• Women skiers, this is the place for you -- an online community without the male-orientation you'll find in conventional ski magazines and internet ski forums. At TheSkiDiva.com, you can connect with other women to talk about skiing in a way that you can relate to, about things that you find of interest. Be sure to join our community to participate (women only, please!). Registration is fast and simple. Just be sure to add webmaster@theskidiva.com to your address book so your registration activation emails won't be routed as spam. And please give careful consideration to your user name -- it will not be changed once your registration is confirmed.

First Day Reports, 2020

newboots

Angel Diva
Yes, many folks from NYC, Long Island, Jersey. It’s a 2.5 hour drive in good weather from the city. They say it’s the closest “big mountain” to NYC. Seems likely.

In fairness, if more trails were open, and more people knew how to find Hunter North, these lines would have thinned out. And in extra fairness, I didn’t stand on that line. The line for easier terrain was considerably shorter. And they did open a lift that’s halfway up around 12:30 or 1:00. It had been running in the morning, but not open, causing a lot of animus among the blowhards who know how to run a ski area even though they’ve never tried it. Lots of complaints about Vail. “No excuse whatsoever” according to one knowledgeable fellow, who apparently never heard of difficulty hiring competent people in a pandemic.

The snow was beautiful. I was skiing on groomed trails, but it kept snowing and they were softly bumped up and swished this way and that, making even the green trails interesting. And the blues challenging.
I might have tried the long blue trail I skied yesterday, but it’s very long and was reportedly ungroomed. Plus there was that line... and the aforementioned legs of toast!

The sun came out and I found some quiet trails.

I helped a repeat-faller get back up. He was a kid as tall as me on startlingly short rentals. He took what they gave him. He was not a novice but tried to follow a snowboard track over on the ungroomed edge (2 feet deep) and he lost his ski. Then he couldn’t click in. Poor kid. Once he learned to stay out of the deep he was good to go.

See my post on masks! First day of no fog after I got the right combo!
 

ilovepugs

Angel Diva
First day at Sugarbush was last Friday - but it's been eventful week and I didn't have a chance to post! I made it out yesterday after the big storm that hit Southern Vermont but dropped only 4 inches or so at the 'bush. I was hopeful that the powder chasers would all gravitate towards the southern resorts, and lo, it was true.

We went to the Lincoln Peak side and parked in the A (closest) lot after pulling in around 9:45. The cars were parked comfortably apart and allowed for plenty of space to boot up in the lot. Most people didn't wear a mask in the parking lot, but Dr Pugs and I always do because of case reports indicating that COVID could potentially spread over an impressively long distance in an outdoor setting (basically our take is that, when it comes to being unmasked, 6 feet is basically a made up number). In the base area and in the area pulling up to the lift, mask compliance was high and we actually didn't see much enforcement for a good reason -- because people already had them on. Helps that we avoided lines to the best of our ability!

We got to Super Bravo and basically skied on, then made our way to the Heaven's Gate lift. The lift line configuration was the same as many people reported at other resorts - there is an extra blocked off space between lines, to avoid having people stand side by side with each other. Unfortunately, even with the extra space, we did not feel comfortable waiting in line for what looked like a five to ten minute wait as the line was too dense for us -- it's just unavoidable for people to somewhat bunch up when standing in line and the distance enforced by ski equipment wasn't enough distance for us. So, we made our way down to the base again and did laps off the Valley House quad, which was ski on and being loaded with alternating chairs.

Conditions were fine — some scratchy bits, some soft snow, some hard pack — but the sun was out and it was a really fun morning. The terrain was limited to their earliest season trails (Spring Fling/Snowball/Jester/Organgrinder/Downspout etc) but I believe they’ve doubled the number of open trails for the weekend. Things are looking good.

As a whole, people were generally respectful and good, wore masks while in line and skiing/riding. Someone asked to go on a chair with me - possibly not realizing that I was with Dr Pugs - and was very respectful when I said that I wasn't comfortable sharing a chair with him. The one behavior I wasn't thrilled about is that a handful of people insisted on standing right next to where the lift line maze starts, which means that you had to pass by pretty close to them to get in line and on to the lift. But that seems like a small complaint compared other resorts.

