AND AWAY WE GO!

AND AWAY WE GO!

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Hello Everyone –

This time last year it was a little touch and go if all of the resorts in the southeast region were going to be open for the all-important holiday season. In the end, everyone was open but the amount of available terrain wasn’t as strong as in years past.  Now a year later not only is every resort in the region open, but check out the snow reports, look at the webcams, there is a whole bunch of snow on all of the slopes.

This is when southeast ski resorts really shine given the chance with sub-freezing temperatures and a little natural snow thrown in for good measure. There are folks way far south that only see snow when they travel into the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. You see we can guarantee a white Christmas in these parts and families have come to depend on the resorts for fun during the holidays, snowmen and even a snowball fight or two.

Well when folks make the trip during the three week holiday period this season, the week before Christmas, Christmas week and the week after, they will find wall to wall snow.  The snowmakers at all of the resorts have taken advantage of every single second of snowmaking weather to provide as much coverage as possible.  To further that point, there are resorts, Wintergreen in Virginia and Canaan Valley and Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia, as of Sunday, December 15, providing snowtubing. 

What everyone needs to understand is that it takes a lot and I mean a lot of snow to open snow tubing parks.  But for families traveling with family members that might not ski or snowboard, being able to provide everyone the opportunity to have fun on the snow is like icing on the cake. This means that grandma and granddad can have fun with their skiing and riding grandkids and not feel left out and we all know how important this is during this time of the year.  I feel there will be more snow tubing hills coming on line in the days to come just keep your eyes on the snow reports.

Now let’s get to the point of providing that white Christmas for everyone and to make sure that happens, there has to be snowmaking and lots of it.  All of the resorts in this region don’t play around when it comes to snowmaking.  When it’s time to fire up the guns, look out, get out of the way and just stand back and watch the manmade blizzard.  Every year when resorts announce their capital improvement plans there is always and I mean always a line item for increased snowmaking capacity.  In years past I have had reporters joke with me about that fact and always asked if there was something else happening like new lifts, new trails, etc.  I would tell them without increased and improved snowmaking capabilities ski resorts can’t even think about news lifts or trails.  You don’t have to be a genius to understand that without snow, well you get the picture. 

That is exactly the reason why the numbers of skiers, snowboarders and snowboarders have stayed steady, if not increasing a little bit each year throughout the region, of course when the weather permits. That also brings to the point that when a resorts has to make snow, every skier and snowboarder needs to understand it might be goggle time.  During recent seasons more resorts have tried their best not to make snow on open terrain during a day or night session, rather moving the guns to trails that aren’t open to increase the available terrain for everyone.  But there are cases when it just has to happen and please don’t head straight to customer service and complain because without that snowmaking you wouldn’t be at the resort to begin with on that day.  May I just say it is one of those grin and bear it kind of situations.

As we prepare to ski, snowboard or snowtube into this holiday season please take this opportunity to pause and thank those unsung heroes of every ski resort, your friendly snowmaker.  They are out there many times in the middle of the night in the very cold conditions, doing exactly what they love to do and that’s provide as much open terrain for skiers, snowboarders and snowtubers to enjoy while they are at any winter resort in the southeast region. This year thanks to some awesome subfreezing temperatures, there is going to be plenty of open terrain, enjoy and thank your friends at your favorite resort to providing a snowmaking system that rocks.

That’s it for this week, more to come as the season continues, just remember whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be.  Think about it! See you on the slopes and enjoy the coming holidays, you deserve it!

Joe is well known around the southeastern ski circles. Stevens was Director of Communications at Snowshoe Mountain Resort for 16 seasons with another 15 years prior to that in Richmond, Virginia newsrooms. Joe serves on numerous boards and committees and currently is a spokesperson for the West Virginia ski areas. Joe has been a featured columnist on SkiSoutheast since 2005 and has written numerous articles for us, as well as for others promoting all of the southeastern ski resorts. Joe resides in Charleston, West Virginia, with his wife, Angie, and son, Christian. He is an avid snowboarder and marathon runner.

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