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Hello Everyone –

One of the worst descriptions this time of year, or anytime as that goes, is that a resort has had to close due to unfavorable conditions.  To make that type of situation a bit softer, the term “suspending on-slope operations” has become the norm for the various snow reporters throughout the region.

This has already happened a couple of times this season and we are now finding that situation facing skiers and snowboarders wanting to make those final turns of the season.

But before I get into that thought process, I wanted to share a report from a winter sports friend of mine that I have enjoyed sharing time on the slopes this season.

The report is from Chase Petry of St. Albans, West Virginia who was able to have some fun at Timberline Mountain on Saturday for the Teli-Skiing Festival and sent me the following report.

What a great day on the mountain. That seems to be my thoughts after every ski day, no matter the conditions or the tribulations to even get there. I had this trip planned for a few weeks and I called up a friend that I haven’t skied with in well over 10 years to see if he wanted to meet me at Timberline Mountain for a day trip. He talked to his better half, and we were on our way.

The day for me started at 3:00 am with what I thought for sure was food poisoning. I was supposed to leave around 5:30 am, so I could meet my buddy at the mountain when they opened at 9:00 am. I went back and forth whether I was able to make the trip or not. Things cleared up for me and I hit the road, not too much behind schedule. The drive up was awful, it poured rain from Charleston all the way to Elkins.

I pulled into the parking lot, excited for world telemark day at Timberline, despite the morning I was already having. I was ready to turn the page and make this a good day.  

My friend, Jeremy pulled in right behind me and let me know he had invited another one of our friends that I hadn’t seen in several years. We made our way to the lift, with smiles on our faces, excited to spend the day with each other, made our first run down Salamander and decided to take a break to let the rain (or as Joe is known to write “Under Developed Snow”) pass. Conditions were on par for spring skiing, although they still seemed to have great cover everywhere on the mountain. Two thumbs up to the snowmaking and grooming crew at Timberline Mountain!

We shut the skiing down a little early and headed over to Canaan Valley Resort for the hometown brew fest, where we enjoyed a few excellent local West Virginia beers. There were eight breweries represented and live music playing. Nothing like a bit of Apres’ Skiing.

As the saying goes, the weather isn’t the issue when having fun on the slopes, just improper clothing and we were ready for the forecast.

Great to have fun with friends you haven’t seen in a while, especially at a ski resort.  

Always great to hear firsthand from somebody on the slopes.  I realize Mike Doble gets these types of reports daily, but when Chase expressed interest in sending me a report for the second straight year, I told him heck yea.  Thanks Chase.  

Now let’s get back to this week’s topic and that being that this season is stilling hanging in there, despite Mother Nature continuing to throw inside curveballs to every ski resort operator in the region. You have to hand to those snowmaking crews putting down a topping on the trails as the season begins to wind down.

One thing this week that made a lot of skiers and snowboarders perk up was the sight of snowmaking taking place at a number of resorts in the region.  

With that in mind as we near the end of the 2023 – 2024 season, a group of resorts are suspending on-slope operations during the week in hopes of preserving the snow on the slopes for a few more turns one last week.

What many out there may not realize is the way to lose snow coverage is to move around the snow, either by grooming or just skiing and snowboarding on the trails.  By suspending any type of slope activity, there is going to be less melt, meaning there will be coverage for when skiing and snowboarding resumes at the resort.

This time of year, there isn’t much visitation during the midweek and unless you just have flat out tons of snow, which some resorts still have, so there really isn’t any reason to drop the ropes.

Taking this into consideration, if you haven’t made any turns yet this season, you need to make those plans to finally head downhill.  

Looking at the upcoming forecast, we are definitely experiencing a typical spring skiing and snowboarding season.  If your idea of having fun on the slopes in less clothing than say on a 20-degree day, this is your time to be on the slopes.

If you like soft bumps on the trails, you will be finding them just about everywhere you turn right now.  If you are looking to get a thigh burn by working out, that is exactly what you are going to experience right now out there on the slopes of your choice.

To say that this season has been a challenge for resort operators in the region is an understatement, but as in years past, every operator has done their best to provide a high quality product for every skier and snowboarder to enjoy.  

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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