Cataloochee Trip Report for November 27th. Click to Read.

I  got out for my first runs of the season today at Cataloochee and had a solid day, actually a great first day given the challenges of high temps and no snow that have plagued the southeast thus far.

Trip Report & Photos by David McCue

To quote an obscure little band from the sixties: “Oh that magic feeling.” Laws of physics were suspended once again and lift off was achieved. The unlikelihood of it all blows me away every year that I drop into my first run.  Friday at Cataloochee is often my first day of the season, after gobbling turkey with my family in Sylva, and usually that is with my sons too but they’ve had the audacity to grow up and move elsewhere so I was solo today.

I arrived at 8 a.m. and found the next best parking spot available; apparently the director of ski patrol feels entitled.

cataloochee ski area, friday November 27, 2105
I couldn’t believe how empty the slopes were.

After a cup of coffee I hit the emptiest holiday slopes I have ever experienced.  For most of the morning I could never have looked around and counted more than 20 people on the slopes.  Just before noon I finally had to brake once or twice before skiing directly onto the lift.  Was there a bad turkey outbreak yesterday because the slopes were insanely empty today?

It may just be that folks can’t wrap their heads around what snow makers can produce now and how the groomers can make it last.

2015-nov-27-David-McCue001As far as the slope conditions;  it was choppy and stiff, a little rugged, early in the morning;  soft and fun but still not slushy when I left at one o’clock.  Significant patches of dirt were breaking through above the halfway mark, but almost none from mid-mountain to the bottom.  I’ll put it this way, my new skis still don’t have a scratch and I was not treating them with any special care (although I stopped treating skis with care a long time ago.)

I want to stress how surprised I was at the conditions and lack of crowd and as a result how much fun some of the new families and old regulars were having.  I don’t know with certainty, but I’m guessing they will manage to open the same amount of terrain tomorrow. If you can get there early you will have a great day in store.

By the way I may have mentioned this in an earlier column,  but check out the Slide in Five package that Cataloochee has put together this year, I think it’s pretty exceptional.

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David McCue
David McCue grew up in Amarillo, Texas and annoyed the natives of New Mexico and Colorado by skiing on their mountains throughout his childhood and teens. He put down his neon 200cm GS skis for nearly twenty years until the fateful day he took his own young sons for a half day to Cataloochee. He has never looked back, except when alone and deep in the trees. A carpenter by trade, the uncertainties of the housing market have further honed David’s snow skills. He now resides with his patient wife on the banks of the Haw River in central North Carolina and annoys the natives of West Virginia by skiing on their mountains.