SNOW, COLD, MORE SNOW, COLDER STILL FOR THE WEEK AHEAD!

As it should be…the weather is on everybody’s minds this morning! As it often happens with these kinds of clipper systems that blow through the region – they can’t “blow through” without some strong winds doing the blowing! The National Weather Service has already posted a Winter Weather Advisory for much of the North Carolina Mountains for this afternoon through Wednesday morning due to an inch or so of snow and the accompanying 15-20 mph winds that are forecasted to move the system into the area. Gusts may be in the 45 mph range.

We are forecasted to get a little snow this evening again Thursday and going into the weekend and each of these little clipper systems are forecasted to shoot us another 1-3″ of snow with the traditional snow prone areas getting closer to the three inches of snow. Most of us will see closer to an inch or so and that includes most all of the ski areas in the state.

Outrageously perfect snowmaking temps will allow the resorts to blast the slopes with snow. Most but not all resorts made snow last night and many are doing so this morning.

With the consistent, around-the-clock cold forecasted the snowmakers could turn the guns on and then go home and simply leave them on around-the-clock all the way through the long term forecast as highs are not expected to get above freezing again for several days. Overnight lows are in the teens tonight and Wednesday – and then single digits to below zero Thursday night and Friday morning and back in the teens Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings!

The important MLK weekend will be AWESOME with sunny skies, some light snow at times and highs in the 20s and lows in the teens!

Meteorologist (and fellow snow lover & friend to SkiSoutheast’s crew and messageboard members) Brad Panovich will be posting us a new weather update for this weekend and he had a lot of excitement in his email to us last night! Look for that later today!

THE FORECAST ALSO CALLS FOR MORE SLOPE OPENINGS!!!

This is the kind of stretch that the ski areas need to be able to focus snow on other trails and they are doing that, so expect more terrain to open with each passing day. This weekend promises to be the best and most open terrain of the season to date!

Make your plans to ski early and often to avoid the crowds, but get that gear packed, make those reservations and get up here! Gas is cheaper than it has been in years; vacation rental companies are making deals and the snow will be GREAT!

Here’s the “NOT SO QUICK TOUR” for today: We are giving the Virginia Resorts top press today just to give them some extra “love”. They’ve fought hard to provide a good product without much help from Ma Nature and now they are getting some weather support and looking good!

Bryce Resort – 24° and they made snow overnight but none of their five webcams is showing any snowmaking now. They will have 7 of 8 trails open for today and night skiing tonight. Snowtubing is also open. The snow looks pretty nice at Bryce this morning as the sun is coming up and hitting some of those trails rather spectacularly!

Massanutten Resort – They are reporting 23° on the mountain, but 28° on their report. They made snow and now have “Paradice” open! They are showing that all 10 of 14 trails open have been groomed and snowmaking is ongoing on Yee Ha and Mass Transit…which means that you can look for two more open trails soon!

Mass is also snowtubing with 8 lanes of some of the best tubing around.

The Homestead – We can’t tell ya anything about Homestead, because they are not telling anybody either. We’re guessing they made snow, and we’re guessing that they have 3 of 7 trails open – but that’s just a guess. John???

Wintergreen Resort – Anne Marie Jones always posts a lot and she’s excited about the great snowmaking temps. Wintergreen has 12 of 26 trails open for day skiing only this week. The tubing is closed til Thursday so that they can blast those slopes with snow! Anne Marie writes, “24 degrees at 7am, we are MAKING SNOW & MAKING MORE SNOW! The weather experts are forecasting near constant snowmaking through the MLK holiday allowing us to open a lot more terrain this week. Bring it on! Slopes opening this week include: Tyro and Lower Diamond Hill on Wednesday, Devils Elbow and The Gap on Thursday, Progression Terrain Park on Friday, Terrain Park and Upper Wild Turkey on Saturday, Big Acorn on Sunday and Lower Cliff Hanger Monday. Our snowmaking and grooming staff will be very busy this week! We have pulled our mini park features on Upper Dobie in preparation for Fridays opening of the Progression Park and the big Terrain Park Saturday. The Terrain Park Staff will focus their efforts on the planning/design of both parks and making repairs to rail features before they are dug in later this week. The Park Staff has done an amazing job thus far with very little to work with. Come check out what they can do with a lot of space and a lot of snow!”

