Saving MLK Weekend…

One glance at the slopes up at Sugar and Beech was all that it took to tell me that although we got the last second weather needed for the resorts to make snow and save this all-important holiday weekend…we didn’t get the weather in time to bring the massive crowds that normally go along with it.

After the weekend has passed we’ll try to get a more official statement from the resorts for you, but there is no question that the resorts are NOT seeing the normal crowds at the slopes. At 2pm on Saturday we were out at Sugar and while there was a steady crowd, there were no cars parked out near Hwy 184 and the lift lines were not the huge bottleneck that normally accompanies MLK Weekend. The same is true up at Ski Beech. The day session crowds were steady, but never HUGE and last night the top parking lot was MAYBE 1/4th full. Folks in the administration office estimated that traffic was maybe off by as much as 50 to 60%.

The resorts have seen all of this before, as that tends to go along with skiing in the Southeast, however we were all more hopeful at the beginning of the season with all of the forecasters calling for a colder and snowier winter. That could all still happen as cold temperatures and some stormy systems are now entering the picture.

WHAT COULD HAPPEN this season, if the temperatures and the skier interest remains steady enough, is that resorts MIGHT opt to stay open a little longer than normal. Skier interest will be the key, and maybe that interest will be there if all of the resorts are running with most or all of their terrain later into the season. Since the first THIRD of the season has been such a roller coaster — MAYBE if the last two thirds is great…who knows? We can hope.

The bottom line is that NOW conditions are looking better and better so get out and enjoy the slopes of YOUR FAVORITE resort!

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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.