Most On-Snow Reports Submitted in ONE Weekend!

We were swamped with On-Snow Reports and missed a few being posted in time… Here’s those from the weekend. THANKS to EVERYONE who submitted because YOU guys are what makes this site run.  Great job – you will notice multiple entries from several people!

David Long reports from Ober Gatlinburg on Monday:

Well they don’t call this area the Great Smoky Mountains for nothing.  The fog today was thicker than I can ever remember it being.  At one point the fog was so thick that while standing at ski school I could barely see the bottom of the Red Lift which is just across the slope.  There were rumors that at the top of Ober Chute the sun was poking out and you could see above the cloud line.  Unfortunately I was never lucky enough to see this so that is why I call it a rumor.  The snow itself was fairly nice.  Very granular.  It was scary actually because the visibility was down to 10 feet at times.  Standing at the base I could hear people screaming that joyful scream you hear so often at a ski area, but I couldn’t see anyone.  Then suddenly someone would pop out of the soup of the fog.  It was a very eerie feeling.  I could tell that there was a decent sized crowd but I really couldn’t tell because I couldn’t see anyone.  One instructor even told me that they never saw the Black Lift tower in the center of Castle Run.  Crazy day.

Lorrie Tomlinson reports from Ski Beech on Monday:

Decided to hit Ski Beech early Monday. The pot holes in the road on Beech Mountain Parkway multiply with every trip. On a positive note, the road was without snow or ice. The fog obstructed the scenery, but visibility on the slopes was okay. The sun struggled to make an appearance through the many scattered clouds. The snow guns were on and made for a really cold morning. Even with school cancelled, the crowd was not too dreadful – at first. It definitely became more crowded as the day progressed. Still, the crowd was nothing like that at Hawksnest on Sunday or Appalachian on Saturday.

Ski Beech has decided to "jump" on the terrain park bandwagon and have made some upgrades since the last time that I was there. However, the park is seriously lacking in presentation. Boarders were entering the Meadows area, removing their boards, walking to the top of the hill, trying to build enough speed to hit the first jump. Many people were complaining that the landing after both boxes before the half pipe is poorly constructed. What is up with the rail on the bottom right? I guess you can skip all the features and stay to the right of the halfpipe, where the grass is visible, and make it there. It would be more accessible if in some other area. It appears Beech should make a phone call to App or Hawksnest for some assistance with park design. Maybe it is too early to judge and they will make some improvements. Regardless, the park was very disappointing.

When I made it home, the blue sky was completely clear and it was rather warm outside. Maybe the timing was off at Beech or possibly the high elevation made that much of a difference.

David Long reports on Ober Gatlinburg on Sunday:

What a day…wow.  The day started off great with an amazing ambiance of white trees and snow coverage over everything.  The cloud line was sitting just above the slopes leaving a great cold feeling in the area.  The snow guns were on till mid morning and the crowds were very large from the moment the gates opened.  It was a great and busy day.  On track to be a record breaker.  But it appears that some people heard about what happened the other day at Wolf Laural with the lift derailment and decided Ober couldn’t be outdone.  A chair full of people started swinging their legs and purposely bouncing the chairs.  Anyone with common sense can realize the stupidity of such a move as they caused the Black Lift to jump off the track and actually shut down the entire resort for 5 hours.  The worst day possible for this to happen.

It took 4 hours to clear the 200 passengers off the chairlift.  The people responsible for this incident were heard making comments about how the resort couldn’t do any thing to punish them.  This brings me to a question.  Can the industry not put in a national standard to punish anyone who causes a lift derailment?  Seems to me that if someone acts as these people did then they should at the very least be fined very heavily for the incident and for the possible injury they could have caused.  Luckily no one was injured during the event.  The entire resort had to shut down since the Black Lift crosses the entire skiable area.  The lift will hopefully reopen Monday morning but the official word is up to 48 hours to repair the lift. 

