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Skivt2

The 2020-2021 Ski season thread

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We are assuming the lodge stuff will be restricted/closed or at least really annoying. So we are planning to go direct from the car to the slopes as much as possible. I'm getting all 4 kids some equipment at the local ski swap place so we don't have to mess with rentals of any sort.

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36 minutes ago, PhineasC said:

We are assuming the lodge stuff will be restricted/closed or at least really annoying. So we are planning to go direct from the car to the slopes as much as possible. I'm getting all 4 kids some equipment at the local ski swap place so we don't have to mess with rentals of any sort.

Lahoots usually has a good one in August 

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Stealing dr. Fauci’s favorite line, I am “cautiously optimistic” about the ski season.  Yes, lodges and bars will be pretty much non-existant and those who ski once a year on a Saturday in jan will have a hard time, but for those of us who like to hit it on a Mid-week morning, I think it’s going to work.  I saw an interview with killington’s gm and I thought he said pass sales were actually beating their expectations by a good deal.  My worry is the resorts which rely on that packed Saturday in Jan or Presidents’ Day crowd to make it through the year.   The smaller, local mountains will need people to make an effort to visit this year more than ever.

 

Either way,  enjoy this time of year as the excitement builds toward the first cold snap, first flakes and hopefully, snow making by october.

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56 minutes ago, bwt3650 said:

Stealing dr. Fauci’s favorite line, I am “cautiously optimistic” about the ski season.  Yes, lodges and bars will be pretty much non-existant and those who ski once a year on a Saturday in jan will have a hard time, but for those of us who like to hit it on a Mid-week morning, I think it’s going to work.  I saw an interview with killington’s gm and I thought he said pass sales were actually beating their expectations by a good deal.  My worry is the resorts which rely on that packed Saturday in Jan or Presidents’ Day crowd to make it through the year.   The smaller, local mountains will need people to make an effort to visit this year more than ever.

 

Either way,  enjoy this time of year as the excitement builds toward the first cold snap, first flakes and hopefully, snow making by october.

I’ll be doing my part for Cannon, Bretton Woods, and Wildcat. 

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18 hours ago, Skivt2 said:

I heard some of the swaps have been cancelled.  Renting kids stuff for the whole season is sometimes a good option.  

There’s no way normal swaps happen where it’s a packed high school on like an autumn Saturday.  

Kids seasonal rentals are usually the way to go.  Can be done pretty cheap and stores will even swap out boots if your kids feet grow during the winter.  

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18 hours ago, PhineasC said:

We are assuming the lodge stuff will be restricted/closed or at least really annoying. So we are planning to go direct from the car to the slopes as much as possible. I'm getting all 4 kids some equipment at the local ski swap place so we don't have to mess with rentals of any sort.

Daily rentals are always a hassle, but they’re probably going to be a massive pain this coming season.  Season ski package rentals for the kids are a great option for many families, since there are some excellent perks like being able to simply have things replaced if they break (within reason), or swap out skis or boots for a larger size if the child grows a bunch during the season.

We never went that route though, because buying skis for our boys was better for a number of reasons:

·         Most places you rent from, whether from the mountain or from a local shop, have a limited rental season.  You have to wait until a certain date until they start the rentals (around November, but it can vary), and there’s a date by which you have to return them (typically sometime in April).  This is obviously a huge headache if you’re going to ski the full season, and our family typically skis from October through June as long as the snow is around, so that would cut off a lot of the season.

·         The options for rental skis are typically limited – they’ll certainly have all around carving skis, and they’ll often have a twin tip option as well if kids would like a more park/freestyle-oriented ski, but they’re not typically going to have more specialized skis like power skis, Telemark skis, AT skis, etc.

·         It’s really not that expensive to buy kid’s skis of you go to the ski swaps.  There are tons of ski swaps each season, and the prices for kid’s skis are often very reasonable.  For just a regular pair of all around carving skis, you can easily find a used pair for ~$100 or less.  We would buy a pair like that for our older son, and he would use them for two years, and then our younger son would have them for two years, so we would get four years out of that $100 investment, and you’re talking $25 a season.  Then after they’ve outgrown them, you can typically recoup half the money by selling them back at a swap, so in the end, the yearly cost is really minimal.  How much of this you can do obviously depends on the age distribution of your kids of course, but depending on how that works out, it can actually be cheaper than a season rental.  Good powder skis are harder to find at swaps, so we would only occasionally get lucky and find something, but most of the time we had to buy those new.  But, we’d still get a previous year’s model, the price would be reasonable, and we’d get four years out of them and be able to get money for them in the end at a swap.  For Tele (and likely AT skis as well), forget about it, we always had to buy new.  Kid’s Tele skis are not all that common as it is, and in all my years I’m not sure I’ve seen any at the swaps.

