Joe Stevens says, Thank You Santa – for all of us!

Snow News is Good News

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Hello Everyone –

So I went to sleep Friday night saying, “All I want for Christmas is two-feet of snow and I want it before Christmas Day” and low and behold Santa delivered my gift as requested.

If for some reason you have been under a rock the last couple of days, you would’ve read, heard or seen that the mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland received in some places over two-feet of snow. Folks let me tell you, that sound you hear is a collective sigh of relief from resort administrations who’ve all been working hard to provide the best conditions possible for the critical upcoming holiday season.

The calendar says that Monday, December 21 is the official first day of winter, however, every resort operator wishes that winter would come around October 30. But I digress – as winter is now here and so are the conditions. It’s amazing what two-feet of natural snow will do for the conditions of slopes and trails. As folks arrive to all of the region’s resorts for the holidays they will find everyone in very, very good shape. That should help in convincing them to come back again in March or later in February.

Last week we heard from some of the weather experts in the region on their thoughts for the upcoming season. Coming in after the deadline, but because of who it is I decided to include his forecast this week; here is what Paul Goodloe of The Weather Channel thinks for the 2009/10 season: “El Niño is the word for the 09/10 winter.” While El Niño is the warming of the waters in the equatorial Pacific, it affects weather all over the globe. Here in the U.S., El Niño is expected to keep the West, Southwest, South, and Southeast wetter than average. The Northwest and the Ohio-Tennessee Valley areas are generally drier than average. The Mid-Atlantic region is caught in the middle. As for temperatures, the South, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic will stay colder than average. The good news for ski areas in the Mid-Atlantic region is that storms that move through the South and Southeast will be positioned to wrap colder air into the storms to provide more snow across the region. And while a mild November slowed the start to the season, December is already looking promising. We might even get a powdery gift for Christmas!

Paul knew what he was talking about.

Now back to this past weekend’s natural snow. It is going to be with us for some time to come because it had a lot of water in it so it will make a very strong base. Now it’s time to make some turns.

That’s it for this week, more to come as the season continues, just remember whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll whether the weather, whatever the weather will be. Think about it! See you on the slopes. Happy Holidays everyone.

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Joe Stevens, a member of the southeast ski industry since 1990 is a regular columnist for and serves as the Communications Director for the West Virginia Ski Areas

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