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First Trax :: Daily News

Happy Valentine's Day!

02.14.11 08:07 AM

Good morning and Happy Valentine’s Day to all of the ladies out there who are reading this, especially my lovely girlfriend! I hope everyone had a good weekend. Hopefully, many of you were able to get out on the slopes as it was a beautiful weekend to do so, especially Sunday. I was out at Beech Mountain yesterday and conditions couldn’t have been better. I was expecting a hoody day but it felt so good out that I was even able to shed that layer and ride in just a long sleeve shirt. While everybody loves powder days, including myself, skiing and riding in spring-like conditions definitely has its upsides. It looks like the next several days will provide more of these great riding conditions at all of the resorts as the weather will be sunny and warm with highs reaching near 60 degrees at some of the ski areas by Friday. So if you’ve been waiting to play hooky from work or school for a day and avoid the weekend crowds, this week is the week to do it. Speaking of weekend crowds, I was amazed to see the fairly long lift lines at Beech on Saturday night. Ten, fifteen, even twenty minute waits in line should be expected for this time of year on the weekend during the DAY, but I’m not accustomed to seeing this during the NIGHT session. While some people may get frustrated by this, I am somewhat glad to see it as it means business is VERY healthy for our local ski areas. More business means more money which means more improvements for us to enjoy!

On Friday I mentioned that we would have a mini trip report contest this weekend and would give 4 free passes to either Cataloochee, Wolf Ridge, or Massanutten to the winner. While we didn’t have quite as many trip reports as I was hoping for, the ones that we did get were of high quality. Since all three of these messageboard members did such a good job, they are all winners this week. So skipink, jamsandwich, and want2go2dasno all have some free passes coming their way! Great job guys! Head on over to the messageboard to check out their reports and if you haven't already signed up, do so immediately! We have some more passes to get rid of so the same contest is in effect for this week and we’ll have another winner next Monday. So get out there and take your camera!

<<A photo from skipink at Beech Mountain this past Saturday. White Lightning looks to be in great shape!

Here's a look at the resort rundown...

Wisp Resort - 41°- Open on 100% of the mountain with a groomed surface. They do have Valentine’s Day specials going on today.  For just $29, you receive an all day lift ticket, a ski or snowboard rental and a 1-hr clinic.  Now that's how you should spend Valentine's Day with that special someone!


Snowshoe Mountain - 29°- Open today on 59 of 60 trails. The Spruce Glades Terrain Park is the only trail not open today.  Here's what LP has to say - "Happy Valentine's Day from Snowshoe Mountain! We awoke this morning to sunshine early, some minimal snowfall in the forecast for the afternoon, and higher winds throughout the day. With potential wind gusts up to 55mph, please be aware periodic lift delays are possible today. Wind delays are for the safety of our guests and are usually temporary. If one is necessary, it should be short lived.

During the overnight hours, the grooming team broke out the equipment and resurfaced the nearly all 244 skiable acres here at the mountain. The only place you won’t find fresh corduroy this morning is Sawmill Glades. In addition to the machine grooming, Widowmaker and Lower Shay's Revenge was again treated with our cool new winch cat machine which we have out on loan and that should mean that area is looking SWEET this morning. If you missed our explanation yesterday, a winch cat allows our groomers to push snow UP slope. So all of the snow that's naturally pushed down to the base of the mountain by skier traffic during the day is able to be returned to the slope and groomed back into the base. Even just a few days of working with this machine will help us ensure our steepest sections don't start showing thin spots anytime soon! We'll continue to use it across the mountain over the next few nights, concentrating on our highest traffic areas and steepest slopes.

This week, we should see temperatures that are a little above normal for this time of year, but that's something enjoy, rather than worry about. Snowshoe's base is between 4 and 10 feet across the mountain. That means we have a LOT of snow, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. And while daytime temperatures may rise as high as 50 degrees for a day or two, we're still seeing overnight temperatures below freezing. That will allow us to get out and groom overnight, pushing snow around as needed and producing a great on-slope product daily. And heading into this mild period, we may make some snow overnight tonight and tomorrow to compliment whatever Mother Nature decides to send our way during today's snowfall. “

Canaan Resort - 25°- Open today on 38 of 39 slopes. Lower Spruce Run is the only slope closed today. Ice skating, tubing, and cross-country skiing are all open today!

Timberline - 25°- Timberline is open on 100% of the mountain today.  They are reporting the backcountry as being open!

Winterplace - 39°- Open today on 100% of the mountain with a packed powder surface.  Tubing is open today and they also have a number of features set up in their two terrain parks!


Bryce Resort - 57°- I'm thinking that temperature reading might be a little off so it's probably a little cooler there this morning than that.  They haven't updated their conditions this morning but more than likely they are 100% open today with a groomed surface.


Massanutten - 45°- Open today on 100% of the mountain with loose granular conditions. Both terrain parks are open with a number of features set up. Tubing is also open today with 8 lanes of fun!

Wintergreen - 40° - Open today on 100% of the mountain with a groomed surface.  There will be no night session tonight and tubing is closed for today and will re-open tomorrow.  Both terrain parks are open with numerous features set up for both beginners and advanced riders.


Appalachian Ski Mountain - 44°- Open today on all 12 slopes with a groomed surface. They are putting snowmaking on hold until some colder temperatures return. However, they did make some snow on Saturday night and as we all know, App's snowmaking capabilities are the best around. They have a HUGE base so there is really no need for them to make any more snow for the time being. Ice skating is open too.

Beech Mountain Resort - 34°- Open today on 100% of the mountain with a packed powder surface. Conditions were great up there yesterday and today should be no different. There were some big crowds out this weekend so I would say that College Fest was a success! Just a side note here, being the younger snowboarder that I am, I thought I would mention the state of Beech’s terrain park. There has been a lot of discussion recently on the messageboard about the lack of attention that was seemingly being paid to that area of the mountain. This week they hired a new park manager, Robbie Cavanagro, to turn things around and there was a visible improvement yesterday. It was easily the best it has been all year and there are numerous features to play around on. My favorite was the beach ball jib. Just try not to go flying through the air and land on your face like I did! Seriously though, it is great to see a ski area respond so positively to customer comments and suggestions.

Cataloochee – 37.5°- They are open on 100% of the mountain with a groomed surface. I talked to Tammy Brown this morning who said that they did make snow last night, and that they would continue to do so as long as temperatures allow. It looks like temperatures will dip into the 20's up there overnight, so expect them to lay down some more new snow tonight! Just a reminder that it's Learn to Ski and Snowboard Season at Cataloochee and with the purchase of rentals you get a free 1.5 hour beginner lesson!

Sapphire Valley - 44°- Open today on 100% of the mountain. Tubing is also open and they will have night skiing tonight. Don’t forget that Sapphire Valley will be hosting their Annual Outhouse Races this Saturday!

Sugar Mountain - 34°- Open today on 100% of the mountain. They are reporting packed powder conditions this morning. It should be great skiing and riding as always up there. Skating and tubing are also open.

Wolf Ridge - 39° - Open on 13 of 23 slopes today with a groomed surface. There will not be any night skiing today as they will close at 4:30, but tubing is open.

Enjoy your Monday! Email me your thoughts, questions, comments, gripes, photos, videos, etc. Just email me at

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