My Calendar Says There’s AT LEAST Six More Weeks of Winter!

First, here is the official news release from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — To the relief of the winter-weary, the world’s most famous groundhog is predicting an early spring.

Punxsutawney Phil emerged around dawn on Groundhog Day on Wednesday to make his 125th annual weather forecast in front of thousands who braved muddy, icy conditions to hear his handlers reveal that Pennsylvania’s prophetic rodent had not seen his shadow. That proclamation:

Here Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Groundhog Day, February 2, 2011
Punxsutawney Phil was raised from his burrow
By the call of President Bill Deeley.
He greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths.

After casting an inquisitive eye towards thousands of his faithful followers,
He proclaimed that the Steelers are going to the Super Bowl!

Back to the business at hand…
He surveyed his surroundings carefully and found that there was no shadow around,
So, an early spring it will be.

I have three things to say:

First, I want my $2.25 back. (That’s the bribe I offered and that he took to promise a forecast for six more weeks of winter.)

Second, MY CALENDAR still shows that there are indeed at least six more weeks of winter, so there.

Third, I have a three-year-old, Husky/Shepherd mix who deposits groundhogs on the front deck of my home at least three to four times a year. He’s on his way to Pennsylvania right now!

PHIL PLAYS TO 100,000,000 PEOPLE

I am certain the fact that 100,000,000 people are being affected by the massive storm that is bombing the midwest and northeast had a little something to do with Phil feeling pressured to proclaim some good news to those weary from a season long winter barrage of cold and snow. Anyone with a brain KNEW that the storm was going to cause a scenario where there would be NO CHANCE of him seeing his shadow this morning. Heavy snow and rain has pelted that part of the United States over the last day or so. We knew there would be no sun to cast a shadow. However I predicted that Phil’s handlers would find a ray of sun SOMEWHERE and predict six more weeks of winter because it has been way too consistently cold and snowy for them NOT to predict a full winter.

I guess the pressure got to him…

WAIT…THIS JUST IN…

A source close to the furry rodent claims that Phil DID come out of his fake burrow and related that he saw his shadow and that we’d have six more weeks of winter. This same source states that it was HIS HANDLERS who gave in to the immense pressures from the supposed 30,000 +/- attendees and reversed Phil’s decision.

My dog is STILL on his way to PA.

WANT TO HEAR/READ SOMETHING CREEPY?

The most recent edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac was released during the second week of September. The forecast that they printed FIVE MONTHS AGO for today reads as follows:

"February 2011: 1st-3rd. Snow for New England; mixed snow and heavy rain through the Mid-Atlantic States; cold winds and rain through the Virginia capes. Widespread flooding possible."

Is that too accurate or what?

So that prompted me to see if the fat, furry, critter from PA might have consulted The Old Farmer’s Almanac for his prediction.

FEBRUARY 2011
4th-7th. Fair, much colder.
8th-11th. Snow spreads into New England. Wintry mix across Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic States.
12th-15th. Snow or a wintry mix. Milder, then blustery.
16th-19th. Stormy, then fair and colder.
20th-23rd. More snow or mixed precipitation.
24th-28th. Fair and windy, then becoming stormy with snow.

MARCH 2011
1st-3rd. Stormy, especially for New England. Very unsettled Mid-Atlantic States.
4th-7th. Clearing, unseasonably mild. Temperatures could approach 70° F in many areas.
8th-11th. Fine and dry.
12th-15th. Continued fair.
16th-19th. Fair weather.
20th-23rd. Fair weather continues.
24th-27th. Unsettled, with rain or wet snow.
28th-31st. Squally for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, followed by gradual clearing.

HMMMMM….

I think I’m seeing where the Punxsutawney peeps may be getting their data/predictions from! If you believe a rodent and put any stock in The Old Farmer’s Almanac, then maybe we’re in for an early Spring. February looks like a pretty good month for skiers and snowboarders, but March may be pretty fair and mild – at least according to two sources. According to the Almanac we may be in for a prety mild SkiSoutheast.com Summit at Snowshoe with highs in the 60s. Wouldn’t THAT be a hoot?

