Powder 8s: Labor Day Love

A few thoughts about the tipping point of the off-season, from skier to hardworking skier

Matt Cote celebrating the American skier on closing day at Magic Mountain, Vermont. Let the countdown to opening day begin. PHOTO: Justin Cash
Matt Cote celebrating the American skier on closing day at Magic Mountain, Vermont. Let the countdown to opening day begin. PHOTO: Justin Cash

Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., the eve of a three-day weekend, a plastic cup from the water cooler dispenser full of boxed red wine, and I have a few thoughts to share, skier to hardworking skier, about the closing bookend to summer. Light up the grill, crack the cold can, and fly your flag high, because in my world, this weekend’s real meaning—besides all that stuff about work and working hard—is that winter’s near.

1. To every ski town waitress, bartender, shop employee, river guide, camp counselor, landscape laborer, and bus boy—we know that you don’t get to take this weekend off. But hang on. This is the home stretch. You can celebrate Tuesday, when the kids are back in school and the tourists drive back down the hill. The good news is they won’t think about the mountains again until Christmas. Your swollen town will shrink back to normalcy. Hope you saved up enough cash to have a merry shoulder season.

2. The days are noticeably shorter. The leaves are showing a peak of orange and red. And, was it just me, or did the light change? September is my second favorite month of the year (second to March, of course, when it typically snows the most…in Tahoe.).

3. Fun Labor Day fact: Thank your neighbors to the north for this holiday. Canada celebrated Labor Day first in 1872. Of course they did.

4. Mention the word, “snow,” in the heat of summer and you’ll get an eye-roll at the least. Winter is soo far away. Not anymore. The floodgates are open for all conversation about winter and powder and coldness and storm days and shredding and skis and ski boots and… I could talk about this all day.

5. Stacking wood. Wearing flannels. Maybe even a jacket. Waxing skis. The finer things in life.

6. Pumpkin spice lattes start September 2nd. More importantly, ski movies are hitting the road and ski shops are filling their shelves. There’s absolutely nothing in this world that beats a new pair of skis, still in the plastic, fresh off the shelf.

7. The guys in my carpool would be the first to point out that now is the start to football season. But my favorite sporting activity in the fall is Rocktober. Pack the truck or the Subaru with your rope and your camping gear and your bikes and hit the road. If you stay in town, waiting for snow, you’ll go crazy.

8. On the other hand, it could snow next week. A preemie October storm dumping two feet of fresh, cutting that Indian summer short.