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6 hours ago, bwt3650 said:

Stealing dr. Fauci’s favorite line, I am “cautiously optimistic” about the ski season.  Yes, lodges and bars will be pretty much non-existant and those who ski once a year on a Saturday in jan will have a hard time, but for those of us who like to hit it on a Mid-week morning, I think it’s going to work.  I saw an interview with killington’s gm and I thought he said pass sales were actually beating their expectations by a good deal.  My worry is the resorts which rely on that packed Saturday in Jan or Presidents’ Day crowd to make it through the year.   The smaller, local mountains will need people to make an effort to visit this year more than ever.

 

Either way,  enjoy this time of year as the excitement builds toward the first cold snap, first flakes and hopefully, snow making by october.

This season will be frustrating I think.  The only way to go into it is to think any skiing is good skiing and this winter is a bonus.  

Season passes may be the way to go, I think there will be some severe restrictions on day tickets sold at times to reduce crowds.  

No one knows what’s going to happen though.  There’s like Plan A through Plan F.   Heck they don’t even know what kids are doing for schools in one month, much less do ski areas know what 4 months away might look like.  

If local communities or ski area staff get an outbreak it’ll be done for a bit.  I bet a dozen ski area employees texting positive could close a mountain pretty fast.  Like the Marlin’s in MLB, ha.

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5 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

There’s no way normal swaps happen where it’s a packed high school on like an autumn Saturday.  

Yeah, there’s no way a regular swap format can be used.  I’m really hoping they can figure something out to do some sort of swap-style events.  They’re just so useful, and they’re also fundraising events for a lot of schools and organizations.  

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3 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

This season will be frustrating I think.  The only way to go into it is to think any skiing is good skiing and this winter is a bonus.  

Season passes may be the way to go, I think there will be some severe restrictions on day tickets sold at times to reduce crowds.  

No one knows what’s going to happen though.  There’s like Plan A through Plan F.   Heck they don’t even know what kids are doing for schools in one month, much less do ski areas know what 4 months away might look like.  

If local communities or ski area staff get an outbreak it’ll be done for a bit.  I bet a dozen ski area employees texting positive could close a mountain pretty fast.  Like the Marlin’s in MLB, ha.

I agree that it could be very dicey.  I would seriously encourage anybody who has even remotely thought about getting a backcountry/skinning setup to have one on hand this season.  Even if the worst happens and the resorts not only shut down lift service, but somehow revert to closing resort-based uphill access again, midwinter will still offer all the usual backcountry spots.  I could imagine the more formal spots like Pinkham Notch being closed again, but it would be hard to imagine the state trying to close all public lands to access.  I’m not sure how they would enforce that.

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3 hours ago, J.Spin said:

Most places you rent from, whether from the mountain or from a local shop, have a limited rental season.  You have to wait until a certain date until they start the rentals (around November, but it can vary), and there’s a date by which you have to return them (typically sometime in April).  This is obviously a huge headache if you’re going to ski the full season, and our family typically skis from October through June as long as the snow is around, so that would cut off a lot of the season.

·         The options for rental skis are typically limited – they’ll certainly have all around carving skis, and they’ll often have a twin tip option as well if kids would like a more park/freestyle-oriented ski, but they’re not typically going to have more specialized skis like power skis, Telemark skis, AT skis, etc.

These two points cracked me and had me laughing.  J, your family is not like most families.  I've seen them skiing pow in photos for what seems like over a decade.

I wonder how many shops have had people tell them renting from Nov-Apr isn’t the full season, ha (most seasonal rentals are picked up in Dec and returned in like mid-March before little Johnny starts little league practice on April 1st).  

And yeah forget AT or Tele, most places won’t have that for adults even, outside very specialized shops.  

Whenever someone asks about seasonal rentals though I’ll have to keep the J.Spin families in mind, ha...I usually answer the question in the frame of mind that most parents just want a pair of skis that allows their kid to slide downhill maybe 1-2 dozen times a winter.  If that’s accomplished, big win.

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8 minutes ago, J.Spin said:

I agree that it could be very dicey.  I would seriously encourage anybody who has even remotely thought about getting a backcountry/skinning setup to have one on hand this season.  Even if the worst happens and the resorts not only shut down lift service, but somehow revert to closing resort-based uphill access again, midwinter will still offer all the usual backcountry spots.  I could imagine the more formal spots like Pinkham Notch being closed again, but it would be hard to imagine the state trying to close all public lands to access.  I’m not sure how they would enforce that.

