Ski Wednesday: This year especially, learn to think small

Are the Massachusetts ski areas smaller than you’re used to? That’s a benefit.
I’ve always had a place in my heart for the smaller ski area. I grew up skiing them: First, as a little kid, Hyland Hills and Afton Alps in Minnesota and on weekends, Trollhaugen in nearby Wisconsin.
Then, as a teen, I spent just about every ski day of my life (and there were plenty of them) at a small but challenging mountain called Tyrol in Jackson, New Hampshire.
All those years, my friends and I never got bored. We found tree lines in what seemed to be the most obvious (yet unfound!) places. We raced on runs we knew like the back of our hands, knowing when and where we could safely catch air.
We felt like we owned the place, with our “regular” table in the base lodge, all the lifties knowing our names and just plain skiing with the abandon only a regular can truly have.
Sure, I loved (and still do love) the bigger (and truly big) places too.
But wherever I go, I always look for those small mountain moments.
To me, it’s exciting that more folks are going to discover the fun and joy of our smaller spots here in the Bay State. Because there’s a lot of reasons to love them, and a lot of experiences that, once this pandemic ebbs, will lure you back.
That’s right: I’m here to say that when you can (and we will!) travel anywhere to ski or ride, you’re still going to want to return to some of the smaller spots you add to your lives this winter.
Some ways smaller is amazing when it comes to ski spots:
• Organizational ease: In this of all years, knowing exactly where things are, how to ski to them and how to meet up outside at designated spots just makes a ski day better.
Smaller areas tend to empty to the same central spot, meaning if one of your group gets separated, finding one another again is a snap. There’s little lugging or trekking to the rental shop, powder room or food since it’s a compact area. That means you can save your energy for all those turns on the hill.
• Familiar Faces Fast: Everyone at small areas – from the lift operator to the cashier to the person checking tickets in the line – keeps an eye out for the smooth running of the entire resort. That means they’ll get to know you quickly.
Don’t be surprised if the lift operators know your kids’ names by the fourth run of the day. And the ski school folks? They’ll recall you and your tribe every time you come.
Smaller areas are like visiting a friend’s private skiing world. You’re bound to find the owner shoveling the stairs or flipping burgers on an outdoor grill, side by side with the part-time worker who cares just as deeply about customer satisfaction.
That pays off in not just smooth running, but vibe.
• A chance to hone your skills: There’s something great about only having, say, 10 to 20 runs to choose from: it gives you a chance to really focus on your skills.
With quick runs, you can take a run over and over, working on turns, speed, getting air or whatever it is you’re looking to improve. Some of my best breakthroughs have come in lessons where we stick to a few trails and find our groove (and study how) over and over. Smaller areas allow that, and it’s super fun.
Think you’re too good for a smaller hill? One of my most fun ski days in recent years was at Nashoba Valley Ski Area. I was skiing with two dear friends and we looped runs over and over, giggling, finding lines to the sides of the trail, chasing one another and just plain being joyful in our skiing.
Now consider this: the other two skiers were Olympian Pam Fletcher (she of downhill fame) and Wayne Wong, the man who may very well be the king of Freestyle skiing.
If they can have a top-notch day at a humble and lovely Bay State ski area, so can you. Now get at it.

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Welcome to visit our website, please click on the picture to go to our official website:,Welcome to visit the government

Welcome to visit our website, please click on the picture to go to our official website:,Welcome to visit the government