Just a Lot of Rambling Notes Today

Don’t forget that the Winter Special Olympics are taking place at Ober Gatlinburg and Wintergreen Resorts. We wrote about these great events in yesterday’s SkiSoutheast.com notes. Both events are in their second and last day of activities, so if you’re in close proximity to those resorts, drop in and give them your support!

Conditions have been on an increasingly improving climb for the last two-plus weeks and may have hit the pinnacle on Monday and if your emails are any indication, you agree!

Dana Everly of Charleston, WV wrote, "We’re visiting a friend in Banner Elk and skied at Sugar Mountain today (Monday) and I have not seen these kinds of conditions in a few years here in N.C. I thought you’d like to know."

Thomas Hinson of Clemson, S.C. wrote, "We make all of our trip plans around what SkiNC says and we took your advice and drove up Sunday night and skied at Appalachian today (Monday) and the snow could not have been better. I know you guys said that the snow would be great, but ‘great’ may not have described it! Thanks for you great tools for helping us decide where to go. Kudos to Appalachian Mountain Ski to!"

Editor’s Note: It’s actually "Appalachian Ski Mountain, but thanks Thomas.

Gil Adams of Ski Beech wrote us this morning, "Yesterday may have been the best day of the season so far…Great snow, and perfect weather. I hope you got a chance to get out."

Steve Davies of Charlottesville, VA wrote, "I was at Massanutten on Sunday and would like to report that most everything is open now and that your reports about how nice things are right now are right on target! We had a great time there with very nice snow!."

If you DIDN’T get a chance to make some turns yesterday, you guys should try to do so early today as the best conditions will be the first half of the day as some "under-developed" snow will be filtering into the state today. High wind warnings are out tonight and it will windy with some snow flurries this evening and on Wednesday. We’ll get a couple more shots at rain Thursday and Friday, but the weekend ahead looks very nice with highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s, which is pretty much, dead-on normal.

The best news is that the overnight lows this week look very nice for some snowmaking each evening, which combined with great grooming will make for some very nice ski conditions for your weekend. So if you have not made your trip plans for this weekend, call today and you’ll thank me for it later. (I accept Visa and MasterCard for the sweet referrals!!! (J-u-s-t k-i-d-d-i-n-g!)

We’re seeing some weird, and very mild, Spring-like temps out this morning as it’s 35° here at our office at 8am, and 46° atop Beech Mountain. It’s 45° at App and 31° at Cataloochee. It is 36° at Bryce, and 47° at Wintergreen.

There’s so little news to share this morning that we’re not detailing resort-by-resort updates…as what you saw yesterday is pretty much what you’ll get today. About the only notables region-wide is that Wintergreen announced that UPPER WILD TURKEY, CROSS CUT AND THEIR ADVANCED TERRAIN PARK ARE EXPECTED TO OPEN FOR THIS WEEKEND!

In other news, Snowshoe upped their season snow totals by 6" yesterday which as a correction. The marketing department crew at Snowshoe has been measuring and documenting the snows each time this season, however the official snow measures that are actually reported to news and weather services has traditionally been that from the security station at Snowshoe.  They have documented 81" this season which means that the marketing department at Snowshoe has been UNDER-reporting their snowfall thus far.  So we’ve done a mid season correction and they now show 81".

We know you guys pay attention…so we thought we’d share that with you.

SPEAKING OF SNOW MEASURING…

We’ve really enjoyed the official reporting from weather sources such as that of Tucker County’s news service which documents daily precip for that portion of West Virginia.  They have a region-leading 86" of snow thus far this season.

Also the Appalachian State project that Baker Perry has shared with us has dozens of official snow measurers around the High Country of Western North Carolina and they have been providing some great tools for us to look at daily that has helped to share accurate information with us.

HAWKSNEST AND TOWN OF SEVEN DEVILS WORKING T-O-G-E-T-H-E-R?!

