A little snowmaking is in order for some ski areas as the previous couple of mild daytime temps, higher skier traffic and overnight firming, (but non snowmaking weather) made for some very icy conditions at most of the ski areas on Saturday. Things should be better for Sunday! There’s not much that resorts can do about them (icy conditions) and we simply have to accept them and hope that they are rare within each season. Count Saturday as an icy day on the hill, and Saturday evening about as bad as it gets in terms of icy conditions. However it was one day.
I am not going to say where I skied Saturday evening.
I was. I actually interviewed more than a dozen people on camera and asked the question: "On a scale from one (with one being poor) to ten (with ten being awesome, bomber and all of those superlatives), how would you rate the skiing or snowboarding tonight?"
The highest grade I got on camera was a four from someone who, I THINK, was just being sweet for the camera. The lowest was, "Don’t you have something lower than a one?"
The average grade at this particular resort for Saturday evening was a 3 to 4…and personally I think a "3" was a little high.
For those of you coming to this website looking for your video appearances, I apologize for telling you to look for yourself online today, but after I thought about it for about two minutes I simply don’t think that it would be fair to do the resort because it would single out that resort that I happened to be at last night as perhaps "the only ice rink" in the region. Simply put, I have already received a couple of reports from others that were icy as hell on Saturday.
Such is the life of a ski area manager. Sometimes there’s not much you can do to make for a great day. There’s PLENTY OF BASE SNOW on the slopes, but when the weather comes along and decides it is time for refrigerator ice, I am not certain if it is even possible to GROOM the kind of surface that I was on last night. It was tough to stick your poles into. Poles were simply for maintaining balance last night, because you sure couldn’t plant them.
I ran into several people last night that I know, both at the resort and outside of the resort crew…so do me a favor and let’s not single these guys out. I think Saturday was probably tough all over.
I AM asking for trip reports from more than what we’ve heard from thus far, so if you rode at any of the resorts of the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic, how about drop us an email at [email protected] or post your TR on the messageboard. Either way, let me hear from you guys on your take on Saturday and Saturday night skiing and snowboarding.
In closing, I saw a lot of pretty good skiers and snowboarders last night having a tough time. I saw many newbies scared to death. My only thought was, "If there were first timers on the slopes last night, they had to go home swearing never to ski or ride again, ever. They also had to wonder what all the fuss is about – about skiing!"
If there were people skiing this particular resort for the first time, (and I rode up with a few), then they got the wrong impression of how sweet things can be here. I expressed that sentiment to several people. Last night was JUST ONE OF THOSE NIGHTS!
On my first lift ride up the mountain last night, I rode up with one of the top brass at this resort and I asked him what conditions were like. I KNEW that we were in for an adventure when this VERY HONEST GUY would say nothing except – "Be safe. Watch where you’re going…and be safe."
I now know why!
TODAY IS A DIFFERENT DAY…
Resorts were able to make snow last night for at least some of the night. Snowmaking will at least "safen up" the slopes for today at least for the first part of the day. We’re seeing NO snowmaking happening this morning so you have what you have for the day. One look around the webcams (www.HighCountryWebcams.com ) shows Cataloochee looking WELL COMBED this morning. Their groomers put corduroy to those slopes!
I hope the same is true for the mountain that I skied last night and for all of the others. The guns are off all day today as temps will be in the mid to upper 30s, creeping close to 40°. Many ski areas will make snow tonight as temps drop back into the mid to upper 20s. There MIGHT be some snowmaking Monday night, but then there will probably be no more snowmaking temps until Thursday night when things are forecasted to drop to 23°. Right now the forecast for NEXT WEEKEND is for more snow with highs in the low 30s and lows in the teens for Friday. Saturday is forecasted to be in the mid 30s with lows in the teens under sunny skies.
So, from what we’re seeing out of Ma Nature for the next few days, this will be a week of softening snow (that’s a good thing!) for the middle of the week and then a cold snowy end to it going into the weekend. So pack your gear and come on up – the conditions should be great.
By the way, if anyone was out at the Winterfest activities (over at Ski Beech) during the day and caught any of the rail jam, bathing beauty contest, waiter/waitress races, etc…shoot us some pics (and a trip report).
One clever person summed up her experiences last night when she very seriously stated (not facetiously) that she would have rather have had ice skates on last night…on the slopes. Again, we have to take the bad with the good.