I don’t think that would happen again unless for some reason it gets so off the rails we go into “Stay at Home” orders again.  That was what brought about those closures, to literally try to pinch off any attractive reason to get in your car and drive somewhere.  I think that ship has left the port though and not coming back.

But temporary closures of operations is certainly in play if there are local outbreaks or staff outbreaks, IMO.  

Having uphill gear will come in handy at some point and allow for more options, as maybe now you *really* want to avoid ski areas during the holiday periods even if they are fully open.  Most locals avoid that time or plan differently, but maybe now is when you take a couple extra trips to the Cold Hollows, Eden/Belvedere, Gilpin Mtn, etc.

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10 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

These two points cracked me and had me laughing.  J, your family is not like most families.  

I wonder how many shops have had people tell them renting from Nov-Apr isn’t the full season, ha (most seasonal rentals are picked up in Dec and returned in like mid-March before little Johnny starts little league practice on April 1st).  

And yeah forget AT or Tele, most places won’t have that for adults even, outside very specialized shops.  

Whenever someone asks about seasonal rentals though I’ll have to keep the J.Spin families in mind, ha...I usually answer the question in the frame of mind that most parents just want a pair of skis that allows their kid to slide downhill maybe 1-2 dozen times a winter.  If that’s accomplished, big win.

LOL yeah. I love J.Spin’s posts but his version of family skiing is clearly far beyond what we are doing. 2 dozen nice downhill days on groomed trails sounds about right for us. 

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1 hour ago, powderfreak said:

This season will be frustrating I think.  The only way to go into it is to think any skiing is good skiing and this winter is a bonus.  

Season passes may be the way to go, I think there will be some severe restrictions on day tickets sold at times to reduce crowds.  

No one knows what’s going to happen though.  There’s like Plan A through Plan F.   Heck they don’t even know what kids are doing for schools in one month, much less do ski areas know what 4 months away might look like.  

If local communities or ski area staff get an outbreak it’ll be done for a bit.  I bet a dozen ski area employees texting positive could close a mountain pretty fast.  Like the Marlin’s in MLB, ha.

Yeah, I can see limiting day sales.  Season pass def the way to go this season, as always.   Day passes are the higher margin sale tho, so will they be able to operate fully losing that $100 plus dollar a day sale and the food and bev sales?  I’m confident that those of us who ski 20-30 times a year on a pass are going to get some time in but losing those family day trips has got to hurt.  And with losing all that money, where do the cuts start?  less Snowmaking, less grooming or cutting terrain, cutting patrol or lifts?  Be nice to get off to a quick start so there less reliance on pounding the snow guns.

Your’re right tho, I don’t think anyone has more than a guess at this.

 

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FWIW I just bought my wife a splitboard in the the last few weeks and the inventory for women's splitboard bindings (especially) is pretty low right now.  I think a lot of folks are thinking what J Spin is thinking.

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I’ve been thinking that we will not have a lot of snowmaking this year.  K sent out surveys to their instructors and we were talking about it.  I just don’t see how anything beyond privates are feasible.  My husband got his level 1 snowboarding and adaptive last year.  But he’s thinking of sitting it out this year.  

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14 minutes ago, radarman said:

FWIW I just bought my wife a splitboard in the the last few weeks and the inventory for women's splitboard bindings (especially) is pretty low right now.  I think a lot of folks are thinking what J Spin is thinking.

We were psyched to have made the investment in my AT skis and my husband’s split board a few years back.  Got some good uphill last year after the lifts closed and before uphill got shut down.  I hear there is already a significant shortage of uphill stuff. If you are thinking of investing it makes sense to do so quickly while everyone else is focused on summer.  That is always true of equipment purchases with May and June being the cheapest month to buy stuff normally.  This year I expect there is an oversupply of most equipment still, but uphill stuff is a big exception.  Folks on various forums have theorized that lifts could get restricted to locals only.  That will backfire as many of us would just bite the bullet and change our legal primary residence to our ski houses/apartments.  I plan to start the process in September.  

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39 minutes ago, radarman said:

FWIW I just bought my wife a splitboard in the the last few weeks and the inventory for women's splitboard bindings (especially) is pretty low right now.  I think a lot of folks are thinking what J Spin is thinking.

I've always used alpine 130 flex boots for downhill resort skiing and have used those for early/late season uphill.... but am definitely thinking about adding a softer Scarpa style AT boot.  I do think I'll be skinning a bunch more during the season too, whether dawn patrols or sunset skins, etc. 

