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First Trax :: Daily News

There's a Ton of Snow, Don't Worry!

02.17.11 08:21 AM

Another day, same story up here in the High Country…more great weather and riding conditions! I am loving waking up every morning, making a cup of coffee, and watching the sun come up over the mountains off my back deck. There is just something about a mountain sunrise that gets me pumped for the day!

Temperatures are already in the 40’s at almost all of the resorts and will make it into the 50’s today. With President’s Day coming up, there are a lot of people who will be going to the resorts to spend their holiday weekend on the slopes and are somewhat worried about this week’s warmer weather. I got an email from a Ken Hansen yesterday talking about this, “I read your update on ski southeast. I agree, I am one of those that is a bit concerned about this warm spell. We will be at Sugar Mountain 2/21-2/23. How long can the snow hold out at these temperatures? Hopefully it will not rain on those days, but it looks like there is a chance.” Ken, if you’re reading this do not worry, it will be a great couple of days of riding and there will be plenty of snow. Like all of the resorts in the region, Sugar has a huge base right now and a few days of mild temperatures is barely going to put a dent into it. As for the weather, there is the possibility of a light shower or two but I don’t see anything significant enough to deter you from getting on the slopes. Also, nice name.

Yeah, there's plenty of snow to enjoy still as evident by this picture from>>> Sugar Mountain yesterday

Ken is not alone in wondering about the amount of snow still at the resorts. A lot of people do not realize the amount of snow that can be made by the ski areas and how much of a base they can lay down, especially over the course of a couple months. Combine that with the crazy December and January weather where we experienced natural snowfall every week, and the resorts have big enough bases to comfortably last them into March, even if it doesn’t snow or get cold enough to make snow again. Most of the time, resorts don’t close at the end of the season because they have a lack of snow, it’s because there is a huge drop off in customer numbers and it doesn’t make sense financially to stay open any longer. It seems that once people get that spring fever, they forget about the mountains and snow. People in Charlotte look at me crazy when I tell them at the end of March that I’m going snowboarding. That’s really a testament to the snowmaking capabilities and hard work of our area resorts.

And onto the resort rundown…

Ober Gatlinburg - 50° - Open on 100% of the mountain with a groomed surface. Once again, they don’t open until noon again today so it’s perfect for those who want to sleep in but still make first chair. Tubing is also open today beginning at 11 am. For those of you going up there this weekend, holiday sessions and rates are in effect Friday-Monday.

Wisp Resort - 48°- Open on 100% of the mountain with a groomed surface. Today is Season Pass Swap Day there. Present a valid 2010/2011 season pass from any other ski resort and receive a $21 extended day lift ticket or a $15 night lift ticket. That’s a pretty sweet deal. Tubing is also open.

Snowshoe Mountain - 40°- They are open on 100% of the mountain today with a groomed surface. As usual, I like to let you guys read what their daily comments are as they say it best - "Well it certainly feels like spring around here this morning. We're about 10 degrees warmer than we were this time yesterday, and we’ll see temperatures rise just a little as the day goes on. It's going to be another absolutely gorgeous day on the mountain with plenty of sunshine! Tonight we'll stay somewhat mild, and we may have to cut down on our grooming around the mountain. Tomorrow the sun is going to take a day off, and we may see some afternoon rain showers. While that's never a welcomed forecast for a ski resort, we're looking at LESS THAN a tenth of an inch of that "underdeveloped snow". That's not a big deal and won't do anything to damage our great snow surface, so have no fear! And the good news is that rain could be very short lived, as overnight lows will be much more seasonable, reaching the freezing mark or below. There's potential there that the rain might even turn into a snow shower or two. And the sun returns once again on Saturday, which will be one of those perfect days with mild daytime temperatures and overnight lows below freezing to provide perfect grooming conditions. For more information on the forecast for the weekend and the current snow conditions, check out our new video update with Snowshoe’s On-Snow Operations Manager, now available on and our Facebook page.

