I took my family up to Cataloochee today for their Can-U-Ski event. We got there around 8:20 and enjoyed the usual rockstar parking. I had been watching the weather reports though and not the snow reports and was not pleasantly surprised to find that they were unable to open Lower Omigosh and were skiing only on Rabbit Hill and Easy Way off of the Easy Way triple chair.
Things were very nice for the first hour and a half or so that we were there, but after that the crowd on the chairlift was just too much to bear. Not faulting the resort in any way, they had everyone from never-evers too experts riding the same chair and all packed onto what is essentially one slope, the results were pretty much carnage and chaos.
The conditions on the slopes they had open were really pretty good. Hard frozen granular in the early morning giving way to sugar on a hard base a bit later on. The sides of the slopes are encroaching a bit, and Lower Omigosh had some very significant bare spots in it, so it was easy to see why it was not open.
Not being able to make any substantial amounts of snow the past two nights has really hurt them. Let’s hope the weather takes a nosedive and really turns off cold so that all the resorts can really get busy making snow and opening new terrain.
The bright spot in the day is that most everyone there brought canned food or a winter coat to benefit Haywood Christian Ministries. From the size of the crowd I saw today, I think this was a successful event, both for the riders and the benefactors. Really, it’s hard to beat a day of skiing and riding for 6 cans of food; knowing that it’s all for a good cause is a bonus. Hat’s off to Cataloochee for sponsoring this annual event.