We went up as a family to Bolton Valley this evening for one last bout of night skiing. The last time I did this was with my daughter, just the two of us, before the daylight savings shenanigans; we skied under the lights and had a blast. The children were disappointed that there was still plenty of daylight tonight. We left just after 7:00, the sun setting as we walked back to the car.
Since we lived up at Bolton Valley, we have known that this time of year one can find some of the best skiing to be had. There is plenty of snow by now and the days are warm enough to soften up even the gnarliest ice. And now we have sunlight so late that it is more enjoyable than working with the shadows of the bright lights. In December scores of people are on the mountain. Often it is icy and thin and crowded and that, I can tell you, is not what I’m talking about.
People get sick of skiing once the warm weather hits. School skiing programs end. I think a lot of people kind of forget about it. They start biking and skateboarding and whatnot. Spring activities get underway. Who wants more snow? At least it seems that is the question that gets asked. But it really is the time to hit the slopes. Spring skiing means warm air, fewer people and lots of snow. What’s not to like?
We were not up there long tonight. We did a few runs, ate the light dinner we brought, shared a waffle from the waffle cabin and headed home in the fading light. We will head up again tomorrow to ski with friends. We are now debating whether or not to purchase season’s passes for next year. My daughter is now old enough that we need to purchase a pass for her. With the current prices (“low” for now, soon to rise) it would cost us over a thousand bucks. Is it worth it?
If we go as many times as this year, and take advantage of discounts and deals when we find them, we might come out even or even ahead when it comes to the bottom line. The problem is that without passes we will likely go less. Every time we consider going it will become a financial decision–Do we want to spend a hundred bucks for a couple of runs? Some of those times we will decide not to go because our answer will be no. Do we want to decide whether we go today or wait until tomorrow? Or do we want to decide whether we go skiing this weekend at all?
It is a tough call. I get that we are fortunate enough to be in the position of parsing the details of this question. I want our kids to learn to ski or ride and choose for themselves if it is a sport they want to pursue. That means getting them out when they are young. Just going a handful of times would be fun, but to really learn it they need to do it a lot. Whether we get passes or not we are talking some bucks.
We had a good time tonight. Since we spent the money on passes months ago, we had the incentive to go so we get our money’s worth, and we also could feel fine with just a few runs. Next year could be a different story.