Six More Weeks of Winter or we’re Killing the Groundhog!

It’s February 1st which means we are in the midst of Ski Season 2004-2005. We have had a roller coaster first (60+) days and hopefully the last (59+/-) days will offer much more consistent cold and plentiful snows. I was talking with one of my ski resort buddies and he quipped, "If that damn groundhog comes out and doesn’t see his shadow I am going to kill him!" He was alluding to legend that says if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring. We’re hoping for the 6-8 more weeks of Winter around here!

I would say that forecasters all agree that we should see a much snowier February and March but I won’t go there. I did a little research last night and it seems that many weather gurus are agreeing that we are in a pattern now that looks like it will bring system after system our way. We have seen a couple of back to back systems which brought significant snow to the mountains and we COULD be in for more snow this week!

Meteorologist Brad Panovich is "Da Man" – We have received more emails from you guys about Brad’s dependable forecasts. There have been numerous messageboards comments as well and all reference the fact that he is providing much more dependable forecasts for the ski areas than we’ve ever had before. Brad shows up occasionally on the messageboards to discuss upcoming weather, which has excited the participants on the board.

Yesterday, when most of the local weather gurus were forecasting cloudy conditions with normal temperature trends for this week…Brad was forcasting continued chances for snow and as late as yesterday, an "outside 40% chance" of a significant snow event still possible for this week. This morning…other weather afficionados are seeming to agree. We will hold here for now and see what Brad says later this morning but we could see some SNOW Wednesday through Friday. THINK SNOW!

Everyone Needs a Little "Lift" now and then! – Yesterday must have been the day for lifts to cause problems and everyone was seeing "red". First Sugar Mountain RED LIFT had issues and provided some great images up at the top of the Big Red Slope. (We added ONE photo to the Photo Gallery – Check it out.) At one point we watched as they had two dozers up there, a good sized truck, a snowmobile, and two grooming machines on the slope. They were using the dozers to hold the cables up while they repaired something on the huge wheel at the top of the lift. Sugar’s Red Lift and Big Red slope is running today.

However Hawksnest RED LIFT also has issues and will not operate for a few days…dropping Hawksnest’s slope offerings to only the lower trails today. Eyewitnesses said that the lift had trouble sporadically over the last few days and that on Monday it stopped and rolled back some and ski patrol had to manually empty the chairs. This is the third time this season that the Red Lift at Hawksnest has broken down and a contact up at Hawksnest said that the manufacturer has someone coming today or Wednesday and they are working to do the necessary repairs and have it running by this weekend.

Reports that you can count on – We put our necks on the line a little bit yesterday by adding a new poll question asking you guys if you thought that we were unbiased or biased in our reporting. The figures are higher than I thought they’d be, but we’ll still take 92% of you saying that we are fair and unbiased in our reports. That was of 445 voters thus far. Some 35 of you seem to think we may be a bit biased so maybe we’ll have to look into that. Probably not.

In other polls 89% (of 10,300 votes) of you guys stated that you think that SkiNC.com and SkiSoutheast.com provides you with the best, most in-depth information on skiing in the Southeast. That was over such notable websites as DCSKI, OnTheSnow, SkiCentral and others. We certainly appreciate that and will work to gain your continued respect.

In another poll this season we asked what kind of lodging you guys preferred and we were surprised to see that while 20% of 2718 voters said that you looked for ski packages…only 15% of you said you looked for economical motels or lodging. That means that 85% of you look for cabins, slopeside lodging, and upscale hotels or motels. Those of you who are on the messageboards bemoaning the growth that resorts like Wolf Laurel and Snowshoe are undergoing — where they are focusing on upscale visitors — are obviously in the minority. Ouch! It seems that resorts know their market.

While on the subject of "reports that you can count on", we are still receiving a rare email or two asking us about the Southeastern Ski Areas Association still reporting Sapphire Valley open today (they are closed Mondays and Tuesdays). They are also reporting Canaan Valley as "Opening Soon"…and they have been open all season…and they have been reporting WISP as no reports available and WISP is in fine shape, thank you. For the record, we are www.SkiSoutheast.com, not the Southeastern Ski Association.

Feel free to write me at: mail@skisoutheast.com

Don’t forget to visit: http://www.skisoutheast.com

REMEMBER TO VIEW ARCHIVED ARTICLES IN CASE YOU MISSED A STORY POSTED EARLIER TODAY!