Hello Everyone –
For some unknown reason (and don’t give me that global warming stuff) the southeast ski industry just can’t catch a break this season so far. Every time mountain managers think that winter has finally set in, another mild weather pattern comes along. Talk about a roller coaster ride for every snowmaker out there this season! Holy melting snowman Batman!
Some may be amazed with the amount of terrain that is actually open, but nothing surprises me when it comes to the southeast region’s snowmakers.
Traveling in my current home town Charleston, WV, I heard a radio commercial for Sport Mart Superstore, the city’s last locally own ski and snowboard shop. The copy of the commercial stated that the ski resorts were open and it was time to have some winter fun on the slopes. And by the way, everything was 20 percent off. Sport Mart is actually of member of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association and does a lot to support and promote the industry. Hey it’s one of those win-win situations as the more people realize there is snow on the slopes, the more sales they may receive. None-the-less, they don’t ever say end of the season sale in January or February and hang in there to the end with the state’s ski resorts. You can only hope this same sort of thing is happening throughout the region.
Now all that gets to the following point and that one of the toughest things for a ski industry marketer to do is being able to convince folks in metro areas there is snow on the slopes when there is no snow in their backyards. This scenario has perplexed me for the 25 plus years I have been associated with this industry. Now 20 years ago I might understand not knowing the true conditions or believing a resort’s snowreport because the technology wasn’t available yet. But how many people don’t operate a computer at work or don’t have a computer at home? My point, just go to the webcam page on this website (heck you are already here reading this aren’t you) and look at the conditions in real time of just about every resort in the region. Come on folks, I just don’t want to hear, “are you sure there is snow on the slopes?” That excuse is just not relevant these days.
Now I circle back around to snowmaking in the southeast region; folks call me a cheerleader, but the boys can flat out make some snow and have been doing so as best as they can this season. A quick look at the trail counts for all of the resorts in region indicates that at least 75 percent of the slopes are open and with not one resort reporting normal snowfall or temperatures I think that is remarkable. You know every year when resorts report what they did during the off season in terms of resort development, I always expect to see snowmaking improvements on the list. Well this year, the millions of dollars that all of the southeast resorts have invested are paying off during this mild, crazy weather season. Thank goodness, someone was looking ahead.
One more reminder, that this month is National Learn to Ski and Snowboard month. To learn more go to www.learntoskiandsnowboard.org and pick a place to have fun. Just remember there is snow on the slopes and there is NO doubt about it.
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.