SNOW DANCE WINNERS | SHOULD WE CANCEL OUR RESERVATIONS?

(We cover that and more today. Read on!)

First, we’ve already heard from a bunch of you guys about our SNOW DANCE contest winners. Tina and Tom Curley from Pace, Florida did an outstanding snow dance video, dancing on the beach. They obviously put a lot of time in the production as they wrote their own song, filmed the video and then spent what had to be an inordinate amount of time putting the video on pace (pun intended) with their singing, etc. They even stepped in their snowboards and boarded down a sand dune. Really too cool.

You can check out the top three videos submitted to us at: Snow Dance Videos 

"Skizer" and the Bailey family did a nice video as well and obviously took some time to set up some props and at the end of the snow dance they even manufactured some snow. Too cool. Evan Wiley also sent in a rather funny video that showed that he is a fun loving, good sport. I think we received a dozen or so videos and while all of them were kind of funny, the three we chose to post were the best. Congratulations to Tina & Tom for the winning entry. We have more than 20 ski getaways to give away this season and we’ll coordinate a great one for them!

Sugar Remains the Lone Ski Area Open…

Not only are they the only ski resort open in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic as of today, they are also the only ski area to have made snow overnight. The low temperature dipped to 18° at the summit of Sugar Mountain’s 5300′ elevation overnight and as of my last glance at 9:08am they were still making snow at the BASE of the mountain as temps are colder there right now at 32°. That snowmaking will make for better conditions for those wanting to ride the only snow open for skiing or snowboarding in the region.

I was listening to Gunther Jochl on 102.3 radio this morning as he was sharing the fact that they were able to make snow and you could hear his own excitement at that fact and you have to take your hat off to them as they look much improved for this morning.

We received a few emails yesterday from people amazed that Sugar was open for business on Monday and conditions were pretty "hard core". Frankly, we’re guessing nobody hit the slopes on Monday, but they were open if anyone wanted to attempt it 😉

NO MORE SNOWMAKING UNTIL THURSDAY NOW…

Yesterday we received a press release from Laura Parquette and the Snowshoe team as they delayed their opening date until Saturday, December 5th. They’ve been able to make snow far more nights than any of the other resorts in the region to date and they received 5" of natural snow over the Thanksgiving break. However, they looked at the forecast for the next few days and decided that it would be best to make more snow Thursday evening, night and then all day (around the clock) Friday and Friday night to prepare for the best possible opening for Saturday morning.

Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich is forecasting a good shot at 1-4" of snow around the Southeast Appalachian Mountains for Wednesday through Friday – and up to 5-6" more snow for the West Virginia Ski Areas and into Wisp Resort in Maryland. If that holds true then Snowshoe’s opening on Saturday will be a nice one.

I spoke briefly with Laura on Monday and she also shared the fact that Snowshoe plans to open both the Snowshoe and Silvercreek sides of the mountain and that means that Saturday they will also offer night skiing. She said they would close the Silvercreek side during the following weekdays and then reopen it the following weekend to give people the most terrain and best conditions possible.

According to most weather gurus, once we get to Thursday night – the cold temps look to be in place for a while and maybe now all of the ski areas can begin snowmaking in earnest and we can get this ski season in high gear.

The same radio report that I alluded to earlier also mentioned how Appalachian had been making snow since Thanksgiving and unfortunately that isn’t the case. They (as well as many other ski areas) are displaying lush, green slopes and they are waiting on the cold temps to begin making snow to get opened up ASAP.

Right now the only snow that can be found in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic is at Sugar Mountain (which is open with two slopes), Cataloochee (which could be open but is reopening Friday), and Snowshoe Mountain in WV which plans to open on Saturday. The rest are bare and green awaiting this next burst of colder air.

The hope is that the cold temps are now here to stay and we can start building base depths so that we’ll all have some great Holiday skiing and snowboarding over the Christmas / New Year break.

