NOW IT BEGINS – by Joe Stevens

Hello Everyone –

As the saying goes, it’s time to stop squawking and start chalking. The snow is now on the trails and by this coming weekend I think it would be a strong assumption that the majority of the winter resorts in the region will be open for business. One actually turns the ripe old age of 35 this week and that’s Canaan Valley Resort in Tucker County, West Virginia. Considering that Wisp Resort turned 50 last year, CVR is still just getting started.

So what should a skier and snowboarder expect from those first turns of the season? The answer is a very simple one word answer, FUN. Don’t try to think of what is going to be the case in a couple of weeks but just have fun that the season is really underway. Believe me when I say that when the temperature turned in the mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Tennessee late last week, the region’s snowmakers were ready and willing to pull the trigger on covering the slopes. We are in one of those periods right now when every second that the temperature allows the guns are blasting out manmade snow. It really is incredible to think about the amount of snow that is going to be made through out the mid-Atlantic region this week. One of these days it would be fun to figure out just how much snow could be made in a hour if every resort was making snow at full force.

Can you tell I really enjoy talking about snowmaking? I have stated in the past and continue to have the opinion that the best snowmakers in the country are located right here in the southeast region. This is the time of the year when they shine. Just watch the snow reports when resorts start coming on line this week. If the weather stays like it is now you will see the trail counts climb every day. Folks, this doesn’t happen by chance either as crews are on the hill whenever temperatures permit. That means in the middle of the night while you and I are counting vertical feet in our dreams. Thankfully in this region resorts realize that snowmaking is what makes it all happen. When the suits are thinking about infrastructure improvements every year, snowmaking is always high on the list. Just remember when it comes down to it, without snowmaking in the region there would be no skiing, snowboarding or tubing to speak of. So when you make those first turns of the season, have fun knowing that more terrain will be opening soon.

A friendly reminder there are a lot of planned demo days coming up in the region and I suggest checking one of two out to see if those 1985 skis might need to be finally updated. In most cases the demos are free you just have to have a lift ticket to be on the slopes. With that in mind, many shops are now providing demos, so that may be an alternative to consider.

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!

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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.