Hello Everyone –
I have now been in the ski industry in one form or another since 1985, either working for a resort or association or reporting on the industry. For every one of those years I have tried to make sure people understand that mild temperatures in late February and March don’t mean the snow has melted on the slopes.
Case in point, last week’s column as the most recent awareness attempt. I have come to the conclusion, despite my numerous attempts; no one is listening outside of the diehards.
Speaking to a president of a southeast resort last week I am convinced that my efforts are fruitless as he told me skier visits were going strong through just past the middle of February and than someone turned off the visitation switch. It’s no coincidence that is when the spring-like mild temperatures began occurring in the southeast ski industry’s major markets like Charlotte, Richmond, Washington, DC and Raleigh just to mention a few.
Despite the best effort of folks like Mike Doble with skisoutheast.com, the lack of visits has already caused resort officials to start thinking about closing for the season. Boy do I hate the “C” word. I believe I dislike the “C” word more than I dislike the “R” (raining) word.
This same official says the same thing happened last year when there was even more snow on the slopes at this time of the season. When I was at Snowshoe Mountain, I fought to stay open through April because the conditions were out there. But the operation folks said when there are only a few hundred folks on the slopes, why dump the money down the drain just to be open.
As I scribe this week’s column I am looking out my Charleston, West Virginia area window and see snow on the ground. Meaning if there is snow in my back yard at almost sea level why in the world can I not convince the Doubting Thomas’s there is still tons of snow at area resorts and, when there isn’t, they close. So maybe I should just give up this time of year and start thinking about cutting grass, trimming bushes, cleaning out the garage…..huh, I don’t think so. You are stuck with me reminding everyone over and over again there are very good conditions on the slopes right now and I am not going to give up trying to get people to understand.
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.
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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.