A Little WET today, but not worthy of – OH CRAP! Read on, it will make sense!

Story by Mike Doble – [email protected]

Check the snow report page for all of the resort slope conditions at a glance. See: http://www.skisoutheast.com/skireports.php  

I’ve provided a tour of the area below and if you are in a rush to head out the door and onto the slopes, go ahead and skip down to those reports. You won’t hurt my feelings.

No, really, you won’t.

For those of you who are cooped up inside, looking out the window at rain falling, then you might as well burn some daylight and read my blog, right?

Thanks to Kenny Griffin I’m only behind the wheel of this website on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays these days. I’ve enjoyed reading someone else’s take on things.

I have to say that it was COOL as heck to see a "mini SkiNC summit" of sorts at Beech on Monday. Throughout most of the day I heard my name being yelled out and I got to see several of the messageboard members. It’s funny because those guys and gals are the stars of this website. 

ON TO TODAY’S NOTES:

As I’ve always done, prior to crawling out of bed, I’ve always kind of ran through a thought process of what I might write about for that day’s column. Of course, once I start looking at events and/or conditions around the region – something always dictates that my posts take a slightly different direction.

That’s the case again this morning.

Admittedly I haven’t taken a detailed, hands-on approach to this ski and snowboarding season. After all we haven’t been blessed with tons of snowy days or even a wealth of snowmaking days as far as that goes. Heck I’ve only had SEVEN DAYS on the snow so far this season and I’ve only skied at TWO RESORTS!

So much for my New Year’s Resolution about skiing at EVERY one of our ski areas this season. I’ll have to get with it if I’m going to make that happen! Kenny posted on Friday about this being the half-way point in the season. Looking at the calendar, we have (HOPEFULLY) 7-8 more weeks of skiing and snowboarding left in this season at most of the ski areas. Most of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski resorts start ceasing snow ops around the middle of March. For those that can or will ski on until the end of March, we can add two more weeks to the season. Even that only allows for 9-10 weeks left.

If things go as the long range forecasters are predicting, it will be a stretch to see ski areas prolong this season.

Despite all of the glass-half-full efforts, most of the admins around the region will tell you that this has been a season that is pretty far off in terms of skier visits and generated revenues. Last weekend’s MLK crowd was brisk. Joe Stevens said that the WV ski areas actually reported that while it was not a record-breaking weekend, it was possibly better at some ski areas up that way – than LAST WINTER. That was due to the fact that last weekend’s weather was nice for all four days, while 2011’s MLK weekend included a one day washout due to rain.

I think it is safe to say that most of the ski areas of the region witnessed brisk traffic, but that things were off more than just a little.

<Sugar is uncrowded this AM.

Get to today and things are a mixed bag of offerings with rain falling across most of the region. There’s PLENTY of snow on the slopes, but it is doubtful that the slopes will be full of people as these FIVE riders at Sugar will attest at 9:18am this morning.

<<<<

I just looked around and only saw TWO people on the hill at Appalachian; there were three people at the base of Cataloochee; two at Wolf; a couple at Winterplace and other ski areas – as of 9:30am. Hopefully you guys KNOW that there are MANY more people on the mountain and within the lodges of these areas (and all the others) however there are also a LOT of open slopes with wide open skiing and riding.

THE PERCEPTION FOR THIS WEEKEND CONDITIONS IS…"OH CRAP"

As I was about to crawl out of bed this morning I couldn’t help but think of the Harvey Fierstein quote in the movie "Independence Day". Fierstein plays the role of a jewish guy (go figure) named Marty Gilbert. There’s a scene in the movie where he’s sitting in his car in traffic as he’s watching the city explode right before his eyes. One of the explosions sends a city bus into the air and it is quickly approaching his windshield as he’s on the phone. One of the best quotes from that movie was as that bus was about to him him, he says (in that crusty, rough voice of his) "Oh Crap!"

That was kind of my thoughts as I heard heavy rain hitting my window. I was thinking that things were going to be crap out and around the area.

THAT IS THE BATTLE WE FIGHT EVERY SEASON…

…the fight to educate and inform our readers that although the weather might be a little crappy at times…the conditions on the slopes ARE NOT!

As I filed the reports this morning, I was impressed with HOW MUCH snow is on the slopes and how good things look really ALL AROUND THE REGION.

SOME PACKED POWDER INTO WV AND MARYLAND…

<This great shot at Canaan Valley shows sweet conditions up there after 6" of snow fell on Friday.

While conditions are remarkably good at the ski areas all across the region, the only packed powder conditions within the area will be at the WV and Maryland ski resorts. They picked up 5-6" of snow yesterday and there’s only a bit of light rain falling up there this morning and some of those areas are seeing some mixed frozen precip this as well.

I have to work with TheKenDog as he had Packed Powder posted on a few Conditions Reports and also "Great Conditions" posted on some resorts further south, when the packed powder disappeared a week ago.

While conditions across the state of North Carolina and most of the Virginia ski areas would be termed as VERY GOOD, it is hard to claim GREAT CONDITIONS when in some case only a third of the mountain is open.

Cams showing good coverage where you can see. As it has been so often this season – it is foggy as crap up top at several of the ski areas. The top of Sugar and Beech don’t exist unless you’re accepting on faith that the peaks are there – without being able to SEE the top.

