Start the parade! Call the press! Roll out the shotski! That’s right folks, after several failed years I finally somehow accomplished what I had accepted I never would: I skied 102 days in a single ski season. And all at Sugarbush to boot!
I suppose now I should retire right? I may have peaked.
I’m not going to pretend this was easy for me. While I got off to a hot start in the early season, COVID hitting my whole family in early January and the subsequent quarantining kept me trapped at home for a couple weeks. That meant towards the end of February things looked pretty bleak. I was hovering in the mid 40s on my day count with more than half the season behind me.
So I did what any person with poor self-motivation skills would do: I told everyone. Friends, family, co-workers. I recruited an army of peers to hold me accountable. If everyone kept asking me how my day count was going, I’d be forced to kick it into overdrive. I’d be too embarrassed not to.
And that’s what happened. I basically skied every day over the next two months. Rainy afternoons, powder mornings, bulletproof conditions, and busy weekends. Most of those I would have strictly avoided in the past.
Even after my friend and I pulled an all-nighter boiling maple syrup (yes I partake in another Vermont stereotype, perhaps next I’ll buy some cows and complete the trifecta), I managed to deliriously get up to the mountain for a couple runs. When my whole family caught a stomach bug that had us rotating through the bathroom all night, I managed to walk a 1/2 mile to my car (this was during peak mud season in March when I couldn’t get down my road), roll into the Sugarbush parking lot at 3:55 PM, and trudge up to the Village Quad for a straight line run down Easy Rider before getting back in my car 5 minutes later. I imagine the lift attendant stood there scratching their head.
It’s at this point that I should probably explain what exactly my rules were for skiing 100 days. If you read my past blogs you’d know I kept it simple: anytime I skied was a day. It didn’t matter if I skied 15 runs or 1, I counted it. Don’t like my methodology? Take it up with the RFID gates. They read 102 on my final day. As another friend of mine likes to say, “Ask yourself did you go skiing today? If the answer is yes, it’s a ski day.”
Anyway, the day finally arrived when I hit the big 100. On Saturday, April 23rd, I left the office around 1:00 PM and headed up to the hill. It was a spring day in every sense but the sunshine. 50 degrees, soft snow, and hazy skies. When I rounded the corner to head into Guest Services to see if I could get my 100 day hat to put on when I got to the top of the lift, there was Karl leaning on the desk holding out my hat and 100 day sticker. How’d he even know I was coming? Destiny I suppose.
Surrounded by friends, I pushed through Super Bravo’s RFID gate as the screen chimed with 100 days. I held the hat the whole way up the lift, not wanting to jinx a 99 day effort until my skis slid off the unload ramp. When we summited, I put on the hat, posed for a quick photo from a friend, and smiled the whole way down the hill. Mission accomplished. 100 days of booting up, walking to the lift, and gliding down the hill. I couldn’t believe it. Oh, and then it turns out the weather was so nice our closing weekend that I tacked on another two days, stress free.
I might be making it sound like it was all a miserable slog to get here. It wasn’t! Those of you who don’t have the luxury of living near a ski area (let alone working for one) or the schedule to get out out every day are likely rolling your eyes. Don’t! I loved every run for a different reason, even the rain, even the ice.
In fact aside from just getting to go skiing a bunch of days and enjoying the outdoors, I found myself reaping benefits I wasn’t expecting. For example, from a work standpoint, I felt much more connected to the mountain. When I read a survey about someone’s feelings on conditions, good or bad, I could relate. It was easier to have a conversation with them. I felt better tuned in with our snow report and mountain operations. It also let get to talk with a lot more guests on the chairlift – something I’ve always found both enjoyable for me and helpful for our team.
And from a personal standpoint, I naturally started enjoying the little pieces of trails that much more, especially on days I was only able to get a few runs in. Pushover Chute is actually a fun couple turns. Which Way is underrated vs. the more popular Cruiser. Murphy’s Glades is one of the most interesting trails here, and I had been ignoring it for years. Domino has some of the best natural snow conditions around, and it’s low hanging fruit to access.
Will I do this again? I don’t really know. 100 days isn’t quite as difficult as I originally made it out to be IF I hadn’t been sidelined a few weeks. We were open 159 days this season. Should it really be that hard for me to ski roughly 60% of them? Only time will tell. Perhaps I’ll retreat back to being a more fair weather enthusiast. Or maybe next year will be so full of snow it’d be criminal to not ski 100 days.
Either way, I’m thrilled I decided to do it. It changed my perspective in a lot of ways. Plus now I have a sweet 100 day hat to sport when I want to impress people. Similar to buying a new car, I now really notice anyone else who’s also wearing a 100 day hat. I’m part of the club. And it feels good.
So thank you to everyone who supported me, pressured me, and even bet against me to get my 100 days. It’s was an experience I’ll never forget.