Looking forwards and backwards.
I am writing to you from the upper deck of the race shack. Behind the big plate glass windows its t-shirt and sunglasses weather. Just in front of the glass my thermometer reads 38 degrees. The sky is blue, and the skiers and boarders enjoying the snow in front of me are throwing up clouds of snow smoke from the perfectly lined corduroy.
Its a great day for skiing.
Tonight we are expecting an inch of snow. Several more should arrive by Sunday morning. After a forgettable season a year ago, Mother Nature is sure tipping her hat to us this year. The weather couldn't be any nicer heading into the best week of skiing this season.
John Hawkridge, from New England Weather Associates, tells me that next Tuesday we should be seeing some snow, as well as next Friday. So, there is not much to complain about from my seat.
Next week, due to the inevitability of spring, I will be tapping my maple trees, with the understanding that we should have two more weeks of cold temps. Usually I wait for the first big warm up, but this year I was hoping to be early. However, we have a couple of warm days behind us and the temp is climbing past 38 right now, so I am already arguably late.
Last weeks Snowmaggeddon (sp?) was all it was cracked up to be and more. Sunday was a phenomenal day with big crowds, but the mountain was skiing well, and the trails absorbed the increased skier traffic without issue. I was thankful for the turnout and took it as indicator that a larger number of you folks were considering us to be your first choice for skiing. We certainly appreciate that.
Saturday, though quiet, was a brilliant day as well. It was also a day of some controversy around here, as folks not only had to safely reach the ski area as the storm blew itself out, but folks had the additional challenge of arriving legally as well. The commonwealth had a driving ban with stiff penalties in place.
Now we at Berkshire East are decidedly non political, but I would like to comment on a couple of items. 1) Did anyone besides me notices that it was sunny at 10am and the driving ban was in effect in our area for three more hours? 2) In western Massachusetts, we have had several larger snow storms in the past several years. 3) Couldn't this have been a regional or county by county shut down? 4) Since we live in a litigious society, is shutting down the state the new winter normal? 6) What happens during the next big storm? 7) Who defines what a big storm is? 8) Will there be pressure on this, or the next governor to do the same thing in a different situation?
Now I know that this storm was exceptional in its size, scope and impact... in eastern Massachusetts, the greater Springfield area, and Connecticut. Up here though folks, it was just a good ole' winter storm. 18-20 of high grade powder, an amount that I'd like to think that we can handle without the risk of a year in jail or a $500 fine...
Thankfully (and probably due to the ban above) driving accidents were largely avoided, and that the road crews had a much easier time of dealing with the mess, but that was a phenomenal (largely sunny) day of skiing that a lot of folks missed out on simply because they were law abiding citizens, which is odd and thought provoking if you sit and chew on it a little...
Equally annoying, was the coverage from the TV news teams. We all know that TV flocks to a storm like this like a _____ in _____! Now I am kind of a newbie, but I know enough about weather to be dangerous and what I think I know weather forecasting is that weatherman analyze various sets of data that are input into different software packages that regularly output a model. I think that the models produce a range of probabilities for a weather event such as 'total snowfall.'
With NEMO, the TV news groups were falling all over themselves to release "Breaking News" of higher and higher snowfall totals, or predicted wind speeds, or whatever ____ news they could publicize that Channel ___ didn't or hadn't yet thought too, even though they were sliding further and further out the bell curve of actual event probability. I know I saw a weather report for 48+! inches of snow. These sensational reports seem to whip the population into a collective froth of concern around the impending "State of Emergency."
"Why," you might ask, is this a big deal? Well, simply put, this is WINTER people and its my life and business and guess what, its supposed get nasty. Its supposed to be snowy, and cold, and windy. Everyone of us who waits in line and the temps hovering at zero, or shoveled the drive at 6am to get first tracks at 8am, this is what we live for. Its why we live here and not in San Diego. Its why we spend an extra $750 on snow tires so that we can actually "use" our SUV's and trucks. Its why I own a pair of powder skis, back country touring bindings, and have a powder skirt on my jacket. Its why I can't sleep when it snows and a lot of you can't either. But its also a season that is under siege from many fronts. We have been blasting it with our pollution, and now with our politicians, and most dramatically with a media production circus who takes massive advantage of us by sensationalizing a free and easy story about how much danger we are all in.
So, at this point I've probably gone beyond my allowance with you folks. But this has been bugging me because there has been quite a bit of back slapping over the successful management of this storm. Call me nostalgic and call me anti authoritarian, but I don't like my business being shut down because eastern Massachusetts has a different set of circumstances than we do. Heck, what do I know, I just like to imagine that some things can't be managed and that every run is a little different, but that some decisions can be left to you so that you can slay some powder on a gorgeously sunny day in February, but maybe that's not the State we live in anymore...
Forgive me my rants, as I try to forgive those who tried ;) to take away my powder day...
Its time to go skiing, anybody coming with me?