Snowshoe Calls to Ullr for Snow 14
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

Photo provided by Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
This time last season, ski areas such as West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort had nearly all of their terrain open. In an average year, resorts like Snowshoe, Wisp, and Seven Springs open some slopes by early December at the latest.

This year is not an average year. Warm temperatures have plagued snowmaking efforts across the Mid-Atlantic, and, passing through mid December, no resort in the area has been able to make enough snow to capture an opening date.

“Here at Snowshoe Mountain we are convinced that either Mother Nature’s alarm clock doesn’t have a battery backup, or she is still vacationing in the Bahamas,” concedes a frustrated Joe Stevens, Snowshoe’s Director of Communications.

The Pocahontas County resort has taken the unusual step of renting five additional air compressors - hauled in on a flat bed truck - to supplement snowmaking once the temperatures drop. Since Snowshoe is known for the strength of its snowmaking infrastructure, this additional capacity will really help the snow pile up - at least 20% faster at the Snowshoe area and at least 15% faster at the Silver Creek area, according to the resort.

Frustrated employees at the resort also decided to try some alternative and unconventional ways to attract cold weather, making a plee to Ullr, the famed Norse God of snow in a ceremony on Skidder Slope Thursday night.

“Ullr, which means magnificient, is the Norse God of Snow,” explains Stevens. “This Winter God was considered to be one of the highest gods in Norse Mythology. He was an awesome snowshoe-skier and archer. Ullr delighted in traveling on his skis or skates - particularly when hunting with his weapon, the long bow. In Europe, skiers wear medals engraved with the words Ullr to protect them from harm while on the snow.”

Snowshoe last praised Ullr on its summit three years ago, and a healthy winter shortly followed.

“We can’t wait any longer for snow or cold temperatures, so we have taken the matter into our own hands,” explains Stevens.

Resort employees gathered at the summit and offered praise to Ullr, who made an appearance. (At least, employees assume it was Ullr. It could simply have been a strange old man wearing a white cape that stumbled across the resort, attracted by the bonfire.)

There is no immediate evidence yet that Ullr will deliver the goods in the form of cold temperatures and snow, but a more earthly source - Paul Goodloe, Chief Evening Meteorologist of The Weather Channel, reports that cold temperatures are finally on their way.

“It looks like the [warm] pattern will be changing over North America over the next 10 days, and that will finally mean winter will arrive in Snowshoe! The North Atlantic Oscillation, or NAO, is moving out of its positive phase and has already turned negative, and will stay negative for weeks to come,” explains Goodloe.

The NAO will allow a blocking high to set up over the Western Atlantic, locking in cold air and allowing snow storms to flow from far north all the way into the southeastern U.S.

“For the next 5-10 days, look for a chance of rain late Sunday into Monday and then that rain to change to some snow later on Monday as temperatures finally start to fall,” Goodloe says. “And look for that snow to hang around into Tuesday as well. After that, the cold air should be here to stay awhile.”

Snowshoe will take the cold temperatures whether they come from Ullr or a North Atlantic Oscillation.

The resort plans to launch a volley of snowmaking operations on Monday night, possibly opening some slopes within days - as soon as conditions are right.

In the meantime, Stevens suggests that we can all help out with some snow dances.

Hey - whatever works.

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About M. Scott Smith

M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.

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DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort

