I am on the road again this weekend for a short little excursion to Hickory, North Carolina to visit with my family. As I was driving around the scenery felt strange. I didn’t know why but something wasn’t right. (No it wasn’t a tire out of round or anything mechanical.) After a few minutes it occurred to me what it was. There was no snow on the ground.
It finally hit me that for the first time since December 22, 2009 I was in an environment that didn’t include snow. The strange feelings that I was having was seeing green grass everywhere.
I guess that’s what 29 straight days of snow on the ground does for you! We’ve definitely had a snowy stretch and the fact that things felt a little out of whack not being around it was odd and cool all at the same time. I guess the feeling would be amplified if I was based even further north where Snowshoe, Timberline, Canaan, Winterplace and Wisp have all had a stretch of 50 straight days of snow!
DO WE OWE ALL OF IT TO TOM CURLEY AND HIS DAUGHTER? (TO SNOWSHOE’S MARKETING TEAM?
In past years when we’d start the season off with a mild stretch of weather we’ve written about the fact that we’d forgotten to put our snowman measuring device out in the yard or some other equally silly superstitious ritual to help evoke snowy and colder weather.
This season began rather impotently and then Snowshoe’s Marketing Department came up with the idea to invite people to do a snow dance video. They didn’t have much response, but we thought it was a great idea. Yes, it’s been done before (we’ve even done it) by several ski areas. Some have even gone to the extremes of bringing in professionals in the form of eastern indian chiefs and medicine men and had them do their thing. (All in fun of course as most of us more educated people know that when and if God wants to make it snow it will.)
However, we thought the Snow Dance Video idea was a good one so we figured we’d put it out there to our network of viewers and we really had a great response. Numerous videos were submitted and we chose a few to share with you guys. The winning video was from Tom Curley and his daughter from Pace, Florida.
That was back in late November. They did their thing "Dancin’ for the Snow" and since that time we’ve had nothing but cold and snowy weather. If you missed it, you can see the video by clicking here: Snow Dance winners
Tom emailed us yesterday, "Hi Mike! Considering the EPIC snowy winter you guys are having, do you think that the NC Tourism Board would like to retain my daughter and I to "Dance ForThe Snow" again next year? Just kidding, but ya gotta admit the weather went arctic after the video contest and hasn’t let up! Thanks again for the opportunity to participate and the great prize! Tom."
I’m betting that we could muster up some interest from maybe 16 of the 17 ski area operators to bring Tom and his daughter up here prior to EVERY season to do their thing! Tom we MIGHT just have to take you up on that! Encore anyone?
SINCE WE’RE DOING LETTERS FROM YOU GUYS TODAY…
Martin Banish of Statesville, North Carolina and Snowshoe Mountain property owner (and friend to this website) wrote me about the fact that I didn’t get over on Lower Shays last week, "Mike, You know I’ve got to give you a hard time – but to be up there and the head Mountain Ops guy tells you that Lower Shays was groomed and you didn’t follow him? How many times have you been to the "shoe" and seen Lower Shays groomed? You missed skiing a great run (both Sat and Sun). Yep I was up there and couldn’t get enough of the groomed steeps of Lower Shays on Sunday. I did see Ed Galforth at the bottom getting ready to get on the lift and thanked him for having his guys groom what typically only gets groomed a handful of days per year. He had a big smile on his face after coming down Lower Shays. Yes, I’ll give it to you, Cupp was very sweet too, but Lower Shays was in rare form."
I won’t let it happen again if provided another opportunity Martin. Promise.
"Mike I ditto your feelings on Cupp!! We took the senior high Church group up last year on MLK Weekend. Conditions were out of this world. The temperature on that Friday was -16 with a 23 MPH wind. The chill factor was -40+- but we skied all day! Cupp was beautiful and no one on it. Unfortunately, with two knee surgeries I had to head back over to the East side to give my knees a break. I loved reading your report and thinking back to last year and the great time we all had. To cut back on the cost, we will be at Sugar this Friday and Saturday. Hope we can get some decent runs in on Friday and early Saturday with the crowds. Keep up the phenomenal reporting you do and the time you spend doing it. If you happen to be up on Red this Friday or Saturday, look for the guy that drags his tail a lot. Ha! Thanks for keeping all of us "SNOW LOVERS" in the know, Don Ramsey of Anderson, SC"
Nope…thank you Don for reading by blabbing on and on about the joy of the mountains.
HERE’S A THANKS TO THE SKI PATROLLERS OF OUR AREA’S SKI MOUNTAINS
(I apologize that I could not locate the writer of it on short notice this morning. I’ll try to locate it, but here’s the thanks nonetheless. It could be written by hundreds of people per season.)
"Mike, I know a couple times a year you give credit to the Ski Patrol and EMT folks. I had a situation on Saturday where my son’s friend was skiing Cupp and had a bad fall. He was wearing a helmet, but was knocked unconscious from the fall. I had already gotten to the bottom and of course was waiting. By the time I heard that someone was hurt, got on the lift, and skied back down, the ski patrol was hard at work preparing him to get down the mountain. The ski patrol and EMT did a wonderful job of handling the situation, getting a hold of my wife (on the other side of the mountain), and getting us to the Marlinton ER. He ended up with a concussion and nothing further (thankfully). You and I, as pretty decent skiers, don’t always see what happens when injuries occur. But I can tell you, that for those ski patrol folks, it is non-stop on busy days. I tend to grumble about them being able to make first tracks each morning. However, this weekend reminded me that those guys my get a few runs in, but the bulk of their day is really spent providing safety and emergency assistance. They do a great job at Snowshoe Mountain!"
Trust me – they do a GREAT job at ALL of our ski areas. (If whoever wrote this nice thanks will drop me an email, I’ll be sure to give you a mention.)
WE’RE ON DAY 29 and 50!
We’re tracking how many days in a row that we’ve experienced measureable snow pack in the area. We’re not talking snow base at the ski areas. They’re loaded with snow! In this case we’re talking snow pack in the communities around the ski resorts.
In the Mountains of Western North Carolina (we’re tracking the High Country specifically) we’ve now had natural snow on the ground for 28 straight days. It has now snowed 18 of those 29 days. (There’s lots of snow around Banner Elk, Blowing Rock and Beech Mountain as well as many of the surrounding communities.) If you’re headed to Wolf Ridge or Cataloochee you’ll find the same is true!)
David Lesher’s Canaan Valley / Tucker County, WV weather center has reported 50 straight days with snow on the ground and snowfall on 34 of those 50 days. That record is dittoed at Snowshoe, Wisp and Winterplace Resorts!
That’s it for today. Enjoy the milder temps today and check back within the next 24 hours to see the latest weather news.
SSAA: 0 for 49/saphmadesnowNOT/timbnotnightARE/self 47/49