All in all, it was a pretty good experience. The name of the game this year for us will be avoiding lift lines even more than usual so I am thinking that we will be at Mount Ellen a lot too. It seems a worthwhile tradeoff for us to not be able to ski on the most popular terrain during weekends or busy times of year in order to avoid COVID. Dr Pugs is getting his vaccine on Tuesday (they gave him strict instructions not to share where the vaccine was being given), so it's more to protect me I suppose!

I'm writing this on a computer keyboard but will edit with my phone to add a few pictures.

Pictures:

A particularly blue photo - no filter but we were in the shade and it was totally blue skied and clear!
042DF909-DD7B-4EF7-933F-106A5BE34DFA.jpeg


Top of Spring Fling... the valley is still looking pretty brown.3E49DFBA-104F-49C5-912D-F536304C0273.jpeg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jenny

Angel Diva
Had our first day at Caberfae today. Drove 2 hours, skied 1.5 hours, then another 2 back home. Actually skiing was fine, the lift "line" was a bit much. More like a lift mob. It'll be better when the other hill opens, but there were just too many people in too tight a space for our comfort. Masking was - casual. Most people had something, but there wasn’t a lot of care as to whether it was actually covering both mouth and nose. Lift organizer was telling people to mask up, but not overly particular about the actual results. And since he never said anything to a couple of our friends (who only had the usual loose neck gaiter over their mouths, noses hanging out) I sincerely doubt the overall level of safety.
 

nopoleskier

Angel Diva
Royal opened yesterday, Long wait from March 15!
Tons of Man made and 24" from the storm- Perfect day- started out really cold -10! the sun was blazing and turned it up to 25F. Lessons galore and glorious quiet packed powder on top of man made. Lots of snow being made, should have more trails today. All lifts running so no lift line.
One of the best opening days ever. 1608462820484.png
 

StayWarm

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I finally made it out to Copper Mountain for the first time this season. They have about 20% of terrain open at the moment.

Mask adherence was good and the lift lines were managed well: One person at the gates to direct people onto chairs and one walking the lines to remind people to pull their masks up. We saw this kind of two-person team at multiple lifts. They do have singles lines and will ask you if you're willing to sit with someone, but I didn't experience any negativity when I said I'd rather not share.

We did stick with the reserved and paid parking, which put us in a lot a 3-minute walk from the base for $25. I think we'll continue to go with that to avoid having to use the shuttles to the free reserved parking, at least for now. It sounds like Copper continues to get feedback from folks who are uncomfortable with the shuttles: Last week they posted on Instagram that although public health guidance limits the buses to 50% capacity, they're moving that down to 40% for their largest, 100-person buses to allay concerns.
 

