This morning as I was riding to work I noticed most of the roads in the High Country, from where I was sitting, are clear and easily passable. That doesn’t necessarily go for secondary and back roads, but all avenues that might lead you to some awesome North Carolina skiing are clear and ready. This weekend there shouldn’t be any trouble getting you to and from the ski areas. Seems like this winter the hardest thing has not been snow, or lack of snow, or warm weather, it’s been getting the people here. Areas all over North Carolina have been all but shut down this week following the second major snowstorm of January. A quick look at closings and cancellations shows school systems all over the state are STILL closed today!! Gaston, Catawba, Cleveland, Cabarrus, Avery, Ashe, Watauga…just to name a few are all still closed today. I had a feeling last week when Brad Panovich was predicting all this snow for the weekend and into early this week that kiddos might be missing a few days of school…or a whole week. I understand schools in the mountain areas have days built in to the schedule that allow for a little flexibility and cushion to make up for missed days…but what about schools in the Charlotte area or down east? Is there any kind of padding in the initial schedule that will allow for the day(s) to be made up for? Maybe they all go on Saturday? All I know is that there has been an awful lot of school missed and it’s only mid-January.
Ski areas across the southeast and mid-Atlantic strive to keep venues clear for you. They WANT you to be able to come and enjoy the skiing and riding!! Here’s some advice, now, I know I’m only 26, but I’ve been living in the mountains my whole life, so I think I have a little bit of experience…If you’re heading to any ski area you need to be aware that road conditions MIGHT be a little dodgy. Just take your time. Four-Wheel drive and all-wheel drive are ideal, but NOT required!! Front wheel drive will be just fine as long as you go slow, kick into a low gear, and pay attention. Even rear-wheel, though not the most desirable, can manage as long as you’re cautious! Don’t do anything stupid, chances are, if you think you can’t go up that hill, you probably can’t. Ski areas have shuttles folks! They want to make your experience as carefree and fun as possible, so take advantage of the amenities they offer when it comes to transportation!!
This past weekend at Appalachian Ski Mountain the renowned French-Swiss Ski College hosted the North Carolina Special Olympics Winter Games. Events were held in Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding, and it was a great turnout! Catlin Bray, from Watauga County, was awarded with a special award and named Athlete of the Year! Congrats to her, and special thank you to Appalachian Ski Mountain and the team and instructors at French-Swiss Ski College for hosting this event!! Fun fact: The North Carolina Special Olympics program offers competition in 19 sports and is one of the largest programs in the world in terms of the number of registered athletes!!
As you all know this month is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month all over the country ski areas are really excited to be offering some great specials and deals on lessons. This weekend is going to another great one for all ski areas in the southeast and mid-Atlantic. Surprisingly, there’s no major snow in the forecast, only clear skies and lots of snow!
A really amazing event kicks of this Martin Luther King Monday. Beech Mountain Resort has hosted adaptive sports for almost 30 years, and this weekend Beech will welcome athletes for a 4-day Adaptive Learn to Ski and Race Clinic. The event is sponsored by Disabled Sports USA and the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center! People with all disabilities, including amputees, can take this opportunity, aptly scheduled during Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, to learn to ski and race in a compassionate, instructive environment!! So, starting on Monday, January 17th and running through the 21st, Beech will host the 30th Annual Learn to Ski and Race Clinic!
And here’s what’s happening…remember that it’s Martin Luther King Weekend, one of the biggest weekends for skiing, so take your time and be patient, I promise you’re going to have a good time no matter what!!
North Carolina Ski Areas…
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 21°- The base keeps growing! With 78"-108" of snow covering the mountain, it looks like Mother Nature got together with some of the best snowmaking to lay down some serious snow! Appalachian Ski Mountain is open today on 100% of the mountain, with 12 slopes and trails open for skiing and riding from 9am-10pm, straight through. Check out the flex ticket they’re offering which offers 8 hours of skiing from point of sale! Appalachian’s Terrain Park crew always do a great job so be sure to check those out too! If you’re out of school for snow and you live in Ashe, Avery, Caldwell, Watauga, Wilkes, or Johnson County TN, take advantage of the amazing deal App Ski Mtn is offering. It’s only $8 for your lift ticket! Ski rentals are no more than $8 and snowboard rentals are no more than $15. You can even ice skate, for only $8!!
Beech Mountain – 14.4°- Beech is hosting the Adaptive Sports Clinic this weekend, starting on MLK Monday! They are not making snow thanks to the massive amounts we’ve gotten since ringing in the new year! They’re rocking a 46"-86" base and are open on 15 of 15 slopes and trails! If you’re out for snow…$15 lift ticket and $15 ski rentals! If you’re looking for a way to get your kiddos out of the house and get some exercise, skiing and snowboarding during the special snowday rates are a great, inexpensive way to get the blood flowing!! Also, if you’re headed to Beech for this holiday weekend, they are offering $30 day and $20 half day tickets for Friday and Monday!
Cataloochee – 14.2°- Our CoCoRahs guy (or gal) is reporting .2 inches of snow in the last day, just enough to coat the surfaces at Cataloochee. They’re open for day, night, and twilight sessions, including a half-day rate. There are packed powder conditions and all 16 of Cat’s slopes and trails are open. In addition to skiing and riding you can also check out Tube World in Maggie Valley, where they’ll be offering tubing sessions starting at 10am and running until 8am.
Sapphire Valley – 21°- Open for skiing and riding on both slopes. No new natural snow to report. They will be open today from noon to 9pm on the slopes and in the Frozen Falls Tubing Park!
