West Virginia Governor Proclaims January Learn a Snow Sport Month 3
In a ceremony earlier this month, Joe Manchin, Governor of West Virginia, announced that January was officially Learn a Snow Sport Month in his state. West Virginia joins 31 other states who have joined this program, which was launched last year by a group of industry officials to encourage children and adults to try out snowsports.
West Virginia is home to five downhill ski areas. Collectively, they bring over $250 million to the state each winter season.
Learn more at learnasnowsport.org.
Quote from above:
"West Virginia alpine and nordic areas attract more than 800,000 skier visits. These visits pump over $250 million into the economy and support 5,000 jobs."
Using these metrics one skier equals $312 of revenue and 160 skiers equals one job. Resolutions are great but I am surprised that WV does not do a little more to attract skiers from the lucrative eastern markets.
1. They do not offer 4th or 5th grade programs like other states so I expect they are losing visits to PA here.
2. Other than Corridor H, which was never intended as a skier's road, there has been no infrastructure projects to improve road access to the Valley or Snowshoe. The roads are exactly the same and in the same alignment as they were when these resorts were built over 30 years ago.
3. Snow removal is pretty poor in WV, and I do not see why there is not an emphasis on those roads leading the the major resorts. Locals can drive in that stuff, tourists cant. Compare Garrett County MD. which does and excellent job of snow removal and road treatment.
It is certain that skier visits would improve probably by 10 to 25% with minor road improvements and better maintenance. 200,000 more skier visits would equal another 63 million in revenue and perhaps 1,250 jobs.
In 2002, a fairly significant road infrastructure improvement was made to Snowshoe. A new access road was built to the south end of the resort. It addressed safety concerns and also shaved 30 minutes off the trip for many visitors. It was a $2.4 million project undertaken by the West Virginia highway department.
The state does invest heavily in marketing to winter sports enthusiasts, offering grants to companies to advertise their products and services. I'm not aware of comparable programs in other states in this region.
But you do make a number of good points.
I have seen 'some' road improvements on my route (route 33 WV/VA line to Canaan) over the years but they say you can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig..These are real mountains (Switch backs) with Real mountain weather & WV DOT has their own way of dealing with these conditions which might at 1st seem bad for rookies but you come to appreciate & become more confident in the Roads over time.
Corr H will bring swarms of low landers to the Wv Alpps but they will still "Freak" when they hit the whiteouts once at or above 3000' & we will notice more accidents..& that will include on the Slopes as well with more newbies coming in to ski.