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There's still snow in those hills
Monday, March 11, 2013
The big snow storm that walloped much of Virginia and West Virginia in early March created awesome conditions at the states' ski resorts.
But while those conditions have been great news for skiers and snowboarders they won't necessarily translate into extended seasons.
That's because when temperatures are balmy in population centers, resorts struggle to lure skiers out of those balmy conditions and onto the snow.
Think about this past weekend.
Trails, greenways, rivers and lakes in Western Virginia were crowded with hikers, runners, bikers and fishermen.
With temperatures in the upper 60s, not many folks were thinking about skiing.
Case in point: Even though I had a great time skiing at Snowshoe Mountain on Friday, I wasn't thinking about skiing on Saturday and Sunday.
Because it doesn't make business sense to keep a ski operation rolling when there are few skiers to be had, many resorts end up pulling the plug in mid-March even when they have great snow conditions.
And there's little question about the quality of snow conditions in the region. While in some years the resorts might be barely hanging on by this point, this year the mountains have snow aplenty.
Wintergreen Resort got about 2 feet of snow from the March 6 storm, but is committed to offering only another week of skiing.
The resort will stay open through this coming weekend, and will close on March 18. There's a chance the resort will reopen for skiing on the weekend of March 21-23.
The plan is the same at Bryce Resort, though Horst Locher says the resort may stretch its season even longer, offering skiing on the final weekend of the month.
"If it looks good we may keep going through Easter [March 31]," Locher said.
Bryce got 12 inches of snow from the recent storm, to go along with piles of man-made snow.
"In 40 years I've never seen conditions this good," Locher said, before adding with a chuckle, "but we need it at the beginning of the season, not the end.
"The timing is all wrong."
At Massanutten Resort near Harrisonburg, web cams that scan the ski area show an entire mountain covered in white. Yet after Sunday the resort is shutting down its ski business for the season.
Sunday is also the final skiing day of the season at The Homestead.
West Virginia's Snowshoe Mountain, where the base is conservatively listed as 32 to 52 inches, plans to stay open through the end of the month.
To the North, Timberline resort plans to stay open into April.
Nearby Canaan Valley Resort will close for the season after Sunday.
Winterplace, in Ghent, W.Va., plans to stay open through at least March 24,though the resort may extend its season if conditions allow.
Christiansburg Triathlon holds on
The Tri Adventure Spring Sprint Triathlon is a go.
Race director Anne Thompson had said in late February that the April 7 race would be canceled if it didn't reach at least 100 pre-registered competitors by March 6.
Registrations got there, but not with much wiggle room.
As of Monday afternoon the event had 111 registered entrants.
Thompson has said that the race's break-even point is about 145 entrants.
In its third year, the race features a 300-meter swim at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center, a 20K bike ride and a 5K run - distances that are ideal for novices.
It's open to individual and relay teams.
Another relatively young area triathlon race is also running light on registrants.
The Salem YMCA sprint triathlon, scheduled for June 2, has only 22 people signed up.
It's not panic time yet, though.
Triathlons have pretty strict refund policies, so athletes often put off entering races, like the Salem event, that don't traditionally sell out quickly.
The Salem race entry fee doesn't go up - from its current $65 to $70 - until May 1.
That race features a 300-yard swim, 9-mile bike and 5K run.
Franklin County NWTF youth event honored
The Franklin County Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation has pulled in yet another honor for its annual youth event.
At the recent NWTF Virginia state chapter banquet, the Longbeards' Juniors Acquiring Knowledge Ethics and Sportsmanship event was named the state's best JAKES events among those with 150 to 200 participants.
The event, which draws enthusiastic crowds to Waid Recreation Area for a Saturday each fall, has earned numerous awards from the NWTF at both the state and national levels.
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