New SE Ski Resort (VA/ NC)
35 posts
13 users
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WP_Employee
March 30, 2006
Member since 03/7/2004 🔗
83 posts
Mountain Masher
March 30, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
Sounds interesting but no details are given about the following: number of ski slopes, vertical, or number and type of lifts. I would say that the ski slope(s) won't amount to much because the primary purpose of the development will be to sell expensive houses, row-houses and condos. Also, given the mild weather trends, any new ski area (so far South) should have a base elevation in excess of 4,800 feet. Anything less and it's going to be quite difficult to keep a snow base down during much of the Winter.
skier219
March 30, 2006
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
I just took a look at the mountain in Google Earth (36.46,-81.49), and that would make quite an impressive ski area on the north face. I think they could probably pull it off. The climate would be similar to Wintergreen VA. There are some good stories about Phoenix Mtn on skiNC.com, and it sounds like a previous developer did a lot of work already, including cutting trails, making a snowmaking pond, and doing snowmaking tests.
fishnski
March 31, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Phoenix Mtn is 4710' high with a base in the high 2000's. They are saying they will have a 1600' vert which would put the ski area base at around 3100'(Boone's elevation). They are also saying it recieves 65 inches of snow a year.(a little less than Beech Mtn & more than WG)..BTW Beech Mtn recieved 80"'s this year with a 19.5 inch dump in feb...(followup to an earlier discussion with Rogerz)....there is a 3+ mile run potential also....can they afford the snowmaking? The developers plan on building an Adirondack style lodge on a Tier up at around 3600'...supposed to be nice!
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Mountain Masher
March 31, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
A ski area of significant size with a climate "similar to Wintergreen" would have a very hard time making a go of it, given the enormous amout of snow that would have to be made and the difficulty of keeping a base down. Also, the weather in the area of Phoenix Mt. will likely be even warmer in another 10 years.
Swimmer
March 31, 2006
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
"Phoenix Mountain has an altitude of over approximately 4,600 feet, a mile long 300-400 foot cliff face, a mile of highway frontage, 150,000 gallons per day of sewage and water capacity, unspoiled mountain streams, only two miles from a high-growth, historic village, and no zoning restrictions."

Usually I associate an oxy-moron as a single phrase such as "army intelligence" or "pretty ugly". However, the spin doctors on this place managed to link a whole segment together..."unspoiled mountain streams" included with no zoning laws, highway frontage, 150,000 sewage ability...

Money hungry land barons. Effin' bastards. Where do you think future generations are going to find any example of what nature is supposed to be like? I wish there could be some law that dictates that they return all the area back to a natural state after their attempts here fail and they go bankrupt. Something to the affect of an "environmental impact escrow" account. Money set aside at the beginning to clean up the mess they are going to make.

I'm starting to sound like MM. That's what I get for reading this stuff at the 2 a.m. feeding of the kids.

good night
Steve
Roger Z
March 31, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Murphy has been tracking this for a while, though he didn't catch this article. Phoenix is too low, too far south. I've long thought Whitetop would make a much better, new southern resort. There's a peak just east of Whitetop that sits at 5360 and you could get a solid 2000 feet of vertical out of it. It's 40 miles further north of Phoenix and 500 feet higher, so the conditions are better. Alas, the feds tried to build "a ski slope" there in the 1960s and 1970s but it didn't work out.

Andy found a much nicer peak to the north of Boone and Banner Elk on the way to Tennessee. What was the name of it Andy? About 5500 feet high, right off the road.

Well, we'll see what becomes of this but I do get a little nervous when a developer from Florida starts by saying he is going to build "a ski slope." That'd be like a Canadian going to Florida and saying he's going to build "a golf hole." Maybe he means a full-blown ski resort, but he's obviously not verses in ski language. Makes me wonder about his understanding of other key resort dynamics: snowmaking, grooming, lifts, mountain design, etc. Hopefully he hires some darn good consultants.

