There is cold and then there’s the kind of COLD that they had to come up with other names for. Names like FRIGID, icy, polar, shivery, etc. Others might be raw, cutting or as one guy wrote me – "stone-cold".
Well we’re getting into those kinds of categories today as temperatures are already beginning to reflect the kind of lows that our meteorologist buddies Brad Panovich and Matthew East have been telling us were on the way.
Wind Chill Advisories have been posted by the NWS, as have a Winter Weather Advisories all across the Southeast and Mid Atlantic mountains. Some areas are seeing light snow right now and we’ve gotten reports of 4" of new snow at Snowshoe and more is on the way!
Some of the mountains of the region are looking at some light to moderate snow every day of the next five days and cold temps will be the norm! Snowshoe Mountain is looking at a HIGH TEMP of MINUS FOUR DEGREES on Friday and lows in the -10° range! There will be POWDER DAYS in the northern tier of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic and really VERY, VERY NICE conditions no matter where you’re planning to ride this weekend! We cover it more in detail below, but Canaan Valley and Timberline have received 34" of snow since January 1st and that means snow for 12 of the 15 days thus far and that equates to great POWDER conditions!
For those planning to make a trip to the mountains within a day or so AFTER the MLK crowds leave, look for MORE COLD and some snow Tuesday with highs in the low to mid 20s and lows in the mid teens Tuesday. Wednesday is looking sunny with the same highs in the 20s and lows in the teens.
That means that for the next seven days (at least) all of the resorts could make snow around the clock if they want to. Some resorts have already announced that they will not be making snow during the MLK weekend.
Michael Hampton, from over at Wolf Ridge (yes we finally heard from someone over there!), wrote, "We wanted to let you guys know that we are opening Powder Hill and Whistling Dixie on Friday January 15th. Also, Wolf Ridge has made a commitment to not make snow through the MLK weekend."
Appalachian Ski Mountain had already announced that they will not be making snow during ski and snowboarding sessions. (Actually App hasn’t been making snow during sessions all this week.) I would think that some resorts would be making snow on unopen terrain, but the point is that we have some sweet temps with which all of the ski areas can blast away if they like.
(Not all resorts will adhere to the "not making snow" during sessions policy, so if you’re headed up to your favorite hill, be prepared with good clothing and goggles! See Wednesday’s story for some suggestions if you haven’t skied in these kinds of cold conditions.
Julie Stringer of Baltimore, Maryland asked us another question which provides us with yet another suggestion for you guys. She asked, "With these kinds of temperatures we’re headed to Wintergreen this weekend and I am sure they’ll be making snow. When they do that it always sticks to my glasses and I can’t see where I’m going. Do you have any suggestions?"
One of our guys here in our office was saying just the same thing the other day and he’s snowboarded for years and didn’t know that there is a great product that helps a bunch in situations like this. When the guns are cranking out snow (especially during very dry cold like we’re going to have this weekend) the snow does seem to attach itself quickly to the lens of your goggles, leaving you scraping away while trying to wind your way down the trails. While no product is perfect – there IS a product that I’ve always used that helps a ton. It is called "CAT CRAP". I know that a bunch of you are laughing thinking that I’m writing some lame attempt at humor…but in this case I am not. Cat Crap has been around for a few decades I think, but you can find it for maybe $3.00 at any ski or snowboard shop. The instructions say to smear a small amount on your lens and then buff it off with a soft cloth. That WILL help to keep your lens’ from fogging up and also prevent them from icing up with the snowguns blasting away. However I actually smear a heavier than instructed amount on them and them I barely rub it off. Try cleaning the Cat Crap off JUST ENOUGH so that your lens’ are clear to see, but leave enough on to be a light film. I have skied through some blinding snowmaking and exited with clear lens. Try that…
AS PREDICTED – MORE TERRAIN IS OPENING UP…
Let’s get to the slope report and quick tour for today and if I have time, before wrapping up I’ll share a quick story about "running a ski resort". If I run out of time this morning before wrapping this up – check back later today or tomorrow as I think a lot of you may enjoy it. (As you guys can tell, I write this stuff as I go and when time runs short – I quit and post it!)
Here we go:
Accumulating snow almost always gets top billing and if today was a "normal" day we’d lead with Canaan Valley’s 5" of new snow. However, we are not often able to lead with the debut of a ski area in A-L-A-B-A-M-A opening for the first time this season. That’s right "THE MONT" as many of our messageboard crew call it – or Cloudmont IS OPEN. They made snow and are reporting a base of 12-36" and are open for night skiing tonight and then day sessions for this weekend. There are some loyal "Monties" that will no doubt share some photos with us from this weekend. Congrats to The Mont.
