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So, When Does The Season Actually End Or Begin? -- Ski Rex Says...


Oddly enough, that is a question that has been asked here at Ski Rex Media before and has even gotten an answer. The short answer is, in the 21st century the ski and snowboard season doesn't have to end. With all of the travel options that are available, technologies that allow for plastic hills and indoor slopes, and more readily available training and guided touring of the high elevation backcountry, one can ski just about any day of the year. 

But, what if we were to look at the season from a record keeper's point of view? What if we had to look at the calendar and actually pick the beginning and end of the ski and snowboard season?

The question one might be asking now is, "Why would it matter?"

When it comes down to it, it really doesn't. In the end, it's really a personal thing. One's season ends when they choose, for the reasons that they choose.

But, for this article, let's think about it in the context of the way we talk about the season. When we're talking about our skiing or snowboarding adventures we use phrases like "next season" or "last season" or others to describe when different things took place. Again, it could be a personal thing that's dependant on each person, and every person is different. 

However, that all changes when a person starts to add some of the non-winter options. They end up taking that trip from North America to Australia or they get the chance to try out an indoor slope. Then what does that person do? Does that adventure become part of last season or is that the beginning of their next season?

You know, answering that question could come in handy for ski mountains, as well. Generally speaking, it's easy for the mountains to break up the seasons. Their seasons run from when winter operations begin to when they end. It's pretty simple for them, again, generally speaking. A place like Killington Resort here in Vermont runs its winter operations from November to April on average. The time in between turns to summer operations, so knowing when one season ends and the next begins is pretty straight forward. But, what about a place like Big Snow American Dream?

For those who don't know, Big Snow American Dream is an indoor facility here in the U.S. Their season doesn't have to end. The ski season in that building lasts 365 days a year, excluding any times they may have to close for maintenance, pandemics, or other issues. But, those would be few and far between, as it would be for any indoor facility in the world.

Then, where do plastic hills fall in the season? Here in the U.S., they are open during our summer. Should a visit to one of those facilities be counted as last season or next season, or should it just be considered the summer season?

No, I don't like the idea of calling it a summer season, mostly because, now that I think about it, it ruins this bit. Let's continue.

Speaking of summer skiing and snowboarding, though, what about traveling between the hemispheres? The winters there happen at a different time than the winters here. So, is that adventure part of the last or current season, the beginning of the next season, or something completely different, which again, I'm not a fan of that kind of thinking.

No, I think it's time to make a determination as to where the season actually ends and begins and then mark that on a calendar.

I'm thinking that, again, for the purpose of record-keeping and storytelling, the ski and snowboard season starts on October 1st each and every year.

Why October 1st?

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we do see winter operations start to open up in different places around the globe. Even here in the U.S., there are some of the high mountain areas that can get a lift or two open to service a trail or two.

At the same time, the season in the Southern Hemisphere is coming to an end, so those that are looking to keep skiing and snowboarding are going to be heading north. So, if one heads north, they'll know that it's the beginning of their season. At the same time, if one were to head south in the North American summer, they would know that they are still in their current season, which they can call last season once the calendar turns to October 1st.

It'll also be a help to the indoor and artificial slope fans. Let's say one skis or rides on September 30th. They would know that they have just closed out their season, even if they ski the following day. If they do, they can then refer to their yesterday as "last season".

Now, I don't if all this talk of timekeeping or record-keeping matters to anyone any more than the chuckle it gave me. Most of us probably won't even need it. But, maybe give some thought to all of this. Maybe instead of thinking that the Spring is the end of the season, think about getting out to an indoor or artificial slope. Or think about what it would be like to find a place to ski or ride during the summer, depending on where one lives and can travel to. You'll need to be able to describe those days' trips and adventures in some way. Why not use October 1st as the point in which to do so?

Besides, if this becomes a thing, it came from Ski Rex Media. That just adds to driving the name.

Photo Credit: MsheppardCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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