Drew King’s Trip Report from Ski Beech on February 8th, 2007

Ski Beech was pretty sweet on Thursday 2/8/07!

I couldn’t take another day at the office with all of these great conditions and 100% open terrain, so I rounded up the guys and we left Raleigh at 6am to try out Men’s Day at Ski Beech. (Beech’s mid-week promos are truly amazing, check out the web site for more
info.) After a nice 3.5 hr drive, we pulled into the parking lot to find that several others had the same idea of ditching work for a day on the slopes.

Eager to make a few turns we headed up to get our rentals (note: get your lift tickets first because they don’t have them at the rental office). Free lift tickets and $15 rentals, a pretty sweet deal! (The rentals are pretty good… Alpine usually has better boots, but if you’re limited on space and don’t want to hassle with lugging your equipment around, the slope-side rental is perfect.)

We finally made it out to our first run. There were a few small lift lines (more than I had expected for a Thursday… no where near a weekend crowd though), but we pretty much skied right onto Lift 1 to Lower Shawneehaw. We found some granular conditions since the 60 mph wind gusts from earlier in the week had moved around some of the powder. Next run was to Upper Shawneehaw, then Oz Run a few times and White Lightning before a lunch break. The manacotti w/ salad from the cafe was pretty darn good.

Most of the day we had 3-5 min lift lines on the quad to the top (the double to the top was closed), but we could pretty much ski right onto the double for Oz Run every time down. White Lightning and Southern Star were pretty good early, but were getting a little icy towards the end of the day session. Robbins Run and Shawneehaw stayed in decent shape most of the day.

Oz Run was good too, but I did find some of Dave’s "sticky snow" near a snow gun. It looked like a nice powder jump, unfortunately it didn’t want to let go.

Oz was a bit slow too, but still one of my favorite runs for the day…once I got over the bridge. The bridge was not really skiable before lunch. Entering and exiting the bridge was really icy, and there was little to no snow covering the ski pad over the bridge.

After lunch they did add a little snow, so it was easier to move across the bridge.

(Note: Don’t try to be an iron man and ski all day without stopping for some food and drink. My buddy had to leave early and wanted to get in a few more turns by skipping lunch… not a good idea since he had breakfast at 5:30am. Needless to say his energy ran out about 3pm when we were halfway down Oz Run… we still had to make it down Oz to the lift, then back up to the top, then back down to the lodge and he couldn’t ski and could barely walk… not good since he’s 6’5" 250lbs.

With a little rest in the Ski Patrol hut, a pack of nabs and a coke we finally made it down to the bottom. It’s always a good idea to keep a little snack and some drink on you during the day… those hydration packs are great, but a bottle of water in your pocket will do the trick too.)

[Also go prepared for the coldest (or warmest) conditions, the weatherman dropped the ball a bit and led me to believe it was going to be in the mid-30’s.

Of course when we arrived it was in the low-20’s and they were blasting away with the snow guns trying to recoup the windy loss for the weekend.. lucky I always tend to over pack.. glad I didn’t forget the goggles!]

All in all we had a GREAT time. This was my first trip to Ski Beech and I will definitely go back, but not before I try a few of the other area resorts. I’m still in my first year of skiing, so I am by no means an expert or really even all that knowledgeable, so I offer you my views through the eyes of a novice.