ONE MORE SPIN AROUND THE BLOCK, PLEASE – by Joe Stevens

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Hello Everyone –

I really thought when I was making some turns on the Saturday of the Skisoutheast.com Summit at Snowshoe Mountain earlier this month, that those turns were going to be my final of the 2016-17 season.  Then low and behold, winter returned (or better yet, finally showed up) in the southeast region.

During the next ten days or so, from March 13 forward, there is probably going to be more natural snowfall throughout the southeast region than at any time this season. As you have heard me rail about it throughout this season, if it wasn’t for snowmaking, the 2016-2017 season would’ve lasted maybe two weeks.  Now, as has been the situation most of the time, the resorts that are still open, will be closing this year not from the lack of snow, but for the lack of people.

You see, for the most part, in the areas towards which the resorts market, people in many of those areas have already started cutting their grass. It’s just darn impossible to convince those grass cutters that there is still tons upon tons of snow at their favorite ski resort.  Upcoming storms are going to dump up to over a foot of snow in many areas of the southeast region.  So if you had already put those skis or snowboards away, get them back out, put away those flip flops and get to one of the resorts still providing fun on the slopes this winter.

I have already written about the roller coaster type of season this has already been and now with the new natural snow on the slopes, that’s just icing on the cake so to speak.  If it had only come earlier this season? But I know you know the saying, “If frogs had wings, they wouldn’t bump their butts on rocks.”  Heck that’s the way it goes sometimes and again thank goodness for having the best snowmakers in the country right here in the southeast region.

I realize that a handful of resorts have already or will be pulling the plug on the season, but hats off to the management teams at those resorts for providing the product they have this season.  Which brings me to another point, I have a real hard time standing by and hearing any skiers or snowboarders complain that should’ve gone out west this year rather than skiing in these conditions.  By the way, this was overheard on the day that the conditions were midseason form and I heard the comments with my own two ears.  It even ticked off my 13-year old son and his friend, who had nothing but smiles on their faces, every second they were on the slopes.  They both asked me, “what was the person talking about.”  I just told them it was a life learning lesson that you can’t make everyone happy or they were just plain stupid.

Now let’s talk about the rest of the season.  Please let me make sure you understand that if you can get to your favorite resort this week and they are still open, get there and make sure to get as many turns in as possible.  If you haven’t looked at the calendar lately, it’s the middle of March and while we are finally get some large snowfall accumulation, your time is running out.  Some other good news, as far as I can tell, there are wall to wall discounts on lift tickets right now, so cash (or plastic) shouldn’t be a drawback for you.

Going to jump back for a paragraph or two right now, because I would be amiss by not saying how much fun my family and I had at this year’s Skisoutheast.com Summit at Snowshoe.  It was really cool when a few of the attendees came up to me and said they never miss my column. But I have to admit, for the most part they were making sure my son Christian was on the trip as they have enjoyed reading about him learning to ski and his progress.  On that topic, as I can’t keep up with him when we are running, I no longer can stay with him on the slopes.  Even Mr. Mike liked what he saw, when he peaked at Christian on the snow.

Speaking of Mike Doble, he and his staff know how to put on an event.  If anyone at this year’s summit, didn’t have fun, it was their own darn fault. For those that got out and did first tracks (before the ropes dropped) Sunday morning, they got a supreme treat.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it, but I saw the pictures from those first turns of the day and they looked awesome. Telling you straight up, if you get a chance to attend next year’s summit, do it, and afterwards I will be on your Christmas card list for telling you to do so. Mike tells you every day on his First Trax column that the website is all about you and believe me as I sit here in Scott Depot, West Virginia in 29 degree temperatures, he means every word he types.  He appreciates his readers and if I am the first to tell you this, then I feel fortunate.

So, it’s going to snow this week and by the looks of things, it is going to snow a lot throughout the southeast region.  On top of that, I have been told that a couple of resorts are actually going to keep making snow for a couple more evenings.  So what do you say, do you still have it in you to make a few more turns this season?  I hope so, because, when the conditions are like this, it’s never too late to make one more spin around the block.

That’s it for this week and here’s hoping that you get a couple more turns in this season. 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
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.