Hello Everyone –
As I pen this week’s column at my home located between Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia at 2:30 pm, Sunday, I am suppose to be seeing at least two maybe three inches of snow on the ground according to a number of the local snow gooses (meteorologists). What I am seeing is bare ground with nothing even on the way. As I understand this has been a tough storm to track and I totally understand that. But why on earth predict up to ten inches of snow three days out from the expected storm without knowing for sure. As I have said in the past, when did meteorologists get away from telling us what we need to know instead of telling us what they think we is a huge want to know? There difference in the two.
This is one of, if not the biggest weekends of the year for the ski industry in the southeast and when you tell folks that are not use to traveling in snowy conditions that they may be facing challenging road conditions, they cancel their trip, excellent conditions or not. I am not talking about those diehard skiers and snowboarders who live for the big dumps, but the skiers and snowboarders who only see snow when they travel to the higher elevations throughout the southeast. The snow gooses got everything stirred up in the early part of last week and the phones started ringing at a number of resorts; experienced reservationists had to reaffirm to the callers that the forecast could change by the time the weekend came around and that they should wait before cancelling. Guess what, that forecast did change and with the majority of the snow coming on Sunday, the roads would be clear for their arrival on Friday or Saturday and their departure on Monday. Come on weather folks, exaggerating doesn’t help us one bit.
Now let’s be clear on something, there are a few meteorologists out there that weren’t satisfied with what the early “models” were indicating and stayed on it, updating their forecasts every ten hours or so. A few even admitted that there was no clear indication what the weather was going to do. Those are the weather folks that get my respect, don’t give me an exact total, just tell me there could be substantial accumulations but we are still a number of days out and the forecast could or will change and for everyone to stay tuned for future updates. There was even one local meteorologist who went as far as to say even if it snows hard the accumulation wouldn’t be as great as it could be because of the mild winter temperatures up to this point and the ground was too warm for all of the snow to stick.
You know sometimes I just think we forget to look out our window and see what is really happening around us as it pertains to weather. We rely so much on the experts and if they say it, well it is the gospel. Folks, that drives every marketing person nuts in the tourism industry along with that 10 – 15 day extended forecast. I had the head of forecasting for The Weather Channel once tell me any forecast past 24 to 36 to 48 hours just isn’t that credible and should only be used as a guide not the final word. Amen to that!
Just a reminder, you probably know that there will be SkiSoutheast Summit at Snowshoe Mountain the weekend of March 2, 3 and 4. You can find all of the weekend’s details on the site. And if you haven’t heard, Mike extended his annual invitation to yours truly and to his surprise I have accepted and will be ready to make some turns with everyone. Looking forward to seeing you there.
That’s it for this week, 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.
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Joe Stevens, a member of the southeast ski industry since 1990 is a regular columnist for skisoutheast.com and serves as the Communications Director for the West Virginia Ski Areas Association.