Notes and Quotes from Around the Southeast this December 13th, 2006.

First Trax

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Today is “catch up” day here at SkiNC / Some have emailed us about why we haven’t updated the photos of the day on the front of each of our websites. Some have written as to why we haven’t posted any or all of their photos that have been submitted. Truth is, we’ve been very busy trying to out some finishing touches on some of our features, and we’ve been busy moving around (reorganizing) our office space and that has really put is behind on our posting.

We promise to begin posting within minutes of posting this morning update…so be sure to check out the photos of the day on both and throughout the day.

Those photo submissions really help to dispel the idea that snow is disappearing from the slopes during this slightly milder than normal period. While we are anxiously awaiting for cold and snowy weather to allow for MORE slope openings…we STILL have very nice terrain open to ski on. (See yesterday’s story so that we don’t have to repeat ourselves.)

Also check out today’s slope conditions for detailed openings as we’re not going to provide a written summarization today. Remember, we’re trying to catch up.

So Let’s Address a Couple of Needed Notes for today:

Joe Stevens’ “Joe Knows Snow” column has been posted for this week. Joe might be ruffling a few feathers this week as he posts his own version of a Christmas wish list. You’ll want to check that out. We think Joe might be like some of the people on the messageboard this week – slightly frustrated that we’re not seeing a bit more cold and snow just yet. You can make your comments/responses to Joe at [email protected] and we’ll pass them on.

Gold Cards STILL AVAILABLE for Sale?????

Gil Adams up at Ski Beech has posted a promotional message on the front of Ski Beech’s website today about the fact that the North Carolina Ski Areas Association (NCSAA) still has 15 gold cards for sale. Beech is the only resort to be mentioning that, or attempting to sell them with an extra promotional message. (Credit them for that.) However, it’s odd that there are still cards available. For those unaware, the gold card sells for $750.00. There are no "blackout" dates and the purchaser may ski or ride at any North Carolina resort during any session regardless of holiday or weekend rates. North Carolina Ski areas include Sugar Mountain Resort, Cataloochee Ski Area, Hawksnest Ski Resort, Sapphire Valley Ski Area, Ski Beech, Appalachian Ski Mtn., and Wolf Ridge.

Some might argue that the reason there are cards still left for sale is because the NCSAA increased the number of cards available this season from 100 to 125. However, a few years ago those Gold Cards sold out about the same time that Tom Turkey was getting the hatchet treatment. When you add to the mix, the fact that previous gold card holders have the opportunity each SUMMER to purchase the card for the upcoming season BEFORE they go on sale to the general public on August 1st – you begin to question WHY have they not sold out by now!??! In four months they haven’t received interest from 125 people to buy the card? Yikes! That’s scary.

Several emailed us about this over the last 24 hours and we think that maybe some miss the point of the card and the fact that they are really only geared to a select few people who are on the snow all the time.

John Wilkins provided us one explanation, “Members of my family used to purchase gold cards back with they were in the $500-$600 range but if you take the cost of $750 and divide it by $30, you’d have to ski 25 times before you’d save a penny. Only a small percentage of people are going to be on the snow 25 times in a season.”

We took John’s theory one step further and emailed several of our regulars…some of which are on the snow far more than others of us…and here’s other possible reasons:

“I think most regular skiers don’t ski on busy weekends, so if you look at the weekday discounts at most every resort, you’d have to ski a ton to make it worthwhile.” – Janet H.

“Truthfully, I used to have one, but it never really paid off and I found myself almost MAKING myself go skiing because of the expense rather than skiing simply because I wanted to.” – Robert M.

“As a season pass holder, I think most people have a favorite ski area or one that is within close proximity to them and most just aren’t going to ski at all of the resorts. Season’s passes are a lot cheaper!” – Becky S.

“I used to be a gold card holder and frankly I did the math. I liberally used $40 as the cost of a ticket and that meant I’d have to ski 19 times before I saved a penny. I think they’ve priced them out of making sense to most people.” – Randy M.

“I took Sugar’s weekend rates (they are the highest at $59) and did the math. You’d have to ski 14 times at weekend, full day rates to save any money. With ten weeks or so left in the season, you have to ski at least once or twice a week, on the weekends, full days, at Sugar…you get my drift.” – Steven T.

Others made similar arguments, but truthfully, the card has always only made sense to a small percentage of people anyway…and that’s all the association was aiming them towards anyway. The card is really not FOR the average skier or snowboarder…and has always been intended solely as a means of generating marketing revenue for the association. The card sales generate more than $90,000 for the association’s annual budget.

So all arguments aside, if you’re a frequent skier…there ARE 15 left to sale. For more information contact the gold card coordinator, Holly Green at 828-898-4521 x 227

More Global Warming Freaks and Winter Patience 101 Lessons –

Even after posting our “chill out” message yesterday, we still received a bunch of worrisome emails from people worried about all of the snow going away prior to the Holidays. Additionally, one new member of the messageboard registered and posted his first message – claiming that winters in the southeast were gone forever! You FUNNY, FUNNY people! Refer to yesterday’s story…I’m not going to repeat myself.

The snow that we have now…we’ll make it through Christmas…based on the forecast. Cold air is returning PRIOR to Christmas and there are some nice conditions out there right now. NO bare spots.

Let’s leave you with something funny –

We were reading through this morning’s updates and one of the region’s ski areas actually had this message posted on their website:

“CAUTION – you are entering a winter environment. Conditions change rapidly, please be aware of wet and slick surfaces."

Uhhhh, ya think!?!


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