SKI BEECH IS NOW BEECH MOUNTAIN RESORT

I don’t know if any of the rest of you have caught it but Ski Beech isn’t Ski Beech anymore. All of their promotional content including their website now reflects the name "Beech Mountain Resort". They have some nice base started after some 36 hours of snowmaking recently and report, "Beech Mountain Resort had a successful 36 hours of snowmaking. Because of an increase in temperature, snowmaking has ceased. We anticipate an opening date of Saturday, Dec 5 2009. Snowmaking will resume this week upon a temperature drop."

SNOWSHOE LODGING DEAL

Snowshoe is offering a fantastic early season Ski Free/Stay Free deal that expires TODAY! So be sure to plan your Snowshoe escape today and take advantage of a free fourth night of lodging, free fourth day of lift tickets and free tickets for kids 12 and under. Think Snow! Visit www.SnowshoeMtn.com and click on SPECIALS for that deal.

CHRISTMAS CONDITIONS ARE ON YOUR MINDS – Should you cancel your plans!?! That is the question of today.

A lot of people have already booked ski getaways for the Christmas week/weekend and MANY of them are emailing us asking "what would you guys do?" regarding whether or not they should cancel their trip plans for the Holidays.

At least three dozen emails came in over this past weekend and Monday asking questions like this one:

"Ok I know you can’t tell the future but here I go with my problem. My family booked out Christmas vacation ( 5 days of skiing) like we do every year at snowshoe. Normally they have about 80%-100% of the slopes open at this time of the year but this year has been warm. Anyway Our drop dead date (last day we can cancel and get our money back) is Dec 5th this year. We are to arrive there to start skiing Dec 19th that is only a 14 day window. What are the odds or what percentage do you think they would have open. Our little trip cost well into the thousands so I’m not willing to
spend that kind of money if they have half the mountain open. Like I said in the beginning I know you can’t tell the future but I’m looking for advice. What would you do? Pull the plug on snow shoe and look out west? Tell me what you would do."

(This was a copy/paste of one email but it translates the sentiments of more than 35-40 emailers that we received queries from.)

THIS IS WHAT MAKES YOU GUYS APPRECIATE WHAT WE DO HERE…

…because we’re going to answer you not in the way that some reservationists would ask us to, but the way that we feel is in your best interest.

Paul (and others like you) – keep your reservations! Really. Keep them. Quit worrying. The weather will turn even colder and we’ll get more than our fair share of cold and snowy weather between now and Christmas all across all of the ski areas of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic. Those of you who wrote asking specifically about Snowshoe, Canaan and Wisp Resorts – they will get the most snow since they are in more favorable snow locations.

(I could HEAR hundreds of reservationists just take a deep breath!)

Honestly though, we appreciate and understand that your money is hard to come by during these crazy economic times, but you owe it to yourself to have a nice getaway and it will happen. Worst case scenario maybe not everything is open, but there’s a good chance that it will be. Historically, Snowshoe and all of the ski areas look darn nice around the Holidays. Yes, there have been some sketchy Christmas weeks in the last few years, but last year was nice and the forecast is for a snowier than normal December and January. Since today is December 1st, we’re keeping the faith!

I personally have $11,000 worth of Christmas trip plans and I’m keeping them. I’m betting on history. I’m betting on the talented snowmaking crews in this region that are better than any other in the United States. I’m betting on the many meteorologist who claim that this will be a winter that will deliver 150% of our average winter snowfall totals. I’m betting on Mother Nature and those of you who know me well, know that means I’m betting on God to take care of all of those who depend on the cold weather to make a living.

So I’m betting on a great Christmas. Join me and make your reservations today. I’m betting on a wonderful Holiday getaway and hey if things turn sour, we can all gather together and play cards, drink a few adult beverages and even partake in a mud wrestling match on the slopes! (Just kidding!) Go for it – all of you. You only live once, gamble with me and book those getaways.

You can thank me later!

THAT’S ENOUGH FOR TODAY. Enjoy your day and let’s all THINK COLD AND SNOW and it will come.

Send your comments, photos, videos and reports 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.