The Moveable Feast: Flexible Ski Events Go Where There's Snow
It almost seems like the structured-event approach to skiing should change (to a degree). The answer seems to be for folks to just drive to where there's snow as need be. Any trail with snow on it, groomed or not, can handle hundreds of fun-hogs. Like, we have no snow in SE MI, but I heard Marquette was just pounded. So let's just head north and carpool to the fun.
Eli Brown has been doing this with his "Flash Ski" events announced on spur of the moment at the closest snow rather than canceling all fun if the main event is skunked.
Or, how the first date for the Potto Raid had bad snow so we rainchecked it and a few of us drove over to Yankee Springs by Grand Rapids instead. The scheduled "fixed" race in Brighton did happen, but on a minimal/sketchy course. Yankee was GREAT! ...A gloriously challenging and rewarding trail where we reveled for 5 hours.
The net result of peripatetic events theoretically isn't much more driving than usual, as Grand Rapids folk would otherwise end up driving over to ski with us.
Sure, the "big" events get taken down a notch, but a LOT of fun can still go down.
For instance, the huge White Pine Stampede is canceled. Bummer. ...But Valley Spur 70 miles to the north in Munising has, what, 20 miles of great trail and a 10" base! Via the Interwebs it would be easy to agree to drive up there and meet and do a few timed laps of that system to get your 50k in and compare notes, if you wanted. Or you could just ski. Sure it would shock little ol' Valley Spur -- but they could handle it. ...Just stay to the right, eh?
Or, usually we ski a lot and then we race to do something different. Well, we haven't been able to ski much this winter, so why not at least do that and forget the racing if need be. But don't skip the skiing if ya don't have to!
Back in the real day of the early 80's around here in Lansing people would flock out to Rose Lake after work or on the weekends and there would be dozens of cars parked and 100+ skiers out there. That was *going where the skiing was.* Sure, it was nearby. But we could at least flock to the snow if we can't race.
How about this idea: We only get 10 weekends at best. So let's start out by setting aside those weekends. But don't get fixed on the location. Each weekend just go to where there's snow. Some weekends might not have any snow within a reasonable distance, so ya call it quits -- ya did what ya could. But here's a further wrinkle. Why not aim for, say, 50 ski days in the season. To get that you might need to go a step further: arrange your work life so that you can take off midweek now and then. Carpool with a few like-minded ski-buffs and drive to catch that special freak snowfall that came midweek but which is predicted to be melted by the weekend. The west side of the state gets these quick lake effect snowfalls fairly often. It needn't be such a shocking idea. People do take mental health days, after all.
If we don't have a fixed time or place then that's the very best way to get the most out of unpredictable winters. Using such a method would probably impact your life less than you think if you're already driving sometimes to ski.