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Ski area interest drops like a rock in February....

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I found this article in the Oregonian:

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/orego...100.xml&coll=7

It made me laugh, as the resort operator interviewed basically says that nobody is interested in skiing here in the PNW in February or afterward, which makes absolutely no sense! What are people getting excited for-standing in the rain for another 3 months? For those who have lived in Portland, February is just as miserable of a month rain-wise as December, and March isn't any better, often worse. I really don't understand the "waning" interest in snowsports, as golf courses are soggy, cycling is soggy (forget mountain biking that time of year, and road riding is miserable too in the rain). On the positive side, the best skiing of the year is in the spring, so fewer people to compete with over 1st tracks is the result.
post #2 of 19
sounds like Yogi Berra: "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."
post #3 of 19
I don't know why it is, but after Presidents' Week, occasional skiers stop thinking about it. Particularly in the Sierra, that's insane, since (among other things) base is often fairly sketchy at least through January, but we get massive dumps well into April.

All things considered, I view the first half of the season, ending in Presidents' Week, as the warm-up time, in which I get my skills back in shape to enjoy the real season that follows.
post #4 of 19
I saw that last year in Washington. We had great snow and few skiers. The close could have been delayed if there had been any ticket & burger buyers.
post #5 of 19
Majority of skiers are vacationers first, skiers second. Some years, the same family would have gone to Florida instead...

Christmas is the first long school break. So the family goes skiing. Then they MAY go another time, which naturally is the President's week. And that's it!

I wish I could enjoy the "un-crowded" slopes and lifts the rest of the time. But the sad truth is, without a fair number of skiers, ski area can't stay open. Most area close when there's plenty of snow around, because there's not enough skier buying tickets to break even. So, as much as I hate crowds, I still hope many of them will come.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
Majority of skiers are vacationers first, skiers second. Some years, the same family would have gone to Florida instead...

Christmas is the first long school break. So the family goes skiing. Then they MAY go another time, which naturally is the President's week. And that's it!

I wish I could enjoy the "un-crowded" slopes and lifts the rest of the time. But the sad truth is, without a fair number of skiers, ski area can't stay open. Most area close when there's plenty of snow around, because there's not enough skier buying tickets to break even. So, as much as I hate crowds, I still hope many of them will come.
First, agreed....

Second..........................SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! !!!!!!!!!!!!
post #7 of 19
What I've observed, is that after the ski school childrens' programs end, the numbers vastly decrease.

Think about it, while the kids are in classes, their parents are able to ski at adult speeds, but once the sessions are over, skiing becomes an expensive expedition to the mountain in where parents get to wait and watch for their kids catch up (my parents did this until my brother and sisters became able to pair off and meet them at the lodge later).

The vast majority of the masses on the mountain are families, and once they've blow their financial wad on sessions of lessons, and tickets (as most parents are weekend skiers who don't buy season passes) a good deal of the incentive for additional trips is muted.

Now before you parents get your thermals in a bundle, I will qualify this by saying that I love skiing with my son, but there is always a part of me that wants to just let my skis run, regardless of the joy I find in watching him make his way down the hill, and see the enthusiasm he has for skiing. I am willing to sacrifice my love of lettin' 'em run to be with him, as often as he can come along, but if that was all that there was, I doubt I'd be as thrilled about skiing every day. Of course he'd get up to speed pretty quick, if he skied as much as I do, but mine is not a situation like that of the masses.

As it is, I see the spring drop off as a reward for the diehards who want to keep skiing regardless of the change of seasons. Being a fanatic has its perks.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post
I love skiing with my son, but there is always a part of me that wants to just let my skis run, regardless of the joy I find in watching him make his way down the hill, and see the enthusiasm he has for skiing.
How old is he?

My unequivocal best day last year was my last day of the season, a month after team ended -- the last day of the season for Sugar Bowl, and my first time ever at the hill. It was just me, my nine year old daughter (typically referred to around here and TGR as alpinegirl), and one of my six year old sons (who goes by burgerboy online).

