Conditions are GREAT!

Conditions will be great this week. The temps will be perfect for skiing with daytime highs in the 30s (to 42° Friday) and the overnight lows will be in the 20s…and great for snowmaking. For those of you who love corduroy, (and who doesn’t), this is YOUR kind of week. Grooming crews will make for perfect ski conditions everyday, after snowmaking crews pour on the snow everynight. It won’t get much better than this week…so make you reservations and get up here. There’s plenty of snow, and perfect slope conditions.

Question of the Day – It comes from Roxanne Newman of Charlotte, N.C. – She asks, "What ski resort has the best beginners trails?"

We get this question a lot and we answer it via email every single time…the very same way. However, it bears mentioning here today. All of the ski areas in North Carolina offer great beginner terrain. Appalachian Ski Mountain is known as the best place for beginners because most of it’s terrain is short and wide. Additionally they have a phenomenal ski school that is nationally recognized. However, again, all ski areas offer very nice beginner terrain. Nevertheless, when you ask "which is the BEST" there can only be ONE BEST. In this case we believe that Sugar Mountain has the best terrain for beginners in North Carolina. The reason is because they have a slope called "Easy Street". Easy Street is a rather long (for beginner terrain) slope that has a VERY gradual incline that allows beginners to learn without being scared to death of the steepness of a slope. It is long enough to give them plenty of opportunities to fall, get up and fall again…several times on the way down…rather than having to hit one quick, short slope and hit the lift again. Additionally, the lift for Easy Street is VERY low to the ground which is great for novices to conquer their fear of riding the chair lift. So our recommendation is Sugar Mountain.

A Second Question of the Day – Comes from A. Weeky of Staten Island, NY – He asks, "Please tell me if there is close skiing areas near Columbus, North Carolina, as we have just bought a home there!"

We get this kind of question all of the time. In this case…we’ll say that Wolf Laurel would be closest…but note that Cataloochee is another short drive away.

We are working on interactive mapping that we’ll help visitors with these kinds of questions in the future.

Reporting THE FACTS and nothing but the facts – It’s funny, we get a thousand emails from you guys telling us what a great job we’re doing and how much we’re appreciated for "keeping the resorts honest" and we get TWO negative ones and I go nuts. I guess it is just human nature. We ALL want EVERYONE to love us…or the job we’re doing. If you don’t know what the heck I’m alluding to…just check out the article archives from this weekend or the messageboards and you get up to speed rather quickly.

The few that seemed to take offense to the very fact that we work to bring inaccuracies to your attention seemed STUCK on the fact that snow settles, or the fact that it can indeed snow more in one place than another. Gosh – who doesn’t know that. One guy emailed me back and forth over the weekend and the fellow made very good sense…except that he was just wrong. He kept alluding to the fact that it was unprofessional of us to report what we did in the manner that we did it. He called it editorializing…or opinion. The other emailer seemed to say that we didn’t "hold other resorts to the same standard" that we hold Sugar. I thought it interesting, however, that neither those emailers…nor those that posted comments in the messageboard…disputed our report. They just seem to think us unprofessional for reporting on this subject.

Is it OPINION to SEE the snow THE DAY it snowed and know that it wasn’t 8-10 inches? Is it OPINION to hear THE WEATHER CHANNEL guys reporting that Sugar just called them with 10" of snow…when I was THERE and know that it wasn’t ten inches? Is it OPINION to state that EVERY TIME WE HAVE HAD SNOW THIS SEASON SUGAR HAS REPORTED MORE THAN EVERY LOCATION AROUND THE HIGH COUNTRY…when I have the facts to prove it? We call that reporting.

Where were those people when we called out Appalachian for reporting the maximum base depth across all nine trails as inaccurate? Where were those people when we called out Wolf Laurel and Timberline Resorts for not keeping data current? Where were those people when we make comments about Sapphire Valley not keeping visitors informed of their schedule of operations? It seems that we only hear that we are unprofessional when we talk of Sugar Mountain.

Is Consumer Reports called unprofessional when they "report" on products…calling some trash and other worthy of purchasing? Are sports reporters with newspapers in every city called unprofessional when they call a team or their coaching staff nuts? It seems that we are only called unprofessional when we comment on Sugar.

For the record, WE LOVE SUGAR MOUNTAIN. We LOVE EVERY RESORT in the region. They ALL offer great terrain and unique opportunities. We PROMOTE THEM ALL. Take one look at our Photos of the Day…and you will see that we feature AS MANY or MORE photos of Sugar than all the rest. We receive questions via email every single day and we answer promoting Sugar with MANY of those answers.

The fact that remains unnoticed by a few…is that Sugar IS reporting figures that are skewed to attract people to the resort. We think that is inappropriate. To report on it is to bring it to our visitors attention so that they can make a decision as to where they want to go skiing BASED ON fair and equitable information.

CASE IN POINT – We had a nice dusting of snow across the High Country again last night. All of the ski areas reported that as a TRACE of snow except Sugar, which AGAIN reported more than everyone else with a NEW INCH of snow. Is it my OPINION that they did this? Is it unprofessional for us to report on it?

The fact is that this subject is too negative to KEEP on posting stories on this website. THE POSITIVE is that conditions are GREAT right now everywhere. The fact is that we have beautiful snow everywhere right now and the weather this week should make for GREAT skiing and riding. THAT IS WHAT THE FOCUS of our daily content should stay on…and not the fact that one or more resorts isn’t playing fair. With that in mind, this is the LAST you’ll see for at least a while on this subject. WE WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE COMMENTS and REPORTS where deserved…but we will not editorialize or defend our stance on this kind of thing. We have made it our goal to report on what’s going on around the region…regarding the ski industry…and we will continue to do that. It is obvious that the vast majority like us for doing that and only a small few think us unprofessional.

With that in mind…we have created a POLL asking the question: Do you think that and is fair and unbiased in our reporting? Do us a favor and let us know what you think…and thanks for making us your number one ski destination on the net!

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