Since we led with the "little engine that could" ski area, we’ll next go with Ober Gatlinburg, which is certainly a full-fledged ski resort located in the Great Smoky Mountains. However they have had a real fight with Ma Nature and with these great temps they are making tons of snow and increasing base. They are reporting 5 of 8 trails open with a base of 32-54".
For the rest of the tour, let’s go north to south:
Wisp Resort – 3° and snowing – Their reporting was down on Wednesday, but they received 4" of new snow in the last 24 hours and that makes for 13" this week and 70" on the season! They have opened another trail and now offer 26 of 35 trails and sweet powder conditions. I keep telling you guys but you need to get up to Wisp sometime to experience some nice terrain and typically great conditions. Tubing, terrain parks and mountain coastering is open as well. Lori Epp sent me some great photos that I will share with you guys later today.
Canaan Valley – 9° and 5" of new snow! – Okay THEY are reporting 5" but they actually received 8.9" officially! They have powder conditions on 12 of 39 trails and they report that they will be opening more terrain for the weekend! They are also reporting that wind chills will be in the -17° range for today and more snow is on the way.
Timberline Resort – They are offering 18 trails today and powder conditions. They are only reporting 85" of natural snow on the season but they actually have received 104.3" of snow on the season and that is from an official snow measuring station located right there in Tucker County.
Canaan Valley and Timberline have now seen 34" of snow in the first 15 days of the year and 104.3" on the season. How about this for some snow?!?!
Jan 01 = 6.4"
Jan 02 = 0.2"
Jan 03 = 0.6"
Jan 04 = Trace
Jan 05 = 0"
Jan 06 = 0"
Jan 07 = 0"
Jan 08 = 6.2"
Jan 09 = 7.1"
Jan 10 = 0.3"
Jan 11 = 0.2"
Jan 12 = 2.1"
Jan 13 = Trace
Jan 14 = 2.0"
Jan 15 = 8.9"
IS that crazy or what? They have seen snow up there for all but THREE DAYS this year!
I think that it’s safe to say that Canaan and Timberline are in great POWDER shape!
As the crow flies north to south, believe or not we’re thinking that Bryce Resort comes next.
Bryce Resort made snow and has 7 of 8 trails open and tubing as well.
Going north to south…without concern over zigzagging east to west…
Snowshoe Mountain – 6° and 4" more snow on top of all that great snow that they’ve seen lately! Snowshoe now has received 121" on the season! They will offer 53 of 60 trails for today and more opening daily!
Laura Parquette writes, "Snow remains in the forecast and it appears that we could end the week with more than 2 feet of the natural stuff. With conditions this epic and more terrain open than any resort in the region, Snowshoe is the place to make your winter escape. We’ve already received over three quarters of our annual snowfall amount and it’s only mid January! So get in your car and make the drive…it’ll be worth it."
YA THINK!!!! Drop by and pick ME up!
Massanutten Resort – 18° and no snow to report – They have 10 of 14 trails open and 8 lanes of snow tubing.
We’d talk about The Homestead next but they have not updated their report.
Wintergreen Resort – 15° and 5 more trails opened today to give them 17 of 26 slopes open for day and night skiing. Tubing is open as well.
Anne Marie Jones writes, "To help everyone know what slopes we plan to open next and when we think they will be ready, we have listed them out below. Today and overnight tonight, we will begin building features in our Progression Terrain Park. Once our Progression Park opens tomorrow, we shift gears and work on the Advanced Terrain Park so it is ready on Saturday. The Park Staff has done an amazing job thus far with very little to work with.
Tyro, Lower Diamond Hill, Devils Elbow, The Gap, Loggers Alley
Upper Diamond Hill and our Progression Terrain Park
The Advanced Terrain Park
Upper Wild Turkey and Big Acorn
Skiing and Riding: Today we have 17 slopes and trails open and 4 lifts. We will be open for day and night sessions, skiing and riding from 9AM-10PM. The average snow base depth throughout the resort is 25”- 45”.
Tubing: The Plunge will be open today from 2pm-9pm.
Winterplace Resort – 12° and 2" of new snow – They are the southernmost resort in the Virginias and they have now seen 41" of snow on the season. They have 19 trails of 28 open for day and night skiing and riding. Snow tubing is open as well.
Here’s the rest…not necessarily north to south…
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 14° – 8 of 10 trails are open and both terrain parks. They will get the other two open by Saturday morning. App has a pretty cool deal going on for the locals when there are snow days. They are now Offering Snow Day Snowboard Rental Rates. Since the 1960’s, Appalachian Ski Mtn. has offered a special rate when school is canceled due to snow. Elementary and high school students, teachers, and staff in Watauga County and adjoining counties of Caldwell, Ashe, Avery, Wilkes, and Johnson Co., TN can take advantage of these rates by showing proof of residency and schooling (i.e. report cards/pay stubs w/ drivers license or utility bill).