We almost got on line for Disney before it opened, but the kids wanted to ski, so we did a couple runs on Nob Hill. We did four or five runs in Nancy's and further right from there (possibly into Sugar Bowl, but I don't know the mountain). It was unbelievably good for closing day of a weak season, even when I pulled a header on a submerged rock below that big cantilevered boulder.

My favorite moments included riding Lincoln chair around 10 am, with burgerboy scoping and choosing steep narrow lines he wanted to try, then actually hitting those lines with the kids.

But the really memorable moment was when burgerboy -- on a mission, as always, to add more double-black notches to his belt -- led us to Rahlves' Run and stopped halfway down, then pointed at the bottom of the pitch. "Dad -- it looks like it goes up down there. Should we straightline here?" "Hmm. Make two turns first." Turn one. Turn two. Looks uphill to me. I nod. He sends it. I grin like a madman and follow suit.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm a very lucky man in so many ways. But one of the greatest things for me is that my kids can now keep up with me at least as well as my wife can. I get to let my skis run and ski with my kids.

Life doesn't get much better.
post #9 of 19
I live in The Adirondacks in NY State. February is the busiest month of the year despite some very cold weather. The Weather Bureau says January is the coldest of the winter months up here yet early February is the dead middle of winter when the earth is farthest from the sun and it is cold.

Presidents' week is one of Whiteface's busiest of the year. After that the crowd dwindles a bit as spring approaches. March brings some of the best snowstorms of the year and the conditions are the best of the year. As the temperatures warm up spring skiing brings "corn" snow and the snow can get pretty heavy. It can be hard on the knees and conditioning helps get you through it. If you ski a lot it's not as big a problem as it is for the, "weekend worriers." Not meaning to knock them. I was one for years and traveled over 500 miles a weekend (every weekend) to ski.

Now I skip skiing on Saturday’s during the peak season but enjoy the dwindling crowds of the latter season. I know it’s tough on The Mountain financially as the lift lines go down but the people in charge at The Mountain don’t seem to mind and are pretty up beat as the weather warms. Those that quit skiing after February don’t know what they are missing.

102
post #10 of 19
alpinedad.....that's awesome!

Where was alpinegirl??
post #11 of 19
Here in Maine, through the months of Dec., Jan. and Feb, we ski with intensity always looking for the sweet stuff in mid-winter form. Under all of our cold weather gear (helmuts, goggles and face warmers) there is a smile.

However, come March and April we all expose our smiles due to the ball cap and sun glasses.
These, my grasshopper, are THE months to ski.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post
alpinedad.....that's awesome!
Seriously. I know that we'll all be a bit rusty in the early season, but it was a great way to end last.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugaree View Post
Where was alpinegirl??
Choosing her own line skier's left of us. I think she might have sprayed us at the bottom.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
How old is he?
He's seven now, and he did manage to ski upper Grizzly (a respectable ungroomed black diamond) by his 12th day on skis, a ripper in the making, if his mother will let him leave the nest enough for him to learn to fly.

However my point, is that if I, who believes in skiing as a spiritual pursuit, can find myself wanting to roam, how much more the folks who see it as an expensive recreational activity?

Once the ski school six week programs end, the slopes are relatively empty. As a child in a family of six skiers (way back when), I heard plenty about the expense of it, even though we had season passes (which were mostly comped by the ski school my mom worked for). I fully believe that parents like skiing without their progeny too, and if they don't get to do so, they ski less often.

Now, straighten out your undies.
post #14 of 19
For younger kids, I agree with VA -- you want a mix of family time and all-out skiing. I was lucky enough to be skiing with another family. Several times over the vacation, one of the other parents would say, "I'll hang with the kids, you go find some of your trails."

But last year my son was almost to the point of keeping up with me. This may be the tipping year, where he gets as good / better than me. I anticipate a huge change, from skiing being something I do with him to something we do together.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post
Now, straighten out your undies.
They were never bunched. I was just curious about where your kid was in the process.

