Midwest Ski Journal 2021 New Year’s resolutions

As has become tradition, at the beginning of last year, Midwest Ski Journal resolved to do better in three ways. 

While the year that was 2020 tried us in every way, we did a pretty good job on our resolutions. So this year, we are doing it again: We will reflect on 2020 and project into 2021 with a brand new batch of resolutions.

(Afton Alps)

How we did in 2020

Slow down

The gist: I wanted to take my time on the hill and soak it in a little more instead of trying to smash vertical. 

The fact is I skied in some beautiful places and had some incredible days on the hill in which I took my own advice here. I distinctly remember some sunrise hikes at undisclosed Midwest locations in the deep snow and remember pausing at the top of places like Whistler and Vail to be more appreciative. 

Letter grade: A-

Budget better

The gist: Stop high-rolling on ski trips and be more thrifty. 

During my week at Whistler, I had the same peanut butter and jelly sandwich with salt and pepper chips jammed inside of it for lunch every day and we cooked nearly every night we were there. On another trip, I stayed for free and booked the flights with miles. Ultimately, the thriftiest thing I did was use my Epic Pass about 20 times and burned every one of the buddy passes in the process. Still, there’s not much you can do for residual costs at Vail Resorts. $14 beers = not thrifty. 

Letter grade: B+

Pack lighter

The gist: Stop lugging so much clothing and gear on my travels and even on my day trips. 

When I got to airport to fly to Colorado in January 2020, my ski bag was in excess of 70 pounds and cost me an extra $100 on a $94 flight. Granted, I was carrying the skis of all of my fellow 3 travelers, but that’s not light packing. Personally, I think I did OK, here. I brought fewer, but more versatile, layers and ditched the extra pair of jeans. 

Letter grade: C+


In the year 2021, I have three main resolutions that I think are doable and necessary. They are…

Go small

At the outset of this season, I wrote a column about how the pandemic might force skiers and riders to seek out smaller resorts, the less gnarly and the more right-sized. I think it will be a good thing for the industry as a whole and I’m kind of excited about it personally, too. 

For 2021, going small will mean avoiding the monstrous ski behemoths and exploring some new places.

Get educated

The high bar of achieving this goal would be to take some sort of formal backcountry education course. I’m still scheming how to execute that plan, but I would love to know a little more before I take my talents out of bounds this winter and in the future. 

The lower bar, which I know I’ll achieve, will be to read more about the industry and about snow. I have some avalanche education literature I’m working through, but I want to get to know more about these places that I love to ski, too. 

Reduce FOMO

I’ve laid bare my fraught relationship with skiing Instagram often in this blog, but I want to put it into action this year. I need to have the mental strength to detach from the images I see of pros smashing backcountry pillows in BC or summiting classic lines in the Wasatch and realize that I’m not missing out; it just was never an option to begin with. 

I’ve come a long way on this already, but I need to right-size my own expectations. This will be harder to quantify as I grade myself in December 2021, but I’ll know deep down if it was fulfilled.

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