2020-21: The Winter for Small Ski Areas?
COVID-related restrictions may result in skiers searching for new opportunities closer to home.
Monday, November 30, 2020, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com

Many ski areas averted disaster during the 2019-20 season, as core holidays and vacation weeks occurred before governments imposed seemingly instant shut down orders at the end of the winter. However, as 2020 continued, it became clear that devastating COVID-19 restrictions would not be going away before the start of the next ski season.

As ski areas conducted routine maintenance, New England governors implemented and amended restrictions on a seemingly daily basis, leaving operators and customers unsure of what, when, where, and how they could conduct mountain recreation. Since many note that outdoor recreation is one of the best ways to maintain health, there is hope that governments will not shutter ski areas again. However, with most New England residents either directly or indirectly restricted from leaving their home state, skiers may not be able to go to their traditional home mountains. Instead, many skiers may be embarking on a journey of discovering smaller ski areas closer to home.

Every state in New England has one or more ski areas with a vertical drop of less than a thousand feet that tend to have smaller crowds, lower prices, and less red tape, while still offering a product on par or better than some mega-resorts to the north.

Connecticut residents have four small ski areas to choose from, ranging from Powder Ridge in the center of the state to Mohawk Mountain in the northwest corner.

Powder Ridge and Mt. Southington provide runs that are similar in length, pitch, and vertical drop to what thousands of early season skiers lap on the North Ridge of Killington each fall. Both areas have double and triple chairlifts, snowmaking, and night skiing. On the other hand, Mohawk Mountain and Ski Sundown are significantly larger than the North Ridge complex, with Sundown featuring the advanced Gunbarrel slope that captures the attention of mogul skiers throughout the region.