When we build Moonshine Mountain, however...
Murphy
March 31, 2006
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
Sorry Roger, I've been slacking. But Phoenix Mtn isn't necessarily too low. If they can build a base at 3,600', as fishnski kind alluded to, they could still have 1000' of vert between 3,600' and 4,600'. As someone said earlier, that climates probably comparable to Wintergreen. They actually get more snow. Appalachian Ski also has the same average elevation as Phoenix and further south and they're well know in the area for their snow quality. They may only have a few acres to cover with snow but if they can do it there they can do it at Phoenix. It's just a matter of scale.

The real question is will they do it. None of the parties involved seem to have experience in ski areas and the article didn't exactly instill confidence. Hopefully they'll do better than a "Ski slope" . Of course that article was written for a small, weekly paper in western NC and it looked like it took all of 15 minutes to write. Most of it was cut and paste from previous articles.
skier219
March 31, 2006
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
On a related note, there are some great mountains surrounding Monterey VA with approx 4200 ft elevation and winter climate similar to Snowshoe (milder than SS, but more severe than Wintergreen). Whenever I drive through there, I see a Vermont ski town just waiting to happen. They even have the whole Maple syrup culture out there (which I did not realize, but that area has a lot of sugar houses) and just had the Maple Festival a few weeks ago. It could be the real Sugarbush "south" !

I have often fantasized that if I had a large amount of money on tap (tens or hundreds of millions) I would start a ski area and run it as a non-profit organization. Not there to be a business for stockholders, but a ski area for skiers. It would have a limited number of tickets available every day, the same fancy York 100% snowmaking system that Wintergreen has, a couple fast lifts, narrow trails (more efficient for snowmaking, grooming, etc) and basically address all the needs/wants/complaints we all have with typical mountains in the area. I am convinced the only way to do it right is to skip the business aspect and do it for the sake of the skiing. Have no illusions about profitability. Oh yeah, every skier would have to waive all liability against the ski area when buying a ticket -- I want to skip the lawyers too!

There is a lot of land ripe to be developed as a ski area in such a situation, all up and down the mid-A. Anybody have a spare $10-20M to get us started??
KevR
March 31, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Where do they think folks would be coming from to use their slopes?
Atlanta, Raleigh, and Richmond...?
Norsk
March 31, 2006
Member since 05/13/2003 🔗
315 posts
To be fair to this fellow quoted in the article, when I was ski racing in college down in NC, I heard EMPLOYEES of Beech, Sugar and Hawksnest use terms like "ski slope" to describe their resorts. Ski lingo is in short supply down there in the NC high country, even at the better mountains. Appy is probably the exception, having a well-established ski culture dating back to the Austrians (?) who founded it. So I wouldn't read too much into the language used. The involvement of a developer from Florida, however, is a whole other matter...
Swimmer
March 31, 2006
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
Quote:

100% snowmaking system that Wintergreen has, a couple fast lifts, narrow trails (more efficient for snowmaking, grooming, etc)




Well...a thought about grooming and narrow trails...it's my understanding (never been there) that MRG does not groom some of it's runs because the groomers do not fit down some of the narrow runs.

If you're hell bent on making a skier's ski area I say leave as many trees as you can pour your money into snowmaking instead of grooming. Let the snow guns groom your slope every day by filling it all in every night. Since you're not looking for profit, you won't depend on beginner or intermediate skier so the need to groom is pretty much zilch.

That being said, I don't support any new ski resorts. We have enough. I say build to the extent of whatever property they currently own can handle and then that's it. If they want new slopes, do what golf courses do when they want different holes...tear up the course and re configure. On ski slopes that would mean plant new trees on the old slopes while you clear the new runs. Better even if you could just transplant the trees...since we're dreaming of course

steve
Murphy
March 31, 2006
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
Quote:

Where do they think folks would be coming from to use their slopes?
Atlanta, Raleigh, and Richmond...?




