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by Joe Stevens

Hello Everyone –

Before we get to this week’s business and thoughts, how about a shout out to all the operations staffs across the southeast. We all know how the recent temperatures have not cooperated in making snow or keeping the existing cover on the slopes strong.

Photo Courtesy of ResortCams.

But in the nick of time before and during the President’s weekend holiday, cold temperatures surrounded the resorts, allowing the snowmakers and groomers again to do their magic. Plus, Mother Nature tossed a little bit of natural snow, turning everything white at some of the more northern resorts in the region.

Again, this just shows how this industry can rebound, just like that, given the correct conditions.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this doesn’t mean that the resorts that were contemplating closing the first week of March, may now reconsider and provide skiers and snowboarders a few more days of fun.

Along those lines, please understand the time is nearing that the ropes are going to be pulled across the slopes and another season will be in the books. So, with that said, if you haven’t made any turns yet this season or you want to makes some more, plans to do so need to be made relatively soon.

Now onto this week’s thought process.

As the saying goes, bad things come in threes and I am here to say, that recently occurred to yours truly on and off the ski slopes, with everything that happened related to the fact I like to snowboard during the winter months.

It all started when I dropped my ski partner off after a day at Winterplace Ski Resort. We had made plenty of turns and helped chaperone the Nitro High School Ski Club for another trip to the West Virginia area.

When I dropped him off and he removed his skis from my rack, we bid each other a good evening and headed home in our respective directions. Well, have you ever heard a noise when you are driving, and you wonder what the sound was? I soon found out after parking my Outback in our driveway. When I got out and looked at my ski rack, my jaw dropped as my snowboard was gone. Hence, I guess the noise I heard.

My friend forgot to secure the racks and I didn’t check and the board as it turns out slipped off the top of the car when I started to travel on interstate 64. I found it on the berm the next morning after back tracking. It hit pretty hard and it is still in Ski Loft’s Intensive Care Unit. Hopefully, Dr. Tony is going to be able to save the patient; we will just have to hope for the best.

On the bright side, when the board slid off the rack, it didn’t go through someone’s windshield and create even more problems for yours truly. Hey, at least I know what the noise I heard was, right?

Now for number two. When I got out of the car to retrieve the snowboard, my phone fell out of my pocket, cracking what I thought at the time was the screen. I reached out to the local repair shop and was told they could fix it that day at the cost of $400.

Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. While in the shop sizing up the situation, the repair person asked me if I wanted a screen saver at the cost of $10. I said yes and told him I had one on my phone. Well, he peeled the old one off and low and behold it did its job and my main screen was just fine. I left the shop with a bill of $10, instead of north of $400. A good thing in my book.

At this point I mentioned to my wife Angie that it comes in threes and we both just shook our heads.

Even though my snowboard was in the ICU for repairs I knew I had my second board and could use that on the slopes at Massanutten for the 2024 SkiSoutheast Summit. Life was good.

Fast forwarding to Saturday and our first trip up the lift for the day’s first turns. After getting off the lift, I started to strap in, and my toe strap broke off in my hand. Hello there number three.

The resort’s Ski Patrol allowed me to download on the lift and head to the resort’s repair shop to see what could be done to get me back out on the mountain. While traveling on the lift, a snowboarder coming in the other direction yelled, “Couldn’t handle it, huh?” I held up the broken strap and he responded by saying, “Bummer, dude.” Way to go Captain Obvious!

I handed my board over to the shop technicians and they quickly went to work assisting me. Standing outside of the repair shop, I felt like I was in a NASCAR pit stall, eagerly waiting for the crew chief to say, “Go, Go, Go.”

While they were inspecting my bindings, the shop’s manager (I believe) asked me if I would rather take out one of their demo boards with their set up. Hey, why not, I told them I had a 12 ½ boot and was left foot forward.

I was provided a sweet 156 Burton Custom and out on the hill I went, meeting up with Tom Wagner, President of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association to finally make some turns on a decent looking Saturday. While I was getting everything taken care of, Tom had been exploring the mountain and knew exactly where we needed to go.

As it turned out, while my “It Come In Threes” did happen, as they say, it could’ve been a lot worse and I am thankful for that.

****A note here from Angie – Joe now is seriously considering getting a new 156 board. He really, really liked the board and set-up. We’ll see.*****

That’s it for this week. Just remember whether it be cold or whether it be warm, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be. Make sure to go and make some turns and let gravity be your friend.

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