MLK Day will be GREAT for Skiing, Riding and Weather Today!

Today should be a "Chamber of Commerce" day on MLK day as the highs in the 20s to near 30° across the Southeast and Mid Atlantic’s ski areas and there will be lots of sun to make it feel a bit warmer!

Snow is in the forecast most all the week ahead for the WV and Maryland ski areas, and cold temps are sticking around all the way into the North Carolina resort areas.

Here’s the fast summary of what you’ll find out there today…

PERFECT – PERFECT conditions everywhere, and numerous resorts opened new terrain today! Quit reading this website and click in or buckle up and GO SKI AND RIDE! What are you DOING behind a computer screen?!?!


The cold spot this morning is up at Snowshoe in West Virginia with a minus 5° reading! Yikes, that is cold. It is already 10° at Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, 22° atop Ski Beech and the temps are all over the place in between.

We’ve been documenting and reporting on some strange anomalies on base depths over the last 8 days. I looked back and prior to this week it had been two years since we’ve had to discuss base depth numbers exaggerations. The old adage, "one bad apple" comes to mind because while there are 17 ski areas in our coverage area, ONE is reporting 27" MORE THAN THE "THE SECOND PLACE" resort’s base depth.

Appalachian Ski Mountain is reporting 60" of maximum base depth which is a whole lot more a possibility on the focused 10 trails and 25 acres of ski terrain, than 87" of base is to cover on Sugar’s 115 acres.

If that isn’t enough to convince you that Sugar is playing the "marketing numbers game" consider that Sugar was reporting "thin coverage and bare spots" nine days ago and is saying that they have grown their base an AVERAGE of 70" in the last 8 days while resorts further north have seen up to 22" on natural snow and frigid, snowmaking temps and they are only reporting 24-36" of base as compared to Sugar’s 39-87" of reported base. The 24-36" base depth that I am using is that of Canaan Valley’s with their 91 acres of skiable terrain which compares rather nicely with Sugar’s.

Consider also that while Sugar DOES do a VERY nice job of making snow, they do not have anything NEAR the snowmaking system that Wisp Resort in Maryland has, or that of Wintergreen Resort in Virginia. Those two resorts have an amazing, Star Wars, computerized system with an array of snowmaking equipment second to none in the region and Wisp is reporting a base of 28-52" AND THEY have also seen 11" of snow this week and 44" on the season. (Wisp is slightly larger than Sugar with 132 acres of skiable terrain. )

So as to ward off those of you who will no doubt write me complaining that I am trashing Sugar, save your typing – we have already praised Sugar as having the most terrain open in the state of North Carolina, and they have provided some of the best conditions for us to play on all during what has been a tough season to date. However, we just think that someone needs to call these guys on what is a huge exaggeration of numbers.

While EVERY other ski area seems to be playing fair, ONE is not.


Ski areas as a rule determine their base depth as: "An AVERAGE minimum and maximum base depths, reported in inches, e.g., "Base 27 to 46 inches". Base depth is the low and high estimated range of natural and snowmaking base depths on trails that are OPEN. Also, some areas measure base at mid-mountain."

We’re saying that all of the other resorts are pretty close to dead on…and that Sugar does not have an AVERAGE of 39-87" on all 19 trails. If Sugar cares to challenge us on our report, we’re game. We’ll ride up with a few representatives and do some drilling around the mountain (on a few trails) and see if they measure up. If they DO, we’re even willing to have some fun with it and do something crazy like ski from top to bottom in our shorts (no shirt) with a flag that says we’re idiots, we’re wrong and Sugar is Sweet or something.

If they don’t show an average of 39-87" base on their open trails, they have to simply just state that they were inaccurately reporting base depths.

Sounds fair, doesn’t it?

That’ll happen.

For the record, in casual conversation with numerous industry reps from different resorts and at different regions, the subject of Sugar’s base HAS come up and all say what we’re saying, while shaking their heads. Of course none want to "rock the boat" – except us.

Enjoy your day…

Until Next time…

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of, and 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.