It’s 5:30pm on Tuesday and it is raining enough to strangle more than a few frogs out there. We’ve seen some pretty hard rain here and from some of the reports that we’ve received some areas have already seen nearly an inch of rain today. Most areas have seen nearly a half-inch of rain thus far and the rains are forecasted to continue into the evening hours.
The byproduct of that rainfall is more bothersome to us than simply adding more thin coverage areas to a few ski slopes. It never fails – when conditions deteriorate like that have right now, you guys have WAY too much time on your hands and when you combine that kind of time with a bad attitude the result is emails about how this or that resort is dying, closing, failing, etc., etc.
Take today for example. No, PUH-LEASE take today! We’re minding our own business and out of the blue I received two emails and one phone call within a two hour span alluding to a ski resort closing up for the month of January! Now common sense would tell you that no ski area would close up for January. It might be possible that one would close up permanently or for the season…but for JANUARY. That’s simply crazy.
Then thankfully I was over on the messageboard posting up an announcement about a new Vacation Getaway Giveaway and lo and behold there was a post alluding to Ski Beech closing up shop. I deleted it (sorry Robby) because it simply wasn’t true. However, somehow within a two hour period a few misinformed people emailed, posted and phoned us asking about this very subject. (Again — way too many bad attitudes out there!)
I didn’t take the phone call, but one of my staff stated that a well-connected, Beech Mountain homeowner had called and said that someone over at the Beech Mountain Club had suggested that Beech was closing. Normally I wouldn’t even give these kinds of comments a mention, because they usually die on the vine in short order. However, with the troubles that Beech has had over the last couple of seasons, I felt that maybe I could help shut down this particular rumor – hard and fast.
Let me state this clearly and emphatically – Beech is not closing for the month or the season. The poor weather has forced them to discontinue night skiing last night and tonight (Tuesday night) but only ducks would be out in weather like this anyway.
The poor weather has also forced Beech to drop back to only 2 trails open for today. …and YES, they turned their bottom webcam off for obvious reasons. It simply ain’t purty out there right now.
The steady rain that is falling MIGHT (I repeat MIGHT) cause Beech to cease ski operations for Wednesday but we’ll let them share that information Wednesday AM. However, rest assured the MOMENT that the cold temps hit Wednesday evening, Ski Beech (and all of the other ski areas across the region) will be making snow.
If the forecast holds look for good conditions again as early as this weekend. I have written numerous times about how much snow all of our ski areas can make in one night, but perhaps it’s time I share more indepth information to help you guys build some confidence about this coming weekend. We’ll try to post that information for you guys on Wednesday. For now though, let me pass on some additional information about Ski Beech.
INCREASED SNOWMAKING CAPACITY COMING SOON AT SKI BEECH…
A few people (again you guys are in a bad mood) have hinted that Ski Beech looks bad compared to the other resorts in the area and that IS a valid statement, but it’s a bit unfair right this second. We are well documented for pointing out some shortcomings by the past management, but what Beech is dealing with right now should not be lumped in with those kinds of issues of the past.
When we began getting the emails and phone call early Tuesday, Lisa Herring (a skiSoutheast staffer) contacted Ryan Costin of Beech and quickly advised me that the rumors were just that – rumors. She also shared the fact that when Beech cranked their snowguns back up on Wednesday – that they actually would do so with increased snowmaking capacity.
That definately aroused my interest and after I received an email from Costin, I gave him a call. Ryan shared some information with me that definately provides more understanding of what they’re dealing with. First, it should be noted that we have already received numerous emails from visitors to Ski Beech this season – singing the praises of the vastly improved snow maintenance and grooming. Others have praised the new lift ops, staff courtesy, etc. So the PRODUCT has been vastly improved this season. However, Ski Beech has basically had to operate with one hand tied behind their back as they have only been able to use two of their three pumps to make snow.
One of the pumps has had issues with it that has prohibited them from using it to this point. Ryan stated, "We’d love nothing more than to have 50" of snow across our slopes. One good thing about this down time is the fact that we have been working with this 3rd pump to bring it online and once we do, that will make a huge difference in pumping capacity."
He added that they were working to clean up, replace and repair nozzles and bring on more guns. They expect that the 3rd pump will be implemented within the next week or so and that will effectively increase their ability to make snow by about 60% or so.
That means more snowmaking capacity, more guns running at the same time and simply MORE SNOW on the slopes.
Costin added, "Once we crank the snowmaking up tomorrow we will concentrate on getting a quality product on Upper Shawneehaw and if the weather holds as forecasted we will get more terrain open soon. Once we have the 3rd pump going the difference will be like night and day." He added, "When temperatures drop on Wednesday we plan to make snow relentlessly to provide our customers with the best product we can establish."
So H-O-P-E-F-U-L-L-Y this update will quell any rumors. There IS a "New Day at the Beech" and things will only continue to get better. If you haven’t skied at Beech this season, I’d recommend giving them a visit this weekend and the quality of the snow will win your business. Given time and weather (and the 3rd pump!) – they will get more terrain open.
On a brighter note, January has tons of exciting events lined up at Beech Mountain. Starting this weekend they will relaunch the Edge of the World Snowboard Series which will highlight Boarder-Cross on Thursday nights and Slopestyle/Rail Jams on Sundays.
On top of the Edge Series, Winterfest is returning on the 24th and 25th. It will have the classic Cardboard Box Derby and Bikini Contest and feature some new twists including the Red Bull Village Rail Jam on Saturday and a Demo Day on Sunday.
Costin also shared, "We are one of three stops for the 3rd Rail Jam, a unique event featuring music, art and the only cash prize winner take all rail competition in North Carolina. This is scheduled for Saturday February 7th. On top of all this we will continue to provide live music in the Beech Tree on Saturday nights."
Closing? We don’t think so!
So you "ill-pills" out there – cheer up! Think positive and once some cold weather hits (as early as Wednesday) things will be looking up!
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