Great Conditions at the Ski Resorts as We Head Into March!

Click image to enlarge a photo from Winterplace Resort on Saturday as skies cleared. The snow was awesome!, says photographer, Carrigan Doble.

Good Sunday Morning, the 28th of February. This is USUALLY the last day of the month, however this season (year) we get one extra day to ski and ride the slopes of our favorite mountain. Tomorrow the resorts will celebrate “Leap Year” as it gives the ski areas an extra day on the fiscal calendar to add/pad their skier visit statistics.

To be honest, this my 5th Leap Year to be covering the resort news and I had never really thought about the fact that the extra day provides one more day of skier visits to every resort. While Mondays are usually a pretty light day in terms of numbers of skiers and snowboarders on the mountain, every extra lift pass purchased is a help, especially this season when most of November and December were a complete loss due to the weather.

Carrigan & Eric (both Virginia Tech students) played at Winterplace Resort on Saturday. Click to enlarge!
Carrigan & Eric (both Virginia Tech students) played at Winterplace Resort on Saturday. Click to enlarge!

Speaking of favorite ski areas – my daughter Carrigan and her boyfriend Eric drove over to Winterplace Resort from the Virginia Tech campus in beautiful, Blacksburg, Virginia on Saturday. The trip from campus to Winterplace is just a short one-hour and ten minutes (1:10) and 66 miles drive. She’s an avid skier and a senior in Va Tech’s Architectural Program and yet this was her first trip to Winterplace. (I’ve only suggested that she go there a dozen or so times.)

I was happy to hear that they were heading there to ski for the day. Wish I could have joined them as I have had the Joneses for some turns down the mountain as it’s been a few weeks since my last trip – which was to Sugar Mountain with a couple of friends.

2016-02-28-winterplacetextHer early morning text expressed her “love at first sight” with the Ghent, WV ski resort. I spoke with her later Saturday afternoon and she shared that Winterplace was right at the top as her favorite ski slopes after making laps on perfectly groomed trails all day. It IS funny how that works.

Kudos to Terry Pfeiffer, Tom Wagner and the Winterplace Resort peeps for winning over a couple of new fans. Thanks to Missy Cline for always keeping me up-to-date with everything “Winterplace”. Thanks again Missy.

Carrigan and her boyfriend Eric (who is from Chesapeake, Virginia) had never skied at Winterplace and they really took advantage of their first-time visit as they did 17 trips down the mountain. According to TRACE SNOW, Carrigan and Eric burned 546 calories, “caught some air” a couple of times and hit 33.3mph on a couple of trips down. THAT sounded like a great day. Joe Stevens and son Christian were at Winterplace Friday night and it sounded like they had a blast there as well.

 

Timberline Resort Gets Thunderstruck Lift Back in Operation

Freddy and Howard Herz (children of owner Fred) were among the first to ride Saturday morning.
Freddy and Howard Herz (children of owner Fred) were among the first to ride Saturday morning. Click Image to Enlarge!

We posted the PRESS RELEASE and some associated pics, and I just wanted to add that it was great to see owner Fred Herz and GM Tom Blanzy able to get the lift back in operation so quickly. It was also very cool to see how many people were in line to get on it first thing Saturday morning!

You can CLICK HERE TO SEE A TON OF PHOTOS from those who were first to ride Thunderstruck Saturday morning.

It looked like everyone was smiling and glad to see Timberline Resort fully in operation. Hats off to all of Timberline’s management staff for reacting so quickly to make the necessary repairs AND for taking the initiative to have inspections made on all of the lifts to insure the safety and the mental confidence of their fans.

 

Will XYZ Resort be Open on March 19th?

We’re already getting email inquiries from potential visitors questioning whether specific ski areas will be open on March 19th or the 26th or later. Is it REALLY that time already?