Grooming will do wonders this morning, but expect a little icy conditions again today…with some resorts that are lacking base to be a bit icier.
Here’s the Sunday tour of the state:
Appalachian is fully open and looking well groomed. App does a marvelous job with grooming and should be in pretty good shape. They are reporting an 85-111" base (we’re reporting a top rated – 10 – which means a great base depth with no thin coverage possible – perfect). All 10 trails, both terrain parks and ice skating open.
Cataloochee Ski Area – It is 42° at 8:50am this morning but Tammy Brown updated us Saturday evening around 9:30pm and it was 27° and they did make snow. She wrote, "We will be making snow tonight during non-skiing hours to improve skiing conditions and increase base depth."
Cat is open for day skiing only on Sundays with all 14 trails open and snow tubing as well.
Ski Beech – 25° – They are reporting that they are making snow this AM, but we’re not seeing any from the webcam angles. They may be making it on some of the other terrain. We know they made snow last night from their report and they are open with 11 trails, terrain park and snow tubing. We were not able to make it out to Winterfest, but thanks to Kelly Melang for sending some pics and a trip report. We will post those after getting this report finished. Beech reports a 32-62" base (we give them a rating of 8-9), which means pretty good, but with some thinning areas. The snowmaking last night will take care of those, but they could use some added base. (They really need that 3rd pump operational during these upcoming borderline snowmaking ops.) Reports are that they look pretty good, but need a little help from Ma Nature.
Sugar Mountain – 21° – They made snow but the guns are already off. They will have some very nice conditions particularly early on with a lot of manmade powder overnight. They report a base of 47-86" (we give them a 9-10, which is about as good as it gets) and they have all 20 trails open, ice skating and snow tubing open.
Wolf Ridge – 35° – That was the low overnight so snowmaking was doubtful. They do have 12 trails open and snow tubing for today. They are still reporting 8-9" of snow in the last 84 hours…
It has now been 140 hours.
Sapphire Valley is reporting a base of 50-80" with both trails open. We are rating the base as an 8-9 (meaning very good, but they do have some thin areas beginning to show.)
Hawksnest Tubing Park – It is 20° right now after being 20° last night and we don’t think Hawksnest made snow. Can you IMAGINE how fast the tubing hill is with the icy conditions? OMG!!! I wonder how they slow people down???
Go get us some photos and trip reports. If you’re out at the Cardboard Box Derby, grab some vids! …and ENJOY YOUR DAY!
SKINC / SKI BEECH SUMMIT UPDATE!
We are now up to 67 people reporting that they plan to attend the SkiNC Summit on February 21st! That is only with 3 days of promotion. We’ll no doubt have more soon!
I was emailing with Rhyne Garris at Beech yesterday and then we spoke on the phone and we came up with a great idea that I think the messageboard peeps will get behind! The Ski Beech Patrol will be doing a fund raiser by grilling up tasty foods outside the View Haus all day on Saturday as they need to raise money for their own needs. HOWEVER, Beech has been gracious in agreeing to donate TWENTY PERCENT (20%) of the day’s take at the View Haus outside grill to the Helena Jolly Educational Fund!
For those unaware, back on October 14, 2008 we lost a member of the SkiNC family (and a lontime Ski Beech member). Jon Jolly, aka parisandrewsdaddy, was great friend to many people on the messageboard, and he was a great asset to the messageboard in general. Jon was a very giving person, and he went out of his way to help people out with gear, information, etc.
Now it is our chance to give back to him by contributing to his daughter’s educational fund. I can’t think of a better way to honor our friend than to help with his daughter’s education.
Ski Beech knows that our SkiNC crowd will probably dominate the outside, picnic area in front of the View Haus and they are already planning to have plenty of barrels of beverages for sale as well, and this is a great way of having a great place to meet and greet…and help out a couple of great causes at the same time!
If you have not heard about it yet, we are inviting our visitors to come ski and ride with us at Ski Beech on February 21st as we celebrate the SkiNC / Ski Beech Summit. Check out the page at: SkiNC Ski Beech Summit and come join the fun and ski for half price!
As always, be sure to click over to www.SkiSoutheast.com for more news about ALL of the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic including more photos of the day, more snow news, more videos…and just MORE!
Send your comments, photos, videos, and trip reports to: [email protected]