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By Joe Stevens

Hello Everyone –

It’s just one of those things this season. Every time the conditions have been primo for skiers and snowboarders, yours truly has had other obligations and just couldn’t make a trip to the slopes.

But you know what, the turns I have made this season will always be special because I was out there and for the most part the rest of world had stopped, and my only thoughts as always were to enjoy the outdoors. Let’s not forget also trying not to catch an edge and bruise this old snowboarder’s frame.

Once again this season, just when it looked like the edges of the slopes were about to come together, weather conditions changed and well, you know when that happens the army of snowmakers in the region jump into action and cover up some of the nasties that started to be seen on the slopes.

We all know how important the holiday weekends are to all the resorts in the southeast. Let’s be clear, those three Presidents’ days are money makers and helps fund off-season improvements for the next season.

I also know the last thing that resort operators want to do is make snow on open slopes during a busy time. Unfortunately, that occurred at some resorts over the Presidents’ weekend.

To say various resorts’ guest services desk didn’t hear from visitors might be a bit of an understatement. For some this is the first time that they made it to slopes for a skiing or snowboarding adventure. To have the snow guns going probably wasn’t what they were expecting, but for the resorts to be able to provide a good product for the guests, it had to happen.

It’s one of those operational situations in the industry that is avoided whenever possible, but sometimes it is an inevitable necessity.

I have been out there on those occasions and well I totally understand the frustration on both sides of that fence.

The good news about that snowmaking occurrence, it will mean conditions will be a lot better off as the 2023-2024 season begins to wind now.

There is going to be plenty of snow out there for the various March events that are scheduled throughout the region. There will be cardboard races, pond skims and plenty of races. Make sure you send your raccoon eyes pictures to so we can see how much fun you are having during spring skiing season.

I did hear from a family that was on Winterplace slopes a week ago and know my connection to the industry, sent me a note asking me to make sure the operations team at Winterplace knew how much it was appreciated for their efforts getting the slopes in the condition they were in. You know, that’s not a bad idea, if you appreciated the efforts as much as that family, make sure the mountain ops team at your favorite resort know your feelings. They would appreciate hearing from you.

With that all said, I am reminding everyone that if for some reason you haven’t been able to get on the slopes yet this season, please make plans to do it now. Some resorts have already announced their closing dates and I am sure more will be coming soon.

I know you may be seeing the daffodils popping up in your yard, but make you check out the resort cams to see all the snow still on the slopes throughout the southeast region.

I did see where some resorts were still making snow and they should be commended for that effort because usually at this time of year, the snow you see is the snow you get. This is a testament to the new technology in snowmaking equipment as the low energy efficiency aspect of the process means it can be done at a lower expense. Hey, I am not saying that making snow is cheap, it isn’t, but if you can spread out the costs a little more, there is more reason to make snow this late in the season.

Recently, four new industry veterans in West Virginia were voted into the West Virginia Snow Sports Industry Hall of Fame and will be formally inducted in a June ceremony in Canaan Valley.

Going into the Hall of Fame this year is Dave Cline, a longtime ski patroller and an instructor at several resorts in the region. Mark Poore, a veteran ski school and race director and ski patroller. Steve Drumheller who since the early 80’s has been marketing and promoting winter sports in the mountain state. Finally, Debbie Cline who for as long as I can remember has been renting skis and snowboards to thousands of visitors to West Virginia.

This is the fourth Hall of Fame class, and all are well deserving, representing a cross section of the industry. Those receiving the Hall of Fame are nominated for the award and a nominating committee, consisting of members of the West Virginia Snow Sports Museum board go through the nominations and choose the deserving folks.

If you know of someone who you think deserves to be recognized by the industry, you can nominate that person. It is a very simple and open process. Just google West Virginia Snow Sports Museum. On the site you will find a nominating tab and you can just fill out the form and the person you think is deserving will be considered.

There have been lots of folks who have done a lot to make this sport in West Virginia as great as it is and need to be recognized. Please help the board (full disclosure, I am a board member) find the folks out there that have kept this industry going. While you are on the site, you will also be able to read about not only this year’s inductees, but the members of the first three classes.

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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