Just like there are no air conditioners left, the uphill community has been exploding in the past 5 years and this year probably makes a huge jump up.  AT gear is going to be in short supply.

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2 minutes ago, powderfreak said:

I've always used alpine 130 flex boots for downhill resort skiing and have used those for early/late season uphill.... but am definitely thinking about adding a softer Scarpa style AT boot.  I do think I'll be skinning a bunch more during the season too, whether dawn patrols or sunset skins, etc. 

Just like there are no air conditioners left, the uphill community has been exploding in the past 5 years and this year probably makes a huge jump up.  AT gear is going to be in short supply.

Yeah I did the same.  Lange XT 130s and AT bindings without tech fittings are what I've been using.  But since there's at least a chance this could be our primary mode of skiing this year I invested in Scarpa Maestrales and Salomon Shifts.  The Maestrales are pretty darn stiff so they should perform well going down.  Also quite light.  Can't wait to test em out.

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1 hour ago, Skivt2 said:

I’ve been thinking that we will not have a lot of snowmaking this year.  K sent out surveys to their instructors and we were talking about it.  I just don’t see how anything beyond privates are feasible.  My husband got his level 1 snowboarding and adaptive last year.  But he’s thinking of sitting it out this year.  

I am interested in seeing what happens with this.  Hard to say... it could be normal or could be less.  If the weather cooperates then it usually doesn't matter too much during the bulk of the season. 

One could imagine a scenario where less snow is made, with the expected reasoning being to save money.  I think it is like most endeavors going on right now... try it but don't push all the chips in until you know what works.   I honestly do not know and am just spitballing, but from a COVID standpoint they could also be ways to keep employees safe.  It is an outdoors job in theory, but they spend decent time indoors together either via bus cat transport to the upper mountain at night.  Maybe they go via tandem snowmobile instead?  Maybe move in smaller teams that work together all the time, not a roving list of people at different shifts.  If there are scaled down operations, mountains usually focus on one or two routes for snowmaking at a given time, then move on to the next spot on the hit list... you still won't see a good snowmaking window wasted by anyone. 

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Win Smith (sugarbush) sent an email yesterday that they definitely intend to stick to the snowmaking plan starting Nov 1.  He also mentioned that needing reservations was a possibility, and that they wouldn't be loading chairs to capacity. 

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I would really like to buy an AT setup. I have difficulty spending $2K for boots, bindings and skis. I've been thinking of purchasing the Epic Northeast pass and just skiing weekdays. I hope we get some persistent snow coverage in SNE because going around  and around a man-made ski loop, Nordic skiing is probably not the best way to limit exposure.

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2 minutes ago, radarman said:

Win Smith (sugarbush) sent an email yesterday that they definitely intend to stick to the snowmaking plan starting Nov 1.  He also mentioned that needing reservations was a possibility, and that they wouldn't be loading chairs to capacity. 

That’s reassuring to hear and seems like a common sense move.  I think they will all blast the mountains to get open, it’s the refreshing of the usual high traffic areas when they get icy that may get cut back; but this is nothing more than thinking out loud.  The early commitment on snowmaking from sugarbush is a solid move tho.

 

The jays and Stowe’s of the world should be safe bets with the upslope machine that in a normal year gives you that 3-6 every few days go keep things fresh.  It’s places like a hunter for example that need to blow a ton of snow all season for those thaw/freeze days that I wonder if they will cut back..but it’s vail, so I guess they can afford it better than most.

on another topic, I wonder if there is any plan for the tram at jay?  Probably the least social distanced place in all of Vermont.

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2 hours ago, powderfreak said:

These two points cracked me and had me laughing.  J, your family is not like most families.  

I wonder how many shops have had people tell them renting from Nov-Apr isn’t the full season, ha (most seasonal rentals are picked up in Dec and returned in like mid-March before little Johnny starts little league practice on April 1st).  

And yeah forget AT or Tele, most places won’t have that for adults even, outside very specialized shops.  

Whenever someone asks about seasonal rentals though I’ll have to keep the J.Spin families in mind, ha...I usually answer the question in the frame of mind that most parents just want a pair of skis that allows their kid to slide downhill maybe 1-2 dozen times a winter.  If that’s accomplished, big win.

Hehe, LOL, you’re right in that we aren’t your typical ski family.  But, we’re certainly less unique if you compare us to other ski families around here in NVT or probably even other parts of NNE.

