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From the Publisher: Snow Day


Published January 17, 2024 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated January 17, 2024 at 10:14 a.m.

The snowy bike path in Burlington - PAULA ROUTLY ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Paula Routly ©️ Seven Days
  • The snowy bike path in Burlington

Everyone at Seven Days looks forward to our end-of-year break. We labor double time to pull it off — producing two newspapers in one week — though work never really stops for a lot of us. I got plenty of emails, including some story pitches, on Christmas Day.

But for the vast majority of Seven Dayzers, the engine shuts down. Revving it up again presents different challenges, not the least of which is: January. Although it divides one year from the next, a new calendar doesn't mean we're starting over. Somehow, though, it feels that way.

In the brief moment we have to catch our collective breath before the news cycle knocks us for another loop, we wonder, and to the extent such a thing is possible, plan: What news will 2024 bring? How will we cover it? What ambitious projects should we tackle? How can we improve on what we did last year? How will we pay for it all?

It's a lot of pressure. Which is why I was surprised — and a little annoyed, initially — when I got an email from sales director and associate publisher Colby Roberts on Sunday, January 7, at 7:03 p.m. that read: "Hey guys - I will be working some tomorrow, but also finding some time to play in the snow. Available by text if needed. Thanks- C."

A native Vermonter and lifelong ski hound, Colby had waited the entirety of our vacation for snow, and it had finally come, on Go-Time Eve. With rain and wind forecast for Wednesday, he was not going to miss his chance, however brief, to hit the slopes.

By the time I woke up on Monday morning, I knew Colby had likely already done a few runs with one — or all three — of his ski-loving daughters. It was a beautiful winter day, and I was glad he was seizing it.

Then a thought dawned on me: Wait, I can, too.

I found my cross-country skis in the basement, threw them in the back of the car, suited up and drove down to the Community Sailing Center. There I found the Burlington bike path covered with just enough snow for skiing. I had two options: the tire tracks from the plow that had just come through and packed the snow down nicely, or the parallel ski tracks along the east side of the path — still in pretty good shape because walkers and their dogs hadn't had yet destroyed them.

I alternated between the tracks, happily gliding along the path I often trod. Skiing is so much faster. And, frankly, more pleasurable. Nothing I do in the pool, at the gym or on a yoga mat comes close to the heart-pumping, hip-stretching fitness challenge of cross-country skiing. Exploring a pristine, winter wonderland, it's easy to forget I'm exercising, pouring with sweat, engaging muscles that haven't been used in a year.

Soon I'd passed North Beach, then Rock Point and Leddy Park. I felt like I could have kept going all the way to the Winooski River. But somewhere out in the New North End, I made myself turn around. Although it felt effortless, like I was flying, I knew I'd run out of gas and the return trip would not be so exhilarating.

Within an hour and a half, I was back at my desk, a little stiff but content. I emailed Colby to thank him for the nudge. "So glad you got outside and slid around for a bit," he replied. "Today was spontaneous and super special."

We agreed on the moral: to seize not just the day — but the moment.



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