WE’LL STICK WITH A WAIT AND SEE APPROACH…

It has been too consistently cold and snowy for the trend to simply STOP in its tracks. We have some snowy weather in the NWS forecast for this weekend. Snowshoe and the WV and Maryland ski areas look to be getting 1-3" of snow tonight and more snow is in the forecast for this weekend throughout the entire region.

Snowmaking should kick up later today. There’s been very little NEED for snowmaking this winter. Resorts have only made snow sporadically and only at night for much of the season. We received some reports of 3/4ths of an inch of rain last night in many areas of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic. Don’t fret. There’s so much base snow on the slopes that there’s no way that this kind of short burst of heavy rain did much of anything to mess with the snow coverage. Look for some early grooming and some snowmaking to crank up later in the day as temperatures dip below freezing.

Snow maintenance and snowmaking will commence and be at a premium over the next couple of days as resorts move to "comb the snow" into a perfect blend of corduroy for skiers and snowboarders.

This weekend promises to be another GREAT one with plenty of snow, great conditions, lots of slopes and trails open (almost all if not all of them) and some natural snow to add to the ambience.

JANUARY NUMBERS ARE IN…

I read on another website about how they set some records in January by delivering 7,116,852 page views. I can only speculate how many unique visitors that translates into. Actually we DIDN’T set any record for this past January 2011. Surprisingly our traffic was down somewhat from January 2010’s record, however we delivered 10,344,099 page views and more than a MILLION unique visitor sessions on the month!

Those numbers are second only to an amazing VisitNC.com website which is funded by bazillions of dollars of state accommodations tax monies. According to the most recent data available, VisitNC.com saw about 972,680 unique visitors and perhaps 13 million pageviews last month.

We have some pretty well visited websites around these parts!

RANKING THE SKI WEBSITES…

Here’s something we’ve never revealed before. However we think it’s pretty telling in terms of whose going where at least on the internet. Here’s where the ski area’s websites rank in terms of visits of the more than 4.8 MILLION visitors who hit them all in the last month or so. (The percentage shown is the percentage share of the overall audience (4.8 Million Visitors) that the website gathered during the last month we have the data for.)

1. SkiSoutheast.com – 15.0%
2. SnowshoeMtn.com – 11.8%
3. SkiSugarMtn.com – 9.5%
4. MassResort.com – 9.1%
5. WintergreenResort.com – 8.8%
6. Obergatlinburg.com – 8.5%
7. SkiBeech.com – 6.3%
8. WispResort.com – 5.6%
9. Cataloochee.com – 5.2%
10. Winterplace.com – 5.1%
11. AppSkiMtn.com – 4.3%
12. SkiWolfRidgeNC.com – 3.7%
13. CanaanResort.com – 2.6%
14. BryceResort.com – 1.5%
15. DCSki.com – 1.4%
15. TimberlineResort.com – 1.4%
17. SkiSapphire.com – 0.01%

It is no surprise that Snowshoe is the most visited individual ski resort website in the region and in the state of West Virginia. Ditto for Sugar being the most visited resort site in North Carolina. Massanutten and Wintergreen Resorts in Virginia share a pretty equal share of visitation in the state of lovers. It may come as a surprise to some at how visited OberGatlinburg.com is since they are one of the smaller resorts in the region and with some of the most challenging weather patterns to deal with. However it should be noted that Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the HUGE draw there and their numbers are HUGE in the summer. There’s no question the LIVE CAM we installed up there boosted their winter numbers. It is no surprise that Sapphire pulls up the rear in terms of visitation as they basically have one slope and a tubing hill.

The resort websites near or at the bottom of the list tends to show how little emphasis is put on their internet promotion. The resorts that really WORK the internet are amazingly successful on the internet. Nuff said…

In closing the wind chill in DALLAS, YEEHAW TEXAS was MINUS 1° this morning. Here at our offices – 40°. This has been one crazy winter. Cold air returns later today.

THINK SNOW AND COLD!!!

Drop me an email to let me know you’re out there. [email protected] . Send pics, videos, or comments.

SHARE
Previous articleIt’s GROUNDHOG DAY…SNOWMAKING TEMPS RETURN TONIGHT!!
Next articleRANKING THE SKI WEBSITES…
Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. Since September 1996 he has posted more than 13,000 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.