END OF THE YEAR THOUGHTS – from the mind of Joe Stevens

Snow News is Good News

Hello Everyone –

Well after seemingly spending Thanksgiving in the Bahamas, our very good friend Mother Nature got back to work in a big way putting now an awesome blanket of snow from North Carolina to Maryland. There are some places in the mountains of West Virginia where over six feet of natural snow is on the ground. Thanks to the early winter (remember winter didn’t start until December 21) conditions, all of the resorts were in excellent conditions for the all important holiday season.

Now let’s talk about that snow for a moment – more importantly just how the amount of snow is being forecasted these days. I have now been on this earth for 54-years and (as my dad use to say) I remember the day when oncoming snowfall forecasts were within one to two inches, such as 1 -2 or 5 – 6. Now it seems our favorite weather forecasters use the methods of political pollsters when looking into their crystal balls. I mean what’s up with these 3 – 7 inches or 4 – 9 inches with a 1 – 3 inch error factor. Meaning they basically can never be wrong. I always say the best forecaster is the one who tells someone what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.

If any of you have not made your first of the year turns (that includes yours truly), shame on you as you (and me) are missing out on probably the best conditions of the season. Folks don’t look now but that January thaw is right around the corner and the conditions you see this week aren’t going to be with us next week. That is not to say the conditions won’t be good, just not as good as they are right now. Remember the La Nina forecast? Well, the milder January is just around the corner, but as far as I can tell all of the region’s resorts were looking ahead, took advantage of very good snowmaking conditions and will be able to handle the milder temperatures.

This is where the challenge comes in for all of the resort’s marketers and communication folks. You see, when someone in Charlotte, Roanoke or Baltimore wakes up in the morning and it’s 50 or 60 degrees outside, they need to be reminded (over and over again) that it’s a different world on the mountains. In many cases the temperature difference between the flat lands and the mountain tops is 10 – 30 degrees. Oops there I go being one of those political pollsters. Anyway, just don’t worry about it when it comes time to go ski, snowboard or tube, just know that the best snowmakers and groomers work in the southeast and will take care of your fun, just get there.
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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