Skiing today should be … GREAT! (It’s ALL about YOUR perspective!)

Yesterday was one for the record books at some ski areas around the Southeast, but it was one of those records that we’d rather not have.  Day time highs rocketed into the 70s at many of the ski areas and reports have come in from many raccoon faced skiers and riders.  Sunny skies were the norm on Saturday although a few scattered showers were reported as well. Saturday also provided pretty much the same summarization of conditions at all ski areas – diminishing coverage, some thin areas and a few bare spots were showing pretty much at all resorts.

Dakota Bauer who skis in the 11 & 12 year old age bracket around the High Country spent the second half of the day at my home after skiing the morning hours at Sugar Mountain yesterday showed me the “perspective” is important when you’re having fun on the slopes this time of the year.  She was hanging out with my daughter Carrigan and when I asked her how was her morning on the trails, she replied emphatically – “GREAT!”  When I asked her mom, who works at Sugar as a ski school instructor (by the way Dakota’s dad is Len Bauer who has been at Sugar for more than two decades and holds the position of Ski School Director) she said, “Well pretty good considering.  Things were kind of mashed potatoes!”

It IS important, as Cody illustrated, to make sure that our emphasis is on HAVING FUN when conditions are not as pristine as we’d like.  The fact is there IS plenty of snow on the slopes and good side-to-side coverage on most.  We did get reports from pretty much ALL ski areas that bare spots are opening up.  With these mild temps you can’t expect much else.  However there’s PLENTY of skiable terrain and you might as well enjoy the conditions.  Expect very good skiing early after the slopes have been groomed and then slushy, mashed potatoes later in the day.

Here’s some notes and highlights –

Cataloochee will be open for Day Skiing Only today and then CLOSED on Monday (which is normal with their late season schedule).

Hawksnest will be open for DAY SKIING only on Sunday despite the fact that they are being shown as open for night skiing on some services.  Hawksnest is also on a late season scheduling and has been reporting that they will be open weekends only until the close of their season.  We have speculated that they may call it quits after today but there’s no official word and we’ll update you as soon as we know definitively one way or the other.

Ski Beech will operate today and close for the season at 4:30pm.

Sugar dropped their base depth dramatically over the past two days and they are now showing 20-65”.  They do have some thin coverage and bare spots showing on some trails.  Big Red is showing some wear as well.  Good conditions and PLENTY of good, skiable terrain. They are in great shape considering the weather of late.

Both Bryce Resort and Massanutten in Virginia reported substantial drops in base and they both have pretty good, skiable terrain but they also have some thin coverage and bare spots.  They both plan to stay open for one more week.

The Homestead in Virginia has not changed their conditions from “Packed Powder and 36-46” of base” in three weeks so we’re not reporting anything on them.  Hey, THEY are focusing on golf now anyway!

Wintergreen Resort in Virginia has the right “perception” on things.  New Public Relations staffer, Sarah Lovejoy says, “The temperatures are rising but you can still cool off with some skiing, snowboarding, or tubing. Another great weekend for skiing and riding, warm temps and beautiful blue skies are predicted again for today. Today we have 18 freshly groomed trails with a soft granular surface and 5 lifts will be running. The Plunge and the Slide are open today with 2 hour sessions starting at 10 am for some thrilling tubing.”

Some reporting services are reporting that Wintergreen is riding on four additional trails – they aren’t.

Wintergreen is showing some wear and thin coverage but they plan to fight and make snow when possible and remaining open through March and celebrating their 2005-2006 Season on April 1st-2nd with their Annual Wicked Huge Park Party ! ! Mark your calendars now for this spectacular event.

Snowshoe Mountain is still looking pretty good despite the mild temps of late.  Dave McConnell, one of On-Snow Reporters, has been up at SS all weekend and he reports that the conditions are mashed potatoes but with plenty of good coverage.  He did say that on some of the steeper trails there are some thin coverage and bare spots beginning to show.  Again – plenty of side to side coverage though…and the most open terrain in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.

We like Winterplace’s attitude.  They say, “Our primary Surface -Granular; Secondary Surface – Loose Granular. Even though there might not be any snow in your backyard there is Tons and Tons of snow at Winterplace! Mother Nature and Winterplace’s high capacity snowmaking system has buried the slopes with snow! We have packed it into a durable base that last and lasts!”  It IS lasting although they too have some thin coverage and bare spots showing on some trails.  Again – good side to side coverage though.

Ober Gatlinburg is skiing on 5 trails (not six as some are reporting) and they will close for the season after their day session today.

WHAT TO DO? WHAT TO DO?

We received a few emails from people asking the question, “We have a ski trip planned for the High Country for next weekend and want to know if we can’t ski, is there anything else to do?” 

MERCY!  First of all, like Winterplace said above…snow on the slopes last a lot longer than you think and there will be skiing next weekend all across the Southeast.  Appalachian is the best choice for next weekend as we do have some mild temps and a little rain in the forecast during the week.  However colder temps may allow for SOME snowmaking mid week for the resorts that decide to take advantage of the temps.  However it should be important to note that most of the higher elevations in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland DO have lots to do other than just skiing and snowboarding!  There’s hiking, fishing, horseback riding and TONS of other outdoor activities to enjoy. 

The question reminded me of something that I wanted to share with our visitors before the season’s over.

Boone, North Carolina was Named One of Four North American Adventure Destinations

In 2005, Boone was recognized by travel journalists as the ultimate outdoor adventure destination in the Southeast, even in North America .

Along with Durango, Colorado, Bend, Oregon and North Vancouver, British Columbia, Boone, North Carolina was selected as one of four multi-sport vacation destinations in North America , featured in an article in the May 2005 issue of Adventure Sports Magazine.

Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado , the magazine editors and author Scott Schumaker generously share Boone with their readers, displaying local photographer Todd Bush’s lush, colorful photos of activities such as bouldering, mountain biking, hiking, and kayaking. A spectacular view of the Linville Gorge rounds out the selection of Bush photos. Schumaker praises Boone as a “hallowed gem of outdoor adventure” and says there are dozens of opportunities for adventures and “seemingly endless” trails for hiking, running and biking. Backpacking and camping in the area are not to be missed, he says.

Into mountain biking? The 200 miles of trails in the Pisgah National Forest just south of Boone are a mountain biking “wonderland,” according to Schumaker, who recommends Yancey’s Ridge, a 14-mile loop near Linville. Within the town limits of Boone, trails endorsed by the author include the trails, such as the Greenway Trail, on the wooded preserve owned by Appalachian State University, as well as the section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail which runs right through town on its 900-plus-mile jaunt across the state of North Carolina .

With “hundreds of miles” of byways and trails “and some of the highest peaks in the East…Boone has a little something for everyone,” the national magazine reports. We wholeheartedly agree!

We Are HighCountryOutdoors.com too!

A lot of people don’t know it but in addition to promoting skiing in both North Carolina via SkiNC.com and the rest of the Southeast with SkiSoutheast.com, we own and promote HighCountryOutdoors.com. We are working to begin providing a wider scope of coverage and hope to be able to provide all sorts of great outdoor adventure all across the region soon!  Stay tuned!

Regardless of the weather – GET OUT AND ENJOY THE OUTDOORS!!!

Until Next Time!

Be sure to check out www.SkiSoutheast.com  for more news and stories for all of the Southeast’s ski areas.

Be sure to email photos, snow reports and comments to: [email protected]

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. 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.