I actually brought up the season ski rental time limitation issue though because it happened to a colleague of mine at work – he was renting for the season from Bolton for his kids, and had planned to continue using the skis to ski at places like Stowe, Smugg’s, Sugarbush, Jay Peak, etc. at the end of the season.  But, he unfortunately had to return the skis when Bolton closed down at the beginning of April, so that was pretty inconvenient.  I’d never even thought of that sort of limitation on season rentals until he pointed that out.

Also, I wasn’t sure how serious Phin was going to get with the family’s skiing now that they’d be living so deep in NNE ski country.  I see now that he mentioned a couple dozen days as a rough number, and that’s actually a pretty solid season.

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2 hours ago, radarman said:

Yeah I did the same.  Lange XT 130s and AT bindings without tech fittings are what I've been using.  But since there's at least a chance this could be our primary mode of skiing this year I invested in Scarpa Maestrales and Salomon Shifts.  The Maestrales are pretty darn stiff so they should perform well going down.  Also quite light.  Can't wait to test em out.

I normally ski on Lange SC 110’s which I think is a rough equivalent fairly stiff boot for me at 5’ 3”.  I’m sized down two full sizes with appropriate hard core boot fitting, shell punching and grinding  required because I want 100% responsiveness.  But I have Dynafit Ones for my uphill boot with the full walk mode.  I have a relatively heavy touring ski set up with old 168 Rossi S6’s and Fritschi freerides.  I love the freerides because the ramp is so easy to adjust on the fly and the whole set up is awesome going uphill.  But I miss my real boots on the way down something fierce.  My last day (day 86) last year was spent in heavy deep powder on a sheet ice base the day K closed uphill.  I floundered down an intermediate trail like a fish out of water and dared not climb higher because conditions were too dangerous.  Ultimately it’s really important to be comfy going uphill if you are hiking since it really is all about the hike.  The downhill is over in seconds. The journey is the destination as they say.  For anyone reading this though, if you are considering trying uphill travel and skiing on unmaintained ski resort trails please realize that it’s a whole different ball game than you are used to.  Grooming really does make a huge difference. It got really really icy last March and inexperienced folks got in way over their heads by hiking too high and then getting in trouble. One guy had to be rescued after sliding halfway down the steepest trail at Pico and ripping a fingernail off.  I’m pretty sure that was the “nail” in the coffin for uphill travel last year.

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18 minutes ago, J.Spin said:

Hehe, LOL, you’re right in that we aren’t your typical ski family.  But, we’re certainly less unique if you compare us to other ski families around here in NVT or probably even other parts of NNE.

I actually brought up the season ski rental time limitation issue though because it happened to a colleague of mine at work – he was renting for the season from Bolton for his kids, and had planned to continue using the skis to ski at places like Stowe, Smugg’s, Sugarbush, Jay Peak, etc. at the end of the season.  But, he unfortunately had to return the skis when Bolton closed down at the beginning of April, so that was pretty inconvenient.  I’d never even thought of that sort of limitation on season rentals until he pointed that out.

Also, I wasn’t sure how serious Phin was going to get with the family’s skiing now that they’d be living so deep in NNE ski country.  I see now that he mentioned a couple dozen days as a rough number, and that’s actually a pretty solid season.

I agree.  We switched our season tune to a shop that tunes into the summer and will tune before mid October because our season is usually October -June.

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Ran into my buddy at grocery store yesterday . He works at Ken Jones Ski mart in Manchester . Believe he said they begin getting ski’s resdy today. He was curious if the shop was going to cut the season ski passes they give employees .

He was talking about a giant supply disruption from manufacturers regarding new skis for this upcoming season. 

I was mentioning to him about NH needing a big natural snow year bc I just don’t see how they will go forward w regular snow making plans . They may say otherwise now , but the reality of the situation is ...politically correct panic lurks right below the surface . What I mean is as soon as Flu season gets underway , and people in public actually produce symptoms consistent w Covid (they aren’t necessarily distinguishable) that every single flu sniffle and cough will be met w a different sort of level of concern (that will surprise people) and this on top of the current backdrop will result in doing everything to be safe , especially with the hope that a vaccine is around the corner (in spring ) , That will probably mean whoever shuts down the most will appear to be doing the best job to be “safe”.

 The media will play its usual role to not miss a opportunity to “inform/ frighten” people and enhance this response. The stage is more than set. 

.02 cents 

I certainly could be wrong , In particular if the country is seeing falling Covid cases from a decently low point that would be very helpful as flu season kicks in, that would be my big hope for people’s health and businesses.

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At this point I'm not even sure we will be buying passes this year given VT's quarantine guidelines. I have several ski friends were stopped by country sheriffs in southern VT and questioned (even after quarantining) since they had out of state plates. Hopefully the Berks get some decent snow for back country adventures.

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