Story by Mike Doble – [email protected]
This is always a SPECIAL time of the year for me. Not only is it a time to BE thankful and express it, it is also that time of year that all of us who are even remotely involved in the ski industry around these parts consider to be the "Official Start of the Ski and Snowboarding Season".
I cannot tell you how many PHONE CALLS that I fielded on Wednesday afternoon from people wanting to know where there was skiing open for today or this weekend ahead. Yes – phone calls! I let my staff off to travel and be with friends around NOON yesterday and the phone rang off the hook. I quit answering the main lines so that I could get other work done. I'll comment more about our phone call handling another day. However suffice it to say that a lot of people from around the Southeast and Mid Atlantic consider today and this weekend to be the official, unofficial or whatever start to Ski Season around here.
NOT QUITE EVERYONE IS PLAYING…
Let's first talk up those resorts that have opened and I'll talk about them in order of the conditions and trails they have open.
First on the parade of resorts open – with the best conditions and 40 acres of terrain open is…
Snowshoe Mountain Resort
They reported, "We started the 2012-2013 season yesterday with great weather and amazing snow conditions. The temperatures dropped overnight allowing us to make snow, and it is shaping up to be another great day on the mountain
We have 40 acres of skiable terrain including two top to bottom runs at Snowshoe and one top to bottom runs at Silver Creek. There is a hikable park at Snowshoe with 4 rails, accessed from the base of Powder Monkey Lift. Robertson's Run will open as a full park at Silver Creek with 8 features including two jumps.
Please be aware that Powder Monkey Lift accesses intermediate terrain only.
The Snowshoe Basin are will be open from 9am-4:30pm, and the Silver Creek area will be open from 2pm-9pm."
In case you missed that Silver Creek will be open for night riding!
There is NO QUESTION that Snowshoe has the best thing going right now with ten trails of open terrain, terrain park features available, and night riding.
I received this email this morning from Ed Schneider, my snow loving bud from Snowshoe Mountain. He wrote, "Mike…had a pretty good opening day for sure! So good to get back on the snow! Seems like we have all been waiting for so long, and now it is finally ski season again. I am hoping to go out this morning and make some actual runs, you know with out a video camera and a tripod!
The guns were actually on this morning when i came in about 6:30. Well the guns from about mid mountain down as we have been having some crazy inversions lately. This morning it was 37 up top and 27 at the compressor house!
Anyway, looks like some real good snowmaking temps this weekend so hopefully we will see some more terrain opening soon! Take care and catch up with ya later!"
NEXT UP – Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley
Tammy Brown wrote, "Happy Holidays! On Thursday, November 22 we will operate one session only from 8:30am – 4:30pm. We will be skiing from midstation down on Lower Omigosh, Over Easy and Rabbit Hill on a base of 12"-22" and a loose granular surface. Come on out and enjoy the start of the holidays with us! Please remember we will continue to make snow at every opportunity and will open additional terrain as temperatures and snowmaking will allow. A traditional turkey dinner will also be served in the lodge beginning at 11:30am on Thursday, with turkey, dressing and all the trimmings…$10.75 per person, plus tax!
Also, don't forget in addition to our regular early season skiing schedule of 9am
-4:30pm, Monday through Friday and 8:30am – 4:30pm, Saturday and Sunday, we will
also be offering special hours during the Thanksgiving holiday period. On Friday,
November 23, and Saturday, November 24, we will operate for day, twilight and night
Tube World opens December 15th.
Editor's Note: Cat looks really nice this morning and despite the fact that they are reporting thin coverage, we think they look really nice and their LIVE CAM shows that this AM.
Sugar Mountain would come in at third place today for the conditions and the fact that they only have two trails open. However three things need to be added to this statement.
1. Sugar has two more trails open than all other ski areas except Cat and Snowshoe.
2. The conditions on those two trails are actually pretty good if you're having the Jonese to ski or ride.
3. Sugar normally will rival any ski resort in the region in terms of snow quality.
Right now, they have the least of the three that are open and there's no question that Sugar is a day or so away from not being able to stay open without some snowmaking temps.
HOWEVER those temps are on the way Friday night! So they will make it and then get to some serious snowmaking ops and get more terrain open. You can ALWAYS count on Gunther and his crew to make snow at EVERY window of opportunity. (You can't say that about every ski area.)
You can ski, snowboard or ice skate today at Sugar. They have a thin base of 6-26" of a mix of frozen and not-so-frozen granular with two trails operating for day sessions only today.
