning on earning some spring turns at closed ski areas or at Tuckerman Ravine – and if that’s you, please do so responsibly: respect each ski area’s uphill policy, don’t go in large groups, and don’t range too far from home and risk spreading a virus that spends too much time in stealth mode. Lives are at stake, and no matter how bad our hunger for spring corn, it’s not worth risking your well-being or the health of others in pursuit of this spring’s diminishing returns. There will be plenty of skiing and riding to be had again soon enough. The 2019-2020 ski season was simultaneously exciting, frustrating, challenging, and rewarding for us here at Ice Coast Magazine. We both welcomed our first children into our lives last summer (John and his wife, Hilary, had a son, Elliot, last June, and Adam and his wife, Rachel, brought home their daughter, Zoe, in August), and the challenges of being new parents, combined with other work and domestic responsibilities meant we had fewer days on the mountain, and bigger hurdles to jump through with our publication schedule. But with the added time we now have to prepare for next season, along with content by some new contributors to the magazine, we hope to return to a more regular publication by the time next season rolls around – you know, assuming this virus has burnt itself out by then, which as of this writing is not guaranteed.
It’s impossible to tell what the future holds at this point, but we’re just going to hope life returns to something like normal before the end of summer, and so we can’t wait for Fall, when we’ll all be hungrier than ever for some turns and eagerly awaiting next season’s first snowfall. In the meantime, we’ll be doing some socially-distant hiking and kayaking, biking and camping, depleting our reserves of beer and whiskey, and raising a new generation of shredders – look for Zoe and Elliot on a podium near you in about 18 years. We look forward to significantly ramping up production next season, and we hope that some of you will even join our team to tell some of your own stories from new angles – especially snowboarders and women (send pitches to email@example.com). So remain safe, maintain appropriate social distances, be good to one another, don’t hoard toilet paper or hand sanitizer, and enjoy your offseason. We’ll see you all again when the temperatures – and infection rates – drop.
Stay frosty and healthy,
Adam and John