We discuss ski and snowboarding operation closing dates today! (and more!)
We’re on our fifth straight day of sunny skies around the region. We received several reports from mountain resort locations where temps reached into the upper 50s on Monday. It will be even milder at many locations today. Monday was one of those special days to live in the mountains as the day began with snow and then climbed to 58° at my office. That reminded me of an Autumn day several years back when temps were in the upper 50s and I and some friends decided to play a round of golf at the old Hawksnest Golf & Ski Resort.
Three holes into our round it turned noticeable colder and it started to drizzle. By hole number four it was sleeting and by the next hole it was pouring "charlie brown" snowflakes. Needless to say, we didn’t finish our round. Monday felt like a reverse déjà vu of that when snow was falling rather moderately early and then it went to near late Spring-like weather.
I’m forecasting a TON of "Spring Fever" cases today as temperatures are forecasted to reach 60° in Blowing Rock today, 62° at Maggie Valley, 66° in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and 62° into the Virginia ski resort areas. Even the colder-than-the-rest Snowshoe and WV resort areas are looking at highs into the 50s today. We had to look all the way to McHenry, Maryland – home to Wisp Resort – to find a forecasted high in the upper 40s.
Things will remain mild this week and after one more day of gorgeous weather and sunny skies – we will see some wet weather moving in on Wednesday and there’s a 50-70% chance of rain in the forecast Wednesday through Saturday.
In response to my Monday stories wherein I was appealing to our readers to pay attention to the fact that we still have a lot of natural snow on the ground and superb slope conditions – one reader wrote, "I know you guys may have some snow still on the ground and it may be winter up there, but here in Atlanta we’re seeing near 70° temps and birds chirping! It may be a week or more before Spring starts, but Spring exploded down here today."
So if I’m going to put my best "winter-isn’t-over-yet", marketing hat on I guess what I’m hearing is that I need to hire Dr. Von Birdmuffler!?!?! Chirping birds = no more skiing? Naw!
It IS all about how the MASSES think though. There will always be those more "educated" to the fact that there is some great skiing and riding to be experienced in the region after March 10th. The snow might be a little softer (which is actually great) but the lines at the lift lines are non-existent.
Here’s a challenge to our readers:
Trust me on this one and you’ll thank me later for educating you guys a little. Okay it’s going to be a little wet over the next couple of days. However watch the forecast and then drive on up to your favorite ski resort on the next day or weekend that you see that looks nice as far as not getting rained on…and ride for that day. I’ll bet that you’ll look at Spring skiing altogether differently…and you’ll make it a "MUST DO" for seasons to come. Spring skiing is awesome and this season it will be even more so because there IS so much snow on the slopes and normally at this point in many past seasons we’ve had to start reporting on thin coverage and bare spots. Not so this season!
Slope coverage is a non issue this season. Conditions have been marvelous since mid December and there’s so much snow on the slopes that ski areas could ski until May if there were enough people interested in doing so.
Here’s a SECOND challenge:
Ignore your local weather forecasters. They’re all already talking about how "Mother Nature’s already turned a corner" and how we’re heading quickly to Spring. Spring officially hits Saturday, March 20th, but some of the biggest snows we’ve ever seen come in March. So keep coming back here to this website and we’ll keep you informed (and educated) as to what’s happening on the slopes and just pick a day or two to come up and ride. WE WILL WIN YOU OVER to Spring skiing!
DEEP BASES OF SNOW…beginning to drop a bit…
Ski areas are displaying some amazing base depth numbers with as much 123" of snow base! That is OVER TEN FEET OF SNOW! (Appalachian Ski Mountain) We’re seeing average base depths with minimums in the 30-45" range. That snow isn’t going anywhere for a couple of months…so all ski areas will remain in plenty great shape through their closing dates. I can’t think of another season in the last decade or more where we really never saw "thin coverage & bare spots" mentioned with the exception of early December as the season was cranking up. Overnight colder temps have kept the bases strong and we’re only seeing base depth drop by 1-3" across the region over the last three days of milder temperatures.
The coming rains will accelerate that a little but there’s so much snow on the slopes that every ski area will be in great shape going forward. There’s even some snowmaking temps early next week but I’m hearing from most every ski area that they are done with snowmaking this season. THERE’S THAT MUCH SNOW!
I was speaking with my buddy, Joe Stevens on Monday and I related to him that amongst the many records that may be broken this season in terms of skier visits at many ski resorts, natural snowfall, etc – perhaps the most impressive record that nobody is talking about is that we’ve probably set a record for THE LEAST AMOUNT OF MANMADE SNOW MADE this season.