If you're talking about Phoenix Mtn, there's a healthy and growing ski market in western NC. I believe there are 7 resorts there already. They're all pretty small but several are growing and I think many experienced record setting attendance this past year. There's a relatively healthy local clientele from Charlotte and Greensboro but they do get a lot of Georgians and Floridiots as they like to call them.
Murphy
March 31, 2006
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
The webmaster at SkiNC did some research and wrote this story about the Phoenix Mtn deal.

Apparently the news paper article was a little over blown and at least premature.
Roger Z
March 31, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Kevin is convinced that the world revolves around Washington DC, Murph. In his eyes, the ski industry in Utah would probably collapse if it wasn't graced by the presence of DC residents flying out for vacation. He's apparently never skied at Snowshoe or Winterplace or, if he has, talked to anyone who skis there. Or if he has talked to them, he's developed a great case of amnesia, because otherwise he wouldn't be so dubious about ski markets in the southeast.

Anyway, should we build more ski resorts? An interesting question. Steve, let me ask this, you mentioned that you think other existing resorts should expand to meet capacity. Would you favor expansion at an existing ski resort over a new resort if it meant that an endangered species could potentially be driven extinct, whereas that wouldn't happen at the new resort?

I'm asking because underlying your position is an assumption (I think) that the environment where ski resorts exist is compromised and therefore expansion could continue there, but the environment on a new mountain is not as compromised and therefore new development shouldn't go there.

More broadly, Phoenix Mountain is in private hands. By right, it can be developed. If a ski resort isn't built there, something else will be. You're facing a series of sub-optimal solutions... if you don't want a ski resort there, what alternative would you prefer? Is a new ski resort always the worst choice?
Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 31, 2006
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,225 posts
How long a drive is this place from DC? or say, Fairfax? To me that is the key issue. Before discovering route 28 passing by the Cass Mountain Railroad, it used to take me 5.5 hrs. +/- a bit to get to Snowshoe. That's more than I am willing to do for a weekend. Canaan Valley is within my range of willingness but much beyond 4 hrs. is not. I am going to guess that this place ia a 6-7 hr. drive one way. If so, I doubt that they will get many DC skiers. I can get to Hunter in 6 hrs., Killington in 8, and Stowe, Mad River, Sugarbush in 9. The product that these places offer is much more to my taste than mid Atlantic skiing. Furthermore, I don't have to drive it all, I can fly to Burlington, Albany, or Manchester, NH, rent a car and drive the rest. Perhaps I could fly to Charlotte, then drive, if that interested me, but it doesn't.

I think that Phoenix Mtn will have a significant impact on NC skiers, but doubt that it will have much impact on the DC market.
WP_Employee
March 31, 2006
Member since 03/7/2004 🔗
83 posts
This resort doesn't exist for the DC market.

This is for the SOUTHERN US market: Atlanta, Charlotte, etc.

And someone else mentioned that NC resorts are expanding, its true. Catalooche just announced a terrain expansion, App. Ski Mountain and Hawksnest are all looking to expand as well.

The market in NC is growing LEAPS and bounds over WV or PA for that matter.
Murphy
March 31, 2006
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
Denis,

You're right, the average DCSkier should probably care little about Phoenix Mtn. It's a good 6 1/2 hrs away. But for the few of us living in SW VA it's less than 2 hrs away. I would put the odds of this place being built at less than 50-50 and the odds of it being even nicer than Sugar Mtn down the road at practically nil. Still it's fun to dream.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 31, 2006
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,225 posts
Murphy,

Blacksburg. Of course; I should have realized that. I have often wondered about the 'Balds' on the higher mountains in NC & TN as potential backcountry skiing places. I have taken my scout troop on a couple of backpacking trips to Mt. Rogers, the highest mtn. in VA, in the far southwest corner of the state. There are some rolling pretty meadows near the summit, however it is 10+ miles from the road. There must be some similarly interesting places that are closer to roads, if one knew one's way around. Perhaps finding them is another project to put on my retirement 'wish list'.
KevR
March 31, 2006
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Now exactly why did anyone interpret my post as an editoral comment? It was a straight-up question. What's the market for this resort? I listed 3 larger population centers that (I think) are nearby, thinking they were likely the intended market. I thought PERHAPS someone would have some ideas here, could illuminate further.