And yes, I like skiing without the kids too. But these days, what and how I ski with them is pretty damned close to what and how I ski without them.
post #16 of 19
I agree with everyone but I'll also note that for the "average" participant there's just not the level of interest in the 10th or 20th day that there was on the FIRST DAY. It's the same way with other seasonal activities.
How many people are in the woods or duck blinds on the first day of hunting season compared to the 4th or 5th weekend.
Fall is the best time of the year for golf in our area but the courses are almost empty. The big push for tee times is in March - May when the grass is thin and it's more likely to rain.
post #17 of 19
that's crazy.

this last season didn't really get started until Feb here in Tahoe.

then again i can see if it's a weak beginning to a ski season people's interest can wane. Most of my so-called skier/boarder buddies maybe went up to Tahoe 3 times max last season.

i'd come back from a 2, 3 or 4 day stint and the general reaction was "I didn't think there was any snow up there..." To which I'd reply "Well, not as much as this time last season, but there's plenty to keep the skis gliding and the jones fixated."

it's funny how negative "rumors" get circulated and people just hunker down and accept them. in this case how there hadn't been much snow in Nov/Dec/Jan and first part of Feb, so a lot of weekend warriors had written off the season.

also we have to take into account the "coreness" of some folks.

i'm willing to drive down to Mammoth to ski in July (2 seasons ago). I know people on these boards and over at TGR who will hike for turns well into August around Tahoe, Shasta, Yosemite. that's pretty core.

Joe and Josephine skier and skierette are quite content with the Thanksgiving or Christmas trip and then maybe one or two more before shifting gears. i have quite a few friends who are like this. they get in one or 2 weekends of decent skiing and their fix is done. they'd rather stay in SF and get drunk and hang out with their non-skiing friends.
post #18 of 19
What about the last two weeks in March? That's my 12-year-old son's winter/spring break (here in NYC), and the resort prices are high. But is it crowded out West? Or a good time to go?
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
that's crazy.

this last season didn't really get started until Feb here in Tahoe.

then again i can see if it's a weak beginning to a ski season people's interest can wane. Most of my so-called skier/boarder buddies maybe went up to Tahoe 3 times max last season.

i'd come back from a 2, 3 or 4 day stint and the general reaction was "I didn't think there was any snow up there..." To which I'd reply "Well, not as much as this time last season, but there's plenty to keep the skis gliding and the jones fixated."

it's funny how negative "rumors" get circulated and people just hunker down and accept them. in this case how there hadn't been much snow in Nov/Dec/Jan and first part of Feb, so a lot of weekend warriors had written off the season.

also we have to take into account the "coreness" of some folks.

i'm willing to drive down to Mammoth to ski in July (2 seasons ago). I know people on these boards and over at TGR who will hike for turns well into August around Tahoe, Shasta, Yosemite. that's pretty core.

Joe and Josephine skier and skierette are quite content with the Thanksgiving or Christmas trip and then maybe one or two more before shifting gears. i have quite a few friends who are like this. they get in one or 2 weekends of decent skiing and their fix is done. they'd rather stay in SF and get drunk and hang out with their non-skiing friends.

Ha! We had the same situation here a few years ago. A bit of snow at Christmas, rain all of January, dry until mid-Febrary. The mountain was pretty thin, and some of the lower elevation areas has closed. Then, the weather turned, and we had the most incredible spring since I have lived in the area. It literally snowed nearly every day until the end of April, and I had at least a few bluebird, 1-2 feet of new snow days. I think the base at the mountain increased from 50 inches to 140 inches, which means we probably recieved close to 300 inches of snow in 10 weeks.

Yet, the mountain was completely empty. People were coming into the shop in April, asking me "hey, I thought the mountain was closed!" and I would tell them "yeah, it was thin 2 months ago, but has been snowing since. Didn't you notice the 16 inches of cold rainfall you have been sitting through the past 2 months in Portland? Well, that does turn into snow once it runs into the Cascades! We have a 120 inch base now". How long have you lived in Oregon? It seems that once people decide the skiing is good, or crap, or whatever, their opinion is formed througout the year. If the season starts strong and people get in some good turns in December, they will come up more often, no matter what happens. If Christmas sucks, they will write off the season, even though we ski up until May around here (and Christmas usually does suck, as the snow is wet and the mountain usually is in whiteout conditions).

I find this odd. It isn't like you can't see the mountain from Portland, covered in white, and see for yourself that, hey, there might be skiing up there after all.
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