Only a few of the ski areas have already shared their closing date. Appalachian is one of those that set their opening and closing date well in advance. We know that they will remain open until April 2nd this season. Of course any date that late on the calendar carries with it the obligatory “weather permitting” tag. Weather permitting means simply if it is cold enough through most of March to keep a good base of snow on the slopes, then mountain ops crews can groom it such that there is good enough coverage to stay open. Weather permitting for some ski areas also means “if the weather permits visitors to make the trek to that ski area with enough skier visits for it to make sense for them to stay open”.

This has definitely been a volatile season the way that it started with virtually little-to-nothing happening on the slopes until January 4th or so. IF Punxsutawney Phil was wrong about an early Spring or better yet if SkiSoutheast Si was correct…then the 2015-2016 ski and snowboarding season could last at least until April 3rd for several ski areas.

We’ve shared some very speculative dates below based on how each ski area has traditionally handled late season closings. For example with Beech Mountain Resort we have shared that their LIKELY OPEN TIL date is March 27th. However they COULD push on until April 3rd. Depending on the weather and traffic, Beech is just as likely to close up shop March 20th. Wolf Ridge Resort has traditionally closed in Mid-March…but they too tend to pull the plug on a moment’s notice.

Some ski areas like Sugar, Cataloochee and Wisp will tend to ride things out until the last possible weekend. The way the calendar is landing this season, we think that would be the 3rd of April for just about any ski area. However, that “Weather Permitting” thing could make it such that ski areas could go another weekend into the 10th OR it could shut things down mid-March.

So the list below is pure speculation base solely on our experience and the weather forecast as we know it today. It’s hard to believe that we’re some 3-5 weeks away from ski areas winding down those lifts. However we’re getting so many inquiries, I thought we could answer those questions here and now.

Snowshoe Mountain – 93% OPEN with 56 of 60 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL at least April 3rd
Wisp Resort – 82% OPEN with 28 of 34 slopes – OPEN TIL at least April 3rd
Winterplace Resort – 100% OPEN with all 27 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL March 27th
Timberline Resort – 67% OPEN with 26 of 39 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL March 27th
Wintergreen Resort – 100% OPEN with all 24 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL March 27th
Canaan Valley Resort – 49% OPEN with 23 of 47 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL March 20th or 27th
Sugar Mountain Resort – 100% OPEN with all 21 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL April 3rd
Cataloochee Ski Area – 100% OPEN with all 18 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL at least April 3rd
Beech Mountain Resort – 100% OPEN with all 15 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL March 27th
Wolf Ridge Resort – 93% OPEN with 14 of 15 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL March 20th or 27th
Massanutten Resort – 100% OPEN with all 14 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL March 27th
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 100% OPEN with all 12 slopes – OPEN TIL April 2nd
Omni Homestead Resort – 100% OPEN with all 9 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL March 20th or 27th
Bryce Resort – 100% OPEN with all 8 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL March 20th
Ober Gatlinburg – 80% OPEN with 8 of 10 slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL March 13th or 20th (Tube til later)
Sapphire Valley Ski Area – 100% OPEN with both (2) slopes – LIKELY OPEN TIL March 13th or 20th

 

JOIN US AT SNOWSHOE MOUNTAIN MARCH 4-6TH FOR TONS OF SNOW FUN!

2016-02-20-Summit-HAT22016-02-20-Summit-JoinWe have around 100 people who have requested the reservations code to attend one of the largest group ski trips of each season. Snowshoe Mountain will again play host to the annual Summit weekend by giving all SkiSoutheast fans 20% OFF lodging, a Free Sunday lift pass and more.

We have new 2016 Summit TShirts, new SkiSoutheast Hats, stickers and lift passes to give away.

All YOU have to do is JOIN US.

(We have confirmed 42 who have booked and plan to join us. So the odds of winning something and getting some freebies is p-r-e-t-t-y good!)

There is SNOW in the FORECAST for next weekend so conditions should be AWESOME!

Jump over to the link here and join us.

 

#THINKCOLD
#THINKSNOW

Until next time…

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. Since September 1996 he has posted more than 13,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.