Rogerz -- relax dude!
Swimmer
March 31, 2006
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
Quote:

Anyway, should we build more ski resorts? An interesting question. Steve, let me ask this, you mentioned that you think other existing resorts should expand to meet capacity. Would you favor expansion at an existing ski resort over a new resort if it meant that an endangered species could potentially be driven extinct, whereas that wouldn't happen at the new resort?

I'm asking because underlying your position is an assumption (I think) that the environment where ski resorts exist is compromised and therefore expansion could continue there, but the environment on a new mountain is not as compromised and therefore new development shouldn't go there.

More broadly, Phoenix Mountain is in private hands. By right, it can be developed. If a ski resort isn't built there, something else will be. You're facing a series of sub-optimal solutions... if you don't want a ski resort there, what alternative would you prefer? Is a new ski resort always the worst choice?




I realize I enter this conversation as an outsider. I am not pro new development of any sort but would rather see what we have used more effeciently. Furthermore, I realize I am entering into a conversation where I have no basic knowledge about the subject at all..development. It's not my field, not my thing. I simply like to sit in my arm chair and play Monday morning quarterback. So please don't take what I have to say too seriously because for all practicallity, it's coming from an idiot. I do understand that Roger is educated about development as well as others on this board.

So, enough disclaimer, onto my point..if I have one.

Would I be willing to see a species endangered or even made extinct by the further development of an existing ski area INSTEAD of building a new ski area where species would not be endangered...short answer, no. In the gianormous picture (giant and enonormous put together) I'd prefer no further ski development of any sort on any sort of land. There are a plethora of options that already exist for a skier. Skiing, like a ton of other amenitites, is simply for our pleasure. I don't see the need to push out Mother Nature to fit our own pleasures in. The world is bigger than just us humans. We have large brains and opposable thumbs. We can adapt to our recreational needs without bulldozers and electricity.

Phoenix Mountain is in private hands. Yep, you're right, it's going to be developed. Real estate is an investment. Rarely does a large parcel of land get purchased to preserve it. I do wish that if it's going to be developed though that it get made into something that will succeed. Ski areas and the Southeast are not harmonious.

So is a ski area development always the worst choice? Since they just opened up an indoor ski area in the Middle East, I can't say Phoenix Mountain is bound to fail...stranger things have succeeded. I just don't see great success here. If Phoenix Mountain was located in a more snow friendly environment and people were hell bent on developing it..sure, make it a ski area. But where they are at...there has got to be better options.

So....all that simply says "I wish we would stop all new development on private and public lands. I would much rather see a re structuring of what we do have and our adventures into the wilds to follow the mantra of take only photos, leave nothing but footprints. (or skin tracks) However, I am marginally intelligent enough to realize my dream will never come to fruitation"
fishnski
March 31, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Southerners love snow & skiing! They are into it because they don't have to deal with the snow & cold on a regular basis like you Yankees The slopes in the Carolinas are PACKED...Phoenix will succeed if built. Snowshoe thrives on the southern market. Murph,the lodge is to be built at 3600',but the lowest lift would be placed at around 3100'. With sugar having a 1200' vert they will go for at least a 1400' to 1600' vert for bragging rights! Actually they said a 1600' vert was what they were trying for....100' larger than Snowshoe...get the drift? Swimmer,I'm with you. We have enough ski areas of a certain caliber.We don't need any more of the samo, samo...what we need is the BEST 1 or 3 MTN's that the Mid atlantic or SE has to offer to be developed before the opportunity is passed....that would be an incredible shame! I think that the old school thinking of turning the highest Mountains like Mt Roger in VA & Spruce Knob in West Va into observation posts is flawed.Use the biggest & baddest Mountains for public recreational use(SKIING) & then turn the rest over to nature.
Swimmer
March 31, 2006
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
What prevents people from skiing Mt. Rogers and Spruce Knob during these current winters? Access issues?

