MONTPELIER — A pair of Vermont students spoke at Gov. Phil Scott’s twice-weekly press conference on Tuesday to discuss their findings from a student survey they ran. A few of the questions centered around extracurricular activities.

The survey, put together by students Sabina Brochu and Angelita Pena, found that sports were the most popular extracurricular this fall. One of the girls talked about the importance of keeping the virus in check, so students have the opportunity to participate in these activities.

“They provide outlets for kids emotionally and physically. To be able to go run around on a field after having a stressful day of learning inside is really helpful for kids and their mental health,” she said.

“This is part of that plea to Vermonters to please be safe. If we’re not safe over break and schools have go fully virtual, a lot these services and activities won’t be available to kids and kids won’t be able to participate in their winter sports or attend school clubs in person.”

Their survey also touched upon how protected students felt during extracurricular activities in the fall. The survey broke down the protectiveness level into five categories, with 36.1% feeling super protected and 45.1% feeling protected.

SKIING

Killington Mountain

KILLINGTON — The terrain was familiar at Killington during Friday’s first official day of Vermont’s Alpine ski season.

But when the lifts started running, it was uncharted territory for everyone.

A lot looks the same for mid-November conditions, with man-made snow covering up rocks and grassy patches as temperatures creep into the high 40s. Even some of the now-mandatory face coverings blend in among a crowd used to bundling up with balaclavas and neck warmers.

A lot is different as well. Gov. Phil Scott announced new rules for recreational sports last week while limiting gatherings to 10 people following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Out-of-state visitors must quarantine for 14 days before hitting the slopes, or for seven days following a negative test.

Most ski areas will still operate in a fairly normal capacity, offering lessons, rentals and dining options. Ski patrollers and lift operators will continue to serve essential roles, and skiers and riders must provide contact information on a daily basis.

Last year, Vermont’s ski areas halted operations by March 25 due to the pandemic, though many were still popular destinations for uphill travel. Time-honored tailgating traditions will have to be physically-distanced this winter as resorts crack down on apres-ski socializing in base areas and parking lots.

Another late-fall ritual — the Killington Cup on Nov. 28-29 — was canceled in August. The World Cup racing festival was one of the top three events on the women’s FIS tour, drawing a crowd of nearly 20,000 spectators during the busiest day in 2019. Burke Mountain Academy graduate Mikaela Shiffrin has prevailed in slalom every year since the event was added to the World Cup schedule.

At Killington, snowguns saved the day throughout stick season at the Northeast’s largest mountain resort. Winter pass-holders could access trails Friday and can on Saturday and Sunday before the ski area opens to the public Monday. There is currently snowmaking on six trails: Great Northern, Rime, Reason, Upper Bunny Buster, Killink and Mouse Trap. The goal is for skiers and riders to make top-to-bottom turns off Killington and Snowdon peaks in order to avoid large clusters. This will be more attainable because of multiple lifts: the K-1 Express Gondola, Snowdon Six Express, Snowdon Triple and North Ridge Quad. No beginner terrain is available now, but the upper Great Northern trail is open to intermediate skiers. Pass-holders and day visitors should avoid snowmaking and other operations that may be in progress during the day. The resort suggests bringing one or two extra face masks.

Parking reservations are required to help limit the number of people at the mountain. Uphill travel routes will be closed until there is sufficient snow coverage for skinning and backcountry skiing.

CORRECTIONAn article in Friday’s paper stated that Aidan Botti will be playing for the Mill River boys basketball this year. That was incorrect as Botti has transferred to Proctor Academy in Andover, New Hampshire.

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