As I write this, three weeks have passed since the events of Sept. 11. Our thoughts go out to all the families and friends of the victims and to our magazine colleagues who soldier on in our New York City headquarters, where SKI was published for decades. n Temperatures are dropping in Boulder, Colo., and there is a dusting of snow on the Flatirons outside our office windows. Copper Mountain, Keystone and Loveland have already started making snow. It may be time to briefly take our minds off the tragedy's worldwide implications and to ponder how it will affect our own lives-and the sport of skiing.
Major destination resorts are wondering how the events of 9/11 will impact their seasons. They are prepared for a downturn, but they're certainly not panicking. There is a universal feeling that skiers, who are strong to begin with, will continue to seek the spiritual escape that skiing and snowboarding in the mountains provides.
A week or two after the tragedy, skiers began to return to ski shops. The family that runs a New Jersey ski shop 20 minutes from Manhattan lost an estimated 250 customers in the World Trade Center attack. They weren't just patrons: they were friends, ski buddies and neighbors. "People were in shock, of course," the owner says. "But I've been really impressed by the spirit of the people, especially the skiers. They are going to go skiing, no matter what. They are going to go on with their lives."
I just heard on the news that the 10th Mountain Division-whose predecessors valiantly helped win World War II in the Italian Alps and then returned home to develop the sport of skiing in the U.S.-has 1,000 troops stationed near the Afghanistan border. The 10th is well suited for the rugged mountains of that region, and it gives me hope-knowing that we have persevered before and will again.
Ten years ago, I remember setting off through heavy security to cover the World Alpine Championships in Saalbach, Austria, just as the Gulf War broke out. Meanwhile, my brother-in-law, who had been activated with the 82nd Airborne in Grenada and Panama, was on the ground in the Gulf, putting his life on the line. He's since been to Haiti and Bosnia, and is now stationed in Europe. Last winter, we shared a ski day at Saalbach. I wish I'd told him on the chairlift, "Thanks for doing what you do."
In the wake of Sept. 11, we've created a daily travel update on the skimag.com homepage that will keep you informed on what's happening at resorts, in skiing and in the travel industry. We'll explore safety issues, report on booking activity and poll travelers on their plans. We'll also find the best deals in ski country and offer travel advice.
It won't be long before the first blanket of white comforts our hills and mountains. It's almost time to go skiing.