It’s a COLD start to the day today! We woke up to a little "surprise snow" today as anywhere from a dusting to about one half of an inch of snow fell across the regions mountains. Five tenths of an inch is the most OFFICIALLY in the region and that was over at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort in North Carolina. Some resorts are reporting more than that, and admittedly it is a little hard for ski areas to nail the natural snow report unless they’re doing the official measurement dealios…and most don’t. With tons of snow laying around on the ground, unless you ARE doing the "board" thing or using CoCoRaHs style devices, it’s a crap shoot. So we’ll not give any resorts a tough time today. Most are reporting last night’s snowfall pretty straight up and some are hedging just a bit.
It’s a Monday and more significant snow may be on the horizon beginning Tuesday so we’ll chill today.
The Weather Service and some forecasters are tapering the Tuesday-Wednesday snowstorm to perhaps a 4"-8" event. We’ll see what Brad Panovich has to say and share that as soon as we hear from him.
It IS a cold one out there as we’ve seen teens and low 20s across much of the region, 12° at Bryce, 6° at Massanutten, 1-2° at Wisp, Canaan, Timberline and Snowshoe. So it’s c-c-c-old!
Some snowmaking happened overnight, but for the most part resorts are not going to be making snow during open sessions, and if you see some spotty snowmaking happening while you’re on the slopes, it’s probably only on a slope or two.
Last night I was having dinner with a longgggg-time ski area industry staffer and he shared (anonymously) that he didn’t think they’d be making much snow from here on out…period.
SINCE I’M TALKING ANONYMOUSLY RIGHT NOW…
I have to tell you that it is always cool hanging with resort insiders because without fail they are THE MOST devoted employees/staffers to their home mountain. No other mountain does things quite as good, handles more ski school people, has more business, has more snow – or whatever. Okay – that’s a little bit over-stated because there ARE SOME management people at some ski areas who DO genuinely attempt to remain unbiased, but it’s rare. Most just cannot help themselves. They may start out unbiased, but they always come back to promoting the heck out of their hill.
Last night I heard his resort – XYZ Resort
1 – …did DOUBLE the ski school trainings than Snowshoe.
2 – …had more snow/base than Appalachian (even though their own report is reflecting nearly two feet less than App’s minimum)
3 – …turn more group sales than any resort in the region
4 – …is the only ski resort in the region that is setting record skier visits this season.
5 – …that another ski resort used a girl who looked JUST like the girl on their brochure. (Of course it HAD to be done on purpose…although I assured him it wasn’t.)
This GREAT GUY is not internet savvy and has probably only visited this website twice in his life, so he’ll never know I’m talking about him…unless you guys tell on me…but the point I’m trying to make is that it is REALLY, REALLY cool to see how managers, admins, owners are ALWAYS excited to talk about their mountain.
…and that’s the way it SHOULD BE, I guess!
We are only about one-half of the way through the ski season with 10-12 weeks left at many of the resorts in the region. So any talk about record skier visits is a bit premature. However since we had a GREAT Christmas to New Year period and a GREAT MLK weekend, it seems that we’re at least on pace to see extraordinary numbers at most all of the resorts.
There could be (and probably are) some anomalies since we’re seeing some crazy natural snowfall scenarios this season where many of the NC ski areas are seeing nearly equal snows to the usually snow-rich WV ski resorts. That may play out as a situation that so far has kept some of the southern states skiing and riding "closer to home"…but we’ll see when the season has ended. The Virginia ski areas are certainly in great shape, but it is also a certainty that they’ve had far less snow than neighboring states.
Regardless, we’re hearing indicators that seem to be saying that all ski areas are doing quite fine though – thank you very much…
THE ELUSIVE WINTERPLACE SLOPE HAS BEEN FOUND…or LOST!
All season long (to date) we’ve been reporting Winterplace with 28 trails – which is what they’ve had for several seasons. However at the beginning of the season Winterplace began reporting only 27 trails, although their own snow report/trail map page reflects 28. Several attempts to get to the bottom of it have gone unnoticed. However, thanks to Joe Stevens’ assist and a quick response from Winterplace’s Missy Cline…here is the news straight from the top.
"What we are reporting – 27 trails – is correct. Hickory has been made in to a Terrain Park. We are in the process of having our snow report page updated."
…and there you have it. We have already edited our snow report page to reflect that. So if you’re seeing one less trail that’s the reason!
CLOSING COMMENTS FROM US, YOU GUYS AND ANYONE WANTING TO SHARE…
We like Brad Moretz’ or Drew Stanley’s comment this morning via their AppSkiMtn.com website. They posted, "Play hookie and come ski on a weekday; shorter lift lines and less $!!"
I’m sure they are recommending employees to play hookie as our school kids around here have already missed a ton of school days! 😉
Joe Stevens sent us some cool announcements that the STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA just declared January OFFICIALLY as Learn a Snowsport Month. You can read the whole announcement and see some of the resort’s insiders pose with the WV Governor.
