New Year’s Day brings COLD and SNOW to the Southeast and Mid Atlantic Ski Resorts!

Happy New Year Everyone!

We wish for you all the very best (and snowiest) of 2008!

Before I dive into this morning’s update, and while still on the subject of the New Year, Joe Stevens makes some nice suggestions for a New Year’s committment that we think mot of you would like. Check out this week’s "Joe Knows Snow" column at: > Things to Do for 2008!

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES!

That is the theme for today’s update. Even for the resorts north into West Virginia and Maryland, which have had a much better time of it this last couple of weeks…the difference in conditions from Sunday to Monday were amazing. You’ll see more of the same for today, New Years Day!

I am enjoying a ski Holiday at Snowshoe this last week and conditions have been nothing short of miraculous considering the last couple of weeks of mild and rainy weather. I have been writing for years about how manmade snow sticks around much longer than the natural stuff…and how the packed base of snow that you will find at ski resorts can stand up to rainy and mild conditions a lot better than you think.

That is never more evident that these last few weeks. I was speaking with Snowshoe Mountain Ops and Vice President, Ed Galford the other day and he told me that since I was up here for Snowshoe’s Media Weekend just three weeks ago, that Snowshoe has experienced seven inches of rain.

What is amazing is that you’d never know it because they have maintained 37 open trails and plenty of base. We got in two massive days of skiing with numerous trips down the mountain on the 27th and 28th of December. Then rain hit again for a couple of days and skiing and riding on December 30th was still pretty good. They did start showing some base ice and a few bare spots, but there was amazing side to side coverage across 37 trails!

Then an inch of snow hit and more importantly COLD temps two nights ago and that allowed for massive snowmaking to happen.

I bring all of this up as an illustration to those of you who always write us about "all of the snow melting away" due to a bit of rain. Again, Snowshoe has experienced 7" of rain in the last month and I am here personally to attest to the fact that conditions on the mountain YESTERDAY, December 31st was awesome. Not awesome considering the conditions…but AWESOME…period!

THANK YOU BILL ROCK, ED GALFORD, BRAD LARSEN, and LAURA PARQUETTE!!!

Yesterday morning I and my family and friends were able to enjoy a special treat that was just awesome. Snowshoe President and COO, Bill Rock invited my family to experience something that few get to do and that is that he had his mountain staff crank up the Soaring Eagle lift just for us and we enjoyed skiing and snowboarding the Widow Maker and Sawmill side of the mountain for nearly an hour of first tracks before anyone else hit the mountain!

We were able to ski with Bill, Ed Galford and a couple of Snowshoe Mountain’s finest ski patrol and that was truly an honor guys. Thank you again.

After about 10-11 trips up and down the mountain with no lift lines (by 11am) we took a break and then headed to Silver Creek where we skied until about 5pm with no more than 5 minutes lift lines all day. …and the conditions were simply great on that side of the mountain as well.

A day of snowmaking makes an enormous difference and conditions at Snowshoe simply could not have been much better…and Snowshoe’s management could not have been more accommodating! Thanks again guys!

SNOW IS COMING!

While on Snowshoe for one last bit of commentary…they an the West Virginia and Maryland resorts are looking at a good bit of natural snow in the forecast for the next couple of days. The National Weather Service is predicting 1-2" of snow today, 2-4" tonight and 3-7" of snow on Wednesday!

WHILE WE’RE ON WEST VIRGINIA…

Here’s the West Virginia Resort details…

Winterplace saw a TRACE of snow and they are making snow with 14 trails and the tubing hill in operation.

Canaan Valley is at 30 degrees with 1-2" of snow in the forecast for today. Look for 5 trails for day skiing today. (Hey COOP get me some photos!)

Timberline Resort is showing 30 degrees and 8 trails open today! They are also reporting 2" of new snow in the last 24 hours and what should be GREAT conditions!

Snowshoe Mountain is at 22° and has 37 trails and another 1/2" of new snow (1" in the last 30 hours or so).

VIRGINIA REPORT…

Wintergreen Resort is showing 31 degrees and they write, "Happy New Year! Temperatures will begin to fall today and stay below freezing for most of this week, allowing for some great snowmaking. Eagles Swoop, the Lower Cross Trail, Potato Patch, Discovery Ridge and Dobie are all open. For those guests that want to tube, the Plunge and the Slide will be open starting at 10am. Tubing tickets are on sale now over the web and in person. The Plunge will be closed for intense snowmaking starting Wednesday morning and should re-open Friday afternoon. The Slide will be open from 10am-6pm Wednesday and Thursday while we have The Plunge closed."

Wintergreen has 6 trails going today.

Bryce Resort has 5 trails open today with groomed conditions for DAY SKIING ONLY today.

Massanutten is still hanging in there with 2 trails. They should begin snowmaking later today and quickly add base and trail openings for this weekend!

