During the week of May 15-22nd the mountains of the southeast and Mid Atlantic experienced some amazing weather changes. At times during the beginning of the week we saw some DOWNRIGHT COLD temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s. Then on Saturday and Sunday we had temps in 80s at some high elevations and 88° over at Watauga Lake.
Of course the entire midwest and southeast has been bombed with tragic storm after storm with violent thunderstorms, tornados, hail and about everything else nature could throw in. The mountains have been largely spared of these terrible storms although I’ve personally witnessed some tornado aftermath over towards Butler in east Tennessee. We’ve been spared the bad stuff that has taken more than 400 lives so far this year from these terrible storms. Our hearts and prayers are with those families who have lost loved ones and a life’s worth of work.
The last few days have been gorgeous with a mix of foggy mornings, a little rain here and there and blue sky days and afternoons. Everything in the mountains is bursting with color from a myriad of wildflowers and dense green forests. This is certainly a GREAT time to come up and escape the heat and enjoy some great hiking, biking, whitewater rafting or all of the wonderful activities that make the mountains of the region such a great "heat escape" and getaway.
THE SSAA (Southeast Ski Areas Association) IS HOLDING SUMMER MEETINGS
CEOs, marketing gurus and management teams from all of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas met at Beech Mountain Ski Resort on Tuesday. Those meetings continue today (Wednesday). These meetings provide opportunities for the leadership teams of the various resorts of the region to gather and discuss new strategies to make our visits all that much better each year.
Certainly part of their discussions each time they meet is what the heck to do about the abysmal web presence that is meant to represent the ski areas to the masses. The organization has annually spent tens of thousands of dollars on a website that has drawn only about 8000 unique visitors during the period from November 1st through April 30th compared to DCSki.com which pulled 320,000 visitors during the same period. Those numbers are a far cry from the nearly TWO MILLION unique visitors that have visited SkiSoutheast and our network of ski content during the same period.
The SSAA website saw only 51 visitors from Google searches during this past season with only 15 keywords being listed via Google. That compares horrifically to DCSKI.com which is found on Google for 1,112 different search terms – and SkiSoutheast.com which is found on Google via more than 4,000 search terms.
Most associational websites simply don’t have the resources despite spending GOBS OF MONEY in the last few years in failed attempts to compete with the top regional ski websites. Even GoSkiNC.com (the official website for the North Carolina Ski Areas Association) which ranks as the best of these kinds of associational web presences falls far short with only 30 keyword rankings and perhaps 10,000 total visitors during the last six months. As a comparison DCSKI.com has seen that many visitors in a five day span during the last six months. SkiSoutheast.com pulled that many visitors in one day during the same period.
According to insiders this has been a sore subject during each of the last three offseason meetings amongst the owners and general managers. There’s been some loose conversation about inquiring to make SkiSoutheast.com the official online publication/website for the organization, however the idea of that happening was met with strong resistance from at least ONE ski area owner (duh!). One very cool thing has come from those kinds of discussions and that is that even some of our biggest fans (amongst the owners and GMs) would be against any scenario that would make us the official website. The reason that was shared with us by several attendees? They LOVE the fact that our website is independent from any ski area and able to speak freely and hold resort’s "feet" to the fire on occasion.
Definately cool. Definately cool.
We’ve always held the belief that there’s a way to work together more effectively such that ALL ski areas could or would get equal billing and representation. Their current system is based on the ski areas posting content themselves and its been proven over the last four seasons that many ski areas just won’t or don’t do it. Until the SSAA contracts with us or some firm that can devote at least 900 manhours each season to content writing, updates and news – they will continue to fall woefully short.
A 71" BASE IN MAY!?!?!
In case you guys and gals haven’t heard —
ASPEN TO REOPEN FOR MEMORIAL DAY, THEN WEEKENDS
Aspen Mountain, CO will re-open for Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30, for the first time since 1995 and will remain open on weekends as long as the snow holds, according to published reports. Although it closed for the season April 10, the mountain has a 71-inch base and another storm blanketed the central and northern mountains last week. Aspen Mountain will open 25 runs and 136 acres of mostly intermediate terrain served by the Ajax Express chairlift.
With a base of more than 94 inches, Arapahoe Basin, CO announced last week that it would be open seven days a week through June 5 and then will reopen for summer skiing for at least two three-day weekends, June 10-12 and June 17-19. It reported 26 inches of new snow recently.
Snowpack in the basins of the Colorado, Yampa and White rivers pushed passed the 200% of their 30-year averages last week, and temperatures have averaged 10 to 20 degrees colder than normal in the region this month, according to weather and water agencies.
(The Aspen story was written by THE SNOW INDUSTRY LETTER based in Vermont. We posted it with permission granted per Mary McKhann of www.SnowIndustryLetter.com (Be sure to pay them a visit as these guys keep us with the scoop of what happening around the country.)