It’s now March 2nd and March means a lot of things to a lot of people with snow on their minds. March often brings a lot of deep snows. There’s usually more moisture for cold fronts to play with during this month ahead and two of the biggest snow storms that we’ve ever had in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic took place in March of 1993 and 1996.
March is also often a month of transition between the normally more consistent cold temps to the more Springlike temps that April brings. Those transitions trigger a lot of the better snowfalls as well.
You can probably feel a theme coming on here and if you do, then your perceptive powers are working well! March is great time to get out and enjoy the snow. It’s typically softer and if you’ll pay attention to the forecasts, webcams and this website – we’ll keep you aware of when and where the best snow is.
We’re getting a lot of questions ALREADY from those of you who want to know "if ‘xyz resort’ will be open on March 24th" and the question that I always enjoy answering, "Will there be snow on March 26th because we have some people coming with us who have never seen snow. Is there any chance we’ll see some?"
As far as who is staying open until WHEN, that IS somewhat dependent on the weather, but with all of the snow and snowmaking that we’ve seen in the last week when nearly 15" of snow has fallen in the North Carolina mountains and 23" up around Tucker County, West Virginia…I’d say when in good shape to go as far into the calendar as most of the resorts want to go.
Some resorts such as Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock have already set a firm date for their closing weekend. They plan on skiing and riding until Sunday, March 30th. Other resorts such as Cataloochee and Snowshoe may ski yet another week and shut down ski operations April 6th.
The rest have some tentative dates in mind and some have shared those, but suffice to say that right now conditions are absolutely great TODAY. So go enjoy the best conditions TODAY.
I’m sitting here typing this story and answering questions about when this or that resort might CLOSE and yet I am also looking at webcams, like the one staring down on Hawksnest’s lifts where NEITHER has anyone on it at 9:10am! If you guys want your favorite hill to be open on March xxth, then go ski and ride!
Okay…there went two people to the top.
TRAFFIC HAS BEEN GREAT…
With only a couple of exceptions, we are hearing comments from some of the ski resort management teams that are gleefully talking about skier numbers for this season. Most all are talking that it has been a top five season. Pent up demand and near, perfectly timed good weather and snows for the holiday periods helped fuel that.
After some slow weather weeks, pent up demand fueled higher than normal traffic days for most every weekend in February. Then this past week we experienced the biggest snows of the season for many ski areas and THAT has created a great weekend of traffic Friday and Saturday.
SOME RESORTS MIGHT BE THINKING OF MAXIMIZING THEIR PROFTS
The weather IS freakish in March and we have some freaky weather heading our way as early as Tuesday of this week where and inch of rain is expected across the region. That forecast has obviously spawned a bunch of emails from you guys speculating that some resorts may EVEN close up after today.
Naw! That’s not going to happen. I’ve been monitoring the Southeast and Mid Atlantic resorts for twelve seasons and while nothing surprises me anymore, I can say with some measure of certainty that none of the ski areas will end their seasons after today.
I spoke with two of the ski areas that tend to close a bit earlier than the rest and both have plans to keep on skiing for at least another week. Wolf Ridge will operate for DAY SKIING this coming week and are planning on skiing next weekend as well.
We’ll get some firm dates for you guys, but tentatively I say based on the calendar, the snows and temps we’ve had of late, the amount of base they have and my gut…that the following is likely:
Most resorts will continue to operate with some going to day skiing only around mid month…but continue until March 23rd. There will be a couple to end their seasons on March 9th, and another one or so March 16th. I’d expect Wisp, Winterplace, Wintergreen and Appalachian and Sugar Mountain to go until March 30th with a possibility (depending on the weather) that Cataloochee might be in that group as well.
If their base has ANY kind of decent depth, Sugar and Cataloochee will ski on until April 6th, just to say they did it. History says that Cataloochee will close Sunday, March 30th and try to open for that April 4-6 weekend. History also says that Sugar will try to ski as long as Cataloochee does…but do it without closing during that last week, just so THEY can say they did it non-stop. (There’s a lot of marketing ego out there!)
Snowshoe, Wisp and Winterplace have enough base right now that barring hard rains could ski until mid April, but will probably shut down ski ops April 6th. (Notice I have Wisp closing either March 30th or April 6th. They could go either way.
NOTE THAT NONE OF THIS IS OFFICIAL! I’m simply trying to give you guys some answers to your questions. All of this is to say that some ski areas will be open through March and perhaps into April.
READING THE SIGNS IS NOT ALWAYS A PERFECT SCIENCE
A couple of readers noted that Ski Beech made snow in the last 24 hours and that they and Cataloochee were the only two resorts in NC to do so. That led to their speculation that Beech may be setting up to stay open through March 16th or 23rd. Don’t jump to that conclusion just yet! They have been known to pull the trigger and close up with no warning whatsoever. Not to their season pass holders, not even to their own employees and certainly not to us. Beech’s base is rather thin in spots and they made snow to offer the very best conditions that they could offer TODAY. That conditions is VERY NICE for today, but with the rains expected this coming week…
Let’s see what they and Hawksnest looks like mid week and see what the call is then.
Wintergreen Resort was the only resort in Virginia to make snow and only Snowshoe made snow last night in West Virginia. (I know that the SSAA reported snowmaking from three of the four WV resorts, but they are wrong – again.)
Wisp didn’t make snow either.
They are all eyeing the rain that is coming in for early in the week and simply elected to let that rain pass and then begin making snow again as temps permit.
SPEAKING OF FREAKISH MONTHS…
Snow is expected to hit right after the rains exit up into WV…with some slight chances of rain changing to snow into NC. Snowshoe is expected to receive some additional snow beginning on Wednesday, which should lead to another great weekend NEXT WEEKEND during the 1st Annual SkiSoutheast.com Summit.
Appalachian Ski Mountain made us aware of a different kind of freakish bit of information about THIS particular March.
On Sunday, March 23rd we will celebrate Easter on the slopes for the second time in the last 4 years. This year, Easter falls on the earliest date on the calendar since 1913, and it won’t fall this early on the calendar again until the year 2160.
ONLY 5 DAYS TO GO BEFORE WE EXPERIENCE THE 1st ANNUAL SKISOUTHEAST.COM SUMMIT!! MAKE PLANS TO JOIN US!
This time next week we will be enjoying some turns with summit attendees at Snowshoe Mountain! The long range forecast is calling for sunny skies 2 of the 3 days and snow on one of them with temps in the 20s and 30s for the weekend!
We have a few more coming on board and we’ll share that with you a bit later this morning!
72+ people have committed to come and we have several of the most notable messageboard crew coming including GaTom, Mellow Yellow and others. Some of the newer, most active members such as TheGnar will be there and we’re trying to nudge some of the top messageboard people to make it.
*** Update: Brad Panovich may not be coming afterall. We heard yesterday that his higher ups may be making him stay home and work. We’ll try to apply some pressure there and keep Brad on board!
Snowshoe’s President and COO, Bill Rock is providing some first tracks for us Sunday AM. Marketing Babe (she knows that I mean that in the best possible way!), Laura Parquette will be there making some turns with us…as will Marketing Director Brad Larsen, VP Ed Galford and others! We have the WV Ski Areas Spokeperson, Joe Stevens who is going to hang with us…
There’s FREE Wings, Free Sunday lift tickets and $100 OFF On Mountain Lodging for Summit Attendees! The only thing missing so far is YOU (If you haven’t made reservations yet!)
Until Next time…
Be sure to visit www.SkiSoutheast.com for more news from the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas!
Send your snow photos, videos, comments or emails to: [email protected]