Story by Joe Stevens – Photo of Glade Creek Grist Mill (Photo by Gary Rolband)

Hello Everyone –

The autumnal equinox arrived this past Saturday at 9:54 pm, when the sun crossed the celestial equator or an imaginary line that projects Earth’s equator into space. Sounding pretty smart there, right? Actually no, I just Goggled, fall 2018, and that’s what I got. What it all means is that fall is here, lawn cutting will soon cease, leaf raking will soon take its place and with the nip in the air, the ski season is just much closer to reality.

My wife sometimes asks me how I come up with my Snow News Is Good News column topics and for the most part, she now understands, it basically just happens. You see, last Christmas her sister gave us an Amazon Alexia. When I told the contraption, good morning on Sunday, it responded by informing me that it was the first day of fall. Now you and everyone else knows the genesis of this week’s column. You see it really doesn’t take much and like I say to Mike (this website’s mastermind), it’s not like I am solving world peace or something.

Efforts to increase snowmaking have paid off for Canaan Valley Resort Ski Area.
Photo by Justin Harris. Click to Enlarge

But I digress, because the most important thing to me about the first day of fall is that all of the snowmakers in the region start getting itchy fingers. All of them, from Tennessee to Maryland feel that same nip in the air and begin to place to guns on the slopes as the ski season nears. Okay, the tower guns are already in place, I know that, so keep the correcting comment to yourself.

Folks the buzz is out there, recently I shared a video from Snowshoe Mountain of the final installation of tower guns on the resort’s Western Territory. This was part of a multi-million-dollar snowmaking expansion that the West Virginia ski resort announced here on Skisoutheast.com this past March. After I posted the video, it got hammered with positive likes, comments and shares. It was probably the most shared story I have ever posted on the West Virginia Ski Areas Association’s Facebook page. Every time I turned around I was getting a notification that somebody new had reacted about the news. Just proving that everyone is starting to get that feeling.

Another indication that the ski season is right around the corner is that the various industry associations are getting together to chat about what everyone thinks is going to happen. Sometimes I think it’s like a bunch of fishermen getting together and discussing their day’s catch. I will let your imagination take over from here on what I am talking about.

My Son, Christian. Click to Enlarge.

As I write this week’s column, I had another reminder that everyone will soon be playing at their favorite resort in the region. You see, I take my son Christian (whom you have heard a lot about, if you are a frequent reader of this space) to his school bus stop every morning for him to be picked up at 6:52. Well just the other day, while we were waiting for the bus to arrive, he looked at me and stated, “I can’t wait for Thanksgiving to get here.” For most kids his age, that would mean getting off a week from school, which might also be part of it for him. But after I inquired about his early morning proclamation, he explained, “It’s still hurricane season, but I just have that feeling we will be hitting the slopes soon. I will be checking it out closer soon.” Now before you say that’s just wishful thinking of a snow loving 14-year old, please understand that this is a kid that already knows he wants to study meteorology in college and work at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Pretty much, when and what he says is going to happen, does happen.

Another clear sign that the ski season is not far away is the scenic pictures I am starting to see on social media from the mountain regions. Some leaves on the trees are already starting to turn color, as the temperatures and the moisture levels begin to drop in those areas. By the way, I learned a long time ago, that some of the prettiest colors everyone sees during the fall, come from poison ivy vines. Yea, that same plant that can drive us nuts during the summer, if you are allergic to it, also produces some of the brightest reds and oranges this time of year and most people don’t even realize it. Hey, never say you can’t learn something new from reading this column.

So with the season, just around the corner, I am suggesting that you get those skis and snowboards out of the corner of your garage (at least that’s where ours are) and get them tuned up. You see, your friends at your nearby ski shop are actually looking for something to do right now, other than putting out new inventory. Instead of waiting to the last minute, like a day before you are going to leave for those first turns, get it done now so there isn’t any rush. The ski shop employees can take some extra time and make sure your edges are just right for your first trip of the season. Most of the time, they get slammed when that first snow is in the forecast or a resort has made enough snow to open and instead of one or two pair of skis to tune, they have 25 to 30. I think you get my point.

Yes, fall is here and the temperature is dropping, so if you are like my son, you are starting to get that itch and it isn’t from getting into that poison ivy patch. It’s because the season if right around the corner. Good to see you again fall, it’s always a pleasure.

That’s it for this week’s column, as the 2018-2019 season gets closer. Just remember whether it be cold or whether it be warm, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be and this year is a prime example. Think about it!

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. Since September 1996 he has posted close to 14,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.