WEATHER WILL BE THE STORY OF THIS WEEKEND…

While checking the weather reports, there IS rain hitting most of the region but it does look like it is a quick hitting system with plenty of cloudiness but with breaks in the rain throughout the day. So if you’re at the ski areas already, there will be PLENTY of windows of opportunity to enjoy wide open slopes throughout the day.

From what we can see, this borderline trend that has been bringing snowmaking temps further north and not-so-much into Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina – will continue for another week to ten days – to forever.

While the ski areas into Virginia through NC will see perhaps ZERO to ONE night of snowmaking ops, those into WV and Maryland could see as many as five nights of snowmaking over the next ten days.

Today’s forecast includes some Thunderstorms and even Severe Thunderstorms early as the system blows through.

In summary – while the weather isn’t pristine today, it won’t be a washout either. If you’ll close your laptop and head to the mountain of your choice today or tomorrow you will have the slopes mostly to yourself and there’s VERY NICE, side-to-side coverage and good-to-great conditions depending on where you head.

THAT’S IT FOR TODAY…HERE ARE SOME NOTABLES IN DIFFERENT ORDER…

Ober Gatlinburg is scheduling a delayed opening this morning due to high winds and thunderstorms. They expect to open around 10am or do with 6 of 9 trails, tubing, ice skating and more.

Winterplace Resort – 39° – They are open with 23 of 27 trails and snow tubing. Missy reported, "Open to the Top of the Mountain with something for Everyone from beginner to expert! We anticipate opening Turkey Chute and Wood’s run later today."

Man THEY LOOK GREAT this morning via the LIVE STREAM – http://www.highcountrywebcams.com/webcameras_winterplace.htm  

Gracious that is a great cam!

Timberline Resort – 27° – 26 of 40 trails and there’s always something happening at the lodge. This weekend features a big country music legends event. A BIG crowd can already be seen at the base of the mountain via the live cam> http://www.highcountrywebcams.com/webcameras_timberline.htm  

Like to get a faster internet connection there, but it gives you a great look at conditions and traffic!

Jan 27-29
The Blue Grass Weekend will feature appearances by Timberline favorite, Durty Harry. There will be no charge for the performances. Visitors are also invited to enjoy the late evening performances by Category 6 from North Carolina who will be presenting their annual new country and rock performances

Snowshoe Mountain – 32° and 1" of new snow. Now they’re just bragging as they’ve added two more trails open today! They posted, "More trail expansions today include J-Hook and the infamous Upper Shay’s! Our on-snow team has added an additional 42 acres of terrain in the last 48 hours bringing our total acreage to 205. There will be a delayed opening this morning on Slaymaker & Spur at Silver Creek for race practice."

Like I said – bragging 😉

Appalachian – as of 9:47am they had not updated their ski report so we’ll assume that they are 100% open again today. They have a HUGE event going down there on Sunday!

Jan 22, 2012
Shred for the Cup Big Air

When: Jan 22, 2012
Where: Appalachian Ski Mtn
What: Big Air Competition

The 2012 Shred for the Cup Big Air is on!! Presented by Recess Ride Shop, Salomon Skis & Snowboards, along with all of our contributing event sponsors, this Big Air is the standard setting competition in the region. Stay Posted for Course Setup details during the coming …weeks, for now we suggest getting your air tricks dialed on the jump line currently setup in Appal Jam!

Beech Mountain – Down a trail today to 12 of 15. Ice skating open as well as the shops and Beech Tree, etc. They’re showing upper Southern Star as OPEN, but that trail has been close a few times lately when they’ve reported it as open.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 100% open – 34° and 49.6° at the base

Sapphire – 100% open Saturday: 9 am to 9 pm / Sunday: 9 am to 6 pm

Sugar Mountain – 45.1° at the top and 48.7 at the base. They have 17 trails open.

WHOOPDEDOO IS OPEN FOR DAY SKIING!

Live bluegrass music by Boss Hawg this Saturday between 4 and 6 p.m.

Wolf Ridge is open with 12 of 22 trails.

Bryce Resort – 32° – 100% open although they haven’t updated their website since Wednesday.

Massanutten Resort is at 30° this morning and they have 10 of 14 trails open and 8 lanes of tubing. All of their black trails are open. ParaDice, Diamond Jim and both terrain parks.

The Cam is showing nice coverage: http://www.highcountrywebcams.com/webcameras_massanutten.htm

Wintergreen Resort – They are currently showing 40° but some freezing precip is in the forecast for today. They have 14 trails open and a base of 20-50". Both Ridgely’s Fun Park and The Plunge Tubing Park are open.

Canaan Valley – 27° – is showing additional trails open today over Friday’s offering. They are open today with 13 of 39 trails, snow tubing and ice skating. Remember that Canaan saw 5" of snow on Friday!

Wisp Resort – 27° – After 6" of snow and powder conditions on Friday, they are showing groomed and Frozen Granular conditions with 25 of 32 trails open today. Ice Skating, Tubing and the Mountain Coaster are all operating! Wisp is MAKING SNOW right now!

Again – bragging!

The thirteen cameras they have up there are showing some beautiful conditions, but no snowmaking right now. Lots of snowy pics though!

Email me if you like at [email protected] . I always like getting your comments.

Our Sno!Forum Messageboard – http://www.skinc.com/messageboard/

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. Since September 1996 he has posted more than 13,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.