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Hello Everyone –

Since the winter season has begun in the mountains of North Carolina and West Virginia, it seems like everyone is paying a lot closer attention to weather forecasts. At this point in the season, every skier and snowboarder out there isn’t looking into the sky for snowflakes (though that is always nice) but checking the thermometers for snowmaking temperatures. Again this year there have been some good snowmaking temperatures and some not so good, which some forecasters have hit and some haven’t and that brings me to this week’s subject. Does anyone really know what is going to happen as it pertains to upcoming weather conditions?

Every time I hear a weather forecast, especially an extended one, I hear the old Kenny Rogers song The Gambler, because “You’ve got to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.” Hear the term upcoming pattern and at the end of the forecast I hear, now if that pattern changes a bit then everything will change. That is a pretty big “if” if you ask me. Like “if” frogs had wings, they wouldn’t bump their butts on rocks. “If” basically means I (the forecaster) am hedging my bet on what really is going to happen.

I have had a number of extended chats with the lead forecaster for The Weather Channel and he has assured me each time that the validity of any extended forecast reduces drastically with the number of days the forecast goes out. With that said, how in the world can anyone predict for snowmaking temperatures next week, nevertheless for two weeks or one month from now. I know there is historical data out there that can help direct the forecast, but what “if” it changes just a bit? Which pushes me to my point, who really knows?

I have seen forecasts out there for the coming season that indicates a pretty normal season weather wise for the southeast region. Then I have also seen forecasts out there that indicate that some resorts will have a difficult time staying open into February. So who do we believe – the snow gooses out there or the doubting Thomases? I just believe we are just going to have to play the cards we are dealt. Because “if” we don’t we are just going to worry ourselves to a point that we forget to have some fun and that is what is all about, isn’t it?

That’s it for this week; more to come as the season continues. Just 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!

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.

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