Up to the point of the derailment the snow was in great condition but the lack of traffic and the dropping temps caused the snow to become very very hard packed for the remainder of the night.  Unfortunately since the black lift is under repairs Ober cannot capitalized on the extremely cold temps by not being able to make snow in the areas around the lift.  At 10:30 pm when I left the resort snowmaking was in progress on Grizzly and

Cub Way. Hopefully Monday will bring a much happier day and a full mountain to play on.

Jeremy Dickerson reports from Hawksnest:

WOW! what a wounderful weekend! Yes the slopes were and are still crowded but they should begin to die down today at least a little…..  Hawksnest was just as crowded as any other resort this weekend with cars parked all the way down past the golf course and even on the golf course… the lines were long but amazingly the wait time wasn’t. The longest I waited was prob 5 minutes maybe just once. The runs were less populated than I thought they would be minus the bunny slope and the blue lift. This weekend was one of many first for my season this year… first time I got to ride top gun! Its only been open maybe 2 weekends all year, the first truly crowded days, the first goggle sun tan! I mean extreme goggle sun burn!, and our first trip to the ER this season. all in all it was an amazing weekend! hawksnest staff was freindly as usual and the park crew that is always in the park constantly upkeeping the rails and hits does an amazing job. Thanks so much Hawksnest! see ya next week. pics and vid will be sent in soon! THANKS SKINC!

Lorrie Tomlinson reports on Hawksnest on Sunday:

The weather was warm under clear, blue skies on Sunday at Hawksnest. By the time that we arrived, all the parking lots contained cars and more lined along
Skyland Drive. The President’s Day crowd was out in full force. Fortunately, there was a large turn over in vehicles, since a lot of people showed for a tubing session. We managed a space in front of the lodge after a Hummer nearly backed into us. Fortunately the parking lot attendant alerted the driver to stop before he hit us. After little sleep Saturday night and the abundance of human obstacles, we only stayed for a half day session. All of our friends from out of town had a great time.

Lane Passmore reports from Sugar Saturday Night:

I went to Sugar Mountain on Saturday night and thought I would miss some of the crowd. Boy was I wrong!! People were out in droves!! I was on the slopes at 6:00pm and there were already long lift lines. The temps were VERY COLD!!

The low got down to about 13 degrees and the wind chill was down in the single digits! Snowmaking was in full force. Between the snowmaking and the fog, visibility was minimal at best.

I made my way to the top and started down Northridge, the base is the best of the season right now. The slope had nice coverage all around. I went over to the Big Red side and it was in good shape also!! The lines were long but the conditions on the slopes make it worth it.

The fog did lift some as the night wore on but it was a very cold night of skiing.

Mike Edwards reports from Sugar on Saturday:

I was at Sugar for the Day session. I knew it was going to be a busy day when I arrived at 8:45 and had to park in the lower lot. It snowed for most of the day. It snowed hard during the morning and was off and on lightly during the afternoon. The brown spots from Friday were gone. The conditions were pretty good but there were some icy spots on all of the trails I skied on. Skiers were everywhere and they were hard to avoid at times. I know it probably isn’t possible but I think they should limit the number of lift tickets issued. Saturday was a little hairy dodging out of control skiers and the lift lines were ridiculously long. The only bright side was they were not blowing any snow. I probably will not ski Presidents day weekend at Sugar next year. No thumbs up today.

Mike Edwards double dips and reports from Hawksnest Saturday Night:

I left Sugar and decided to try Hawksnest for the Nighthawk session. I was afraid it was going to be crowded due to the full parking lot and the lodge was full of skiers. When I got out on the slopes I was pleasantly surprised. There were several skiers and boarders out there but it wasn’t too crowded. I skied most of the trails several times and the surface was mostly powder. There were a few icy spots here and there but nothing I couldn’t live with. The lift lines were relatively short and by 9 o’clock they were almost non existent. I would give Saturday night at Hawksnest 1 thumb up.

Mike Edwards was one busy dude as he skied Sugar on Sunday:

I was at Sugar Sunday. I already had a lift ticket so I figured I would brave the crowds. The conditions were great however the number of skiers was massive. I do believe there were just a few less folks than Saturday though. There were a few icy patches on the trails and the sun was out all day. Very long lift lines and the slopes were covered with fallen skiers. I saw several “yard sales”. To sum it up conditions good, crowds horrible. Due to the number of skiers, no thumbs up today.

