We don’t like having to begin our morning with bad news, however we have some very sad news to report this morning. Kathy Doyle, the Director of Sales and Marketing for Ober Gatlinburg, Inc. notified me last night at 11:30pm that Cy Anders, the President and CEO of Ober Gatlinburg, Inc. passed away on Tuesday after a brief and sudden heart-related illness. Cy was 57 years old. Kathy wrote, "The management and staff of Ober Gatlinburg are shocked and deeply saddened by his loss and appreciate the support of the community. Please contact Morris-Baker Funeral Home in Johnson City for funeral details. For more information, please contact Kathy Doyle at cellphone: 865-850-4946."
To Kathy and Cy’s family and to all of the Ober Gatlinburg family – you are in our thoughts and prayers today and in the days to come.
IN OTHER NEWS….
Traffic has dropped off like crazy over the last few days, so we are combining the reporting on our multi-regional websites for the remaining days of the season.
The sun is already beaming across much of the region this morning and some of the low lying fog is making for some pretty views across many of the live cams. This is a live shot at the top of the Soaring Eagle lift this morning as they prepare for another great day to be on the slopes. Snowshoe will be ending their season on Sunday with a "Champagne and Chocolate Weekend" as well as their annual "Last Hurrah! Festivities". March 22nd is marked as the resort’s closing date for the 2008-2009 ski season for Snowshoe Mountain, the region’s largest winter destination opened for the season just in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday on November 21, and guests will have enjoyed 122 days of winter excitement when Snowshoe closes its doors on March 22nd. In that time, 190” of natural snow has fallen at the resort, making this season Snowshoe’s snowiest since 2002-2003.
The Shades of Cream Champagne and Chocolate event will offer satisfaction to even the most serious sweet tooth. Chocolate experts from around the region will offer free samples of their delicious goodies, and Snowshoe’s Junction Restaurant will offer a chocolate-infused menu for the weekend. If guests can bear to tear themselves away from the snow, they’ll be treated to a family-friendly affair, including a chocolate ice cream eating contest and sparkling cider for the kids. Outside, Snowshoe’s annual Last Hurrah! festivities will end the season with a one-of-a-kind party. From pond skimming to a swimwear competition, this beach-themed bash is the perfect way to cap another incredible season on the mountain.
Snowshoe celebrated its 35th anniversary this winter, and Mother Nature sent her gift in the form of snow, early and often. Early season winter storms dropped 3 feet of snow on the mountain in mid-November, prompting the resort to open five days earlier than planned. The first weeks of the season offered some of the best conditions in recent memory, with deep powder across the resort. After another festive holiday period on the mountain, the new year begun with another series of snow-filled storms. By mid-January Snowshoe was 100% open for the first time in two years, offering skiers and riders 60 slopes and 244 acres of terrain to explore. With the help of its expert snowmaking team, Snowshoe boasted base depths topping 5 feet throughout much of the season. With all that snow, Snowshoe was also able to open its half-pipe for the first time in four seasons.
By January, Snowshoe had already surpassed its snow total from last season, and the resort saw its snowiest October to January period since the 1995-1996 season. All that snow brought skiers and riders from throughout the region to play on Snowshoe’s slopes. With gas prices below $2 throughout much of the region, many skiers chose to hit the road and head to Snowshoe, rather than paying skyrocketing airline prices, including extra baggage fees. With economic woes dominating the news, skiers and riders took advantage of the true escape offered on Snowshoe’s mountaintop. From dining in the Village to enjoying moonlit snowmobile tours, Snowshoe offered a break from everyday stress, allowing families to spend quality time together enjoying the great outdoors. If you’re looking for one more trip to the slopes, this would be a great weekend to hit up Snowshoe. Call 877-441-4FUN or visit snowshoemtn.com to make your reservations TODAY!
APPALACHIAN SKI MOUNTAIN ARMED AND READY TO MAKE SNOW ON FRIDAY NIGHT!
App announced on Tuesday that they are expecting to make snow this Friday and Saturday night! The forecast is for the lows both nights to dip into the 20s and Appalachian Ski Mountain will be making snow and offering great conditions going into their next-to-last weekend of skiing.
What makes that all the more impressive is that App is in GREAT shape this morning with an average base of 46-75" across all ten trails and both terrain parks. Brad Moretz shared, "If snowmaking temperatures return again before March 29th, we will continue to make snow to offer our guests the best quality conditions possible."
He added, "Appalachian has made snow approximately 20% more hours than in our record 2007-08 season. All slopes are still open, both terrain parks are open, and ice skating is open. Beginning Wednesday night, the terrain park staff will be undertaking two overnight rebuilds in each of our parks. As of Friday night, both terrain parks will feature new setups for the Fresh Friday event this Friday night, and for the Shred for the Cup Slopestyle Finals on Saturday."
The last night of night skiing will be Saturday night, March 28th. As scheduled, Sunday, March 29th will be the last day of the 2008-09 season.
I was speaking with Allen Mast of the Mast General Store (no he’s not the owner; yes he’s the great-grandson of the original Mast’s that founded the historic stores) on Tuesday afternoon and he told me that he overheard a conversation between one of their people and Grady Moretz (yes he’s the Moretz that founded Appalachian and Brad’s dad) and that Mr. Moretz shared that Appalachian has just enjoyed their best season on record.
We have previously speculated that numerous of our ski resorts in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic are experiencing a "top 3 to 5 kind of season" and although they won’t share that kind of information, I’d bet that Sugar Mountain will "ditto" that assessment as well. Sugar HAS to have seen a record number of skier visit this season. Others will report that they have seen a great one.
We spoke with Tim Prather of Wisp Resort last week and he too shared that Wisp is enjoying the final days of what has definately been one of their best seasons ever.
Speaking of Wisp Resort, they will remain open for the FIRST TWO WEEKENDS IN APRIL! They will operate daily through the 29th of March and then close during the week, but reopen for each of the first TWO weekends in April. On top of that they are offering $10 lift tickets to any ski area resort employee. Also if you are a season pass holder of ANY ski area, you can show that season pass and get a lift ticket for $10 at Wisp for those first weekends in April.
Sugar Mountain is hosting their 3rd Annual Easter Egg Hunt on the slopes this Sunday. Dress up in your Easter costume and go join Sugar Bear and Sweetie Bear on the slopes in search of prize-filled eggs. One egg contains a season pass and another egg contains a $100 SCOTT gift certificate! I wonder what would happen if I found that egg!
Massanutten and Sugar Mountain have reduced their trail offerings by one slope down from yesterday. Sugar has 16 trails open and Massanutten 12.
Timberline Resort has ADDED an open trail up from yesterday. They have 28 trails open. Timberline is another resort that will operate daily through Sunday, March 22nd and then close during the week, reopen March 27th and ski Saturday and Sunday. They will close again the following week and reopen on April 3rd and close for the season on April 5th!
Winterplace Resort is the only West Virginia ski area that is still 100% open. They are in good shape with all 28 trails open.
Wisp Resort is extending their season through April 5th as well. They look darn nice via most of the live cams.
That’s it for today. Be sure to check the slope report page for all of the details.
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