MARYLAND UPDATE…

Wisp Resort in Maryland writes, "It’s 27 degrees and the snow is great and only getting better!" They have seen 3" of snow since Sunday and conditions should be sweet on their 20 open trails.

TENNESSEE REPORT …

Kathy Doyle wrote that they began making snow at 6am this morning and they should see some natural snow as well. Look for Ober to reopen soon!

NORTH CAROLINA REPORT…

Appalachian Ski Mountain is at 29° right now and temps will now start to fall. They did not make snow last night but look for the snow guns to crank up and stay running soon. App has 6 trails, terrain park and ice skating going today and tonight.

App Terrain Park’s first event of its "Shred for the Cup" Series, the Big Air, has been rescheduled for Saturday, January 5th. With the coldest temperatures of the season so far expected this coming week, look for App Terrain Park to concentrate as much snowmaking as possible in both terrain parks for completely new setups by the weekend. Appalachian plans to utilize the state of the art snowmaking and pumping facilities to provide competitors and riders with the best features and setups of the season thus far. Stay tuned to www.appterrainpark.com for Big Air updates and registration information, and we look forward to seeing everyone out Saturday, January 5th for the event!

Cataloochee Ski Area is showing 32° and Tammy Brown writes, "Our snowmaking team is standing by ready to begin making snow as temperatures permit. Cataloochee guests should expect snowmaking to be in progress during skiing hours if temperatures permit for this week. Please be prepared for winter conditions with hats and goggles and please dress accordingly."

The tubing park will not be ready to open for Thursday morning but will reopen soon.

Look for 6 trails and some terrain features for day and night skiing.

Hawksnest Ski Resort – It’s 26° this morning at The Hawk. They have yet to crank the snowguns this morning but look for that pronto. Hawksnest has not updated their website slope conditions since 12/30, but according the Southeast Ski Association website they will have two trails and tubing today.

We saw the groomer out pushing snow around at 7:30a on the webcam. They did update their frontpage news to say, "HAPPY NEW YEAR’S! What a beautiful morning it is on Hawksnest Mountain. With a winter storm on its way and snowmaking preparations underway to begin tonight, we expect to greet the New Year with great expectations and fresh powder. Come on up and enjoy our snow today. There is enough snow coverage to have a day of fun on the mountain."

Sapphire Valley – There have been no reports since December 19th and that is because there’s been no cold temps down there. However we can expect that Sapphire will make snow later this evening and over the next couple of days and Sapphire Valley fans could be skiing this weekend. Stay tuned for updates.

SKi Beech – Reported 32° at 7am this morning. They made snow on Monday and it is always amazing to see how a little snowmaking can make a huge difference in the look and feel of a ski area. Beech as in horrible shape for Saturday and Sunday, but yesterday was able to "pretty up" the bottom of the mountain and add to their base from top to bottom. They will offer the same 4 trails today, as well as Ice Skating.

As we wrote a couple of days ago, a lot of people were questioning why Beech stayed open and we responded with our take on that by saying that a lot of people were at Beech hoping to be able to ski and Beech was simply providing that alternative.

Beech seems to be responding on their own this morning with this statement on their website, "Winter weather is coming in for a few days again this week. We have used what precious little times of snowmaking weather we have had to get our slopes open for the folks who have traveled long distances to enjoy snowsports, and we have had some marginal ski conditions here lately. (We have also had some really good ski days here this season.) The skiing on Saturday and Sunday was particularly sketchy at the base of Freestyle; however, Upper and Lower Shawneehaw had some fun conditions, and there were many people here on both days enjoying themselves despite the unseasonable weather and conditions. Snowmaking began again Sunday night, and by Monday morning it was as different as night and day up here. We are expecting a few days of much colder temperatures along with a chance of natural snow, so it is looking good for much improved conditions and more terrain to be opening. Think snow, and more importantly, think cold!!"

Well put Gil…

Sugar is already showing 19° at 8am and they are making snow and open with 9 trails and ice skating today.

As of 8:05am Wolf Ridge had not updated their website report but according to the Southeast Ski Association was open with 6 trails, terrain park and tubing for today.

So things should be pretty nice for your New Year’s Day skiing and riding and that should be a great way to start off a new year. Skiing and riding at your favorite North Carolina mountains with some snow falling and what should be nice conditions no matter where you head today.

Best bets will again be Appalachian, Cataloochee and Wolf Laurel for today…but even Beech, which was hurting just two days ago and close to closing…will offer some good skiable terrain for today. Sugar looks darn good and has the most open terrain for today, although they were looking a bit worn two days ago as well. It IS amazing how quickly our talented snowmaking crews can turn things around!

Enjoy your day…

Until Next time…

Be sure to visit www.SkiSoutheast.com  for more stories and skiing in the Southeast!

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