Well, here we are. After that really hot summer, we are now into Autumn. It is nice to actually get to experience some of those nice crisp mornings and I am not feeling like I am going to die from the heat while trying to get a run in. Of course, due to COVID-19, I really did not get to run in any races. Every triathlon event was canceled so I did not get to compete in any of those. Beyond that, I did enjoy the summer and I did spend a lot of time at the river, considering that was really the only thing I could do with many of the typical tourist sites being either closed or operating at reduce capacity. Kings Dominion never even opened up so did not get to go there.
With autumn now upon us, the club is sponsoring a ski trip to Telluride. From what I got from Mike Redding, we currently have 13 people that already signed up. Telluride looks like a really nice place. I would absolutely love to go myself. However, I am deciding to sit out this year for the simple fact that I just don't want to deal with all the COVID-19 related restrictions and such. Having to deal with masks and social distance and all that stuff just is not my idea of a good time and I personally think it will impact my enjoyment too much to even want to bother. For example, I saw saw this article in the Free Lance-Star newspaper: https://fredericksburg.com/travel/if-you-absolutely-have-to-fly-right-now-here-s-how-to-do-it-as/collection_7db29011-2fba-524a-820f-648157f09b7a.html. That author must be a real germaphobe the way that was written! Going so far to even possibly buy the seat next to you so that nobody would sit there?? I am surprised she did not suggest also wearing a hazmat suit before boarding! If that is what I have to deal with, then I really have no desire to travel anytime soon. Also, most likely the parties and "apre-ski" gathering will end up being canceled due to social distancing requirements. We cannot hide behind masks and plexiglass shield for the rest of our lives. With that all being said, I do not want to discourage anybody else that are interested in going on this trip. Under normal circumstances, I would already be signed up and counting down the days, but under the current circumstances, I just don't have any desire to travel right now. However, with that all being said, if it comes down to were somebody absolutely needs a roommate, or somebody ends up having to cancel and the slot needs to be filled, I may still consider going, as I really do want to go to Telluride.
On the local skiing front, I have completed the online ski patrol re-certification. I am due to go to Massanutten for half a day on Sunday October 11th for the scaled-down in-person part. I usually have to go up there for an entire 2-day weekend for re-certification but due to COVID-19, we had to scale it back and put more of it online. I've also gotten a preview of what is expected in how the mountain is going to operate. They are implementing a reservation system and only making tickets pretty much available online or through their mobile app. Ticket sales will also be capped. I don't know at what number they plan on capping sales. Appears the same thing with the indoor water park. There will be no cafeteria and the bar will only have table service (the bar itself will be closed). On-mountain food will be pretty much pre-packaged take-out affair. They are going to limit the amount of people in the lodge and are encouraging guests to basically "lodge" out of their cars in the parking lot. They are going to limit the lifts to only those that are together in a family or came together in a group. There will be no pair up with people to fill out a chair, thus no "singles line" or the like. Will be interesting how the lift operations are going to handle the social distancing to keep people from crowding up in the lift lines (and is that something I am going to have help with enforcing as part of the ski patrol). The only night skiing may be on Friday and Saturday nights (possibly on Sunday nights on the holiday weekends, which would be president's day and MLK day). Masks will be required while in the lodge, while waiting in the lift line and while boarding and disembarking the lift. I do not yet know what role and how the ski patrol will operate with regards to all this. I will find out come October 11th, though. There is a very good bet that I will not be doing any "free skiing", that is, go up on my own time just to ski, and only go up there to work my ski patrol shifts. Very unlikely that I will be going to any other ski areas, such as Wintergreen or Ski Liberty, like I usually try to do most times during the season, especially when the conditions are good (they were not this past season).
This is not one of my happier columns simply due to the challenges we are currently facing. Heck, I've not been in my own office since February 14th, which was when I left for Japan. I've been working from home this entire time, and looks like I will be doing so for the foreseeable future, at least through the end of this year and most likely throughout the entire winter and into this next spring. It is nice to not have to go into the office, but I am kinda missing hanging out with my coworkers. We were not able to have our company picnic, most likely we will not be doing a Christmas party either. Also will be a bummer not to get to do our Thanksgiving potluck like we have been doing since I help found the company 13 years ago. We have been trying to do things when possible, such as a recent "step challenge" to get people out to exercise (of course, I ended up winning that! ) and just this past weekend, we actually setup a movie screen in our parking lot and had our own drive-in movie theater were we showed the Pixar movie "Onward". The audio was through the car radio using an FM broadcaster. It was actually pretty cool.
And speaking of trying to do things in spite of the COVID-19 issues. We are going to try a Zoom meeting on Thursday October 8th. Mike Redding will have more details. Also, we are coming up where the ski club dues are going to be due (I know I am terrible with that myself). Anyway, I am hoping that everybody is still enjoying themselves and staying healthy and safe. Also, if you really want to go on the Telluride trip, you really need to get your deposit in as it is getting close to time when we will need to forfeit any empty slots to avoid cancellation penalties.