The temps from Friday night through the next seven days looks very favorable for snowmaking especially at night. Look for the best conditions of this early season to be here my mid week. Okay, okay – those conditions of Halloween Day at Sugar and Cat were more like mid season, but with the exception of those first two days…these conditions will be nice.
WE THOUGHT WE'D SHARE THE TEMPS…FROM THIS MORNING:
Appalachian Ski Mtn – 40°
Beech Mountain Resort – 39°
Cataloochee Ski Area – 33.2°
Sapphire Valley – 27.5°
Sugar Mountain Resort – 36.5°
Wolf Ridge Resort – 41.9°
Bryce Resort – 27.1°
Massanutten Resort – 29°
The Homestead – 28.9°
Wintergreen Resort – 38°
Canaan Valley Resort – 38°
Snowshoe Mountain – 42°
Timberline Resort – 38°
Winterplace Resort – 32.9°
Wisp Resort – 33.5°
Ober Gatlinburg – 37.9°
STREAMING THE WORLD OF SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING LIKE NOBODY ELSE!
Recently it seems that we've been in the camera sales and shipping business! I walked into Kenny Griffin's office the other day and I swear I thought I was going to have to dive in and SAVE the guy from the mountain of boxes that were strewn around his office floor.
He's recently shipped cams all over the place and we'll have some sweet announcements to make very soon. In addition to shipping two cams to the US Forestry Service in the North Georgia Mountains, Kenny has sent them to several ski resorts in the region.
We've been offering static cams that send images up LIVE every 2-3 seconds for years. I'll never forget rigging up an old RCA Camcorder to a Snappy Capture Card and an old computer to create the first webcam in the region. That was in 1997 and a lot has changed in that industry. We progressed to very nice, professional systems that send about the same image up that those old RCA cams did, but without all the fuss or need for computers. Nowadays, we're offering Streaming HD cams that can even broadcast SOUND. The imagery of those cams are like watching television and it is making the promotion of ski areas something amazing to behold.
That got me to looking this morning at what resorts are taking part in this new technology and which ones are not. I think this will impress you guys.
Sugar Mountain: (We have two streaming cams aimed at Sugar.)
We can't take credit for the streaming cam AT Sugar, but they do have one. You can see it at www.SkiSugar.com/sugarlive (They also have a second cam up the mountain.)
Massanutten Resort: (We have TWO great Streaming Cams there!)
http://www.resortcams.com/webcameras-massanutten-base.php <- Really LOVE this one!
COMING SOON TO A COMPUTER NEAR YOU:
Beech Mountain Resort – We've always done something with webcams up there and actually we own the one that is running at the base of the resort. That one shows some decent imagery from time to time and you can see that one via the link in the "Old Style Cams" section below. However as soon as NEXT WEEK we hope to be installing a new STREAMING cam at Beech and we'll update you on that asap.
Canaan Valley Resort – They have a webcam that they, themselves hate, but that will be solved soon as we are implementing a NEW STREAMING CAM on site within the next two weeks!
Snowshoe Mountain – These guys have fought hard NOT to do webcams. We installed an old camera up at Gil Willis' RideSnow ski and snowboard shop at the Top of the World a few years ago. That one still works, but we JUST SHIPPED not ONE, not TWO, but THREE new STREAMING CAMS that will be implemented this week at Snowshoe!
One will be at the bottom of Ball Hooter at the Boat House. The second will be at Shavers Center up top and the third is going in at Silver Creek! Stay tuned!
The Homestead Resort – We actually SENT a cam there last season and they never got it running! This season they have a new marketing director and in addition to getting that cam running, they are working with us to be more active on SkiSoutheast.com. Woohoo!
OLD STYLE CAMS…but some good mentions:
Beech Mountain Resort
Cataloochee Ski Area has THREE NICE webcams. They don't show any action, but they DO show some very nice images!
Resorts without cams:
There's only ONE in the entire area…Wolf Ridge Resort.
At one time Wolf had four webcams. Their webcams actually aren't webcams in some cases. They promote a "View from the Top Cam" that shows old images from years ago. Their BASE LODGE CAM hasn't been on in two seasons. You can't find a view from the "ViewFinder Cam". The "Ridge Runner" cam isn't running. …and I guess the "BreakAway" cam must have…you guessed it – broken.
I was looking around to see if any other ski area in the United States was wired up as well as our resorts and although there are some nice cams out there, I don't think you'll find an area that is showing off streaming HD cams the way ours are.
Guys I'm out of words for today! Have a great Turkey Day and express your thanks to someone you love and maybe even to someone you don't. See you guys on Friday AM.
Email me if you like at [email protected]