Sugar Mountain – 10°- Open today to kick of the weekend with 20 of 20 slopes and 7 lifts operating! CoCoRahs is reporting an additional half-inch to close out this latest storm! They’re skiing and riding for both the day and night session, still no snowmaking during the day session! You can also check out tubing, ice skating, or go on a snowshoe guided tour, which are given Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays! Sounds like an fun alternative way to explore the area!
Wolf Ridge Resort – 14°- Wolf Ridge is open today with lots of terrain! Both lodges are open, and 22 slopes and 4 lifts are open for skiing and riding! Wolf Ridge will be open from 9am to 10pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Monday they will be closing at 4:30. According to their website, the roads the slopes are much better!! This is what they have to say, "Lots of runs have been groomed. Southern Express, Howling, The Bowl, Flame Out, and all Upper lodge slopes open this weekend."
Virginia Ski Areas…still no natural snow. Again, I would like to point out the sheer necessity of a good snowmaking operations system, without killer snowmaking capabilities, the Virginia Ski Areas would never have opened this year, so three cheers to the teams making it happen!
Bryce Resort – 28°- New snow in the form of snowmaking at Bryce, where they’re open on 100% of the Mountain! All 8 trails are open! They’ll be skiing and riding for both the day and the night session, and look for tubing later this evening as well!!
Massanutten Resort – 19°- Massanutten is open today on 100% of the mountain!! All 14 trails and slopes will be open this weekend for skiing and riding from 9am-10pm!! Look for tubing fun on 8 lanes! Easy Street Terrain Park and CMB Terrain Park have several fun features for you freestyle enthusiasts!
Wintergreen – 21°- Blue Skies and Lots of Sun at Wintergreen for MLK weekend!! Wintergreen is ALMOST 100% open today with 25 of 26 trails for skiing and riding from 9am-10pm!! TERRAIN PARK: The Progression Park is open with: small propane tank, shotgun rail, small battleship, small flat down rail, 2 small jumps, medium jump, 2 progression fun boxes, 10ft rail, 15ft rail and 2 progression tables. The Advanced Park is open with: snow fun box, 2 medium tables, 1 large table, 20ft flat box, 20ft down box, big battleship rail , 30ft down rail, 20ft flat rail, large propane tank, spine. Also, the Plunge Tubing Park will be open from 2pm-11pm!! Ridgely’s Fun Park will be open from 10am-6pm on Saturday, Sunday, and MLK Monday!
West Virginia Ski Areas…
Canaan Valley – 11°- Another 2.9 inches of powder has fallen at Canaan, that brings their 72 hour total to 18.5 inches!! Canaan is open today for both the day AND night sessions from 9am to 8pm. They are open on 33 of 39 slopes for skiing and riding and plan to have the entire mountain open for this weekend!! So look for new terrain to open up tomorrow!
Snowshoe Mountain – 10°- Open today on 57 of 60 trails with 13 lifts! Mountaineer Terrain Park will have a delayed opening and will showcase medium to large features. Laura Parquette writes, "The snow has finally stopped on the mountaintop and over 18" of total accumulation was recorded. A trace amount of snow did fall during the overnight hours, once again coating everything in sparkling white. Conditions should be absolutely amazing for the weekend. Our groomers were hard at work last night grooming all open terrain across the mountain. That means we should have a perfect, fast surface to start out the morning. Grabhammer and Grab Hook do remain closed today after two days of concentrated snowmaking. Our grooming team will pay special attention to those slopes overnight and they should reopen tomorrow." Snowshoe offers 240 acres of skiable terrain, and this MLK weekend should be an epic one!!!
Timberline Resort – 11°- Open with 2.9 inches of new snow!! With 38 of 39 trails open there’s tons of terrain for skiing and riding. They will offer both day AND night sessions! The Mountain will also feature live entertainment until 2:00am on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of this MLK Weekend!!
Winterplace – 15°- Open to the top of the mountain with 26 of 28 slopes and trails. There’s terrain for everyone! They are open for skiing and riding for both the day AND night sessions! Terrain Park: Panorama is open with: 6 ft flat rail, 16ft flat box, and 24′ rainbow box and Hickory is open with: 16ft urban flat box, 16ft flat rail, 24ft flat down box, 16ft flat rail, 8ft flat rail, 8ft a-frame box, 24ft flat down box, 16ft battleship rail, and 16ft up flat rail!! Also be sure to check out the Tubing Park!!
Wisp Resort – 17°- 100% open with 32 of 32 trails and slopes! They are also operating all 10 lifts! Tonight is the Friday Night Rail Jam Series, Registration is at 6pm and the Competition kicks off at 7pm in the Pro Park. The Front Side is open from 9am-9pm, East Ridge is Open from 9am-8:45am and North Camp is open from 9am-8:15. Chair 1 will have a 3:00 opening! In addition to skiing and riding Wisp offers tubing and ice skating. One of the coolest fun activities at Wisp if skiing or snowboarding aren’t your thing, check out the Mountain Coaster, a crazy combination of an Alpine Slide and a Roller Coaster…you can travel at up to 26 mph!!
Ober Gatlinburg – 21°- Open on 100% of the Mountain for the MLK Weekend, all slopes and all lifts!!! The slopes are open for skiing and riding until 10pm, with the exception of Grizzly which closes each night at DUSK. Ober Gatlinburg made snow overnight, so conditions should be awesome today! The Tubing Park is also open today and sessions are scheduled to begin at 11am!
One thing’s certain, the conditions at ALL of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic ski areas are going to be awesome this weekend!! The sun might even show its face a few times!! Have fun this weekend, and send me some pictures of your Martin Luther King Weekend Shenanigans!!
THINK COLD! THINK SNOW!
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