Well really, what else is there to talk about today other than Cataloochee opening up over the weekend? Who would have believed just a season ago that we would be talking about an area opening up in North Carolina on November the 4th? Well, I for one would have believed it or at least thought it was possible after experiencing what was going on at Cataloochee last season.
Let’s take a couple of steps back here and look at what Cataloochee did last season and over the summer. Last season they made snow overnight and covered Easy Way for their season pass holder day on November 12th and opened on the following Thursday; November 18th. This was the debut of the first phase of their new Areco Automatic Snowmaking System, a system that automatically monitors temperature and humidity and automatically adjusts the flow of water and air for optimal snowmaking efficiency.
So, what does all that have to do with anything? Well last season was the debut of the first phase of upgrading their snowmaking system, the first phase of a five year long capital improvement project at the resort that saw more snow making capacity added over the off season to an already impressive system. What all of this hubbub is really about is a ski area in North Carolina taking a very progressive approach to their business and making a strong move to become the leader of the ski industry in the Southeast.
There’s probably a naysayer or two around claiming that it was nothing for than a publicity stunt, but regardless there were some major media reps on the snow at Cataloochee rather than filming the grass growing on slopes elsewhere.
While it may have partially been for the publicity, I am just naive enough to believe it was at least partially for us, the skiers and boarders. The reason I say that is I have been around Cataloochee just long enough to know that they actually like what they do there and the enjoyment we skiers and riders get out of it. From the management to the lifties and rental techs I have never been to a ski area anywhere where the employees genuinely enjoyed what they were doing, and that shows in the product that Cataloochee produces.
I can’t wait to see what the next season will bring, it may not bring an opening date in the first week of November; but I can guarantee the people at Cataloochee will do their best to bring us the best skiing product that they possibly can at the earliest feasible date.
Now that I have said all those things about the place, WOW, it was great to get out on the snow this weekend. The skiing itself wasn’t mid-season skiing by any means; it was only the bunny slope that was open. BUT IT WAS SKIING! And boy did it feel good to be out there making some turns. It was like a homecoming of sorts, all the people that you have seen just occasionally or not at all since last season ended in April were there. Skiers and boarders, employees, some people you know well, others you only recognize by their faces; and smiling faces all. It was a time for catching up and for looking forward into the season to come. As of today, the season may be on hold for another week or so but its here; it has officially begun.
See you on the slopes!