Hello Everyone –

Well I have been waiting for it for a couple of weeks and on Saturday I saw my first “End of the Season” sale sign at a ski shop. The last time I checked the calendar there is at least a month left and for some resorts seven weeks left in the 2008-2009 season. It never ceases to amaze me that retailers always want to confuse the consumers they serve. Why, I say why, would you want to make a select few think the equipment they may be purchasing is only going to be able to be used for a shorter period of time than what really is the case? I ask why not a “Get ready for the best spring skiing and riding in years” sale. Nah that would be much too easy now wouldn’t it?

I have always been one to ask just how much base does any one resort really have to report? At the end of the day, just how much snow does one skier or snowboarder really need to have fun, six, 12 or 18 inches? To report over a hundred inch base has always seemed to me just a number to impress those who really don’t understand. Now I am not saying the snow isn’t there and in most cases in this region the resorts’ mountain managers do a good job in estimating the amount of snow on all of the slopes. But again I ask, just how much is enough?

That leads me into my thoughts on Mike’s notes on Saturday about Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel questioning the validity of the base depths at a number of North Carolina resorts. For disclosure here, Jim is a friend of mine and we have skied across this country together and I respect his meteorological abilities to the utmost degree. I did not personally see his base depth comparison report Friday night, but as Mike reports he was comparing NC base depths to Heavenly of Lake Tahoe fame. That is comparing apples and oranges. The majority of Heavenly’s terrain is covered by natural snow while all of the Tar Heel state’s skiing and riding terrain is covered with manmade snow. Yes it is a bit different, but at the end of any ski day it is still snow and for the folks in this region it is just fine, thank you. Heavenly’s base is considered over thousands of acres while the base depths in this region are calculated over in many cases less than one hundred acres. The comparison just isn’t equal and I will be glad to discuss that with Mr. Cantore at my earliest opportunity.

That’s it for this week, more to come as winter is here. Just remember, whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be. Think about it! See you on the slopes.

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Joe Stevens, a member of the southeast ski industry since 1990 is a regular columnist for and serves as the Communications Director for the West Virginia Ski Areas Association.