GIVE IT A CHANCE by Joe Stevens

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Hello Everyone –

Last week I read a post on the West Virginia Ski Areas Association’s that basically read, “Why ski in West Virginia when it is always rains and it never rains in Colorado.” Need-less-to say, that caused a pain right in the lower portion of my torso. It also reiterated for me that there are some out there that just don’t care to understand the true situation or even try to find out what the correct story is or was.

When the post occurred, most resorts in the southeast were experiencing some “underdeveloped snow” or rain, in layman’s terms. What the poster didn’t say or maybe not realize that the precipitation was going to change over to a more developed form, or snow in a very short time. As they say, haters are going to hate and there isn’t much you can do about them, but I just wish they would keep their uneducated thoughts to themselves. But I also know that is never going to happen, so it is going to be up to folks that understand to get the correct word out there for everyone.

This gets me back to everyone, including me, using their favorite weather app on their phone to make life decisions. I have spoken to a number of professional weather forecasters as it pertains to the weather apps that people use and just how reliable is the forecast they are reading at any given time. Most agree that, for the most part, the real time correctness, meaning what was going on that very moment in time, is probably the closest the forecast is going to be. But how many times have you looked at the app for your locally, it indicates there should be rain falling and it’s just cloudy and not raining. That’s my point, even the real time forecasts can be a bit off.

Now let’s move that forward a bit, like ten days out, which most apps allow for looking into future forecasts. If these same apps can be wrong with real time forecasts, just how accurate do you think those future forecasts can or will be? There is no way you can tell me that you haven’t looked out into the future, when you have a get away planned and become disgruntled when that the icon on your day of arrival and the next day shows rain and not beautiful blue skies. Then as the departure day gets nearer, that icon changes to showing sun and all is well again with life.

I guess what I am trying to say here is, folks let’s step back and give on-site human intel a chance. We have become so tuned in to just pick up that computer in your hand to decide the weather and believe me what I say this time of year, I try to get the true weather word whenever is possible.

SkiSoutheast Meteorologist, Brad Panovich

So you say, just how do you do it without relying on that weather forecast you find on that object in your hand. Well to start with, I never fail to check out what Brad Panovich is forecasting right here on He puts the time and effort into seeing what will be happening at the various resorts in the southeast. What I like about Brad’s forecasting, he doesn’t really pull any punches when letting everyone know what he thinks is going to happen. Also, have you ever noticed just how far out he looks when making his forecasts? Not very far, for the most part it is what is going to be happening in the very near future. Sometimes he and I disagree in the amount of snow that is going to fall, but that comes from many years of hoping for more and getting less. I learned a long time ago to be a bit conservative when it comes to believing just how much snow is actually going to fall.

Believe me when I say, there are snow gooses out there that just drive me nuts when they predict totals like two to eight inches or more and there is about a five percent chance of that top total happening, but that is what folks hear and then they are disappointed if and when it doesn’t happen. Back to Brad real quick, I believe he gets it closer than most and my hat is off to him for making the effort of getting it right.

If you don’t want to take Brad’s word on your favorite resort’s weather forecast, just find the closest television station to the resort and check out the forecast on the station’s website. This is another form of human intel that I don’t think enough people use these days. Most stations actually have their meteorologists do a taped standup and provide that green screen forecast right on the web. I mean, if you are headed to Wintergreen is Virginia, why wouldn’t you see what the weather forecaster at the Charlottesville station is predicting for the region. Or if you are planning a trip to Winterplace in West Virginia, wouldn’t you think that a forecaster at a Beckley or Bluefield station have a better idea what is going on in Ghent (Winterplace’s location).

Time to circle back around to the title of this week’s column, Give It A Chance. Seriously, the next time you are wondering what the weather might be at the ski resort you are planning to ski, snowboard or snowtube at, put your phone down and see what a real person is thinking the situation is going to be when you are there. Remember, just like last week, it may not be the best weather situation on the day before you get there, but that probably is going to change if you just Give It A Chance.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

That’s it for this week, of course, there’s more to come as the season continues. 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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