story by Joe Stevens – [email protected]
Hello Everyone –
First off, my (and every skier and snowboarder’s) thanks goes out to whoever was able to get through to Mother Nature on her Bahamas vacation! It seems she changed her cell number!. Glad someone was able to let her know it was time for some snow and cold temperatures for the southeast mountains.
As I write this week’s column five resorts, one in West Virginia and four in North Carolina are open for the season and as far as I can tell snowmakers at every resort are as busy as Santa’s elves these days.
For you doubting Thomases out there, just relax, the upcoming cold temperatures are going to permit enough snowmaking weather to get the slopes in normal mid-December conditions. I am never surprised what the region’s snowmakers can accomplish when given the right weather conditions. The next time you are at your favorite resort watering hole and you’re fortunate enough to strike up a conversation with a snowmaker (and they’re off-duty), you need to pick up a round or two for them. I hope everyone, skier and snowboarder, out there understands that without snowmaking in this region, skiing and snowboarding would be extremely limited to only when a natural dump occurred. In other words, there wouldn’t be the number of resorts we have today, if any to tell you the truth.
<Here’s Joe at the command center within his Sat Truck
I was headed to Snowshoe Mountain for the weekend with my son Christian, when my cell phone rang with Fox News on the other line. You see most of the time you can find me in my company’s satellite truck pitching news for various stations and networks. In fact we were at Virginia Tech last week for CNN. Fox News needed West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin pitched to them from Charleston, WV. That required that I and my son, Chrisitan would have to leave early Saturday morning to take care of the satellite feed. So much for the first turns of the season. Oh well, as they say, duty calls.
If you are wondering how the conditions are at just about every resort out there, you need not go any further than this website. The staff of Skisoutheast.com has done an awesome job of providing webcams everywhere. If we give them enough time they’ll probably have one tracking Santa in a couple of weeks or at least at one at the North Pole. The day of guessing of what the conditions are at the resorts no longer exists thanks to all of the webcams on this website. So the excuse of, “I don’t think there is any snow on the slopes,” just doesn’t work any more. Just log on, have a look around and then just get out there and play.
For last week’s column I used the forecast of some of my favorite weather peeps around the region. I received one more after the deadline but since it was from Paul Goodloe of The Weather Channel, I thought I would include it this week. This is what Paul, who by the way is probably the best skier and snowboarder at TWC thinks:
Sorry I missed your deadline, but I wouldn’t have much positive to say about this year’s outlook anyway. Last year and this one are La Nina’s. Last year we constantly had dumps of cold air across the east bringing snow. This year, we are missing the widespread cold air. In fact, the weather across the east is far more El Nino like than La Nina. All this means is storms will bring snow across the region, but it will not be a chamber of commerce winter. I just hope the timing of the storms will correlate with some of the bigger holidays to help out the resorts and surrounding areas.
Not the best forecast in the world, but that’s Paul, always shooting truthfully from the hip and that is why he is where he is these days. Time to refer back to paragraph two and at least hope for decent subfreezing temperatures so that the southeast snowmakers can do their thing (better than the snowmakers within any other region) and cover the slopes. Can you tell that I am just biased about my snowmaking buds around here?
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.