Cold Comfort: Welcome to the Winter Preview | The Winter Preview | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Cold Comfort: Welcome to the Winter Preview


  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Snowboarder

Don't let the recent blast of summer-like weather fool you: While Old Man Winter might be running a little late, he's on his way. And it's a good bet he'll be extra cranky when he gets here.

Even in the best of years, winter is a tough time for a lot of folks. As you might have noticed, 2020 hasn't exactly been a good year. Between the dire economy, social and political strife, the climate crisis, and that unifying thread of awfulness, the pandemic, this winter poses a sleighful of unprecedented challenges. It seems Ol' Bill Shakespeare was off by quite a few centuries: Now is the winter of our discontent.

What can we do to stave off gnawing existential dread and crippling seasonal affective disorder? Extreme times call for extreme measures, so you might consider taking the plunge with a group of winter swimming enthusiasts in Charlotte. They meet every morning, snow or shine, for a dip in Lake Champlain — and chop through the ice when it freezes over.

If you seek a more conventional outdoorsy outlet, ski areas around the state are gearing up for what promises to be a very unusual winter on the slopes. With pandemic protocols in place, ski resort officials are optimistic for a fun and, most importantly, safe season.

Speaking of gearing up, check out Alpine Shop in South Burlington, which has been outfitting skiers and snowboarders for 57 years. And, while you're at it, maybe order a cool, ultra-detailed geospatial map of Stowe Mountain Resort or Sugarbush Resort from Ramble Maps.

Restaurants have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. Expanded outdoor seating gave many local eateries a summer reprieve, but as winter forces diners indoors again, restaurant owners are trying to figure out how to survive until spring. It's the same old song for Vermont's live music venues, which are grappling with how to operate safely indoors after a summer of outdoor concerts.

Many of the live events that would typically entertain us through the cold season are taking a hiatus this year. But there are still plenty of fun things to do, both in person and virtually. Which is a good thing because, this winter of all winters, we'll take any diversions we can get.

Stay safe and stay warm, friends.