Lorrie Tomlinson reports from Appalachian on Saturday:

I awoke Saturday morning to natural snow fall and headed to Appalachian Ski Mountain. Hwy 321 was snow covered, but the roads did not appear slick. I noticed Edmisten Road was more clear than the major highway. I met two trucks clearing that road. One was a privately owned company in Boone. The other was sporting an ASM logo on the door. App obviously ensured the road to their resort was easily passable and went beyond reliance on state trucks. Behind a line of traffic, I reached the gate house, where I was greeted with a smile and told to have a great day. A parking attendant then directed me to my space. After parking the 4wd, that same attendant told me to have a good day. Here were two employees that cared to acknowledge me before I even made it out of the parking lot!

The snow flakes were larger and falling faster as I approached the lodge. I had waited to eat breakfast until my arrival because App has some great food. Running a little late now, I headed outside. The crowd had not yet arrived. Even the #3 lift, the quad servicing Orchard, Hard Core, and Thin Slice, was not operating. Several runs were enjoyed before the swarm of people were migrating to the snow. Speaking of the snow, App has some incredible conditions right now. I read the report from Mike Edwards at Sugar on Friday where he reported thin areas, bare spots, and a brown tint to the snow at Sugar. Yet, Sugar claimed a base depth of 35-75. App was reporting 22-60. Something fishy with the base reporting here, because although App is reporting less base, they definitely have more snow and is obviously in much better shape. Conditions at App are excellent! Any regular visitor to the slopes in the High Country will tell you that App always has more snow than the other resorts. They simply have better snow making equipment and they make the most of it.

By 10am, the #3 lift opened, as the number of people continued to increase with every passing minute. The beginner areas became super crowded. Upper Appal and and Appal Jack were the least occupied. The lift ops did a great job of filling each chair with the appropriate number of people and assisting the beginners loading the chairs. Overall, the lines were reasonable for a President’s Day weekend. After a few hours, I was ready for a break. I noticed a guy, wearing a French Swiss vest, when he stopped and retrieved the back of a ticket that was lying on the snow. With employees like this, it is no wonder that App remains so clean! At the entrance of the lodge, I noticed this same employee as he opened the door for me. I checked his name tag, Chad Berry, so that I could comment to the office, on the hospitality that I had encountered during my visit to their resort. Searching for hot chocolate, I ran into Brad Moretz, the General Manager of App. When a manager takes the time to ensure you are having a good time, especially during a very busy weekend, it deserves a mention. I commented on the falling snow and the beautiful day and Brad stated, "It doesn’t get any better than this." He smiled himself, as we discussed the fun that everybody was having, and said, "Everybody has a smile on their face", and that was true.

It was not just the visitors that were smiling. The employees appeared to enjoy their job, even during the hectic nature of the President’s Day crowd. The ASM staff deserves acknowledgement for their exceptional customer service on Saturday. I know I will visit Appalachian Ski Mountain again real soon.

On-Snow Reporters:

We will keep a log of the best reporter’s submission, photos and reports. Trust us it is way to time consuming to post every pic…but send them…because we are tallying the scores.  The winner of the Best On Snow Reporter for 2005-2006 will win $1000 in cash, a FREE Getaway Vacation and more.  The contest will run from now through March 1st and we will choose the winner.  Our choice will be based on the following and IN THE ORDER of importance.

Quality of Photos

Quality of Reports (well written, informative, unbiased)

Number of Photo Submissions

Number of Reports

Extra points will be given for getting smiling faces in the photos and including names and cities where you can.

Extra points will be awarded for creative ideas.

We will choose the winner based on how helpful and informative the reports have been.

As of 02/21/2006 here are the top vote getters. (We will only document the top three to five here throughout the season…and we may begin posting the top ten, depending on how close results are.)

We have a very close race going right now with only a few points (a day or two of posts) separately the top three.
 
1. Lorrie Tomlinson
2. Kent Jackson
3. David Long
4. Mark McKelvy
5. Christian Davies