I akin the mentality of having to cut trails across every sizable bump across the land as the same mentality that demands huge houses, huge vehicles, the biggest and baddest thing on the market. It's the definiation of that "mentality" which is subjective. Personally, I don't agree with it, but everyone is different.

Steve
fishnski
March 31, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
You are definetly an EXTREMIST But then so am I! You know swimmer,if I could hike up to Mount porte crayon & Find a way down, I might join the ranks of DSCskiers that do not support a ski area there....But the realty is that it is PRIVATE PROP & The forest is Too Thick to ski thru anyway! Nobody can use it now & maybe forever...Shame,Shame,Shame!!!! There are Endless undeveloped places still left..save them if U want, Give me "Almost Heaven" Or let the Phoenix RISE!!!!
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
March 31, 2006
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
840 posts
the market? just go to beech, app, and sugar on a weekend and slice of 10% of the traffic and you would have enough to support a few new lifts. thougn I am generally quite pro-environmental-protection (quit screwing around and double the CAFE), there is a matter of optimization - if i have X dollars to spend on enviromental issues, preventng ski areas would probably not be the most efficient spend. And we do only have X dollars to spend.

and totally agree on monteray. lookout knob is just south and has a nice multifaceted north face. accessibility is so much better than SS - think of the aggregate gasoline and greenhouse emission savings.

anyway, it's not going to be the bees knees and 1600' vert has got to be a ruse, but it would be nice to have another place to go. phoenix would be just a mile or two closer than wintergreen for me.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
March 31, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts
I am beginning to think you are always negative simply to get attention. A lot of DC Skiers are on the slopes this weekend (first weekend in April!!!!) despite your late Feb.contention that all the MidAtlantic areas would be closed the first week in March. By the way, Wintergreen is also open this weekend. Come on man, lighten up!
The Colonel
Mountain Masher
March 31, 2006
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
STOP misrepresenting my posts!!!!!!!! I stated that there would be a ski area (or perhaps a few) within the mid-Atlantic that would close by the first weekend in March. And, that prediction was basically on the mark as there WAS a ski area within the mid-Atlantic that closed only one day later than my prediction. This, despite a blast of cold air that stayed around until mid March. And, about skiing this weekend? Get real! Perhaps the only place with legitimate skiing will be the Shoe, and even the Shoe is going to have some limitations. Also, I pointed out the difference between Technical Closure Dates (TCDs) for ski areas and the last day of legitimate skiing. And, by the way, you REALLY DO live in a dream world if you think that there's going to be some real skiing at Wintergreen this weekend!!!! Hopefully, someone will go so we can have a TR on how AWESOME the skiing at Wintergreen was on April 1&2.
skier219
April 1, 2006
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Quote:

And, by the way, you REALLY DO live in a dream world if you think that there's going to be some real skiing at Wintergreen this weekend!!!! Hopefully, someone will go so we can have a TR on how AWESOME the skiing at Wintergreen was on April 1&2.




There is plenty of snow on Dobie and Eagle's swoop, the two trails that will be open for this last weekend. I will try to take some pics tomorrow if I make it up, but you can look at their picture of the day right now for an indication. Obviously it's not peak season with all trails open, but if a skier/boarder can't have fun skiing spring snow on a sunny 60F day (with BBQ, park features, and pond skimming), then they need to have their head checked out. Get out there folks, it will be a great chance to end the season on an up note!
Roger Z
April 1, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Well it's not a horrible dream that you've got there, Steve. But you've gotta remember that the population is growing and that these people are going to have to live and recreate somewhere, or else suffer a worse quality of life than we have. Sure, we could fit every future skier onto the existing terrain but either the ski areas would get extremely overcrowded or the ski industry would be (or continue to be) stagnant or declining in the process.

