By Joe Stevens
Hello Everyone –.
This is my last Snow News Is Good News column of the year and put a period on a season that was the biggest roller coaster of a season, ending in a way that nobody would ever have imagined when everything started in November. On top of that mountain operations directors were challenged just about every day to maintain coverage and for the most part, with hardly any natural snow, again coming through for skiers and snowboarders in the region.
This wasn’t a busting the budget kind of year, but only through excellent planning, and hard work. Things could be summed up as a good season, none-the-less, for the majority of the resorts as crowds did come during important times and February had four very good weekends.
With that said, I have once again, come up with Joe’s fifteenth annual “SNOWY” awards or “SNOWIES” whichever one you like the best. Once again, the same three-person committee all 15-ballots (me, myself and I) picked out ten categories and spent way too much time tabulating the results. So, drum roll please, here are the 2019/2020 season “SNOWIES”.
- Most Indecisive – Mother Nature/Old Man Winter – both of these notables needed parts of any winter sport just couldn’t make up their minds on if it was truly winter, fall or sometimes spring. This caused every resort operation person sleepless nights and put skiers and snowboarders’ eyes on webcams 24/7.
- Most Valuable – I can’t say enough for these guys as again this season the award goes to the hard-working groomers out there, in the dark of the night, whenever temperatures allowed, they made sure the slopes were ready to go when skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes first thing in the morning.
- Unsung Hero – Mike Chaney, Canaan Valley Resort’s Mountain Manager, who had to consider giving a visitor a requested refund the first Saturday of March because there was TOO MUCH snow on the trails. You can’t make this stuff up folks.
- Most Overrated – Early season forecasts. Hey, we reach out every season to see what the experts think is going to happen and all of them do their best to make a prediction of winter snow, many months out. This year, most (I won’t hold it against you) missed it. Oh well, we will get them next season.
- Go For It – Adaptive skiers and snowboarders throughout the region. Despite what they are facing in their day to day lives, they are still game to give skiing or snowboarding a chance, despite dealing with the hand that life has given them. Here’s to all of you.
- Fighting To The Bitter End – Those skiers and snowboarders out there that made that extra trip of the season, when conditions picked up the latter part of February and the early part of March. Then came COVID-19 and well everyone knows the rest of that story.
- Most Patience – The ski and snowboard instructors, not of the first timers, but of those so-called perfect skiers and snowboarders that think they could be making turns on the professional circuit. They have the ability to listen and instruct, knowing their good advice is probably going in one ear and out the other. One can only hope they got through to at least one or maybe two of their students.
- Going The Extra Mile – To those courtesy patrollers that man the exit areas of lifts. My goodness I wouldn’t want the job, no way, no thank you. Talk about having a bulls eye on your chest. Again, no thank you!
- Cy Young (Best Pitch) – West Virginia Ski Areas Association’s new 4th and 5th grade passport program that assisted in getting young skiers and snowboarders into the sport, with a lift ticket and lesson.
- Stepping Up To The Plate and Hitting It Out Of The Park – Every skier and snowboarder out there that got off their lazy duff and headed to their favorite ski resort or even tried a new one this season. It was a very trying year and because of you guys who got off the couch, we got through it, thank you.
That’s it for the 2019/2020 season – it’s been fun riding (I got ten days in this season with two metal hips, now) with you again this year and watching my son and his friends learning to have even more fun with the sport, especially in the terrain parks, learning to put gravity to the test a little.
In closing, I know everyone is facing a tough time right now dealing with the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak right now. This is a time to get close with your loved ones, don’t take any unneeded risks and understand we will get through this as we always do. If you are allowed to get carryout from a local restaurant, remember to tip a little extra to those providing you your meal.
Finally, remember to always be patient as whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be. Think about it! Time to get everything tuned up for the 2020/2021 season, my 36th in the industry. Check the calendar, we are only eight months away from making snow. I can’t wait.