Hello Everyone –
I know, I know, you’ve got the itch. In fact just about everyone has the itch right now. I, by-the-way, scratched that itch the last weekend of November, so if you are wondering, I’m fine.
Now to explain what itch I am talking about. In the industry we call it the P.U.D. factor, or Pent Up Demand. Mother Nature has teased us with some cold enough snowmaking temperatures in November and now December, just enough for a handful of resorts in North Carolina and West Virginia to begin allowing skiers and snowboarders to have some early season fun. But for the most part, the majority of the skiers, snowboarders and snowtubers in the region have not been able to make their first turns of the season, hence the feeling of frustration or P.U.D. Everything is ready, skis and snowboards are tuned, but their favorite slopes are not covered yet, so the frustration feeling remains.
Well I am here to say, that feeling should totally disappear in the next ten days or so, as consistent colder temperatures are in the forecast for the entire region. I was speaking with an industry official the other day and they were giving serious consideration to pushing back their open day, that was until they saw the forecast that everyone is agreeing on and that snowmaking temperatures are going to be happening very, very soon. This industry official is very conservative and very seldom goes out on the limb with overly optimistic predictions. This resort official likes to open their ski resort with the amount of snow that just blows the first visitors away with the conditions. He is of the mind set to open with quality, instead of opening for just the sake of opening.
When my son and I made our first turns at Snowshoe Mountain over the Thanksgiving holiday, we were taken back with the amount of snow that had been laid down by the snowmakers. It was fun not to have to pick our way down the mountain as there was literally snow from side to side on every trail that was open. It was the type of conditions that you would’ve expected to see later in the season. Granted there were basically three runs open from top to bottom, but they were long continuous runs and it made those first turns a bit easier and fun. The best thing about those turns was that it took care of our P.U.D., making for a great day.
For those of you reading this column who haven’t made those first turns, they are coming, I promise, and you can hold me to that promise. If you are a fan of this column, you already know how I feel about every snowmaker in the southeast region. If you are a newbie, then please understand that I am under the opinion that no other region in the ski industry makes snow like our snowmakers do in the southeast. Every year, resort officials reload and add to their snowmaking capacity, making it easier to please the majority out there, with exceptional slope coverage.
Just to be clear, those snowmaking upgrades don’t come without large capitol (money and lots of it) expenditures. For those of you out there that complain that your favorite resort didn’t add a lift or a trail or two, none and I repeat none of those improvements can even get on the drawing board without the ability to make snow in abundance, so that skiers and snowboarders visit and purchase lift tickets. You see, it’s those hard-earned dollars that you spend at your favorite resorts that allow resort officials to make those improvements that some skiers and snowboarders crave every season. It is about manmade snow folks, without it, you can kiss the ski industry goodbye in the southeast region. But you already knew that, didn’t you?
As your P.U.D. runs rampant and your eagerness reaches its peak, and you just can’t stand it anymore, how about going to the various webcam pages that are found on this website and witness for yourself that snowguns operating. Or take a look at Brad Panovich’s forecast that is provided by skisoutheast.com. If you don’t know by now, Brad is a straight shooter, he doesn’t candy coat it when it comes to providing skiers and snowboarders the true weather picture. He isn’t a snow goose and I have found he doesn’t tell everyone what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. With all of that out of the way, Brad is of the belief that the region’s snowmakers are going to be working around the clock, getting the slopes covered to take care of your P.U.D,
As we all understand the upcoming cold temperatures are still the most important factor to assist with your P.U.D., that is also what is going to help get the resorts ready for the upcoming holiday season. While your first turns of the season are very important to each resort operator, making sure that as many slopes are open for the holiday season are a bit more important. You see, if you don’t already know, the week before Christmas, Christmas week and the week after Christmas is probably the most critical time of the season, financially for every resort. It is the time of the season, the resorts make the money that funds those capitol expenditures, we spoke of earlier in this column.
So while your P.U.D. is high on the operators to-do list right now, you also need to understand it’s the time of the season, when snow is going to be made, every single second it is possible. The meaning to that fact is, when heading out for those first tracks to take care of your P.U.D., don’t forget your goggles. I don’t want to hear (neither does Mike or Kenny) any complaints about snowmaking on open terrain. If you don’t like it, then your P.U.D. can wait. For those of you that understand the need, your itch will be scratched.
That’s it for this week’s column, more to come as the season continues. Just remember whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be. Think about it! See you on the slopes.