Ski towns can be pretty cool. I should know. I live in one.
We get tons of visitors, so I think a lot of people feel the same way. In winter, of course, they come for the snow sports. In summer, for hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, and beautiful scenery. And in the fall, to take in the amazing, glorious, kalidescopic colors of the leaves.
In fact, there are visitors here pretty much year ’round, with two notable exceptions: Mud Season, when the snow melts and the ground is a disgusting, gloppy mess, and Stick Season. What’s Stick Season? It’s when the leaves are off the trees to reveal, well, sticks. It’s not pretty, it’s not warm enough to enjoy a lot of outdoor activities, and it’s not cold enough for winter sports to kick in. It’s no surprise that Stick Season isn’t a big tourist draw. There are no “Come See Vermont During Stick Season” commercials in major markets. Most people put off their visits for times that are a bit more exciting.
So what’s a ski town like in Stick Season? Let me put it this way. You could lie down in the middle of Main Street, and I think you’d pretty much be okay.
Okay, I exaggerate. But it is pretty quiet.
To be honest, I kind of like it. This is practically blasphemous, given how greatly the local economy depends on tourism. But before I get completely ostracized from the business community, let me explain. Stick Season gives you a taste of what the town was like before all the tourists started coming, when most everyone you saw was local and the big news was if someone saw a moose. There’s a sense of peace you don’t get during the other times of the year. And that gives us a chance to reflect, to catch our breath, and to get ourselves ready for when the snow starts to fly. Call if the calm before the storm. Literally.
Make no mistake: I’m like anyone else around here. I’m counting the days til the lifts start spinning. But since I can’t control Mother Nature, I’ll take a few weeks of peace and quiet. Maybe I’m just getting old.
I love mud/stick seasons, it’s when the locals take over the town again, when you walk into your favorite bar and you know everyone there.