Hello Everyone –
I first learned to ski on January 1, 1985 and since then I never had my first day on the slopes the last weekend of January. During my 16 years as Communications Director of Snowshoe Mountain there were seasons when I had 30 days on the slopes by this time of the season.
Finally, and I repeat finally, I got on the slopes for the first time this season this past Saturday at Snowshoe Mountain.
As I told you in last week’s column I had made plans to meet Mike Doble on the slopes Saturday morning. For some unknown reason around Thursday I was thinking about passing on the opportunity and when I told my wife of that fact, she quickly reminded me what I had written and that my integrity was at stake. Thanks Angie for the kick in the wigglies. At 8:45 am Saturday I met Mike and his daughter Carrigan (who can really ski) at the top of Ballhooter lift and when the ropes dropped at 9 am, away we went.
Prior to the ropes dropping at 9 am, I had to literally knock the dust off my board. No kidding, Mike and Carrigan were standing there laughing at me as I dusted off my board. To that I say shame on me, with some of the best skiing right in my backyard and it took me until January 29 to get on the slopes. No excuses, just no excuses for being that tardy.
By the way, the conditions at Snowshoe Mountain were perfect for the first runs of the season. Keeping up with Carrigan was the biggest challenge. Wasn’t it just yesterday that she was just learning – oh I am getting old.
This week’s point, if you have gotten on the slopes this season, good for you. For those of you who haven’t gotten out there this season, I understand, but do yourself a favor and go and hit the slopes somewhere. I can’t remember when at the end of January, you can count the number of freeze-thaw cycles on one hand for the season. There are tons and tons of snow out there from Tennessee to Maryland just waiting for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy.
Now for those of you who are looking for that added excitement for your ski or snowboard trip, may I recommend a trip to the snow tubing hill if it is available at your favorite resort. I spent over two hours sliding with my six-year-old son Christian and his mom on Snowshoe’s tubing hill at the Silver Creek area. It’s different and fun and a nice change of pace. Throw in a little snowshoeing, which we did on Sunday, and your weekend is complete, family style.
That’s it for this week, 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 sometime soon, I hope.
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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.