Too Cold for Snowboarding?

“It’s not too cold; you just need more layers.”

“It’s never too cold for snowboarding.”

You may have heard that advice, or given it yourself. But this week, some resorts in the U.S. have decided that yes, it can be too cold for skiing or snowboarding. Too cold for customers, employees or running the equipment.

Too cold for skiing? Yes

Ski areas in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio are closed today and Wednesday. While I’m not aware of areas outside the Midwest closing this week due to the cold, it has happened before. In late 2017, for example, Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire closed for a day.

It’s true that advanced technologies in clothing have made outside activity more comfortable. But extreme windchill temperatures are still hazardous for exposed flesh. And popular perceptions matter to the financial health of a business. If a resort incurs expenses on a day’s operation but very few customers show up, that hurts the bottom line. And can you imagine the PR disaster that would follow were a chairlift stop working, with skiers and riders suspended motionless in the frigid air?

We’ve all got our limits. They will depend, in part, on where we are. If you’ve spent a lot of money traveling to a resort area and renting a condo, you will feel more likely to brave the cold than you would be when deciding whether to get out of bed and drive to a hill that’s an hour away.

What’s your limit? At what temperature (or windchill) do you bail out?

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One Response to Too Cold for Snowboarding?

  1. Jill A. Davis-Yelle says:

    I’ve ridden in -16 degrees at Jay Peak in Vermont, but most recently on MLK day. My kids and I wound up at Camelback in Pennsylvania with an almost unbelievable -30 degrees with the windchill forecast.

    Camelback did not offer any deterrent on their website and even tried to sell my friend a full-price lift ticket, 45 minutes before it would have been nearly half price. We sent him to the lodge to wait while my son and I figured we’d try a run.

    The quad lifts were all closed and the base was a solid sheet of ice. The winds were so strong that we literally “blew” over to the next lift without even skating. The kids wound up taking a single run after realizing the conditions, while I bailed immediately. At 53, I wasn’t about to injure myself just before a better weekend in Vermont!

    The entire day was not completely lost, as my son got his board tuned. Inside that shop, the tech told us that Camelback was expecting between eight and nine thousand visitors there for the holiday weekend, and no one showed due to the weather.

    That said, and for the safety and concern of their customers, the resort should have closed that Monday. I was a bit put off by the fact that they would act so selfishly and I’m convinced that even if we had called ahead, we would’ve been told to come. It is our home mountain (such as it is) but I don’t feel bad about lost revenue because they just should have thought this through. Those were very dangerous temps!

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