USCSA Nationals Experience with COVID-19 and Climate Change (Caroline Crowell)

(L) Me at the bottom of the slalom course, (R) the cancellation announcement from the USCSA due to COVID-19.

A few weeks ago, I went up to Lake Placid to compete in USCSA nationals for alpine ski racing with the Columbia ski team. The competition was supposed to take place over 6 days, Monday through Saturday, with different disciplines competing and training on different days. The races took place at Whiteface Mountain, which is the biggest ski mountain in New York State. Usually they have one of the longest ski seasons on the East Coast. However, because of COVID-19 and climate change, Nationals did not run as intended. Because of extreme changes in temperature, the course for giant slalom was really icy, causing a lot of athletes to crash. Then because of unseasonably warm and rainy weather predicted for Friday, they had to put the men’s and women’s slalom back-to-back on the same day so that there would be enough snow coverage for both races. Then, because of COVID-19 and Governor Cuomo’s banning of events with over 500 attendees, All events on Friday and Saturday were cancelled, including different disciplines of events, awards ceremonies, and the closing banquet. Shortly after we left Whiteface, the mountain announced first that they would be closing their gondola, then that they would be shutting down for the season. Even without early closures due to COVID-19, Whiteface still likely wouldn’t have had as long a season as usual because of climate change— the snow coverage was inconsistent all around the mountain. 

(L) Me on the slalom course, (R) me on the giant slalom course.

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