Thank You Santa!

First TraxSnow News is Good News

Hello Everyone –

Snowguns and grooming will go back into full operation on Sunday! (This photo was from earlier this year at Canaan Valley.) Click to enlarge.

I thought I had been a good boy in 2017 and with Santa Claus finally delivering winter in full swing, it looks like one of my biggest gift requests is occurring just in the nick of time. Don’t get me wrong, most of the resorts are in good shape right now, but the sight of natural snow on Christmas Eve and the sound of snowguns roaring around the resorts, shows me that Santa was listening.

Now with what I really wanted under my resort Christmas tree, where do we go from here, you may ask? Well, the first thing I say we do is go downhill in life. Meaning, after cleaning up all that wrapping paper, I suggest grabbing those skis or snowboards and head to your favorite resort. I will say though, while the conditions are going to be excellent, there will be some lift lines to deal with at all the resorts. Folks, that’s just a reality of this time of year.

Let’s talk about that time of the year for a second, the holiday season at the resorts. This is the time of the year I use to like the most, when I worked at Snowshoe Mountain, other than maybe opening day. In many cases, visitors to the resorts are actually seeing snow, real snow, up close and personal for the very first time. Yeah, they might have experienced a few flurries here and there. But this for many is when they get to reach out and touch the white stuff. I vividly remember the looks on the faces of the young ones that have traveled hours to get to Snowshoe and probably not in the best mood when they arrived. Then their mood does a 180-degree turn, when they realize they have snow everywhere. Not just a little bit here or there, but piles of it on the slopes to have fun in and on. Those smiles are etched into my memory and every year around this time I search for those memories because it always brings a smile to my face.

wintergreen ski patrol
Photo of Wintergreen Resort’s Ski Patrollers from Feb 2017. Click to Enlarge!

While we are talking about everyone enjoying some vacation time with their families at their favorite ski resorts, let’s not forget about those folks who are making sure their time on the slopes is a fun experience. I’m talking about the groomers, snowmakers and ski patrollers. Those guys and gals are out on the slopes Christmas Eve and Day, putting down a great product, making sure that product is smooth and making sure everyone’s experience is a safe one.

Sometimes I think everyone gets so excited about all the snow and the fun they are having, they forget what is going on behind the scenes for that good time to occur. I ask here in this week’s column, that you just stop and understand the amount of effort from everyone for you and probably your family to have fun in the snow. So, if you see a patroller out on the slopes or a snowmaker working his tail off making sure the slopes are covered, just pass along a thank you or two. Believe me when I say that will go a long way for those behind the scene folks, that yes, get a paycheck for what they do, but also appreciate a sincere thank you from a guest they are serving.

If you travel to your favorite resort for the first time during the holidays this year, you may notice that there are a large number of international visitors visiting also. I have people ask why does this occur more during the holiday and not as much during other times of the season? While the larger resorts out west and in the northeast, see international visitors throughout the season, southeast area resorts, like I stated earlier see their influx over the holidays. The best that I can tell from speaking with a number of the overseas visitors is that they have family already living in the region. So, when it comes right down to it, they are using the holidays as a reunion of such. Many internationals work in Washington, DC or other large corporate metro areas like Charlotte, Atlanta, Norfolk, etc. They are either working for their governments at embassies or international companies that have offices in the United States.

While we are on the subject of international visitors, I always heard them compliment the service they receive from everyone in the southeast region. That is why they head to the mountains in the southeast for some holiday fun. Many times they tell me the atmosphere at their resorts back home is stuffier and not as friendly as what they find when they ski at southeast resorts. They say we always put out a very nice welcome mat, whether the snow is good or the conditions aren’t as good as it is going to be this year, starting Christmas Eve.

santa and norad
Santa’s been tracked by NORAD since 1955.

Join me in tracking Santa with NORAD this year throughout his travels across the world and especially in the southeast, as we know he will be delivering some really cool stuff to everyone. But most importantly it looks like he will be dropping some natural snow on the majority of the resorts in the region. This is going to be a good Christmas for those of you able to get to your favorite ski resort during the holidays as Santa, for the most part dresses like a snowmaker and will be handing out great conditions for everyone to enjoy. Then, before departing, leaving a message for his close friend Mother Nature, for her to continue the winter weather trend for at least the for two weeks of the new year.

Here’s wishing everyone that slides along with us every week on Snow News Is Good News, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Remember to let gravity be your friend.

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.

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