Can Ski Resorts Make it On a Seven Week Season?

The FLAG at the Boathouse at Snowshoe's base says it all! We're Open! Snowshoe has the most terrain open in the region. Half the ski areas are fighting Mother Nature to remain open!

That is the question on the minds of a few of our readers lately and the answers will come in the months and years to come. The last few seasons have been challenging (to state the obvious).

A typical ski season should run from around Thanksgiving Weekend through mid March. That would provide ski areas with 12-14 weeks of “winter” in which to cultivate as many skier visits as possible from those 100+/- days and nights.

Joe Stevens’ posted his weekly Snow News is Good News post this morning title, “It is what it is” and that pretty much sums up what ski area ops have to say about the weather and even the length of this season – to date.

While six of the region’s ski areas are already CLOSED for the season, many are taking a wait and see approach. One resort manager called me on Saturday to kind of “check in and see what other resorts were saying” and they agreed to comment anonymously to the question I posed, “What do you think you guys are going to do about staying open?”

“We’ll remain open as long as it appears we can deliver a product worth skiing or snowboarding on. We’re looking at things day-to-day right now because there are some possible chances for snowmaking coming up, but if those don’t materialize…”

We spoke a bit about the fact that this season got started in mid-December and then the switch just flipped a day or so after Groundhog Day. I asked the tougher question that our readers are interested in and they shared:

“You’re right. We had really great traffic for all of the important Holidays for us. Christmas, New Years, MLK and President’s Day were all awesome weather weekends and periods for us. Just three weeks ago we were having some challenges finding places to stockpile snow. Thankfully those were successful weeks and Holidays because without those I think a lot of ski areas would be hurting.”

So I guess the answer is, no ski area will be setting any records – good or bad – this season. I guess it is also safe to say that as long as all of the Holidays provide good weather…then “YES” a ski area can “make it” with a seven week season.

As Joe Stevens’ reported, “It IS what it IS.”

…it IS Wet

The rains held off for the most part on Saturday across the North Carolina mountains, but as I crawled out of bed this morning there was a moderate to heavy shower going on. Joe Stevens dittoed that from his Charleston, WV home. Canaan Valley recorded 1.01″ of rainfall in the last 24 hours. Those rains, combined with mild temps on Saturday have dropped Canaan Valley’s base by one-half of what it was on Saturday morning. They are now reporting a 12-24″ base and 11 trails offered for day sessions today.

Snowshoe Mountain is reporting 49 of 60 trails open for today (by far the most in the region). All of their webcams were down for a time this morning, prompting some readers to question if the conditions were the reason they were all down. Snowshoe doesn’t play like that. In fact, as I wrap up this story…they are all back up.


App dropped another 7″ of base since Saturday morning. They are down to 4 trails offered. When you see Appalachian Ski Mountain dropping slopes as quickly as they are, you KNOW many other ski areas are in peril.

The Homestead is playing for ONE MORE DAY TODAY on 4 trails and will then call it quits for skiing and snowboarding for the season.

Timberline Resort is playing on 5 trails for today.

Beech Mountain Resort is now CLOSED for the 2017-2018 season and have posted “Opening Day for the 2018-2019 Season as November 24th.”

Massanutten Resort has SUSPENDED SKI OPS and is snow tubing only today. Not sure if that means they are done for the season or in a wait and see mode.

Some Of My Favorite “Reads” of the Morning…

Tammy Brown of Cataloochee wrote:

Please come to the area and base your ticket purchase on that information. You see what we look like, you know what the weather is. Our grooming team has been at it since early this morning and done a fantastic job. If you feel hesitant about coming then just don’t. We will have snow again we hope you will choose to come at a later date. Weekday rates are in effect and our plan is to sustain to daily operations as long as we can. There is a possibility we will not offer night skiing at some point in time so we suggest that everyone call ahead to make sure what’s open as we move into today’s rain. We do plan to resume snowmaking as quickly as we can if we can get a couple days of solid cold weather.

Again, we can’t stress this enough – don’t judge us or any other area on what we look like now. Yes, its muddy and messy, but as most of you know this is typically not the case. And we are open for skiing and riding today. We all have invested considerable energies into advanced snowmaking technologies and have some of the best snowmaking teams in the country working for us. This season we have had more snow on the hill at times than we have ever seen and less than two weeks ago, open on all trails. But with warm rain, above average temps, warm winds and fog and no snowmaking which are all anomalies for this part of February, its a been a challenge.

…man I just LOVE that…ha!

Wintergreen Resort’s Blog Offers an Insider Look at the Mentally of Ski Area Ops

Our battle with Mother Nature continues.

Conditions are thin, patchy and narrow and will change throughout the day. We are currently evaluating conditions and we will continue to do so as the day continues.

Thank you to everyone who came out yesterday – we had a great time!

We’re Not Giving Up!
We’re in the midst of a tough battle with Mother Nature. Overnight temps were not as kind to us and we lost some trails overnight. However, we are still skiing and riding on 11 trails, 9 am-5 pm, and we’re not giving up! Our snowfarmers will be out tonight moving snow around and we hope to re-open additional trails for this weekend.

Cold air is in the forecast for next week. We don’t know when exactly it will arrive, but we are ready and waiting. We even have a special piece of snowfarming equipment arriving on Wednesday to help. We’re fighting for every last flake.

Like so many Olympians in PyeongChang right now, we’ve trained, we’re strong and want to give you the best skiing and riding we can. What if Shaun White had retired after the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi? We don’t want to wonder “what if?” We’re giving it all we got.

Yea…what if Shaun White had retired in 2014?!?! Again, I LOVE that!


SkiSoutheast / Snowshoe Summit…

I’ll update the list of attendees later this weekend but as far as I can tell, we have around 70-75 friends headed to Snowshoe Mountain next Friday to enjoy the snow and whatever’s left of it to play on 😉

Come join us…there might be some natural snowfall as well! We had (3) more signed up on Saturday!

2018 Ski Southeast Summit at Snowshoe Mountain

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of, and Since September 1996 he has posted close to 14,000 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.