Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is It Winter Yet?


What's going on here? It's nearing the end of January and we've yet to experience a snowfall of any real significance. Fortunately, there has been enough cold weather to allow the ski areas to make snow and get more than half their trails and slopes open. At least that's the case as I write this. To be honest, though, I suggest that anyone coming to ski or snowboard check the condition reports on the various ski area web sites or give us a call for an honest Cannon Mountain assessment.

Chris and I are again working in Cannon's Snowsports School (I really can't get out of the habit of calling it a "ski" school but it's PC to use "snowsports" so as to include snowboarding.) I'm now the assistant director so I don't teach much at all but instead "manage". Still get to ski a bunch though. Chris is now a veteran ski and snowboard instructor in the Cannon Kids School having taught for over three years.

Not to belabor this too much but this has been the most bizarre winter I've experienced since getting into the ski business 30 years ago. To add insult to injury, the weekend weather has been noticeably worse than on weekdays. Fortunately, we aren't snowmobilers but do feel sorry for those who are waiting for their trails to open. There are trails open up here but the cover ranges from thin to none. The only XC skiing is on the golf courses which can support skiing on a heavy frost. It certainly has been cold of late, though, so snowmaking efforts have been rewarding.

I can recommend skiing and riding at Cannon, though. They've done a really good job of making and grooming snow and, with even smaller than usual crowds, the mountain experience is excellent. How long will it last? Well, the snowmakers continue to pound out the manmade stuff so as long as it stays reasonably cold, we'll have skiing and riding.

As usual, Nancy and I are preparing for our April escape south. We will be closing the motel around April 4th and reopening on May 6th or 7th. We are going back to Iron Horse Campground, a motorcycle oriented campground in the Smokies of North Carolina, this time for almost two weeks. We really like the riding and the folks at this campground in Stecoah. Then it's on to Florida and a sailboat charter out of Punta Gorda on the west coast. We've done this before and are really excited about it. The boys fly down to Tampa to join us on the high seas and to see the grandparents. On the way home, we'll stop in Virginia for some more riding on and around the Skyline Drive.

The big news in Littleton is the impending opening of Lowe's right next to Home Depot. Will the area support two super stores like this? Hard to figure. Our fourth Chinese restaurant just opened on Main Street. It looks very nice but we would appreciate a little more variety. Personally, we still tend to head to the bar section of The 99 when we go out for a quick supper. The food is good, the atmosphere comfortable and the prices reasonable. There are new owners of the nearby Beal House Inn, considered by many as the best choice for a first-class dining experience in the area. We can't personally comment as yet. We understand that there are a couple of good restaurants in nearby Bethlehem which we hope to sample before too long.

Hey, did you notice gas prices dropping? We think that this past summer's business was affected by the price of gas. Perhaps by this coming summer folks will be used to the $2+/gallon prices and bring road travel to levels we enjoyed a couple of years ago. We certainly applaud the move to cars with better gas mileage.

Folks often ask us if we offer discounts for AARP, military, clergy and more. We don't. The only discount we offer is for AAA members because that association promotes our business through publications and their web site. The others don't. We are a small operation and carefully set our rates so as to provide the best value in the region. We aren't always the cheapest around but are definitely less expensive than the larger chain-affiliated places. Our units are clean, comfortable and easily accessible because you park right outside your room. You can also walk to the Main Street business area.

That's all I've got for now. If you'd like to get in touch with us, do so via email (info@mapleleafmotel.com) or by phone at 1-888-513-LEAF between 8 am and 10 pm.

Rick