We didn't get quite as cold overnight last night, but our grooming team was able to get out and grooming everything but Lower Shay's and Sawmill Glades. Lower Shay's has been ungroomed for several days now and there are some nice bumps formed in that area for expert skiers and riders looking for an additional challenge. Tomorrow we expect to have at least another trail or two ungroomed. The snow this morning should once again be a great soft, machine groomed surface. While it didn't hit freezing overnight, the snow did set up nicely. As the day goes on we'll probably see that snow soften even more, but it'll remain nice and carvable throughout the day. We know these milder temperatures are scaring a few of you that have plans or were looking to make plans to head to the mountain. They shouldn't be! The skiing and riding the last couple days has been absolutely phenomenal and it will stay that way! Daytime temperatures have been mild, but last night was the first time we didn't see overnight lows reach the low 30s. In fact, we MADE SNOW overnight on Tuesday. We missed that on our report yesterday morning, but there are pictures of the fresh snow in the trees on the website. That goes to show you just how cold it got. And hopefully that proves how good conditions remain!

We'll continue to make snow and groom everything as much as possible over the next several weeks. If you're interested in learning more about these critical resort operations, be sure to check out Snowmaking/Grooming 101 this weekend! We've added a special Sunday night session for the Holiday weekend, but we do offer this fun and informative session every Saturday night at 5pm at the Depot in the Village. This weekend we're adding to our offering of FREE informative program with the new Snowshoe for U itinerary. Check out for complete details on gear clinics, mountain tours, introductions to freestyle terrain and more!

Canaan Resort - 45°- Open today on 38 of 39 slopes with a groomed surface. Tubing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and skating are also open today.

Timberline - 45°- They are open on 38 of 39 trails today. This weekend they will be featuring three days of continuous music from early until 2am on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the Timbers Pub. Later night performances will feature rhythm, blues, rock, and karaoke until 1am. Sounds like it should be a fun weekend up there.

Winterplace - 37°- Open today on 100% of the mountain. Both of their terrain parks are open and they will have tubing sessions today. They still have some really good stay and ski for free lodging packages available from now until the end of the season so make sure to check out their website for more info on that.

Bryce Resort - 40°- Open today on 100% of the mountain with a groomed surface. They will have night skiing as well as tubing today, starting at 6 pm.

Massanutten - 42°- 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 from 9am to 9pm. This weekend is Jeep President’s Weekend as Massanutten. On Saturday night they will have fireworks beginning at 10pm, late night tubing sessions lasting until midnight, and live music at the lodge starting at 8pm.

Wintergreen - 47° - Open today on 100% of the mountain with a groomed surface. They will have night skiing tonight, and tubing will open at 2pm today. Their terrain park also continues to be top notch.

Appalachian Ski Mountain - 42°- Open today on all 12 slopes with a groomed surface. They have a new page on their website that will keep you up to date on the current terrain park features set up on the mountain, so if that’s your thing make sure to check it out before heading to the mountain. As always, conditions at App will be great. Ice skating is also open.

Beech Mountain Resort - 35°- Open today on 100% of the mountain with a groomed surface. The terrain park is open with a multitude of fun features. Ice skating is also open today.

Cataloochee – 41.5°- They are open on 100% of the mountain with a groomed surface today. Tubing reopens today at 4pm. The Challenge Cup Race Series continues tonight at Cat. Individuals race against the clock for the best of two runs. Top three challengers in both men’s and womens’ age divisions win cool stuff. You must be 21 years of age or older to participate. Also, 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 - 32°- 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 weekend!

Sugar Mountain – 36.7°- Open today on 100% of the mountain with a perfectly groomed surface. It should be great skiing and riding as always up there. Skating and tubing are also open. This weekend Sugar will be featuring the acoustic sounds of High Country bluegrass artist Boss Hawg on Saturday from four until six.

Wolf Ridge - 40° - Open on 13 of 23 slopes today with a groomed surface. Here’s what they have to say: “Its Thursday, 40 degrees on the mountain and the weather man is calling for partly cloudy skies today. We will have 13 runs and 2 lifts open along with just our bottom Lodge for all ticket and rental purchases. The Upper Lodge will be closed this week and will reopen Friday at 4.30pm. Today is our Home Schooler Day :$29.00 Lift/Ski/lesson package as well as our College Night : Lift ticket $15.00. Get here early and be the first to Shred the snow. See you at the Wolf!!!”

Well that’s all I have for today. Send me photos, stories, or any questions to and enjoy your Thursday!

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