Well, my snow loving friends…this is the last weekend of skiing and riding for the 2004-2005 season in North Carolina…and other parts north of us. We’ll detail more on the Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland resorts in a moment. However, for a moment we want to focus on the North Carolina resorts.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere all season you know that this has been one heck of a roller coaster of a ski season with Old Man Winter really playing unfair and overworking the grooming and snowmaking crews for much of the first two-thirds of the season. We REALLY want to take a moment to say a HUGE "THANK YOU" to all of the hard working people that toil away in the middle of the night making snow for us to play on. Without you guys this would have been one weird season indeed!
The roller coaster took us on a very cold and snowy ride for the last one-third of the season and particularly for the first two weeks-plus of March and that really gave us snow lovers something to crow about. I won’t soon forget how great the powder conditions were up at Ski Beech just a couple of Friday nights ago.
Now the roller coaster is taking us into the "water park" section of the season with a somewhat wet weekend…the last weekend for the North Carolina resorts. Thankfully it appears that most of the rainy periods will be during the evening hours at least today and Saturday…so get your turns on the slopes in today and during the daytime hours on Saturday…because Sunday will be a wet one. Sugar Mountain and Appalachian Ski Mountain have closing weekend plans. App is hosting their "Meltdown Games" and they should be a HOOT. We know of a few people that are trying to organize a "mini SkiNC Summit" over there and I am here to tell you that some of the attendees will be quite colorfully dressed! (PLEASE GET LOTS OF PHOTOS as I will be visiting MOM this Easter weekend.)
Sugar has plans for the Easter Egg Hunt that we have promoted all week. (See archives for details…) To summarize THESE Easter eggs will be "spiked" with prizes…and ONE LUCKY EGG HUNTER WILL WIN A 2005-2006 SEASONS PASS! That should be worth getting rained on.
Appalachian Ski Mountain is closing up Monday…and sources at Sugar Mountain tell us that "most likely" Sugar’s last day of skiing for the 2004-2005 season will be Monday as well. If that changes we will tell you.
So if you want to hit the trails one more time in North Carolina…your days are numbered…and may be a little wet.
The Actual Forecast for the North Carolina Mountains
Friday – Mostly Cloudy and a Few Showers particularly later in the day – Hi 59° Lo 43°
Saturday – About the same as Friday with more chances of rain late – Hi 56° Lo 39°
Sunday – RAIN – Hi 47° Lo 42°
Monday – Scattered Showers and Thunder Showers – Hi 52° Lo 38°
Frankee Love, the Director of Public Relations & Communications at Wintergreen Resort informed us yesterday that they will be closing the slopes on March 28th…but NOT for the season. They will be getting the slopes ready for "one wicked party"!
For one day only, Saturday, April 2 Wintergreen will have the biggest, terrain park in the East!! Since there is such an abundance of snow this year, they are turning the entire Dobie slope into one huge mega-terrain park with ten rails, four gap jumps, two table tops, two hip-hit spines, a vert wall, and the infamous Volkswagen bug rail. There will also be some water hazzards and a pond-skimming contest. This is going to be waaaay cool and something you do not want to miss.
Massanutten Resort will be calling it quits for the season on Sunday.
Both resorts have plenty of snow and plenty of trails open (Mass has 14 and Wintergreen 17). Check out the story below for more on Wintergreen’s Terrain Park plans.
WEST VIRGINIA RESORTS
We’re thinking that Canaan Valley will call it quits on Sunday. That is not the official word…but don’t be surprised. Winterplace Resort has previously announced that they will close for the season on Sunday as well. Don’t expect any surprise announcements here. They plan to close.
Timberline Resort had previously looked at closing on Sunday but they will go one more week, and stay open until April 3rd…unless they get a look at next weeks and weekend’s forecast. More on that in a moment.
Snowshoe Mountain will ski and ride all the way to April 10th. Snowshoe pulled a whopping 69" of snow earlier this month and is still looking pretty good and they’ve had a little more consistent winter than a lot of us…so they plan to reward snow lovers with two more weeks of skiing.
