As I walked out this morning there was no mistaking the fact that Spring is on the way. At least that’s the case here in the Western North Carolina Mountains. (Check out www.SkiSoutheast.com for the report and news for the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic as Wisp Resort in Maryland picked up 8” of snow in the last 24 hours! Crazy!)
There’s something about the change of seasons. The mornings become somewhat brighter and of course you get that hint of milder temps as the morning sun creeps closer to us. I always begin doing a little preliminary thinking about what I’m going to write about as I drive in and this morning it hit me that our wonderful United States Congress is going to steal away a bit of our ski season this year. If you haven’t caught on just yet, here’s how.
By order of the United States Congress, Daylight Savings Time was moved up two weeks to this weekend. Typically DST started in April (a day or two after the ski seasons end in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic) but since at least some of the ski areas will still be playing through April 1st, that means that the season is one hour shorter.
Okay, okay – although THE SEASON is an hour shorter, we won’t lose any time on the slopes because ski areas aren’t open at 2am Sunday, but I had a few of you for a second or two didn’t I? Maybe not. Time to move on.
This time of year I begin feeling like one of the sports announcers that is broadcasting a runaway game, wherein they have to make up stuff to talk about because the game is not of great interest. Those of us who love to get on the snow as much as possible certainly don’t think this is a “boring” time of year. In fact, this is our favorite time of year! In another couple of weeks, the snow will begin to really deteriorate, but for now the snow is plentiful and of wonderful consistency.
It should be noted that there are NO bare spots, NO thin coverage areas and conditions right now across the entire state of North Carolina are close to if not AS GOOD as they were in mid January. One look around the web cameras within the state will tell you that the best conditions are probably at Appalachian, Cataloochee, Ski Beech and Sugar Mountain. We’re seeing some thin coverage and telltale discoloration of snow at Wolf Ridge and Hawksnest, but bear in mind that those two resorts are not open and undergoing grooming. They will no doubt do some maintenance prior to opening on Saturday.
PHOTOS AND CAMERAS TELL THE TALE
Donnie Ingram of Summerville, SC wrote, “I keep hearing from you guys that the snow still looks great. Can you send me some photos as proof? I love the webcameras but don’t know if they are live shots.”
As far as we know Donnie (and all others reading this), we are the only resource in the region and perhaps the entire United States that posts as many live cameras as we do AND the number of Photos of the Day that we do to provide accurate assessments of what our region’s ski areas actually look like. The images that you see via the web cams are live within seconds (except for the occasional glitch). The photos of the day are sent by numerous volunteer trip reporters and are always recent shots.
THIS WEEKEND IS LOOKING PRETTY GOOD!
The sun is brilliant today and temps will be in the 50s, but clouds and colder temps are invading the area again on Friday. Temperatures Friday will be 10-15 degrees cooler than today. As of yesterday, forecasters were predicting 30% chances of rain for the weekend. Now, the forecast for the Western North Carolina mountains is looking variably cloudy with highs on the 40s to near 50° and most importantly only slight – slight chances of drizzle at night. That is good news. Saturday and Sunday look nice, so make your plans to enjoy great snow, great Spring Skiing and No Lift Lines.
HERE’S SOME NORTH CAROLINA RESORT HIGHLIGHTS
Cataloochee – They are hosting some recreational racing this Sunday and Sunday, March 18th. Tammy Brown says, “These races are open to any age and any level and will be held on Sunday, March 11 and Sunday, March 18, from 1pm until 3pm each Sunday. Cost is $3 per run, or $5 for two runs. Awards and Results will be held at 4pm in the lodge each Sunday afternoon.”
Hawksnest Resort – 34° – Lenny Cottom says, “We will open Saturday, March 10th for skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing at 9am. Our weekend schedule for skiing and snowboarding will be Saturday 9am – midnight and Sunday 9am – 4:30pm. For snowtubing on Saturday we will open at 9am to 9pm and Sunday 9am – 5pm. Hope to see you this weekend.”
That is more solid sounding than what was relayed to us earlier in the week. So plan on skiing at The Nest this weekend. Lenny also shared the results of last weekend’s Nest Games.
Mens: Keith Clement, 1st place Ian Costello, 2nd place Adam Turner, 3rd place Drew Fischer, 4th place
Ladies: Anna Fisher, 1st place Chelsea Taylor, 2nd place
Sapphire Valley – Weather permitting, SV Ski will be open March 10 & 11 for skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. Current conditions are great. Warmer temperatures make snow soft and skiing fun. Call 828-743-7663 for further information, or 828 743 1162 for a recorded snow report.
Ski Beech – 31° – This was the first day or night in almost a week that Beech didn’t make snow. They got their grooming done early this morning and conditions should be very nice today.
Until Next Time…
THINK COLD AND SNOW!!!
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For more information about the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic visit www.SkiSoutheast.com
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