Hawksnest Ski Resort and the Town of Seven Devils may be showing some nice signs of "playing nice" together as they are announcing a great compaign that will be giving away 100 FREE Helmets in February 1st! We’ll post that announcement later today. STAY TUNED! YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS IT!

SKI RESORT NOTES…

None of the ski areas made snow overnight and conditions will be somewhat softer than it was yesterday and perhaps Sugar Mountain’s surface conditions statement this morning would best sum up the conditions for today – "Loose and Frozen Granular". There will be some darn nice grooming for this morning at a lot of the resorts (not all are great with their grooming) and things will loosen a bit as the day goes forward, but if you’re lucky enough to be on the snow today, you’ll enjoy the heck of out it no matter where you go. Skis and snowboard REALLY like the texture of the snow that you’ll find out and about today!

ANOTHER ROUND OF SNOW REPORTING COMMENTS – (This time not by us!)

If you’ve been a regular visitor to this website over the years…and specifically more recently – you’ll know that we have implemented a new system wherein we have done away with the "numbers system" of reporting things like 24-45" of base, etc. I won’t rehash the specifics of that system right now. If you want to read more about it – click here> 

We also commented that since posting that new system that we had not heard from any of the ski areas as to their "take" on what we’re doing. We still haven’t heard from many but they ARE paying attention and we know that because we have spoken with a few industry insiders who have been willing to speak to us about it as long as we keep their identities out of the mix. One such area manager stated, "We found one of the resort’s huge increase of base depth in one day ABSURD!"

One of the Southeast’s ski area owners shared two bits of information with me this morning. One was, "I’ve personally thought for years that the reporting of base numbers were silly and I like your new reporting." Even more telling was this tidbit of inside commentary, "I’ll admit that we always look at what everyone else is reporting in terms of base depth and we’ll adjust ours to make sure we’re not too much more or less than what everyone else is reporting."

WELL THAT DOES IT FOR ME! Those of us on the outside have always questioned the process, but when you speak one on one with a guy who owns a resort and he confirms our suspicions all along…

That’s enough for yours truly…and precisely why we will no longer post numbers.

My good friend "Mr. Ski Area Owner" did add that he thought that most visitors don’t pay much attention to those numbers and that they get all excited over just an inch of snow. While we would definately agree with THAT, I would also question if it they all thought that nobody made decisions based on snow depth, then WHY do resorts post so many "marketing numbers"?

Another told me that they thought that our base reporting idea was good, but questioned how we’d be able to inform our readers accurately as conditions "go south". We think we have a good grasp on what our readers are looking for and we always keep them up to date with the best information. Our contact added, "I really wish that reporting services like yours would call and question questionable reporting at some of the resorts."

At first, my thought was "WHY DON’T YOU GUYS CALL A SPADE A SPADE", but as an afterthought I put myself in their situation and truthfully that’s just not something that business owners do. It would be like me calling another web design agency and questioning why their claims of search engine ranking are so inflated. Frankly I HAVE received a call or two like that over the years and laughed at how lame those kinds of guys were! Another way to look at it is that Tide probably does not get clothes cleaning, Bandana’s Barbecue in Boone doesn’t have the BEST Prime Rib in town (Outback or The Peddler probably does), and no matter what business venue you want to look at, there are always those that choose to "baffle with BS" rather than "dazzle with brilliance".

Joe Stevens writes about that in this week’s "Joe Knows Snow" article and all of his statements are true and on point. Be sure to check out his comments by clicking here.

We did receive a nice email from one of our meteorologist buddies from Virginia (I haven’t asked for permission to use his name as yet so until then…) Kevin S. wrote, "Frankly I have always wondered why ski areas report the depth of the base anyway and I think that your ideas are simple, straightforward and as far as I am concerned is why so many people use SkiSoutheast.com as their source of conditions. It is kind of like too many solutions that usually go uninitiated as it makes so much sense not to work."

We think so as well Kevin and judging by the minimal amount of responses that we’ve had, it looks like everyone agrees…or doesn’t care :-)!

Enjoy your day…

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]  

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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.