Hello Everyone –
Got to speak with hundreds of skiers and snowboarders over the weekend at the seventh annual West Virginia Ski Days Show at the Sport Mart Superstore in Charleston, West Virginia.
The number one question was, "When is it going to get cold?"
After experiencing a 62 degree day on Thursday, it was nice to report to everyone that it was cold enough for every ski resort in West Virginia to be making snow. There is a considerable amount of pent up demand (in the industry we call that the PUD factor) out there, meaning everyone is ready for cold weather, snow and plenty of slopes to be open.
As I sit here watching the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants, giving my Dallas Cowboys a one-game lead in the NFC East, I continue to think about the yeomen’s job facing every snowmaking team in the southeast. The busiest three-weeks of the season for every resort in the region begins this week. That being the week before Christmas, Christmas week and the week after Christmas. Skiers and snowboarders are planning to head to their favorite resort any day now and snowmakers are using every second of subfreezing temperatures to make snow and cover every inch of terrain possible. No resort in the region wants to have anything less than a stellar experience for the holiday travelers; I just hope everyone understands just what is going on at every resort right now.
I have begun watching snow reports and as long as I am in the industry I will never understand how a resort can claim a packed powder surface without the benefit of any natural snow. I know, snowmaking companies make the claim that their machines can produce powder-like conditions. Man-made snow is awesome to ski and ride on and there wouldn’t be as much winter fun in the region without the snowmaking capabilities of every resort, but Mother Nature produces powder conditions. Point, set and match and don’t even think I am going to be swayed from that opinion. Hey, I am one of the biggest industry cheerleaders in the southeast, but fact is fact and powder is powder. Now do I think man-made snow is great to ride or ski on, darn right and I will do so on any day that ends with a “Y.”
This season looks like it is going to be a challenge for every mountain manager at every southeast ski resort. Believe me when I say the weather is going to change and the slopes are going to get covered. Everyone needs to be patient and understand that every snowmaker is out there working overtime to cover the slopes. Just make sure to enjoy what you have.
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.
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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.