By Joe Stevens
Hello Everyone –
As any follower of this space on SkiSoutheast.com knows, I have been plowing my way through this industry since 1985. One thing I learned early on in my ski industry career was, you can bet your last dollars that on MLK and Presidents’ three-day weekends, every resort was going to be busy, as skiers and snowboarders were going to take advantage of that extra day.
However, midweek prior to the expected busy weekend, my son asked me about the possibility of going to Snowshoe Mountain on Saturday if he was caught up on his schoolwork. First, since he put it that way, what could a dad say but “why not,” despite knowing what laid ahead in terms numbers on the slopes.
It has been fun watching him push his skiing limits and that includes spending some time in the various terrain parks in the region. He saw a video posted by Snowshoe of their park features and was itching to grab some air. A quick reminder here, his dad’s snowboard comes off the ground on two occasions, when I am carrying it and by mistake and, oh how I hate those mistakes – as old as I am. You see the recovery time takes a bit longer these days.
Well, the plans were set and he asked a friend to accompany him on the trip, which meant my time, if any in the park, would be minimal. Hey, I can still make my way down the side of the features. So, give me a break.
Now on a normal season, any holiday weekend Friday is, well should I say a bit crazy as it seems that everyone arrives at the same time. When I say everyone, I am referring to a few thousand folks. That’s like putting ten pounds of sand in a five-gallon bucket. Not the most promising situation as you can imagine.
To my delight our arrival at the resort for Friday night dinner was rather easy and it wasn’t difficult to find a place to park and the wait for a table was only 30-minutes. I had to pinch myself to remember that again this was a holiday weekend and these types of things just don’t happen during a normal season. That’s what I mean by saying, it’s one crazy season.
I also found for the most part (the vast majority), guests were adhering to West Virginia’s face covering requirements, which was a promising sight. My wife also pointed out that the face covering also was a nice shield from the cold. Hey, one of those nice win-win situations we all like to experience now and then.
I guess my point here is that as we have plowed our way through the 2020-2021 COVID-19 season, what was not the normal at the beginning, has basically become a part of everyone’s everyday life. Crazy to think that at the beginning of the season, that at the halfway point, everyone would be playing well together in the sandbox. Yea I know there are a few exceptions to my thought process here, but that just comes with the territory.
In previous columns I referenced that during a season like we are having to deal with, a few “thank you’s can go a long way, making another person’s day a bit more pleasant. What I found out on this trip, it might also help with one’s karma.
You see again this time around I made sure to thank that liftie who caught our lift chair for us and that clerk who made sure our purchase was done with a smile. It paid off for all of us, we believe when we attempted to get a table for dinner on one of the season’s traditional busiest nights, Saturday of Presidents’ weekend. When we let the host know it was four of us for dinner, he grabbed our menu and led us to our table. I thought Angie was going to have to perform CPR on me, because this never, ever happens. I mean like never that I can remember of walking in at dinner time and getting a table without at least a 30-minute wait. We all agreed it was karma paying us back and yes, we were quite pleased with the outcome.
With all that said you can tell that the employees are tired but understand that they still have a month and a half (weather permitting) left in the season. That’s why (sorry Mike) I really suggest making sure you make those that are allowing you to have fun this season know just how much you appreciate their efforts.
I realize there have been some bumps in the road so far this season, heck just read some of the posts on this site, not everyone is doing jumping jacks over what they have had to do and I understand that, believe me. But for the most part as I have come to learn, those bumps have been groomed over and everyone just keeps moving forward.
I think when we all stop and look back at this crazy season, we are all probably going to want to buy the t-shirt that says “I survived that 2020-2021 COVID-19 season”. I for one will be proud to be first in line to make my purchase.
This has been one crazy season, but after seeing what I did, first during the Christmas holiday and now during President’s weekend, I realize that given a chance, we can all work together and have some fun.
When you just stop and think about it, we have had to make a few extra laps around our planning, but the end result has been just fine. Yes, it has been one crazy season, but my glass is still half full.
That’s it for this week, thanks for joining me. Just remember whether it be cold or whether it be warm, we will weather the weather, whatever the weather will be. The season has been challenging but fun so far and it is going to be a lot more fun the rest of the way. Remember, Mother Nature provides the best social distancing these days.