Idaho Daily Snow

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Steve's grateful for the 2020-21 ski season

Summary

Please see your Idaho forecaster's thoughts on the 2020-21 ski season below. I'll do an update on the bluebird weather on Thursday for the final weekend of the season.

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Thanks to Idaho ski areas for creating super fun memories and a safe place to play in winter 2020-21

By Steve Stuebner
Idaho Daily Snow 

Idaho’s ski resorts are closing this month, and I wanted to take a moment to thank the ski area owners, managers, lifties, mechanics and others for creating a safe environment from open to close in 2020-21, so all of us skiers/riders could create a new batch of memories from lights-out fun times in the mountains.

Going into the ski season last fall, no one really knew how the season would shake out.

The No. 1 concern among the ski area owners/managers was to keep their employees safe. That meant everyone had to mask-up – from skiers and riders to the employees serving them. No exceptions! And that worked really well, with constant policing from ski area staff, reminding people to wear a mask when they entered the lift line.

A few people refused to comply; they were sent home.

Additional safety measures that ski resorts put in place also prevented covid spread, such as closing or reducing food and beverage services, and asking skiers/riders to make their vehicle, the base lodge. Pack a lunch and leave it in the car; no biggie! Pack a cooler; bring the lawn chairs.  

All of these things kept covid spread to an absolutely minimum, and it allowed Idaho’s ski areas to operate for a full season – in some cases, from early openings on Thanksgiving weekend to close in mid-April. Keep in mind that Idaho’s covid cases were peaking as the ski season started.

(Courtesy coronavirus.idaho.gov)

Ultimately, it gave everyone who skis or rides a chance to get out of the house and have fun!

For me, personally, I felt that last season ended too abruptly, so I was an eager-beaver, reading to hit the slopes with speed this year. My son Quinn was home early from college in the late fall, so we skied hard every day possible in McCall, which had a great dose of early snow, allowing Brundage Mountain to groom the slopes and open a wide diversity of runs on Thanksgiving weekend. We ripped the groomers almost daily. We got our legs in shape, skiing non-stop runs, our thighs flaming toward the bottom of each run. We grinned ear to ear at the bottom, giggling  at how much fun it was.

Sun Valley, Tamarack, Bogus Basin, Brundage, Soldier Mountain, Pomerelle, Kelly Canyon, Magic Mountain, Schweitzer Mountain, Silver Mountain, Lookout Pass, Lost Trail Pass, and other Idaho mom-and-pop resorts all provided Idahoans with amazing memories. And nearly all of the resorts notched record numbers of skiers/riders this season. People were eager to get out and play!

For the penultimate moment, experienced skiers/riders live for a sweet powder day. And we got them in spades. Being able to work from our cabin in McCall with virtual online meetings, I had a ton of flexibility. The excitement of even a 6-inch *pow* day was palpable – you’d rush through breakfast, deal with any work emails, and hit the road in the quest for first tracks.

I was fortunate to nail many *pow* days this year; and I know many others did, too. It’s a unique thing to experience the fresh, light snow, float in a relaxed state at high speed and feel the weightlessness of the light snow, almost as if you’re floating through clouds in a dream. During those cherished, fleeting moments, everything is perfect. That’s when I start singing like a Pavarotti wanna be or howl with glee. 

It’s these special moments that our ski areas made possible for many thousands of skiers/riders this year – an emotional high that would not have been possible any other way. Plus we got to catch up with friends in the lift line. Talk about our favorite Netflix movies. Brag about how many days you’ve notched so far.

In many other places, skiers/riders weren’t as lucky. Covid outbreaks caused ski area shutdowns at Whistler/Blackcomb eight weeks early. Revelstoke and Big White had to close early, too. Some European resorts never even opened.  

But in little ole Idaho, skiers and riders followed protocols and got to enjoy a full ski season. It’s like our community of skiers and riders joined together with the community of ski area managers and employees to make the 2020-21 ski season possible.  

So, thanks for the lasting memories, allowing us to keep our sanity amid the pandemic shutdown. And I want to thank our community of skiers/riders for staying safe. Thank you! Gracias! Merci! Grazie! Danke!

Steve Stuebner writes the Idaho Daily Snow for OpenSnow.com, and pens a weekly outdoor blog, Stueby’s Outdoor Journal.

 

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