Hello Everyone –
Over the weekend I watched one of my favorite sporting events of the year, the annual Army vs. Navy football game. For many of the players and students on both sides of the ball, they will be soon be in harm’s way protecting the rights and freedom we enjoy on a daily basis. This is the one game of the year that every player is giving 100 percent from whistle to whistle with none of them worrying about where they might be going in the NFL Draft. It’s all about the love of the game and representing your school.
So you say what does that have to do with skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing in the southeast? I am here to tell you that when it is all said and done, worrying about or complaining about early season slope conditions simply just doesn’t matter when we have young men and women fighting to make sure we are safe on the home front.
I have read on some chat rooms and a couple of blogs that there are some of you out there that aren’t satisfied with what is being provided by ski resorts in the region. Before you log on again criticizing the resorts, you need to understand that every Mountain Manager has every snowmaker and snowgun working as hard and as often as possible right now. After receiving over four-feet of snow in some places from Superstorm Sandy, that snow for the most part is in the Gulf of Mexico. What that snow did, besides causing severe power outages for thousands, was create a buzz out there about winter and the ski season being not that far away. Now some mild weather in the region has everyone on their heels right now, but does it really matter in the great scheme of things as we are talking about sliding on snow not dodging bullets.
Now those snowmakers from resorts in Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia are some of the hardest working folks I know in the industry. They work around the clock if necessary and in conditions that you just don’t want to even think about. All of their efforts of laying down a very nice surface on a trail to open could go away due to some warmer than normal temperatures. But when the temperatures are just right, look out folks; if you don’t know that this region has the very best snowmakers, you have been hiding under a rock.
The recent mild temperatures are going to go away here real soon just as quick as they materialized in the region. Forecasters are saying buckle up folks colder temperatures are right around the corner and the snowmakers at every resort are ready to do battle. Not in the same way that the players for Army and Navy but fighting none the less to cover the trails to everyone’s liking. Just hang in there, it’s coming, it is.
By the way hats off to Snowshoe Mountain for offering free skiing for state residents this past Saturday. You know sometimes we (no matter where you live) forget just how much fun you can have right in your own backyard. This was an early season chance for skiers and snowboarders in the Mountain State to have some fun at no cost. That type of a promotion actually helps everyone because it gets people on the slopes and at the end of the day isn’t that what it is all about, get people sliding on snow. On top of that I saw video of Snowshoe Mountain offering season pass holders a chance to have first tracks or turns before the official dropping of the ropes on Saturday. Great move Snowshoe, it looked like everyone had an awesome time.
I digress a little though and time to get back to the main point of this week’s column, please understand I am the first that wants to be riding on awesome bases and plenty of trails but I understand there is more going out there in the world, so just be happy for what we have and what some people do every day or in days to come to make sure we can enjoy those opportunities. I realize this week’s column is a bit off my normal track, but when I saw my eight-year old son waving his small US flag in front of the TV when the National Anthem was being played before the game on Saturday it just got me thinking and now you know that can get me in trouble.
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 holidays, you deserve it!
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Joe Stevens, a member of the southeast ski industry since 1990 is a regular columnist for skisoutheast.com and serves as the Communications Director for the West Virginia Ski Areas Association.