Snow News is Good News

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by Joe Stevens

Hello Everyone –

So, starting off this week, I just wanted to thank whoever is responsible for waking up Mother Nature just in time for one of the biggest weekends of the season.

I can’t say it enough, but thanks to the drop in temperatures from midweek on, giving the snowmakers the type of conditions they rock in, you probably noticed a jump in open trail numbers across the region.

By opening additional terrain, the mass of visitors over the four-day weekend are more spread out and everyone can enjoy their time on the slopes a lot more.

I must stop here and give a big thumbs up to Josh Faber, Winterplace Ski Resort, General Manager for making the decision to suspend on-slope operations this past Tuesday, thereby conserving the snow on the slopes, as they prepared for the holiday weekend.

By shutting the slopes down when a couple of inches of rain fell throughout the day, the manmade snow withstood the “underdeveloped” snow and was ready to be groomed when the temperatures dropped later that evening. Just the right call.

The Martin Luther King, four-day holiday is extremely important to every resort, not only in the southeast, but also across the country. This the type of weekend that helps resort officials to be able to upgrade the resort’s facilities and infrastructure during the off season.

Now let’s talk about the weather a little bit. It’s cold out there and it is supposed to be during winter. We must remember that and just prepare for the winter conditions.

I have no doubt that every customer or guest services desk at each resort in the region is being asked if refunds can be given because it was too cold to ski, snowboard, or snowtube. My wife Angie spent a number of seasons at Snowshoe Mountain handling those types of inquiries and with a smile, she would just say no and remind the visitor that it was winter and the cold temperatures were in the forecast.

Folks, this is the type of weather that should make every person who is eager to play outdoors during the winter smile.

We got a dusting of snow where we live in Scott Depot, West Virginia Sunday morning and since it was in the low 20s, the snow was a nice powder. I can only imagine what it was like on the slopes and just how much fun everyone was having going downhill.

This is the type of weather that takes a bit more preparation to enjoy the conditions. If you think you can just go out there with maybe a single layer or two over your body, I have a bridge in the Mohave desert in Arizona to sell you.

Seriously, common sense would tell you that layering up is going to be the way to go, to be able to spend some quality time outdoors. By the way, that also means a good pair of gloves and something on your head, preferably a helmet.

You would think that this is something that should just happen, but boy would you ever be surprised what I have seen out on the slopes in these type of conditions.

You will be hearing a lot about the “Wind Chill” and “Real Feel” temperatures during the cold period that the region is now experiencing, but please understand that relates to unexposed skin. I am not here to say to ignore the information, because it will help you to dress for some outside fun, but I think these are two terms that are over blown by the media and that is just my opinion. However, if you are prepared you will be just fine.

I am also here to say that your time spent on the slopes should come in reasonable intervals, taking the cold temperatures into consideration. I have also enjoyed making a few runs, then coming inside, enjoying a warm beverage and then heading back out to the slopes for some more fun.

I have seen skiers and snowboarders stay outside till they can’t feel their fingers or toes. Not a great move, but it happens every time temperatures drop like they are currently doing. Please reference the above paragraph that mentions common sense, as that pertains to this also.

One thing that you may also consider applying to your face is sunscreen. When these temperatures are with us, your skin will dry out quicker than normal. By putting sunscreen on, you are adding some moisture to your skin. Just a tip from someone who had to be told of the practice and have been thankful ever since.

At the end of the day, we are now in the teeth of winter, so I must step back and hear a news anchor say they can’t wait until the summer months. You see this is the same news anchor that complains when it gets hot and says they can’t wait until the cooler days are with us. All I can say is “UGH” to that thought process.

A lot of times I must remind some of the folks in the media that winter sports in the southeast means nearly a billion dollars in economic impact. That also means thousands of jobs stretching from Tennessee to Maryland. It’s just tough to have the winter fun we have in this region without a few real cold days during winter and this is one snowboarder that enjoys the fact that it happens.

I guess what I have been saying this week is there is absolutely nothing wrong with the region to have a cold snap like we are having and hopefully more like it in the years to come, because without these type of weather periods we just wouldn’t have as much available terrain to play on and that would take the fun out of everything. Now, wouldn’t it?

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. Your favorite slope is now open, so go make some turns and let gravity be your friend.


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