You heard her guys and gals! Check it out!

She adds, “Thanks to our fully automated snowmaking, we can cover our open trails with a fresh layer of dry snow overnight.”

…and they are doing just that!

MOVING INTO WEST VIRGINIA – by God! The Wild and Wonderful state is looking – well – nearly perfect. They have had some periods of rain like the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic, but they’ve also had a lot more snow, a lot more consistent cold air and a lot more open terrain than the rest of the region. Here we go…

Snowshoe Mountain – 17° – Before I get into their report, let me tell you that Blake Couch posted a GREAT TRIP REPORT from the Snowshoe Campout and it deserves front page posting so we’ll be doing that here in a few minutes. So be sure to check out the front page spread on how that shindig went down. It sounded like a blast!

Snowshoe is reporting fewer trails open than they’ve had open in a month! However, there is a reason for this. My SkiSoutheast.com/Snowshoe buddy and Communications gal, Laura Parquette wrote, “Mike, as you probably noticed, our trail offering went down today. That’s because we’re taking advantage of these amazing weather conditions to make TONS of snow.”

She shared that they are closing a handful of slopes a day (probably around 4) in order to do some high powered snowmaking. With daytime temps in the teens and overnight lows falling below zero some days this week.

So look for awesome conditions and lots of open terrain for the MLK weekend!

The “always thinking Snowshoe crew (Laura) reminded us, “In addition to MLK, of course we’ve got the inauguration going on next week. This makes it a great time for anybody in the DC, NoVA, or MD area to get out of town and head for the hills! And the weekend after MLK, VA public schools have a long weekend, so that’s another HUGE weekend for regional resorts. All those things put together, I can’t think of a better time (ok, maybe Xmas, but you know what I’m saying) for this awesome weather pattern. Our radars right now are showing at least overnight snowmaking temps through the 26th. And many of those days we’ll be making snow around the clock…yahoo!”

She also mentioned, “The Camp Out was interesting to say the least…I think a learning experience for all.”

(I’m going to HAVE to do some reading between the lines on that statement 🙂

Oh yea, Snowshoe has 46 of 60 trails open for today and another one inch of snow fell to send them to 113″ on the season!

Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center – They are reporting 13° and like most of the ski areas they are excited about another 1-3″ of snow that should fall this afternoon. David Vance sent me an update about their new, live cam so you guys may want to check that out. Canaan will offer day skiing, tubing and ice skating today. David also shared that they are making snow on Weiss Way In, Weiss Meadows 1, and Gravity – so look for those trails to open soon!

Timberline Resort – 21° – They reported no new snowfall but they are expecting 1-3″ more natural snow today. They have 19 of 37 trails open for day skiing today. Jessica Scowcroft is attempting to sway us to “Take a snow day and come hit the slopes.”

Man that is tempting!

Winterplace Resort – 29° – They are reporting a TRACE of snow this morning and 19 of 28 trails open. They have reported two mornings in a row that they have not made snow. We’re not sure what that’s about unless the temps there have been slightly out of range to do so. They will get plenty of snowmaking temps the rest of this week. Expect great conditions at Winterplace Resort.

WE’LL MOVE NORTH NOW FOR A SECOND TO WISP…

Wisp Resort – 17° – They are reporting 6″ of snow on the week and 63″ on the season and somehow we missed the snow tally from last week. They are offering 22 of 35 trails open til 9pm today and snow tubing, terrain park fun and mountain coastering. I really like this place and more of you guys need to give them a visit! You’ll thank me.

LET’S SKIP DOWN A COUPLE OF STATES AND HIT NORTH CAROLINA…

Appalachian Ski Mountain made snow and reported a 25° low overnight. They have so much base on the mountain that they are NOT MAKING SNOW during ski sessions! How cool is that!?!? They still have Hard Core and Thin Slice closed but with focused snowmaking App expects to have those open for this weekend. They have 8 of 10 trails open today and both terrain parks – and ice skating!