Reader Comments

December 14, 2001
common eveyrone...ullr cant do it all! do your dances too!
John Sherwood
December 14, 2001
Herb Stevens is still optimistic:
Bas van Rijswijk
December 16, 2001
Keep up the good work!! We will be arriving in Snowshoe this saturday for a week of skiing.
We will have the children do snow-dances every night before they go to bed!!
December 17, 2001
snowshoe coughs to hide from mother nature should open saturday caugh caugh
December 18, 2001
let's just give up and think about spring training. this is hopeless.
December 18, 2001
A friend wrote a comment yesterday. It's not on here today (was removed in a couple of hours), although all the others I saw yesterday are still on here. Where is it? I guess it takes courage to print someone's opinion that doesn't agree with ours. I forgot, freedom of speech is only for liberals.
For those who are wondering, read my friend's censored message now this may be deleted soon.
"I am the Lord your God. You shall not have other gods besides me..." Snow
would be great, but to build bonfires and offer sacrifices to some strange
"god" is NOT good strategy! (for this ski season OR for eternity!)
December 18, 2001
all in fun. snowshoe employs probably thousands . w/o the snow, the income doesnt come, they dont help people to have fun, and they get depressed themselves. I doubt Scott would delete the message your friend wrote. matter of fact, I imagine he is a Christian too. I'm not speaking for him, and dont want to put words in his mouth. But again, this is all in fun. BTW, funny how it starts snowing a few days lata!
Fr. Bill
December 18, 2001
Greetings skiguy59. Agreed, it may well have been all in fun. But, "offering praise" and from what I understand "sacrifice" (of ski's, boards, etc) is pushing the limit. Like 'mama says: it's all in fun 'till someone looses an eye! But, I do say "Let it FINALLY SNOW!" (I'm the Pastor of the area that includes Snowshoe and so I have a vested interest in the economy down this way too! & also for the good of souls). See you on the slopes!
December 18, 2001
Hey Fr. Bill....thanks for your input. i take it with all my heart and whole heartedly agree... when i was writing earlier, i was strugling with what to say, but also wanting to tell people that people arent taking this like that. but yes, sacrifices were only made from unblemished lambs and are no longer needed because Christ came and died for our sins. Good nite, God Bless, Merry Christmas, and I will see everyone on the slopes!
December 18, 2001
It should gladden my soul I suppose that whatever is being done in the name of "whatever , who ever" on this web site just portrays stupidity and paranoia. This is not a political or a religious posting area. There are plenty of places you can go for that. However if any of them want to shove their one sided views down any ones throats then I don't think are worthy of the souls they attempt to save.
Lets sacrifice stupidity, ignorance and intolerance, get some snow and grow up.

I think it was a good idea to delete the first message to keep messages like this one from being started.
December 18, 2001
Hi folks,

Let's try to keep religious discussions away from DCSki. Everyone has their own religion, and each should be respected. Tolerance is a two-way street.

This article was not meant to be offensive, or religious to anyone. The Norse God of Snow is a mythical creature - just like many of the "gods" we study from Greek mythology. I am certain the event at Snowshoe had absolutely no religious significance to any of the participants; as skiguy said, it was all in good fun. (Santa and the Easter Bunny make regular appearances at Snowshoe, too.) Even if the event did have religious significance to someone - well, that's part of the tolerance being a two-way street thing. If this is someone's belief, DCSki is not a forum to criticize that belief.

Finally, freedom of speech has no relevance here. Freedom of speech protects U.S. citizens from being censored by the government (except in cases such as yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.) DCSki is a private web site and is not operated by the govt., and as such, DCSki can choose to publish or withhold publication of any comments it chooses.

I have not nor do I intend to play the role of censor or message thread policeman; DCSki's readership is thankfully far too mature to require that. But I also do not want message threads on DCSki to migrate to religious discussions; there are other forums for that - this forum is for winter sports. I also expect people to be courteous to each other.

So, I apologize if this article stirred up anyone, and I hope you understand my desire to keep religious debates away from DCSki since there are more appropriate forums for them. The article was not advocating that we sacrifice skis to some higher being; it was simply reporting what I considered a newsworthy event.

Hopefully this is all water under the bridge now and we can get back to hoping for snow and the start of the season!
December 18, 2001
Bravo Scott!
December 18, 2001
Scott, i agree totally w/ you. my first thought was ahh man we got on this topic. anyway, i agree, i thought it was newsworty because anything that happens at the shoe, the only way i find out is throguh or I commend your excellent quality of news, and being involved in forums and web sites and such, i agree totally w/ you on the freedom of speech "argument". anyways, thanks for all you guys do at and for throwing this topic back to skiing. in my eyes, it is water under the bridge. KEEP DOING THOSE DARNED SNOW DANCES PPL!!!!
December 18, 2001
myrto, you nailed it too, keep it up! i agree w/ you too!

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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