ONE MAN’S OPINION – by Joe Stevens

Hello Everyone –

First the good news. If you are looking at your calendar you know that winter officially arrives today. Now the bad news, somebody forgot to tell Mother Nature and her side kick Ole’ Man Winter. Yea, there was that tease late last month and early this month, excellent snowmaking temperatures and a little natural snow tossed in for pretty pictures.

But since then resort operators have been looking at the weather forecasts hoping for an extended period of cold weather. Since the holiday crowds have started to arrive, it is critical to get as much terrain open as possible this time of year. This region has the best snowmakers in the country, but it’s tough when the temperatures barely drop below freezing. A recent conversation with Herb Stevens, The Skiing Weatherman, revealed that those much needed constant cold temperatures will be arriving right in time for Christmas or a little after. If you see Mother Nature catching some rays these days, please let her know that it’s time to drop those temps!

As all of the resorts are up and operating with as much terrain as possible, it’s again been fun to watch the early season snow reports. I have always been an advocate that the only way a resort can report powder or packed powder conditions is after a natural snowfall has taken place. Period, end of story and I will never be convinced by snowgun manufactures that what comes out of the barrels is as light and fluffy as what comes out of the skies. Just this week, I have noticed the term Packed Powder on a couple of reports and I might be mistaken but there hasn’t been any natural snow in this region since the beginning of the month and all of that has either melted or been groomed. Hats off though to those resorts that have been dropping their base depths due to the mild temperatures. Honest snow reporting will never be unappreciated in this column or website (correct Mike?).

We received a few comments on last week’s Wish List column and the most notable item left off the list was an overall wish for all of the resorts in the region, some natural snow or at least cold enough temperatures for snowmaking operations. Remember winter is now with us, so let’s have some fun.

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. Happy Holidays everyone!

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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.