Let’s Get Started – by Joe Stevens

Hello Everyone –

Well another season is underway and skiers and snowboarders are having fun on a number of slopes in the mid-Atlantic area. That opening sentence has a lot of meaning to everyone that enjoys the winter outdoor season in one form of another.

First off, let’s talk about the meaning of fun, which is really a relative term when you think about it for awhile. I know a number of skiers and snowboarders that just want to get on the slopes and let gravity take over. No matter how much snow is underneath of them or how many trails are open they are having fun. Then there are those out there that fun means 100 percent open and four to five foot base. If you fit in that category (you know you are out there because I have seen you posts about resorts opening up with only a couple of trails) crawl back into your cave and return to the real world in a month or so. This is the time of year for the diehards that have been jones-ing just to get on the snow. If you are in that category, you are having fun right now in North Carolina and West Virginia. Soon you will be having fun in Virginia, Maryland and Tennessee.

Secondly, I am going to refer to the above reference to the number of slopes open in the region. Unless you are in the mountains of California or Colorado and can arrange an overnight snowfall of two to three feet, don’t look for resorts in the region to open a lot of terrain all at once in this region. It just can’t be done. The region is blessed with the best snowmakers in the country but they are not miracle workers. All of the resorts have an opening plan and that’s not to provide terrain for the so-called experts in the area. So calm, relax, watch a couple more football games and plan to hit the slopes in a few weeks. Believe me when I say there are people out there that can have just as much fun on 400 vertical feet as they can on 1500 vertical feet. This is because they love to ski or snowboard and not worry about what they don’t have in terms of terrain available.

Finally, it’s hard to believe that the season in the southeast got underway the first week of November. I was meeting with the staff at The Weather Channel when I was contacted by the folks at Cataloochee about them going for it that first Saturday. All I could think was, why not. It’s not everyday that a resort in North Carolina can grab first opening bragging rights in the east, so mark 2006 on your calendar because it happened. The event really brought national attention to the region and I truly believe that more people now realize the region really does have some very good skiing and snowboarding. It just took the guts of Chris Bates and his staff to put Maggie Valley on the map. Way to go Cat Crew. All of the other resorts in the region should be sending you thank you notes, but we all know egos will stop that from happening.

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!