WELCOME TO SPRING SKIING – YEA, RIGHT! – by Joe Stevens

Hello Everyone –

Looking back at my first March column the last four years, there was a common theme, “Welcome To Spring Skiing”. Traditionally the first day of March begins the final month of the winter season, classified by most in the industry as Spring Skiing. It is usually when temperatures become milder, the days are longer and the bases started to drop. Unless you have been under a rock lately, everyone knows that is not the case this season.

For the resorts in West Virginia and Maryland, February 2010 may very well go down as one of the snowiest, if not the snowiest February in the 35-year history of skiing in both states.

In the Canaan Valley area of West Virginia over 116 inches of snow fell in February alone, so if March is coming in like a lion (and looks like it is) then February is going out like the Giant Gorilla. Conditions at all resorts don’t usually continue to improve this time of year and with more snow in the near-term forecast, current conditions are going to improve. Shame on any skier, snowboarder or snowtuber who hasn’t made it to their favorite resort yet this season. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize just how good the conditions are from north to south.

I can’t remember when there was this much snow on the slopes this time of the season. It’s traditionally a time when yours truly and Mike Doble, the site’s Managing Editor (Grand Pooh-Pa) are on the phone early in the morning talking about the slope bases and why the totals weren’t dropping. In 2010 we are wondering why they haven’t been climbing. There is just a whole bunch of snow out there and it is not going any where any time soon. Again if you haven’t noticed the temperatures for the most part have been below freezing, keeping the snow from going anywhere. With that thought in mind, when things start going south, can you imagine how good the spring whitewater rafting conditions are going to be on the rivers in West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Tennessee. Whitewater rafting company owners need to make sure ski resort managers are on their Christmas card list for next year.

I did a quick look the other day, comparing season snow totals in West Virginia and Colorado and low and behold I couldn’t find any resort in Colorado that has received 200 inches of natural snow and West Virginia resorts are averaging 214 inches of Mother Nature’s white gold. Now who do you think is in better shape with, huh, spring skiing right around the corner. Let me know when you figure it out.

Finally this week, I have busted on ski shops in years past for doing those so-called “End of the Season” sales in January, making everyone think the snow is gone just a few hours away for the shop. Well a shop in Charleston, West Virginia (hey it’s where I live) Sport Mart is telling everyone there’s no better time to have fun in the snow than right now and they have the equipment to make it happen. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

That’s it for this week, 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, a member of the southeast ski industry since 1990 is a regular columnist for skisoutheast.com and serves as the Communications Director for the West Virginia Ski Areas
Association.

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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.