I’ve been discussing ad nauseam all week about the MLK holiday weekend, so I’m happy to report that it is finally here. Well, it’s almost here as we only have one final work day to get through. Today is warm and mild, but the return of cold and snow is right at our doorstep and should make for a fantastic weekend at all of the ski areas in the region.
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I’m not even going to sugar coat it, today’s weather looks like crap. There’s no other way around it. Dreary, mild, and wet conditions will be prevalent across the region. All of the webcams are showing grey skies right now and many have rain droplets on the them. You’ll need a poncho if you go skiing or snowboarding today. It’s also super warm as most every resort is reporting a temperatures in the 50’s. It’s astounding to me how drastically different the weather is this morning compared to a week ago at this time. Last Friday it was something like negative 5 up in the Canaan Valley area. It’s 55 degrees this morning there. That’s a 60 degree difference!
The return of colder temperatures is not far away though. A cold front is moving through Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio right now and will pass through the region tonight. Once that happens we’ll get rid of this crummy weather and the weekend looks fantastic. I’ll let Brad Panovich discuss more…
A couple of things…
- Brad is crazy. He flew home from Austin, TX yesterday morning after accepting the AMS Award for Broadcast Meteorology. To my surprise, he was then on my TV set in the evening doing the news broadcast and he somehow also sends us a forecast update overnight. This guy loves weather.
- He is wayyyyy more bullish about snow chances tonight and tomorrow for WV and Maryland than any other forecast I’ve seen. I’m not sure what weather model he was using in that video (might be their in-house one), but it is showing a way different snowfall output than the NWS forecast maps. It almost looks like it had a glitch in it right around the 8am time frame on Saturday. Who knows.
The snowfall for tonight and tomorrow looks on the light side according to the National Weather Service. A dusting to a few inches is the general consensus for the West Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina ski areas. The bigger story though is the return of cold temps for everyone. Look for snowmaking to resume tomorrow or tomorrow night and it could continue into next week if the ski areas wanted to. Coverage and base depths are good right now and with the increased holiday traffic, I suspect many of the resorts will hold off on daytime snowmaking. All in all, you can’t ask for a much better weekend. Well, a powder day would be nice.
Tips for the Weekend
When conditions are as good as they’ve been in recent weeks, the weekends are always busy. The holiday weekend will bring out even more visitors to the slopes. The best tip I can give you is to get out as early as possible. I’ve been known to be waiting in line at 8:30am at Beech before and I’ll probably be doing that on Monday morning as well. The first hour or two at any resort is usually sparsely crowded and you can get a bunch of laps in before the lift lines swell up. I highly recommend setting that alarm for an early time and making sure you get first chair!
My second tip(s) is for beginners and newbies. Look at a trail map before going out and make sure to pay attention where you are going. Too often I see a beginner skier or snowboarder going down a slope that is obviously too steep for them. They don’t have a clue where they are on the mountain and don’t know where the easier trails are. This leads to them getting hurt and/or they wipe out and clog up the trail. Just be aware and plan out what runs you want to go down and stay on ones that are in your skill level. Also, if you fall make sure and get up quickly. Don’t sit in the middle of the trail!
The incoming cold blast is going to create some chilly conditions this weekend, so make sure you have the proper outerwear. Jeans won’t keep you that warm when high temperatures are below freezing, which they will be this weekend. You can rent pants/jackets that are much warmer and also repel water. I’d also highly suggest hand and toe warmers. They make a world of difference. Having the right gear and staying warm will make your day so much better!
I consider myself an advanced snowboarder and I like to go fast on occasion. This isn’t the weekend for that though. The slopes will be crowded to the point where you’ll need to take it easy. Practice those turns! Remember, the downhill skier always has the right of way. You don’t want to be that guy who takes somebody on the slopes.
Finally, have fun! For many of you, this might be one of the only times you get out on snow this year. Take it all in and enjoy every minute of it! The weather is going to cooperate (after today) and the snow conditions will be fantastic. It’s one of the better holiday weekends we’ve had in the last few years and no matter where you ski or ride you’ll have a good time!
Enjoy the weekend and don’t let the weather bum you out too much today. We’re golden once we get through the next 12-18 hours. If you’re out and about this weekend send us some pics either through email or tag us on social media. Mike will be with you all for the next three days. I’ll be back on Tuesday!