SkiNC and SkiSoutheast is fully operational – again – Part TWO

Okay…what happened this time?  That is the question that I began fielding this morning after the website blew up for a second time in two weeks last night.  New server, new OS, restored data = blowup.  Our tech guys worked to restore the system all night and even with full backups from yesterday, we were not able to keep the server running and the reason was an amazingly sneaky virus that made it into our system from the messageboard photo posts. Yes, you can get a virus through jpg images.  Shouldn’t be possible, but it happened.

So after being knocked down twice, we have crawled back up off the mat and we have kayoed the beast and all is well with SkiNC and SkiSoutheast. We’ve ran numerous servers for more than 10 years and have only seen this kind of thing happen once back in the Code Red Virus days. Anyway we came out victorious so we won’t belabour the issue.

To the good stuff. In the interest of coming up to speed today, we are combining SkiNC and SkiSoutheast updates today. If you don’t know, you can always hop over to SkiSoutheast.com and catch more updates and notes from all of the ski areas of the region.

It was 15.3° this morning here at our offices between Boone and Banner Elk and temperature readings were in the teens and 20s all across the Southeast. The coldest reading we found was up at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia where they recorded a 4° reading.  That obviously made for PERFECT snowmaking conditions.  When those crews get no wind and bitter cold temps…they can REALLY crank out the snow.

Weather forecasters are saying to expect temperatures to moderate to more normal conditions for the region as we move through the next couple of days with highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s with Partly Cloudy skies through the rest of the week.  As we get to Sunday, there’s a shot for some snow on Christmas Day Sunday into Monday so we may even get a White Christmas!  What a GREAT start it has been!

Here’s some notes from around the Southeast:  (Resorts if you don’t see yourself being mentioned here a lot…get us something to talk about!  Information IN is Information OUT!)

We going to mix things up a little with this update and provide notes from the area’s resorts in no certain order!

Ski Beech – The folks at Beech want us to wish all of you Happy Holidays.  They also want to point out that with perfect snow making temps and Mother Nature’s natural snows thus far this season they have their slopes in what may the best shape of many season past at this point in December. Upper and Lower White Lightning and the Meadows were opened on Saturday which made 80% of their mountain open by December 17th. Beech has started with snowmaking on Upper and Lower Southern Star, and they have plans to move to Oz Run next. The Oz Run is almost an area "winter barometer" in the sense that when it is open…you KNOW conditions are at their peak across the region.  Gil Adams, Ski Beech Marketing Director, adds, "If the weather holds we could have our entire mountain open before too much longer."

One of Ski Beech’s amenities which always adds to the Holiday/Ski Ambience is Ice Skating. A winter sport that has been a favorite activity for generations young and old is skating on ice. Nestled at the base of their slopes is the Beech Tree Village with a variety of shops and eateries, and located as its center piece is a 7,000 square outdoor ice skating rink. Ice skating has been a tradition for many visitors to Ski Beech, and skating during the evening with a sparkle of snow in the air can be quite enchanting.

The ice skaing sessions begin daily at noon, weather permitting, and are they two hour sessions. The cost for ice skating is $12.00 which includes skate rental for those who need skates. Each day has an evening session with two sessions on Saturday night. It is not often that one can find such an outdoor facility for skating on ice, and the ice rink at Ski Beech is curently open.

Another important note is that Ski Beech is now in their Holiday Period so their mid-week specials are NOT in effect during this period. Those specials will return January 2nd, 2006.

Speaking of the Holidays, Ski Beech is offering a short Christmas Eve service at their ice rink at 4:30 on Saturday. This is a fitting way to share in a message of the season and to join in singing some songs of the season. Ski Beech will be closed for skiing on Christmas Eve night, and they will reopen at noon on Christmas Day.

Cataloochee Ski Resort is operating at 80% right now, but it should be noted that they have more terrain open than ever before at this time of the year with 80% of the mountain open and 100% of all 10 lighted trails just days away, just in time for your holiday skiing and riding! The trails available to you are Advanced Upper Omigosh serviced by the Omigosh Double Chairlift, Intermediate Rock Island Run and Intermediate Lower Omigosh serviced by the Rock Island Run Quad Chairlift, Beginners Over Easy, Beginners Easy Way and Beginners Rabbit Hill serviced by the Easy Way Triple Chairlift, the Wolf Creek Hollow Ski School Area serviced by the Handle Tow and Beginners Luck Learning Area serviced by the Moving Carpet Conveyor lift on a base of 32-65” and a machine worked surface. Please note that some of Cat’s terrain features including the Mailbox and Flat Box will be available for you to ride at the top of Over Easy, right down from the Snack Shack, accessed by the Easy Way Triple Chairlift. They have begun making snow on the advanced Alley Cat trail and plan to open it by the middle of the week!

Hawksnest – We have already received huge kudos about Hawksnest’s conditions this season.  Hawksnest made some moves during the off-season, picked up some new equipment and made some snow maintenance strategy changes that are already showing great improvements in consistent snow quality…and that comes from several On-Snow Reports in the first couple of weeks of the season!  Hawksnest is open today with 9 trails and tubing.  They will open their Terrain Park on Wednesday so you’ll definately want to check that out!

