YEA FOR PHIL!

YEA FOR PHIL!

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Hello Everyone –

 

If for some reason you failed to take notice of the biggest story today (February 2), that rodent that resides in Pennsylvania saw his shadow.  Punxsutawney Phil, the four-legged creature that gets 15-minutes of fame each year, made every skier, snowboarder and snow tuber quite happy.  You see by seeing his shadow, Phil is predicting six more weeks of winter.  Considering we have actually seen a winter this year throughout the southeast region, Phil’s observation is just following the current direction. I wonder if his handlers realize that Phil is an animal that is being hailed in the winter sport community or even care since there are dozens of satellite trucks in the small community today.  

 

Along with the fine news from Groundhog Phil, the weather has been perfect for snowmaking and skiing and snowboarding.  Again if you have been asleep or in Phil’s hole the last three weeks, you know the best conditions of the season are occurring at this time.  In fact, listening to some of the reports from the slopes, the conditions right now rival those of all-time.  If you haven’t been on the slopes, shame on you for not finding the excuse.

 

Usually when conditions change as quick as they have the last couple of weeks, snow reports climb quicker than the stock market in a stockbroker’s dreams.  That hasn’t been the case this season, everyone (resorts) is playing fairly again this time around.  There really hasn’t been any outrageous base depths posted yet and the natural snow totals seem to be in line with what the National Weather Service has been posting. I think resorts totally understand the value and power of social media these days.  If the conditions are not what they are reporting on their respective sites, the word spreads rapidly from skier to skier and from snowboarder to snowboarder.  Not only does the word spread rapidly, but pictures and videos are also passed around quickly.  There is also those webcams that can be found from every resort in the region on skisoutheast.com (the site that you are on right now by the way) and of course, seeing is believing. I am actually amazed to hear that perspective visitors to resorts call and ask how the conditions are currently.  It’s not hard to find out.  Now for the ones who ask how the conditions are going to be in a month or six weeks, well that’s a topic for another column.

 

If the weather forecasters are correct, the current conditions should be with us  for quite some time this month and into March and of course they now have Phil’s forecast to back them and I know how much that makes them happy that people are relying more on a rodent’s forecast than a truly scientific one.  Go figure. That means that everything is setting up well for spring skiing and riding, but that’s also another topic for another column.

 

For those of you who wanted to cook up as nice groundhog stew for your Super Bowl party this year because the honorable Phil saw his shadow, I think Buffalo Wings would’ve been a much better choice. For this columnist I enjoy the fact that I live in a state, West Virginia, which actually has four very different seasons.  I don’t think I could handle the same thing all the time, boring.

 

I got a kick this past week of seeing pictures from friends that live in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  That area received up to eight inches of snow and you know what, as I understand, there was no run on the local grocery store, they looked at the upcoming weather forecast and prepared as if an active weather situation was about to happen and were prepared.  You see those folks in that area get some practice with active weather situations with events called hurricanes.  Imagine that, thinking ahead and being prepared, what a novel thought.

 

From the here we go again department, it looks like it is going to be an ongoing thing for The Weather Channel to name winter storms. What I just can’t understand is why do some local forecasters use something that is being made up by a chest thumping network? Just being yourself and make sure your local folks understand totally what is going to happen and not showboat it.

 

Finally this week I am following the lead of my favorite nine-year old sports columnist, my son Christian (he writes Christian’ Sports Beat every week in The Putnam and Cabell Standards) and predicting that the Broncos are going to top the Seahawks 30-24 in Super Bowl XLVIII. Just in case we are correct, I just want to let you know I finished and submitted this column prior to noon Sunday morning.

 

That’s it for this week, more thoughts here next week, just remember whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll whether the weather, whatever the weather will be.  Think about it! See you on the slopes.

 

Joe is well known around the southeastern ski circles. Stevens was Director of Communications at Snowshoe Mountain Resort for 16 seasons with another 15 years prior to that in Richmond, Virginia newsrooms. Joe serves on numerous boards and committees and currently is a spokesperson for the West Virginia ski areas. Joe has been a featured columnist on SkiSoutheast since 2005 and has written numerous articles for us, as well as for others promoting all of the southeastern ski resorts. Joe resides in Charleston, West Virginia, with his wife, Angie, and son, Christian. He is an avid snowboarder and marathon runner.

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