Friday, January 31, 2014

The Back Bowl

I was reminded today how much the Back Bowl sets Welch Village apart from the rest of the local ski and snowboard market.  There are no highways, no big power lines, houses, buildings, or anything else back there.  Just great terrain and great snow.  You are truly riding in a unique, secluded, scenic, and of course...steep terrain environment.  Our grooming crew was nice enough to ignore most of the Back Bowl after yesterday's 7 inch snow fall.  I wasn't able to get back there until mid-afternoon, but it was still prime.  The conditions will still be great this weekend.  As the days get longer and the sun gets higher, the Back Bowl is going to get only better.  After today's hard to believe that it can get much better than this.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another Powder Day

It was really strange closing the ski area for two days this week.  It just didn't seem right.  But, under the circumstances, we feel it was the right decision.  As it turned out, most of the ski areas in the area made the same decision.  Two days of being closed were then followed up by two incredible days to be on the slopes.  Yesterday was warmer with blue skis and today was spectacular.  I taught a private lesson to a great lady from Owatonna.  What should have been a typical beginner/intermediate lesson turned into a powder day was awesome.  We received more snow here in Welch than the forecasted 4-6 inches.  By the time I got out to take some pictures and make some turns it was pretty piled up but in most places.   I did find a few areas still untouched and the snow was way over my boots.  The snow conditions are just outstanding right now and there is a lot of winter left to get some skiing and riding in.  I hope to see you this weekend!  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Perfect Weekend

It doesn't get much better than this weekend.  Fresh snow and sunshine.  Yes, there were some lift lines, some lines at the ticket windows and in ski school, long lines in rental, but I commend our staff on weekends like this for doing the best job they can.  I also commend all of you guests and members for your patience and understanding.  When the weather is this good it gets busy out there. We truly do our best here at Welch Village on weekends like this to help our guests have the best experience possible.  Hopefully, your patience was rewarded with an exceptional experience on the slopes this weekend.  Thank you for your patience and thank you for choosing to spend your weekend with us. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Great Stretch

We are in the midst of a great a stretch of days of seasonal temperatures and it looks like we are in for 2-4 inches of snow tonight.  I spent Sunday at Trollhaugen Ski Resort for the D-Team race.  After being away from Welch Village for an entire busy weekend day yesterday, naturally,  I had numerous voicemails and emails waiting for me today.  But when I arrived in the Welch Valley late this morning to 30 degrees, blue skies, and abundant sunshine,  those obligations were put aside.  Instead, I buckled my boots, grabbed my skis and spent a couple of hours enjoying the tremendous snow conditions we have right now.  With snow in the forecast and great stretch of weather in the future, it looks like I better listen to those voicemails and read those emails so I can hit the fresh snow first thing in the morning.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Our Future

Even though the sun didn't begin to finally show itself until it was about to set, the crowds today were still treated to great snow conditions and some warmer temperatures.  On busy weekend days like this, we love to see a packed beginner hill with guests of all ages learning the lifetime sport of skiing or snowboarding.  What's really cool is seeing how our ski school staff is developing in our second year of being a "PMTS Direct Parallel" ski school.  We are unlike any other ski school in the country.  When I learned how to ski, like most everyone still today, I was taught the wedge, or snowplow.  We do not teach that at Welch Village.  We teach all skiers to ski parallel from day one.  We do not teach something that our guests will have to unlearn later.  We also do not belong to PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America)  The PMTS Direct Parallel system leads to expert skiing and it leads to a better experience for the guest.  Ski Area Management Magazine asked me to write an article about this at the end of last season.  Click Here to read the article.  On a related subject, we are in need of more ski instructors.  In fact, we are preparing an incentive package to begin recruiting new ski instructors asap.  If you are interested, don't wait until next fall to let us know.  Contact us now.  We will be contacting all of our guests and season pass holders soon.  If you would like a complimentary staff pass and become an even better skier yourself, you are going to want to stay tuned. Or SkiLink Performance Center trainers offer the best training clinics in the area.  Most of all, teaching others to ski or ride, and becoming an active participant in the future of this sport is a truly rewarding experience.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Not That bad

Sometimes we get beyond frustrated with the meteorologists and the news media. This frustration boils over with our guests too.  We heard countless comments of frustration about the weather people and media at our ticket windows this weekend.  This weekend was a perfect example of why.  We acknowledge that the forecast appears to be very cold, with potentially dangerous wind chills and conditions if one is unprepared.  When the forecasters miss on the temperatures by 10+ degrees like they did both Saturday and today, this keeps 1000's of skiers and snowboarders home.  The forecast for yesterday (and they began forecasting...a.k.a dart throwing about a week ago) was cloudy, very cold, windy, dramatically falling temps. throughout the day, blowing and drifting snow etc.  The temperature reached 30 degrees around midnight but did not drop through the day nearly as much as they said it would.  In fact, it was full sun, blue skies, very light winds, and about 20 degrees still at mid-afternoon.  Add those weather conditions to our excellent snow conditions and it was a great day.  A visiting ski group from Chicago thought the skiing all weekend was fantastic.  But thanks to the ratings seeking media and meteorologists, the damage was done and people were successfully scared into staying indoors and away from MN outdoor recreational businesses.  Today, the forecasters said that this "Historic, and Life-Threatening Artic Blast" would begin it's real invasion.  The forecast reminded me of some science-fiction, apocalyptic movie about the end of the world.  Today's forecast called for a very windy, very cold high of -10.  As I am writing this blog entry, it's 0 degrees at Welch Village with an 8 mph wind, full sun with blue skies.  Again, for those who came today and were prepared for the weather, they were treated to a fine day for skiing and riding with excellent snow conditions...and no lift lines.  I realize that meteorologists and local news media probably feel some obligation to communicate this kind of weather in a manner that warns the public and keeps them safe.  However, I believe they forecast and present the weather news today in a certain way to cause concern and sometimes fear in their viewers...and this then causes higher viewership and ratings for their station.

Thank you to all of who spent the weekend here and thank you to our staff, especially our lift-operators and ski patrols who spent the weekend outside and lived to tell about it!  We are closing today at 4pm and reopening at noon on Tuesday.  We are closing mostly because it does appear to be very cold tonight and Monday.  However, we are also closing because people are probably too scared to ski & ride based on what they've heard.   Good news is, the weather pattern looks like it begins to change later this week.  There is still a whole lot of winter to enjoy this year!