HOW ABOUT SOME GROUNDHOG STEW! – by Joe Stevens

Hello Everyone –

If for some reason you failed to take notice of the biggest story this past Friday (February 2), that rodent that resides in Pennsylvania didn’t see his shadow. Punxsutawney Phil, the four-legged creature that gets 15-minutes of fame each year, should’ve just stayed in his hole. You see by not seeing his shadow, Phil is predicting an early spring. Considering that winter was late this year that was the wrong message. I wonder if his handlers realize that Phil is a marked animal. Sorry PETA.

Despite the ugly 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 from the last couple seasons. If you haven’t been on the slopes, shame on you for not finding the excuse.

Usually when conditions changed 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 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 the National Weather Service has been posting. However (isn’t there always one however) I saw one report that had no natural snowfall during the overnight period, but 22 inches of snowmaking and the base didn’t move. I am here to say that 22 inches of man made snow is nearly two feet of base. As I could go on longer on this subject, the moral of the story is, there’s no way mountain operations can tell exactly how much snow was made across the acreage covered. As much as I respect the snowmakers in the region that is something that just can’t be determined. But at the end of the day, the current snow reports are right on target.

If the weather forecasters are correct, the current conditions should be with us a couple more weeks. That means that everything is setting up well for spring skiing and riding, but that’s a topic for another column.

Okay last week I predicted that the Colts would defeat the Bears 31 – 20 to win the Super Bowl. As everyone should know by now, the Colts are Super Bowl Champs by virtue of a 29 – 17 victory over the Bears. Not to far off on the score, but way off on Payton Manning’s three TD passes (which I predicted) to Marvin Harrison. Since Manning has ripped the monkey off his back, I wonder he would like some of our groundhog stew.

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 whether the weather, whatever the weather will be. Think about it! See you on the slopes.

You can write to Joe at [email protected]

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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.