Mountain sports in pandemic era

By Jackson Greenleaf

Staff Writer

In a year of such profound uncertainty, college students have craved a sense of normalcy. As winter approaches, skiers and riders across Vermont are hoping that the mountains can provide. However, with the continued threat of COVID-19 looming, many are left wondering what the ski season will bring.

  “The main differences between last year and this year is the enforcement of social distancing and wearing masks,” said ShredMC President Una Langran ’21. “Each mountain will decide what their Covid plan will be, to their own discretion. “All ticket sales will be carried out online in advance to avoid overcrowding at the window.” Langran said. 

“Due to limitations on capacity for indoor gatherings, groups will congregate largely outdoors this year with six6 feet physical distance required when loading onto lifts.” said Ry Young, the Marketing and Events director at Mad River Glen. He also expects more guests will boot up and get ready in their cars instead of the lodge.

Both Langran and Young shared that the amount of out-of-state skiers and riders will decrease from last year as a result of the Canadian border closure. In-state skiers and riders and those with season passes, which is made up largely of college students, will not be subjected to the same restrictions. 

“It’s gonna look a little bit different like everything else this year, but I do have lots of hope for a good season,” Langran said, adding that she hopes .” ShredMC can experience deeper connections within the pods that will explore the mountain together.

“We can break people down into groups so we can get that community sense, so you can get to know your group members, carpool with them, hang out with them and maybe start to build a sense of community through that.” Langran added. 

The club is hoping to be able to hold the annual Jibfest in the spring this year pending approval from administration. “Jibfest is an event hosted by ShredMC. Students come together to build a unique set up of rails which they then compete on to determine who is the hottest rider in the school. It’s a lot of fun and prizes are raffled off to anyone who competes. Faculty and students who dont compete have a great time watching people throw down and it’s a great way to kick off the season.” said ShredMC Vice President Matthew Stackhouse ‘21.

During a year of great difficulty, the winter sports community hopes that it can provide an outlet for enjoyment, relaxation, and familiarity for students across the state. “ the physical act of skiing is going to be the most normal thing any of us have done since March.” said Young

Illustration by Matthew Stackhouse