Hello Everyone –
Before we get to this week’s topic let’s think back in late November and early December when I spoke with a number of excellent meteorologists, they all indicated to me, which I reported in this column, weather conditions right now probably would be milder than normal. I just checked the temperature outside my Charleston, WV home and it’s just 25 degrees outside. I am not Daniel Webster, but I know the meaning of mild and 25 degrees in late January is not even close to being mild.
So who knew?!? I guess the experts didn’t, more in-depth on that topic in an upcoming column.
Now on to this week’s topic, ski shops and after holiday sales. If you have been a follower of this column the last five seasons you know I am not a fan of Ski Shops that start end of the season sales about this time of year. I have always said that makes people think the end of the season at the resorts is just around the corner, not the fact that Ski Shops are just trying to clear out inventory. I can’t say for sure that this doesn’t happen anymore, but I am seeing and hearing less evidence of those end of the season sales.
This morning I noticed in the Charleston Sunday Gazette-Mail an ad for Sport Mart, the last locally owned sports store in West Virginia’s capital that you can still talk to someone that knows the difference between ski and snowboard bindings. Try to find that same type of person in one of those national sporting goods chain stores, not happening. The ad had your traditional discounts listed but no where did you find the word “end”, instead plenty of snowflakes, giving the thought of snow on the slopes and here’s chance to get some new equipment to enjoy the conditions. I can’t vouch for other areas, but at least one store understands the so called big picture when it comes to helping skiers and snowboarders to have fun on the slopes. All the way through the end of the season, in March.
This week’s final thought, Lord willing and something crazy doesn’t happen, my first day on the slopes this season will come this Saturday with the one and only Mike Doble. They say it’s never too late, but holly cow am I ever behind the proverbial snowball this year, hopefully I’ll be making up for lost time. Be easy on me Mike. Hope you have taken advantage of January being Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and have gotten someone else into the sport.
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.