Amazing Race – Canada Style

16" of new snow has fallen at Beech Mountain in the last two days creating POWDER conditions for the ski resorts of them. Ditto most ski resorts in the region. MORE SNOW is in the forecast for today with another 5" or so of snow possible through Monday night.  Milder temps are forecasted for later in the week and ski conditions will be nothing short of awesome.

When’s the last time any of us were able to look at snow totals from around the southeast and mid Atlantic and see Beech Mountain Resort with more snow that Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia through this late in December? To clarify, it isn’t that Snowshoe has not been snowy, it’s just that Beech and some of the higher elevations of North Carolina have just been snowier. That’s most certain to change at some point in the season, but let’s have a quick look at SEASON snow totals through this morning.

Canaan Valley Resort – 73"
Timberline Resort – 73"
Wisp Resort – 65"
Beech Mountain Resort – 64"
Snowshoe Mountain Resort – 61"
Sugar Mountain Ski Resort – 56.4"
Wolf Ridge Resort – 55"
Cataloochee Ski Area – 42"
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 40.5"
Winterplace Resort – 39"
Ober Gatlinburg – 22"
Sapphire Valley – 12.5"
Massanutten Resort – 5"
Wintergreen Resort – 5"
Bryce Resort – 3"

David Lesher’s great Davis, WV weather center is an official CoCoRaHs reporter as well and Snowshoe’s an official NWS reporting station which provided "dead on" snow reporting. Beech’s CoCoRaHs reporter is Beech’s Gil Adams so we’re able to get some great reports from those areas.

It’s been a snowy December to say the least and some areas like Beech have already picked up 80% of their FULL SEASON AVERAGE SNOWFALL TOTALS so the preseason forecasters are going to be wrong. Most forecasted slightly LESS than average snowfall totals for the Southern Appalachian Mountains….and about normal for the upper tier of ski areas into West Virginia and Maryland. Snowshoe is at about 33% for the season. They receive an average of 180" per winter. Bear in mind that they are ON PACE for an average winter so all is good.

The forecasters are prognosticating a bit milder end of the month into January but hopefully we’ll see an amazing continuance of what has thus far been a great season for skiers and snowboarders.

Come up and enjoy the perfect conditions right now!

THE AMAZING RACE – CANADA STYLE

Late on Christmas evening I received some not so good news. Our flights for our trip to Tremblant in Canada had been cancelled. It seems that Continental was being pro-active IN CASE the weather was bad in New Jersey where we were intended to land first before heading to Montreal. To make things worse Continental’s phone lines were only stating, "Due to high caller volume we can not take your call". It advised people to look at their website which only stated that the flights were cancelled. The tickets were purchased through American Express – don’t leave home without it – and they were having major issues getting anything resolved until Sunday morning (yesterday) when four of our group were rescheduled to fly out of Charlotte on Monday (today). The other five of us (me included) could not be scheduled to fly out until Tuesday (tomorrow).

So we did our best Amazing Race impersonations by scrambling to find airline tickets out of any close enough location to get us to Montreal. The other four of our crew are flying out today – first to Cleveland, Ohio (away from the storm) and then to Montreal. My guys scored a great last minute deal via US Airways out of Charlotte directly to Montreal. We found this deal at 11am and had to scramble to pack up and get to Charlotte by 8pm last night. We had to redo all of the baggage configurations, redo all of the passport configs for US Airways, but we made it happen and were on the plane at 7:30pm. After what seemed to be an amazingly short two hour flight we landed in snowy, frozen Montreal.

By the way – THANKS TO US Airways for making that deal because the tickets were originally $660 per seat, and due to some last minute cancellations due to weather our plane became much less full and much cheaper as we picked those tickets up for $330 each.

To add to our Amazing Race episode, while we were driving to the airport, we got a call to say that BECAUSE we were not going to be on our Tuesday flight to New Jersey, Continental would be cancelling our return flight tickets. So we scrambled to get US Airways to make our one way tickets round trip ones, but apparently THAT flight was nearly full and would ADD $1700 PER TICKET to our cost. At those costs we’d be walking back or more likely NOT GOING to Tremblant.

We parked at the airport and headed to the Continental counter since they STILL were not taking any calls. Unbelievably there was NOBODY in line and within two minutes the Continental peeps converted our tickets to ONE WAY tickets back home on January 2nd.

PROBLEM SOLVED…

We landed in a NEARLY EMPTY, HUGE Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL) at 10:15pm or so, and collected our baggage in m-a-y-b-e another two minutes…seriously…and met with our agent to declare…which took m-a-y-b-e another ONE minute and then headed to our hotel.

Oh yes. While at the airport in Charlotte I hopped on my iPad and made reservations for a hotel in Montreal. US Airways was recommending several nice options, but I found out the the Montreal Airport had a brand new Marriott connected to the airport itself. Found that out because lucky for us, one of our flight attendants was sitting next to me waiting to board the plane. Crazy good luck, huh?

That little "find" prevented from having to take a shuttle from the airport to lodging – hauling luggage and skis etc – to the hotel and then back to the airport again because we could not get our rental car until Monday morning. 

So we land at the airport and I swear for a moment I thought the pilot was going to taxi the plane right up to the front of the hotel. We pulled over what m-i-g-h-t have been 100 yards from the hotel. After getting our baggage and doing the "I’m a US citizen visiting your country for a one week ski trip" thing…we walked maybe two minutes to the hotel – all indoors. We checked in and had a great night’s rest and here I am posting this report.

As a tech person I am nevertheless impressed when I can sit in my hotel room overlooking Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport on my laptop – CONNECTED to my desk at my office in Boone, NC and handle reporting for the ski areas up and down the east coast. Crazy cool, I’d say.

Just Saying…

Until Next time… Pensez neige et Bonne Année!

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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.