JUST DEAL WITH IT (Easier Said Then Done) – by Joe Stevens

Hello Everyone –

I sit here writing this column, looking out my office in Charleston, West Virginia and admiring the clear blue skies but not the 57 degree temperature. This is perfect weather for spring skiing – not for the first of January. As everyone knows this is the time when resorts are finishing up covering trails, catching their breath from the holiday rush and then getting set for the upcoming Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Not this year my friends and I am reminded of that just by looking out the window. I am thinking about running a few miles instead of making a few turns. Now that just isn’t right. Ouch!

Now let us not completely jump off the southeast bandwagon just yet. Taking a webcam tour and talking with some resort sorts, there is snow out there and the coverage is pretty darn good all things considered. Yea there are thin areas and bare spots but there is snow out on the slopes to have fun on. Don’t worry about those bare spots because you don’t ski or ride on dirt anyway, right? There has been some snowmaking this week and that has helped a number of resorts, but if anyone knows where Ole Man Winter might be hiding, I know a number of Mountain Managers that would be glad to pay for a trip back to this region. Come to think of it, it looks like he has been setting up camp west of the Mississippi and forgot how to head east again.

I am amazed of some of the messages on various web forums these days. Almost everyone wants to know when this trail or that trail is going to open up and why snowmaking hasn’t started on certain trails? You are kidding yourself if you think the minority outweighs the majority when it comes to slope coverage at winter resorts in this region. The majority of the skiers and riders in this region are beginners to mid-intermediates. That means trails like Cupp Run at Snowshoe Mountain, Main Street at Wisp Resort or Whoopdedoo at Sugar Mountain are not going to be covered with snowmaking until the beginner and intermediate terrain is pretty much covered. Resorts can not afford to cover slopes that can not be utilized by everyone. This is one of those times what patience is going to pay off because most of the expert terrain in this region needs a tremendous amount of snow to open and that snow right now needs to be placed on existing open terrain. I am not making this up because it is fact even if you may not understand or agree.

Now let’s move on and think ahead a little bit. You say you haven’t been able to ski or ride yet this season and you usually make a trip a month to somewhere in the region. Well just plan to make that additional trip in the spring when the conditions are traditionally at their best and the prices are lower. Just take that deep breath and see if Ole Man Winter maybe hiding in your neighborhood and get him back to work.

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