Cataloochee Ski Area has been promoting January’s Learn to Snow Month by offering FREE ANY LEVEL ski or snowboard lessons any non-holiday Sunday – Friday with the purchase of a lift ticket & Cataloochee ski or snowboard rental. Lesson times are at 9:30, 11:30, and 1:30pm and you should plan on being at the area at least 30 minutes prior to your chosen lesson time to sign up.
It would seem that most other states would do well to see this become something a bit better promoted statewide.
Paul from Johnson City, TN writes, "I’ve been reading your column/blog everyday (during the season) since I discovered this sight in ,I think it was, 2002. This sight is a valuable source for southeast skiers/boarders, and I’ve learned a lot about the local snowsports scene here, both from your writings and the articles posted, and from the message board.
I don’t always agree with you, but I respect your opinions/beliefs and I enjoy your “rants” whether I agree or not. You keep it entertaining.
Keep up the great work. Maybe I will see you at the Beech Summit."
(HE DID, and thanks Paul. Glad we keep it entertaining…but what do you MEAN you don’t always agree with me! 🙂
Brooks from Charlotte sent me probably the coolest video link (and the lady who does the reporting) covering her take on kids going to school on MLK Monday. Funny, funny woman! I don’t usually do this, but here’s a link to her video. I just became a fan of this woman and I’d probably vote for her for President.
I have written to her to request inclusion occasionally in our content.
Bill S from Matthews, NC (who is a longtime reader) wrote, "…I am reading your articles every day to predict the perfect day for going to the hills. As for global warming all I can say is duh! There was a time 10 million years ago this rock we like on was all ice. Probably a collision with another heavenly body then sent our rock into an extremely steady rotation around the sun. After many years the earth began to slowly warm up. It continues today. Thank God for enlightening man and allowing us to understand our own destiny sort of. Thanks to the big guy to enlighten a few good people who have perfected such things as ski’s, snowboards, helmets, lifts and snow resorts. And best of all, Skinorthcarolina.com where we can toss aside all earths pressures and chatter and play on the snow a few time a year."
YOU are da man Bill! Thanks.
Robbie F wrote, "Hope all is well. I know you’re a busy guy these days, but I would appreciate some advice on where to take my little girl for her first snowboarding trip. She is 3 1/2 years old and has her heart set on giving it a shot. I have heard that Beech or Appalachian would be my best choices. We prefer Sugar when we go, but I understand it wouldn’t be the best for her. What’s your thoughts? I appreciate your advice."
First, Robbie…YOU should make that call and not allow ME or anyone else to overly influence that decision. I have MY favorites and it sounds like you even have your own. Not sure who provided you insight that Sugar might not be a great choice for a beginner, but they’re wrong. Sugar actually is a GREAT choice because I think that they might have one of (if not THE BEST) beginner slope around in "Easy Street". It is long enough not to have to go up and down a lift a gazillion times while working with your child. It is also VERY gradually sloped from top to bottom – hence the name. The lift is maybe 6-10 feet off the ground which is perfect for newbies as well. Additionally Sugar has a GREAT ski school that is ran by a good friend of mine, Len Bauer. His daughter Dakota is great with young people as are sveral other teens who work there. Of course there are many adult instructors as well.
Second – you could throw a dart at a Southeast map and go to the closest ski area to the dart and you’ll find great beginner terrain…so again I’d pick one and go.
Cathy M of Bethesda, Maryland (we get around!) wrote, "I am not staying at the wisp resort hotel however we will be skiing there next weekend and renting a house. I saw that the hotel has a fitness center. Am i permitted to use it even if I am not staying in the hotel? If yes then what is
Cathy I’m going to go out on a limb here and saying probably not. However if you’re a BABE you’ll probably get away with it. I’m just saying.
(Call my buddy Drew Stroud who manages the Wisp Hotel and he’ll be able to answer that. You know, come to think of it you probably CAN use the fitness center because even though the hotel is connected to the center…so is everything else there. Heck I’d go for it Cathy!)
Wayne S wrote, "WHEN IS RTHE LAST SKIING FOR 2011?"
I KNOW what he’s asking, but the MOST CORRECT answer would be December 31st! There WILL be skiing on December 31st or at least I hope to heck there is. He’s PROBABLY ASKING about the end of the 2010-2011 season. That answer depends on where you want to ski. If you don’t CARE where you’re skiing and just want to know the last day, it’s probably going to be at Snowshoe, Cataloochee or Sugar as those three almost always "battle it out" to ski last. Our guess (weather dependent of course) is April 3rd or April 10th Sunday.
SEVERAL PEOPLE EMAILED ME LATE asking about inclusion to attend the Summit this past Saturday. I hope you guys and gals made it, came and joined us, etc. If not, come to the Snowshoe Summit March 4,5,6th.
See you on the slopes. Feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org