Hello diehard skiers and riders of the southeast.
If you’re reading this now, especially given how searing and saturated the weather has been lately, then that means something deep inside you loves the thrill of cruising down a snow-covered mountainside. More importantly, you come back here because that skiing or snowboarding beast from within wants you to keep it going.
So do we!
Let’s be blunt for a second, the southeast and Mid-Atlantic ski areas have been dealt terrible hands to play with. If all the skiable regions of North America were playing Texas Hold ‘Em right now we would be staring at a seven-deuce off suit, or perhaps nine of clubs and three of diamonds, or maybe a suited five-eight with a flop full of face cards. All poker references for terrible positioning.
For comparison, out west in states like Idaho, Utah, and Colorado they have pocket jacks, big-slick, or in the case of Heavenly Ski Resort in California, pocket-rockets with an ace on the flop. Even the New England and eastern Canadian areas have pocket nines with enough chip leverage to bully the small stacks around some.
The point is that our chip piles, much like the existing snow bases, are withering away quickly. For several weeks in a row our local ski areas have not been able to counter the losses by raking any coinage back to build the stockpile up. It has even caused a few of them to fold everything and cash out what little they have left.
Operating a ski area is always a gamble, and that is especially true once the calendar turns to March. Each location has to assess multiple factors at once, such as the weather forecasts, base depths, and available personnel, to determine whether to press on or call it quits. Is it worth their efforts to yield something in return?
Let’s not forget that Mother Nature must do her part by simply providing a setting that allows for man-made refresh to occur. She seems to have skipped out of that notion for all of February, but we have great news folks! She is about to deliver on that in a big way.
Brad Panovich can and probably will elaborate more, but the window of cold should arrive this weekend and will remain in place for a healthy stretch of time. Woo-Hoo!!!
Earlier I used a poker comparison to depict how depleted things have been lately around here, but this turn of events is a small part of how the chips can grow again. Natural snow will fall, and it will create some gorgeous winter scenery for you all to enjoy, but it will be just a small bump to the stack. Where it can really increase a lot is if the snow guns are blazing at all conducive hours available too.
That combo of efforts plus the multi-day window of opportunity should push this ski season towards the end of March. In fact, I will go for broke and say that Saturday April 1st, no joke, is a possibility too with the readily available technology.
However, the one factor that remains to be seen is up to you, me, and everyone else that is not ready to put the gear in summer storage yet. It is our duty to let the ski areas know that we “Think Snow” and that we will show up if they provide the goods.
This is as simple as taking five minutes out of your life to pick up the phone or go to the specific social media sites of the remaining open resorts, and comment that you are “All-in” for a season extension. That’s it, just grassroot this simple message to Appalachian, Beech, Sugar, Canaan, Massanutten, Snowshoe, Timberline, Bryce, and Wisp.
Even if nine-out-of-ten people read this and do not nothing, there will be at least one that does. That is great, because that means someone is loading the car and heading to the higher elevations for some extra turns before the watercrafts, golf clubs, and other outdoor activity equipment gets used. Bring a friend too and you are double the amount of people desiring this.
Simply put, your voices are a crucial card in the deck of fifty-two that can give us a full house instead of a season that is flushed away.