For the first time this season we’re seeing the words "Loose and Frozen Granular" and also "Granular & Variable" show up in the slope conditions reports at various ski resorts. "Spring conditions" are also being mentioned.
All have GREAT snow! We’ve been telling you guys that there’s still a bunch of snowpack on the ground and we’re seeing a lot of snowpack of natural snow still on the ground at resort communities. A foot to four feet of snow is still around making for a very snowy looking Spring! We really liked Canaan Valley’s backcountry report where they report, "NATURAL SNOW coverage which could vary from 2" to 48"."
You KNOW there’s a bunch of snow up at Snowshoe when Laura writes, "Deep snow may hide hazards and skiing out of bounds is dangerous."
So make plans to test out our trustworthiness and give Spring skiing a shot this season. You’ll love it and you’ll tell others. Let’s make March "Spring Snow Education Month" here in SkiSoutheast.com land!
We’re getting a lot of emails asking about ski areas closing dates so we’re providing that information both on our Snow Report page and here today. We’ve listed them from the ski areas staying open the latest to those closing sooner.
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 100% open – will remain open through April 11th.
Wisp Resort – 100% open and they will remain open through March 28th at least. They may also operate the following two weekends into April making their tentative closing date April 11th. They host their annual (and very popular)Beachin Weekend/Cardboard Box Derby on March 20th and 21st.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort – 100% open – We mistakenly stated Sunday, April 4th as Snowshoe’s intended closing date for skiing and snowboarding. They ACTUALLY will remain open through MONDAY, April 5th. So you guys get an extra day!
Massanutten Resort – 100% open – will remain open at LEAST through March 28th and add "maybe longer".
Wolf Ridge Resort – Closed today and they have a unique schedule planned. They will be open on Wednesday for day sessions, closed Thursday, Open Friday from 6-10pm, Saturday for a full day and night sessions, Sunday for day skiing and snowboarding and then closed all the next week. They will REOPEN for weekend sessions the weekends of March 20-21st and then again March 27-28th. That will be their last day of the season.
Ober Gatlinburg – 100% open all this week and weekend. Then the rest of the season through March 28th they will be closed Monday through Thursdays and open for weekends only.
Timberline Resort – 100% open and they plan to ski and ride through March 28th. They host their ANNUAL SNOWY LUAU CELEBRATION March 20th and 21st which is always great fun.
Cataloochee Ski Area – 100% open – will remain open through March 21st.
Sugar Mountain Resort – 100% open – No closing date being discussed right now. Sugar will host their Sunday, March 21st, 4th annual Easter Egg Hunt. Dress up in your Easter costume and join Sugar Bear and Sweetie Bear on the slopes in search of prize filled eggs. Be the lucky winner when you find an egg containing a season pass! Valid lift/slope tickets or passes are required for participation. Event is for children 12 and under ONLY and begins at 9am at the bottom of Summit #1 lift.
So Sugar will ski and ride through at least March 21st and we’re thinking that the 28th is a more likely date. (They could remain open longer.)
Wintergreen Resort – 100% open and planning to remain open through March 21st and they are quick to add the words, "AT LEAST".
Winterplace Resort – 100% open and will ski and ride until March 21st.
Canaan Valley Resort – 100% open and they will ski and ride through March 21st.
Bryce Resort – 100% open. Ryan Locher told us that they wouldn’t go any longer than March 21st and that is tentative as they might close this weekend. They’ll look at the long range forecast into the next week and make that decision this weekend. Ryan did share that business was good even on Monday with good numbers and that their season was approaching record numbers of skier visits for the 2009-2010 season.
The Homestead – 100% open and plan to ski and ride until MArch 21st. We spoke with one of the lodge personell and she said that even now late in the afternoons the "snow is no go, so we’ll ski as long as the snow lasts, but we’re thinking March 21st."
Beech Mountain Resort – 100% open – Has March 14th listed as a closing date but all staffers are talking of Beech remaining open a week longer. They will have a look at the forecast for the week ahead as of Friday/Saturday and make the decision.
Sapphire Valley – Closed this week but will be open this weekend with both trails and tubing. They plan to remain open through March 14th.
We’re on day 103 and there are 34 more days of opportunities to enjoy the snow for the 2009-2010 ski and snowboarding season!
That’s it for today. Go enjoy the snow! Check out the Snow Report at http://www.skisoutheast.com/skireports.php and please send us your favorite ski photos, ski videos, trip reports and comments to [email protected]