DebbieSue

Certified Ski Diva
Loon, NH on Thurs Dec. 24. Bought 1 day tickets for me and my two college age kids about 2 weeks before. The remainder of the holiday weekend and most of the next week was already sold out. Arrived 40 min before lifts opened to get our RIFD cards and my demo skis. Kids booted up in car. There were 1 or 2 people ahead at ticket window to pick up RIFD cards. Generally felt "uncrowded" for the time of year, but I'm guessing many "Pass" people reserved for the day and then didn't ski. Or rain forecast scared folks away. Short line at the gondola at opening at 9, but after that . . . no lines anywhere all day, at least not on the North or South Peak lifts which is mostly where we skied or on Gondola at lunchtime. Conditions were surprisingly good on the blue/blacks that we skied due to excellent snowmaking and grooming. There was some dense fog at the tippy top, but hey if there were no challenges then it wouldn't be interesting! The greens, green /blues were more crowded so we avoided them. EVERYONE was masked. You can only ride lifts with the people you came with/your bubble group. At one point, I absentmindedly pulled my mask below chin alone on Gondola to cool off just before door was closing and the lift guy walked over and politely reminded me that I must keep it up. They mean business which is fine w/me. I entered South Peak lodge once at 1130 or so to use the RR. It was clean, with a couple of other women coming and going, masked and respectful of space. Inside lodge a few tables occupied, a greeter apparently walks you to your table then you go up to fetch and pay for your food. Tables were spaced out. People were sitting at spaced outside tables for their lunch/waffles from the outside waffle hut which was the "lunch" choice of my kids. A surprisingly excellent day. The rain arrived later than forecast, but it certainly did arrive. So this is more about how the mountain is running during COVID than the ski conditions.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Loon, NH on Thurs Dec. 24. Bought 1 day tickets for me and my two college age kids about 2 weeks before. The remainder of the holiday weekend and most of the next week was already sold out. Arrived 40 min before lifts opened to get our RIFD cards and my demo skis. Kids booted up in car. There were 1 or 2 people ahead at ticket window to pick up RIFD cards. Generally felt "uncrowded" for the time of year, but I'm guessing many "Pass" people reserved for the day and then didn't ski. Or rain forecast scared folks away. Short line at the gondola at opening at 9, but after that . . . no lines anywhere all day, at least not on the North or South Peak lifts which is mostly where we skied or on Gondola at lunchtime. Conditions were surprisingly good on the blue/blacks that we skied due to excellent snowmaking and grooming. There was some dense fog at the tippy top, but hey if there were no challenges then it wouldn't be interesting! The greens, green /blues were more crowded so we avoided them. EVERYONE was masked. You can only ride lifts with the people you came with/your bubble group. At one point, I absentmindedly pulled my mask below chin alone on Gondola to cool off just before door was closing and the lift guy walked over and politely reminded me that I must keep it up. They mean business which is fine w/me. I entered South Peak lodge once at 1130 or so to use the RR. It was clean, with a couple of other women coming and going, masked and respectful of space. Inside lodge a few tables occupied, a greeter apparently walks you to your table then you go up to fetch and pay for your food. Tables were spaced out. People were sitting at spaced outside tables for their lunch/waffles from the outside waffle hut which was the "lunch" choice of my kids. A surprisingly excellent day. The rain arrived later than forecast, but it certainly did arrive. So this is more about how the mountain is running during COVID than the ski conditions.
I can't imagine a better New England day one in these Covid times. I'm so glad it worked out for you and your kids.
 

Susan L

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Here’s the crowd at Taos today. I have never seen it this busy before and they are supposed to be operating at 25% uphill capacity. All the parking lots were full and they started parking on the street outside of the ski valley. There are signs everywhere reminding people to mask up and to keep 6ft distancing but many either couldn’t read or they just don’t care.
The day locker area is open for bathroom access only but people are still congregating in that area. Yesterday I saw at least 4 groups/15 heads sitting in that area, eating, chatting, resting, all without masks. Quite a few ladies took their masks off as soon as they got in the bathroom area. Fixing their hair/makeup, resting on the bench. There are signs EVERYWHERE to not do that and yet people still do it.
I emailed the director of operations about these concerns so they put up partitions in the locker area so people cannot sit. However, by doing so, people are now forced to walk by within inches of each other on the way to/from the bathroom.
There is only so much a ski area can do to make it safe but unfortunately too many people just don’t know how to behave.
B5FB350D-FEAC-4739-A145-CF37F35ADADD.jpegD3ABA1D7-C80F-4A36-9269-DABB20418042.jpegE19763AB-CD4B-4081-97AA-1251A56BDE12.jpeg
 

Christy

Angel Diva
I'm interested in people's continued experiences skiing right now (I know this thread is first day but maybe we can keep it going)--particularly with lift lines and parking. We thought we'd do some overnight trips in WA to different ski areas further from the very populated Puget Sound area but now I'm wondering if even that is worth it, or if we are going to invest time and money just to stand in lift lines someplace else. I know why lines are longer and parking is filling and I get it, but I thought I could get off the beaten track and avoid it. Now I'm thinking I am probably wrong. I didn't know that even little non-profit ski areas like Loup Loup, which is a pretty long way from anywhere, would be dealing with full parking lots and long lines (or actually a single long line as they only have one lift), but they are. It's holiday break so maybe it won't be like this every weekend, but OTOH, what else is there to do?

