ARE YOU READY TO TUMBLE? by Joe Stevens

Hello Everyone –

Hats off to the folks at Cataloochee and Sugar Mountain in North Carolina for kick starting the 2007-2008 winter season of fun. Seriously folks when most of the world thinks about skiing and snowboarding, the southeast region usually doesn’t even show up on the radar. Except for a Halloween day of skiing at Sunday River in Maine, the southeast again got things “tumbling” for skiing and snowboarding in the east. Those non-believers of southeast skiing need to double check their radars. I’m sorry but it has to burn some of the big boys up north that the first real skiing in the east the last two years has occurred in North Carolina.

Now my point of the week, when given the correct weather conditions, the snowmakers in this region are the best. No more really needs to be said, but that just isn’t me. The reason there is even sliding on hills in the southeast is because of the snowmaking prowess of every resort. If there wasn’t the snowmaking capacity in the region that now exists, there wouldn’t be skiing or snowboarding from early November to early April every year. I don’t know about the rest of the states, but in West Virginia the ski industry means 5000 jobs and a $250 million economic impact. Put that together with Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland and those figures increase dramatically. So if you ever get a chance, send your friendly snowmaker a thank you card.

So if you are keeping score at home sport fans, Sugar Mountain and Cataloochee are still offering skiing and snowboarding with Snowshoe Mountain coming on line this Wednesday, November 21 with a handful of trails and a couple of lifts. Appalachian Ski Mountain is also thinking about opening during the Thanksgiving holiday. The rest of the resorts in the region will be opening the first week of December or so. Before you know it, all of the resorts in the region will be open and who can you thank, the snowmakers of course. Can’t let that go, can I?

Now a word of warning, I don’t want to hear any complaints about the conditions on the slopes. If anyone is expecting mid-season conditions, stay home and wait for January to come – it’s just over a month away. Seriously, this is a time to make those first turns of the season and feel fortunate there are resort operations in this region willing to get open early to provide a little bit of fun. Enjoy what is out there and don’t complain, because no one will listen.

That’s it for this week; more to come as the season continues. Just be patient as whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be. Think about it!

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Joe Stevens
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.