If the Lenox girls and Mount Greylock boys are successful in defending their MIAA state Nordic skiing championships in 2021, they’ll do it in a different location.
That’s because Prospect Mountain in Vermont will be unable to host the Massachusetts state championships. That’s what the MIAA’s Skiing Committee found out on Monday.
Joe Miller, of Lenox, is the state tournament director, and he told the committee that COVID-19 rules in Vermont will not allow the MIAA to send their racers north.
“Prospect is under the Vermont guidelines, and the Vermont guidelines are not allowing anybody from red districts in Massachusetts to enter and be able to ski at Prospect Mountain,” Miller said, during a video conference with the committee Tuesday morning.
“Whether red will be there in February or January, that’s hard to say,” he said of likely state participants from outside Berkshire County. “If it is, Eastern Mass. teams would not be able to participate at Prospect Mountain. They’re actually, like everybody else, feeling their way through week-by-week and month-by-month on how things are going with the virus. Right now, it would be a no if the race was to be held today. In February, it’s probably going to still be a strong possibility that Prospect Mountain cannot have people because the virus/flu will probably be an issue during the winter.”
According the Mass.gov map that outlines those red hot spots, there were 27 hot spots in Central and Eastern Massachusetts, compared to only four in Western Massachusetts.
The 2020 Nordic championships were held on Feb. 25. Assuming that there will be Nordic championships in 2021, there are still several months to work on plans for the races.
But, Miller told the committee that a potential return to Notchview Reservation in Windsor, the traditional host of the state championships, might also need some adjustments.
“It’s similar at Notchview, but not quite as restrictive,” Miller said. “Anybody in Massachusetts could ski at Notchview. There’s going to be limitation numbers, which is really going to be the bigger thing to evaluate after we get into the winter season. Having 200-300 people, right now, is not feasible at either site with social distancing. That’s something that, as tournament director, I have to stay on top of.”
MIAA assistant director Ann Trytko, who ran the meeting in place of committee chairman Jim O’Leary of St. John’s Prep, said that when the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) comes out with new COVID-19 guidelines, the committee — and other sport committees — could have a better idea of what their sport seasons and potential postseason competition could look like. Those guidelines are due on, or shortly after Nov. 1.
“That will probably dictate what the [MIAA] COVID Task Force will determine if there will be a winter season at all, or at least a winter postseason,” Trytko said. “Each of the sport committees for the fall, although there’s no postseason, they did allow a season for certain sports. Each committee put together a subcommittee to do modifications and guidelines for a season.”
Trytko said that the committee needs to put together a series of potential modifications and guidelines for the winter regular season and a postseason, should one occur.