I think this photo is kinda funny. Just one line at Loup Loup's one lift, and you can't see the beginning or the end...

1609373661368.png
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
I'd like to keep this thread for first day experiences. @Christy, we do have a section of the forum for Trip Reports. So people can post about their days on the mountain there. Or if you want to talk about things specifically related to skiing during the pandemic, we could start a thread on Pandemic Skiing. Is that what you had in mind?
 

COcanuck

Angel Diva
Late to post, but I hit Buttermilk (the forgotten one out of Aspen SkiCo) on opening day, 12/18 after ditching on Aspen Highlands. I was on the bus to go to Highlands when the radio announced to the driver that the lines were so long the transit authority was sending more buses there to pick people up to take them to different mountains. Called it and got off at Buttermilk for a beautiful powder day. Fresh tracks on multiple runs. No crowding at the base, rode all the lifts by myself, no lines, everyone compliant with masks. Did not go into Cliffhouse or Bumps for food, just used the bathroom once before leaving. Buttermilk is certainly a hidden gem...
 

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
Well, I've been AWOL for awhile because I just got back from my holiday visit to family in NM. After driving there in my van, and spending 13 days quarantining, I got to visit Taos for 3 days on Jan 3-5, the day after @Susan L left (see https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/first-day-reports-2020.25188/post-424479). What a difference a day makes!

Here's my first day report: first of all, there were very few noses in view, and most of those were accidentally exposed. I noticed that there were "mask police" posted in the main plaza during the busy part of the day, reminding anyone who needed it to put on their masks. It was also not very busy, back to being a normal TSV weekday crowd -- waits for the main lifts were less than a minute, and only because many people were riding solo.

One thing I did learn is that everything you do has to be planned out and done slowly. Dealing with the masks and having to do the social distancing, etc., just takes more time for everything, so you just can’t be in a rush. Not to mention walking around at 9500 feet for the first time this season, certainly takes a lot more energy until becoming acclimated to the altitude. And walking was the name of the game -- even though I know that resort like the back of my hand, all the changes in place for Covid safety made everything much more complicated.

There was no eating indoors (they had outdoor 'designated eating areas’, with heaters that never seemed to be on - luckily it was pretty warm), so you had to get limited take-out from Rhoda’s/Hondo/Bumps Mkt and sit outside to eat. They also now have the Blake Residences built, and have built a really nice walkway between the main plaza and Thunderbird Rd (where all the offices & Alpine Suites face), so it’s really easy to walk across now. They also have a lg heated tent next to the Residences where the ice-rink will be that they’re now using to serve food.

The biggest hassle was the lack of shuttle svc. The walk from the pkg lot, even a relatively close lot, was murder! The first day I parked right in front of the Kiddie School, and took the Gondolita across to the main area, but the second day I forgot to drive down from the Gila (RV) lot to get a spot early, so I had to park in a 2nd-level and walk (after dropping off my skis at the drop area) in my ski boots (TG for cat tracks!) — OMG! The locker rm was not open (except for BRs), and they are renting baskets near the gear-drop area on Thunderbird Rd, but I didn’t check on how much they were charging, since I had my van.

Basically, you have to not be in a hurry, and be prepared to get in a lot fewer runs than in normal times. The snow, BTW, was pretty good - it was what I call typical TSV "January snow": well-kept, but crunchy/icy until the sun hit it, and most small moguls on the blues were groomed off, so mostly only the lg, scary moguls were left. And I did notice that there were proportionally more snowboarders to skiers than usual.

I still had fun, though -- any day on the mountain is better than any day at work (or not at work, lol)!
 

Members Online



Top