Also note that on April 2nd, The third annual Snowshoe Mountain Pond Skimming Extravaganza will take place on Skidder Slope at the Snowshoe Area. Mountain Operations will be filling up a small pond on the slope with "underdeveloped snow", allowing skiers and snowboarders a chance to see how brave they are. A panel of expert (I say that lightly) judges will be on hand grading each participant’s efforts on the 100 foot man made waterway. A great way to celebrate the next to last weekend of skiing and riding in the mid-Atlantic region as the region’s largest winter resort will be open for skiing and riding until April 10.
WISP Resort has had a good season and they still have quite a lot of snow up there. They are reporting "up to 19 slopes open" which could mean TWO slopes…but probably not. They should be saying, "AT LEAST 14, etc"…but who are we to say?
What to Expect Weather-wise this weekend
Friday – 80% chance of RAIN – Hi 40° Lo 30°
Saturday – 50% chance of Scattered Showers – Hi 40° Lo 29°
Sunday – 60% chance of RAIN – Hi 40° Lo 33°
…and it looks like the forecast is going to remain a bit wet for the next week and into next weekend. There’s 40% chances of rain Monday and Tueeday. Wednesday looks good (Partly Cloudy) and the things cloud up again with more chances of rain on Thursday, Friday and into the weekend. (Don’t shoot the messenger!) As we all know, the weather can turn on a dime up that way…but we are being asked so here’s what we have available to us at this time.
Free Ticket Winners say THANKS
We received more than the normal number of emails BACK from some of you who won free tickets to ski over the last three weeks of the season. Thanks for taking the time to acknowledge us…and the resorts…and thanks also for the great photos and videos.
One of those who sent us an in-depth report was Bill McEntire of West Columbia, South Carolina who won free tickets to Wintergreen. Some of his photos were our Photos of the Day recently. We thought we’d share Bill’s assessment of this trip. Enjoy!
"My trip began about noon Sunday in Columbia, SC. Its a 6 hour run up I-77 to I-85 to US-29 into Lovingston, VA. My 1st night was at the Village Inn on US-29, 30 minutes away from Wintergreen. $39.00 plus tax. Nice large room and very, very clean. It’s just that the trucks rolling by at night woke me a few times. The Italian place across the street IS really Italian, you will love it. Just look for all of the cars parked out front.
Packed everything up Monday morning and made the resort at 8am for the 9am opening. The groomers are amazing, they even groom the groomed snow. It’s the first sight of expansive acres ALL dressed in corduroy that makes you realize something special is going on here.
I got 1st tracks from Blackrock Village Center down Dobie to the Blue Ridge Express Chair, also a high speed six, took it back to the top. This lift ride gives you the overhead view of the park rails, jumps, and VW Bug. Rode down Diamond Hill to the Highlands Express. I spent most of the morning in Highlands taking in all the trails still in corduroy. The new lift is a dream ride up, so fast, and when you’re the only passenger its a BIG seat.
Took lunch break at 11:30 of shaneriddel recommended PB&J in back of the Cherokee in the parking lot, just steps away from the slope.
Booted back in and rode the trail under the road over to Big Acorn side. This is a slow lift, ok with me cause I needed to back off the throttle a bit. It also has foot rests to ease the nagging-hanging board. I alternated between Big Acorn, Eagles Swoop, Sunrise will keep it real. Tyro was little slow at the bottom to get you all the way back to the lift.
A couple of hours later it was time to rest again at the village stretched out on a picnic table. The village is wired for sound with expensive sounding speakers. Wintergreens special touch here is they are piping in XM radio on a Blues channel. People walking by would shake-it just a little, so the channel appeals to everyone.
I finished the day back in Highlands throttled up. My riding keeps progressing with tighter S-turns the entire length of a run. Somebody pinch me, did I just take my 1st snowboard lesson just 13 months ago? The lift op makes sure I get the last chair and that conludes my 1st day.
My second night I have booked at The Acorn Inn B&B in Nellysford, VA. Fifteen minutes from Wintergreen, $40.00 + tax. This includes breakfast made for you by the owners, Martin & Kathy. They have remodeled the horse stable into a very comfortable Inn. "A favorite among skiers" the visitors center told me on the phone. They were right, satellite tv, kitchen, plenty of couches, and hot oatmeal and muffins in the morning!
Email me at: [email protected]
Don’t forget to visit: http://www.skisoutheast.com
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