Snowshoe Rings in a Record Holiday Season

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I hate helmets. Look at this one. Only a 12-year-old from Orange County would wear it in public. But this was the last one left in my size so now I look like a six-foot-three Smurf on vacation. But damn, it’s comfortable, and Smith makes it in non-terrible colors—such as dried-coffee-stain-on-white-T-shirt. Smith also claims it’s the lightest ski helmet on the market. Maybe it is. But the best feature is not noticing that you’re wearing it until you’re skiing fast, when the vents on the front whistle in the wind. It’s not an Andy Griffith Show whistle. It’s more of a scream-whistle, like the sound of Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter. When you hear this sound, you get pumped because it affirms that, yes, you are skiing fast. The only disappointment is the goggle clip, which incessantly pops out. Last season, on a deep day at Vals, a small hill in Switzerland, I ducked an alder branch and it grazed the back of my helmet and pulled the goggle clip out. My goggles slipped off into the snow and I stopped, sidestepped up, and looked for the clip. Thanks to its appalling color, I pinpointed it. A single drop of Krazy Glue solved the problem and it’s been smooth scream-whistling ever since. [$100;]  —J.B.

Snowshoe, WV Jan. 11--This was a banner holiday for Snowshoe Ski Resort in West Virginia. Record breaking crowds packed the popular ski resort over Christmas and New Year's, generating the busiest holiday period in its' 26-year history.

From Dec. 20, 1999-Jan. 2, 2000, the West Virginia ski resort recorded over 87,000 skier visits, with 51,857 coming during the week between Christmas and New Year's.

On Jan. 31, Snowshoe kept the lights shining until 1:00AM allowing 1,453 skiers to rip turns into the New Year setting a record for the most skier visits in one evening.

"We have to attribute our success to the snowmaking crew who has picked up the slack for an ailing Mother Nature this season," reported Joe Stevens of Snowshoe Mountain. "While receiving only 32-inches of natural snow so far, the snowmaking crew has spent over 600 hours converting more than 100 million gallons of water into snow. This incredible effort has allowed 54 of 56 trails and 14 lifts to open."

Stevens also gave credit for the success to the three million-plus page views the Snowshoe website has received since Sept. 23, 1999. He said that the resort has received over 300,000 on-line reservations so far this season from the site.

"We Snowshoe Ski Resort are about 32-percent above last year's attendance totals which turned out to be our second best season ever," continued Stevens. "It looks as if we are headed toward a record year here at Snowshoe."

Snowshoe gets most of its' visitors from the Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Florida areas.