2020’s ruthless wrath pulled no punches on the Midwest leaving us bloodied – but then Wild Mountain opened.
The Midwest has borne the brunt of the pandemic of late and was the focal point of some historically divisive politics in 2020. It was a spring, summer and fall of pain here, so nobody blamed you that you didn’t see it coming.
But when the calendar turns to October and temps dip below 40, Wild Mountain fires up the snow guns and fires off a press release announcing they’re opening. It’s no magic bullet, but it sure makes everything feel better.
Wild Mountain was the first North American ski resort to open this ski season. Their rope tow spun Oct. 19 this season, beating their last season’s opener by nine days. Scoff if you must at their operation that day: About 40 vertical feet featuring a rail, a box and a nub only the purest of heart would call a terrain park.
But after Wild Mountain came Trollhaugen. Last weekend followed the blue bloods: Afton and Lutsen. This weekend, Buck Hill and Granite Peak spun their chairs. More and more ski areas are opening across the Midwest as we turn towards winter.
The problems that distracted us from Wild Mountain’s surprise aren’t gone and aren’t going anywhere fast, but skiing is back for 2020/21. It won’t be the same and there’s no escaping our collective reality this year, but it’s the distraction we all need.
Skiers and riders of the Midwest made masks cool before they were required and we’ll continue to do our part to ensure the health of our neighbors, ourselves and our season. There will be fewer visible smiles out there this year, but we know they’re still there.
See you all out there! – MSJ
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