Appalachian is pleased to now offer a half price snowboard rental rate on snow days. This new offer is a result of the increase in the snowboard rental inventory enabled by the expansion of Appalachian’s snowboard rental area. In the past, the snowboard inventory was not sufficient to meet the demands of regular and potential snow day rental interest.
Bottom line is that you can get a ski ticket for $8 if you’re a local schooler on snow days and if you don’t have your own equipment, you can rent skis for $4 or a snowboard for as little as $12.
Cataloochee Ski Area – 14° – They have opened two more trails for today and now have 11 of 14 trails open. Tammy (I’m always smiling) Brown writes, "YIPPEE!!!!! the cold is here and just in time for a GREAT weekend – we will be open from the top of the mountain on the Upper Snowbird Trail on Thursday and have also moved all the terrain features UP the mountain to their rightful home in the Cat Cage Terrain Park on lower Alley Cat for Thursday as well!"
She adds, "Please note and let your people know that the quad lift going to 3/4 of the mountain will not operate on Thursday but the Omigosh Double Chairlift will be taking skiers and riders to the top of the mountain or unloading at midstation on Thursday."
(Consider them notified.)
Tammy also shared, "We anticipate opening the Advanced UPPER OMIGOSH on Friday, January 16 and open 100% of the mountain including our two new trails that were cut last season – Short ‘n’ Sweet and Turkey Trot (aptly named for the multitude of wild turkeys found there!) on SATURDAY! all in time for the MLK holiday weekend."
There you have it – Cataloochee will be 100% open by Saturday.
That’s two for two. Let’s see what we have with the rest of the resorts:
We watched two park groomers hitting Hawksnest’s Tubing lanes this morning and they look pretty nice today. The park is open today.
Sapphire Valley is closed as is normal for Thursdays, but they will be 100% for Friday from noon until 10pm. Both slopes for skiing and riding will be open and the Frozen Falls Tubing Park.
That’s three for three.
Ski Beech – 8° – They are still holding at 5 of 15 trails open with Packed Natural and Manmade conditions. We spoke with Ryan Costin on Wednesday amidst some complaints about Beech "not making enough snow" and he said that they ARE making snow on Upper and Lower Robbins Run and they plan to open them soon. That may happen as early as Friday morning. If not, then look for them to open on Saturday AM. We have previously reported that Beech has been somewhat handicapped with snowmaking capacity due to one pump which has been down all season. Costin stated, "I am in Charlotte working on some other plans for improvements to the Village area, but the pump is supposed to be delivered today (Wednesday) and you can bet that Bob Webb (head of snowmaking at Beech) will be getting that installed ASAP."
That WILL allow for more guns to be placed and with the weather forecasted, Beech should be able to open more terrain soon.
Beech is making snow on their new snow tubing hill as well and we’re hearing from a bunch of people that hope that they can get White Lightning and Southern Star open soon.
We’re also hearing from many messageboard members like "bfeller", "Zeus" and others who are showing their support for the changes at Ski Beech by committing to skiing there due to the reports on this website alone. As we speak, one of our board members is planning a Ski Beech Summit to hit up Beech in February. We’ll share more about that in the days to come.
(As I was posting this very paragraph, Ryan Costin just contacted me and shared, "Hey Mike, the pump will definately be ready early next week as we await one park being shipped from Arkansas. We feel confident that Robbins will open on Friday and we are planning to open White Lightning next."
There you heard it from the man himself. He also shared that the new tubing park will make its debut on Saturday and the Full-featured Terrain Park On Powder Bowl Opens Saturday and will remain there for the season. Beech also has a new Village Fire Pit that will be operating this weekend. There will be Live music in Beechtree Saturday Night from Soul Benefactor from 9pm-midnight.
Don’t forget that Beech also brings back WINTERFEST WITH THE BATHING BEAUTIES and Cardboard Box Derby next weekend.
Sugar Mountain – 7° – They are holding with 14 of 20 trails, tubing and ice skating all open. Sugar posts, "Temperatures today will be in the mid to upper teens and lows tonight around -2 degrees. Expect falling temperatures and snow flurries throughout the day. Snowmaking is currently in progress and will continue as long as conditions allow. The left side of Big Red is open again today. With cold weather and snow in the forecast for the next week, look for more slopes to open soon!"
Wolf Ridge – 9° – They may not be a giant, but we woke up a sleeping wolf as Wolf Ridge has updated their snow totals to reflect the accurate figure of 21" on the season after 2" of natural snow feel through yesterday morning. They are also reporting two more open slopes to make it 10 open of 20 available. They also have tubing open and they are reporting that they are making snow.
(Good to have you back you big, bad Wolf! Send us some pics!)
There should be some snow flying out and about today and some nice conditions no matter where you choose to slide.
Enjoy your day!
Until Next time…
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