Cataloochee Ski Area – They report 24° – They will offer day and night ski sessions on 9 trails of 14 that they can offer. No snow tubing until Thursday. Cataloochee’s live cam is showing some awesome snowmaking going on and they will be making snow during ski and snowboarding session both today and tonight as long as temperatures allow. Cataloochee wants to really go after some base building for the prolonged period ahead.

Also offered today is Cat’s Guaranteed Learn to Ski or Ride Package where first time skiers or riders age 8 and above may purchase a beginner lesson, beginners area lift ticket and ski rental equipment for only $39 or a beginner snowboard lesson, beginner area lift ticket and snowboard rental for only $55. And with that guarantee, you may repeat the lesson as often as you like during the same day session. Package lessons begin at 10, 12, 2 and 4pm and you must be there at least 30 minutes prior to the time the lesson begins to sign up. Today is also Men’s Day at Cataloochee and all guys purchasing a full price adult lift ticket will receive a free any level ski or snowboard lesson!

Ski Beech – 24° and they are making snow. Beech will still offer 5 of 15 trails for day and night sessions today; however they are making snow on Robbin’s Run and probably some slopes that we can not see from the live cams. Ryan Costin promises more terrain will open soon. As far as we know Beech is still operating with only two of three pumps and that is limiting their snowmaking capacity a bit. They could certainly use some more guns out on those trails. As we’ve continued to report this season – they are doing the best they can with the resources they have, but hopefully they will have some more resources at their disposal soon enough. We can tell you that the 5 trails that they have open today are offering some REALLY, REALLY SWEET LOOKING SNOW! They have done a great job with grooming snow this season.

Sugar Mountain is reporting a low of 19° and they have a ton of guns and fans blasting their mountain and OMG does that hill look sweet this morning! Snowmaking is currently in progress and will continue as long as conditions allow. The left side of Big Red is open again today, giving Sugar a state leading 14 of 20 trails, ice skating and snow tubing open as well. From what we hear Sugar’s snow tubing hill is looking great as well.

Sugar Mountain is also hosting its annual Septuagenarian Party. You must be 70 or older to participate! If you qualify, call Sugar for details at 1-800-SUGAR MT.

Those older citizens can carve some snow so stay out of their way if you’re on the mountain today! They are ruthless! Just kiddin’ – maybe!

Wolf Ridge, Wolf Laurel, Ski The Ridges – whatever they are calling themselves today THEY LOOK GREAT! They are reporting 23° and the mountain looks great! They will offer 8 of however many trails they have (there is a debate amongst some peeps from what we hear – though we can’t confirm it because nobody that we speak with knows – and those who know are never available. We’ve even tried to get them to up their 2008-2009 snow total to the NINETEEN INCHES that they have actually received so far, instead of the 9″ that they are reporting but even those attempts have fallen on deaf ears. Evidently none of the old reliables are skiing Wolf anymore because we haven’t seen a photo from over there since last season. They have only posted two photos of their own this season with one of those actually from LAST YEAR anyway. It has been a strange season so far from over there. The mountain should look p-r-e-t-t-y nice today.

NOW TO THE FINAL SKI AREA ON OUR TOUR TODAY, LET’S HOP OVER TO TENNESSEE’S SMOKY MOUNTAINS…

Ober Gatlinburg – 31° – The temp hints at snowmaking but they were not quite able to make that happen. They will offer 4 of 8 trails and ice skating as well. The slopes are open til 10pm. Ober will definately be able to make snow this week and should be in great shape for the weekend ahead.

That was longer than usual today. As you can see conditions are GREAT and getting even GREATER for the MLK Weekend.

Check back shortly for a new post that covers the Snowshoe Campout report. For now go enjoy the best conditions of the season right now and shoot us some pics and video!

Send your comments, photos, videos and trip reports to: [email protected]