Sapphire Valley – As you guys know, we have fielded questions this year about Sapphire Valley and the answered the fact that they ARE open despite the fact that their website reflects otherwise. We were able to speak with RJ Grady at Sapphire and he proudly announced that Sapphire Valley actually had an unheard of, record earliest opening for the popular family resort.  They opened December 17th for skiing and actually opened their Frozen Falls Tubing Park the day after Thanksgiving!  Sapphire Valley has now updated their www.SkiSapphire.com website to reflect that fact and they are skiing and tubing on great conditions.  We have had a couple of new sign-ups to be On-Snow Reporters for Sapphire Valley this season so we’re hoping to see a lot more photos and news from over there.  RJ reported that one way or another they will get us some photo updates with regularity to keep us informed!  (As I am posting this update, we just received some photos from RJ and we’ll post those asap!) Thanks RJ…good luck on a great season over there.

Wolf Laurel – We’ve had a record number of On-Snow Reporter signups for Wolf Laurel this season, but thus far they have been quiet.  We spoke with Wolf Laurel Ski Slopes Marketing Director, Jennifer Hampton, yesterday and things are going full bore at Wolf Laurel and they have the most base depth prior to any December 20th they could think of.  There’s a LOT that has been happening up at Wolf Laurel over the past year and some change. Not long after the fire that destroyed the old lodge died out a couple seasons ago…new construction started popping up all over the mountain.  New partners came in, new developers came in and combined with a lot of old faces…Wolf Laurel is going full steam ahead.  They now offer TWO incredible rustic lodges (both with massive fireplaces).  They have opened "The Grill at Wolf Laurel Lodge" and "The Lodge Steak & Rib Restaurant at Wolf Ridge Lodge" both offering great food and atmosphere. In addition they have two new beginner slopes to add to skiing and snowboarding fun! Wolf Laurel is operating on 10 trails today with Groomed conditions!

Appalachian Ski Mountain is 100% open with all nine trails, their terrain park and Ice Skating being offered up for Winter Fun. They are already recording 2-5 feet of base depth across all nine trails.

Sugar Mountain – We hope nobody will read anything into the fact that we covered Sugar Mountain last among the North Carolina resorts.  (You guys do like to make something of that!)  It’s simply because we gave Sugar a lot of front billing last week prior to and during SugarFest festivities. Sugar should receive continued top billing as they now have the most terrain open in the state with 17 trails, serviced by 6 lifts and Sugar promises to continue opening more terrain almost daily for the next few days.  They have 17 of 20 operating today on a strong 24-58" base. Sugar also plans to have their tubing park open by the weekend.

Heading NORTH into Virginia, we’ll cover Bryce Resort next.  Bryce is open with six groomed trails and a base depth according to their own website of 14-30".  The SSAA is reporting 22-35".  Regardless, they are in great shape for Day Skiing only today.

Wintergreen Resort is enjoying a remarkable start to the season as well! Big Acorn opens today! Only 4 more trails to go before they are fully open. Snowmaking should continue around the clock, allowing them to increase their base amounts, get these last 4 trails open and provide an incredible surface for their customers. Lower Cliff, Upper Turkey, Cross Cut, and Turkey Shoot should all open in the next few days. The Plunge will be open today for some great tubing. Wintergreen Resort is open today with 20 trails on a base of 30-36".  We’ve had some people bring it to our attention that Wintergreen may be setting a trend that wouldn’t be that bad…and that is they are not reporting their base depth on their own website. Actually we’re kind of thinking that’s a decent trend. Talk conditions, talk plenty of snow and leave the numbers game to accountants. We’re hoping it’s not a mistake and a trend!

Massanutten is skiing on 12 of 14 trails with Groomed Conditions, serviced by six trails.  They are also offering 10 sweet tubing lanes and their Terrain Park is hopping. Massanutten reported 12° this morning and was blasting the trails to get the others open soon!

Snowshoe Mountain – Our friends at Snowshoe have been blessed with amazing weather thus far this season. A cold morning allowed a lot of snowmaking – the guns hammered Upper and Lower Shays as well as Bear Claw and Flying Eagle. Look for all four of these trails to open by the weekend. This will make Snowshoe 100% open, offering the most terrain in the region. Looking at the weather forecast, expect sunny skies for the next three days which will make for incredible skiing and snowboarding conditions. Snowshoe has 52 Groomed/Packed Powder Trails running today! The Mountaineer Terrain Park at Silver Creek is open with one A-Frame Rainbow Rail, a Mail Box and a 15′ Table Top. The Mountaineer Terrain Garden is open with a Flat Box, a Flat Rail and a Double Picnic Table.

Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee reported 19° this morning, which made for near-perfect snowmaking and they have 3 trails running and Mogul Ridge & Upper Bear Run Will Open Later Today!

Wisp Resort in Maryland actually boasts the second most terrain open in the Southeast with 31 trails serviced by 8 lifts today.  They also have their tubing and terrain parks operating full boar.

Cloudmont in A-L-A-B-A-M-A – While nobody but SkiNC/SkiSoutheast talks about them, we think it’s noteworthy that this guys have an 8-10 inch base with one and one-half slopes open! Yahoo! Some of the messageboard guys posted a photo yesterday that should them holding up a sign claiming their love of SkiNC in good old Alabama.

That about wraps it up for today.  Get out and ski!

Until Next time…

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

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