But as you know, the environment and open space will also play a very important role in that future. If you are open for suggestions, Steve, and if you haven't done so already, I'd suggest you take a look at conservation easements and groups like the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. They buy large pieces of land and put them into permanent open space. The Canaan Valley Institute is a good clearinghouse for West Virginia environmental info. There's a huge fight going on right now to save Blackwater Canyon. They could always use some more help. And there are some really good initiatives in both Virginia and West Virginia to expand the number and size of wilderness areas in both states.

The point is- there are things you can do because of what you believe. It won't be 100% of what you want, but it's more than 0% too.

There is a quote from Bob Marhsall's "Alaska Wilderness" (a collection of essays that he wrote about his exploration of the Brooks Range) that I like to keep in mind regarding wilderness and civilization. His exploration was the last geographic expedition in America by foot- all subsequent surveying was done by plane. You should get the book, you'd really enjoy it:

"Now we were back among people in Wiseman. In a day I should be in Fairbanks, two more in Juneau, in a week in Seattle and the great, thumping, modern world. The world with its present population needs these accomplishments. It cannot live on wilderness, except incidentally and sporadically. Nevertheless, to four human beings, just back from the source streams of the Koyukuk, no comfort, not security, no invention, no brilliant thought which the modern world had to offer could provide half the elation of the days spent in the little-explored, uninhabited world of the arctic wilderness."
JohnL
April 1, 2006
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

We have large brains and opposable thumbs. We can adapt to our recreational needs without bulldozers and electricity.





Speak for yourself only. I have an opposable brain and large thumbs.
fishnski
April 1, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Its posable I have a brain the size of a thumb.....WATCH YOUR MOUTH!.....I blame the farmer that doesn't want to sell his land to develope a ski area,Because he also opposes reintroducing the wolves,mountain lions,& elk back into the Wilderness areas because his cows & fences would be in jeapordy....So because of(mountain owning) farmers we possibly will never see a true wilderness area or a great ski ski resort. One or another..I cannot stand seeing either a half assed ski area or a tame wilderness area. Come on Mountain Mash..join me & the 2 of us could drive these folks BONKERS!
Murphy
April 2, 2006
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
A guy who claims to own land next to Phoenix Mtn. posted this pic on SkiNC. It's not hard to imagine a ski resort is it? There's a whole gallery by aerial photographer Tom Fowler HERE.


Roger Z
April 2, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Well, there appear to be lots of cut lines going through it from old logging roads. It's near two small towns, which could easily bolster the "village" feel of the resort if done right, and skiing by cliff bands would make for a very unique feel to the resort (as well as cliff jumping opportunities in heavy snows!).

They've got a good mountain to work with; shame it isn't 100 miles further north and/or 1000 feet higher.

Oh yeah, someone mentioned Monterey as potential ski country. Yeah, I've thought that for years. Monterey is a charming little village that's a great weekend getaway if your sig. ot. likes the rural lifestyle, and their annual maple sugar festival is something of a legend here in western VA (it's claimed to be the farthest south location where maple syrup is harvested on the east coast). There's some really good mountains up in the VA/WV county line- Snowy Mountain in particular. Good name, too. Snowy already has a 3-6 acre subdivision on the back side so it's nowhere near being in a natural state. There's also another place- Panther Mountain or something like that- just northwest of Snowy Mountain. You take a county road east off of 28 right after it comes down from the pass that separates the Greebrier watershed from the Potomac. Big mountain, nothin' out there but farms, farms, and farms.

There's something to be said about leaving Monterey alone though. I think it's the most sparsely populated county east of the Mississippi. It's not remote so much as just very, very pastoral. Not many places left like that.
Swimmer
April 2, 2006
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
Quote:

There's something to be said about leaving Monterey alone though. I think it's the most sparsely populated county east of the Mississippi. It's not remote so much as just very, very pastoral. Not many places left like that.




Thanks for tossing me a bone
Roger Z
April 2, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Oh wait, Steve wants to see Monterey saved... let's strip mine it!!!

(just kidding, in case you can't tell)
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