Weather Tribulations at Snowshoe
We talked with Snowshoe Mountain Resort’s Vice President for Marketing; Dave Dekema, to find out what effects the recent warm weather has and is having up on Snowshoe Mountain.
I asked Dave where thing stands now that the New Year’s Holiday has ended.
“It’s the start of a new year and feels like the start of a new winter for us, much different from where we stood a week ago or just two weeks ago” Dave said.. “We’ve got terrain open both here on the base inside of Snowshoe and down at Silver Creek. We’ve had some great cooperating snow making temperatures in the nighttime. We’ve been able to open terrain even more then we had open heading into Christmas. We have a good plan for expanding terrain, getting up to Soaring Eagle and down to Western and bellwether trails that people are spotting to know that we’re getting all kinds of ski terrain open. It looks good, feels good. It’s day and night better again than it was finishing up 2015. So we’re pretty happy with the forecast ahead.”
I asked Dave when they were finally able to start making snow again. Dave.
“It was only very recently, unfortunately too late to do us any good for that critical big week between Christmas and New Year’s, we really -we got nothing” said Dave. “So it was just really right around New Years Eve-New Years Day, the weather started to turn back to what looks like winter. Unfortunately, again, we lost that entire week which tends to be our busiest week of the year. That’s no small loss.”
I asked him just how bad it got.
“Bad is relative I guess” Dave said. “From a on slope perspective, there was no terrain open during that period. I think some of the upside- people were really just coming together with family to be up on the mountains and if we had nothing available for people to do, we would have heard it day and night. But we decided to be resourceful. We opened back up the golf course, we opened up mountain biking, we had disk golf, opened up sporting clays, did holiday themed events and animation and activities. And people really seemed to enjoy it. Obviously we all disappointed, and they’re very disappointed that we didn’t have skiing open, but we made the best of the situation, and people actually left here, I feel like, pretty happy and pretty optimistic for coming back here again.”
Dave went on to explain that as a matter of treating people fairly, the resort made exceptions to its reservation cancellation deadlines and refunded anyone who wanted to cancel their reservations. An optimistic sign was that a lot of people rebooked for later in the season. Everyone however did not have the opportunity to cancel, as Dave explains.
“But not every rental company in the area was able to be that flexible, so there were some folks that were held to coming and we tried to be accommodating with activities, amenities and pool and all the other stuff just to try to give them something to do since kids couuldn’t go out and tube and be on the slope.”
Dave explains that the resort did take a big financial loss at the end of 2015, they are optimistic things will improve.
“We’re going to feel it for the rest of this season” Dave says. “As we try and work to recover we have to make smart decisions about staffing and activities to try and recover from a little bit of that hole that December dug us into. But we will recover it. Like I said it looks like we are resetting and starting winter the way we want it to look and we’ll get us out of that hole. We have a lot of summer events, conference business. It has been a fairly healthy non-winter period so it definitely helped. Coming off a good winter just felt like sustained momentum, but this is a little bit of a trip-up. The other businesses and year-round businesses are fairly healthy, that allows us to weather this.”
Dave added that the weather was not completely unexpected, forecasters had warned them that there might be a late warm-up but once the switch to winter flips, which appears to be happening, there should be a good skiing season ahead.
He talks about being on the slopes on the day I interviewed him- January 6th-.
“I got out today on a Wednesday just after the holidays” Dave said. “We’ve got new terrain open, right there on Rope Drop getting first turns and first tracks. It felt like I was getting some powder turns with all the fresh snow that we’ve made with the half foot of snow we’ve gotten in the last few days. It was fantastic. It’s a bluebird day in January. So there’s very good skiing happening right now. There’s more snow in the forcast, so it’s only going to get better. And I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to be up on the slopes on a day like today.”
Dave talked about upcoming events at Snowshoe.
“We’ve got live music events, a big College Spring Break Party – that’s turning into a bigger event year after year” said Dave. “Every Friday night we’ve got our band events –the ‘Beats on the Basin’ in the Connection. Those are proven to be more and more popular. We’re going to continue that series out through summer, but you don’t want to miss the winter events. We got a great band line-up every Friday night up here.”
So Snowshoe remains optimistic for a great skiing season.