Snows to the North, Not so much to the South; Good to Great Conditions Everywhere!

CHECK THE SLOPE CONDITIONS LINK FOR THE LATEST ON ALL OF THE RESORT TRAIL OPENINGS AND DETAILS.

We’ve got some catching up to do today, so I’m going to keep this morning’s report a bit short. We’ll also be posted a followup story in a bit so be sure to check back for more input today.

First to the weather…

Joe Stevens commented within his latest "Joe Knows Snow" story about how great the conditions are at all of the ski areas of the Southeast. Joe is also a spokesperson for the West Virginia Ski Areas Association so he’s a bit tweaked towards seeing the conditions from closest to his home base of Charleston, West Virginia. The weather HAS been consistently colder and snowier into WV and Maryland this season and right now the conditions in that part of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic is nearly perfect. On top of that, that part of our area of coverage is expecting snow today, snow tonight, snow Thursday, snow Thursday night and (you guessed it) SNOW Friday and Friday night. They have seen up to 4" of snow in the last 48 hours and could see as much as 6" more snow in the next couple of days!

That does (as my buddy Joe correctly stated) make for perfect conditions. The temps up that way will be colder than the rest of the region as well. The high temperature up that way through Sunday will be around 35° with plenty of snow and snowmaking to insure pristine conditions.

Translation: If you have a trip planned up that way you are in for a great time and great snow. Hint: Take advantage of our SkiSoutheast.com Summit Weekend and Save $100 on your lodging and even get some free wings, free Sunday lift ticket and more. Click here> SkiSoutheast.com Summit Weekend at Snowshoe!

For the REST of the region into North Carolina, portions of Virginia and Tennessee, things are not quite so pristine. Wintergreen, Bryce and Massanutten will pick up some snow from this storm, but mostly dustings…and they will see some snowmaking and that is good, because those resorts – while in good shape – are not quite as blessed as those a bit further north. Wintergreen should be adding more open terrain by Saturday and may actually have the most open terrain of their season to date…so again the Virginia resorts are looking very nice…

Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee and the North Carolina resorts into the Southwestern portion of the state are fighting the good fight and have p-r-e-t-t-y good conditions but they have had a more difficult time making snow and keeping pretty conditions. Resorts like Wolf Ridge and Cataloochee look good right now after a couple of nights of snowmaking, but just a couple of days ago they were fighting thin coverage and some bare spots. They both have good, side-to-side coverage, but not as blessed as those northward.

Sapphire Valley, slightly lower in the state is closed and may not open up for skiing for the rest of the season. Evidence that the weather has not been so equitable this season.

The ski areas over into the High Country such as App, Hawksnest, Sugar and Beech are in good-to-great shape with Appalachian and Sugar providing the best conditions, and Hawksnest & Beech looking pretty good. Ski Beech actually looks the best that they looked in a week or so as they’ve been able to make snow for most of the last 36 hours or so. However, they are literally only a couple of days of mild temps or rain away from thin coverage and bare spots.

The point is that the North Carolina resorts look GOOD right now and will provide a GREAT experience today with no thin coverage or bare spots, but they have not been as blessed as the resorts further northward.

This season has definately been a good one in terms of skier visits as we reported earlier in the week, but as far as the weather is concerned, our meteorologist buddy, Brad Panovich nailed his pre-season forecast when he said that the northern tier of our area of coverage would get more of the cold and snow than normal. As an example, typically the low temps for areas like Beech are pretty close to what you’d find at Wisp Resort and that certainly has not been the case this season.

It is those temperature differences that will make for snow northward and light rain for the NC Mountains coming up. The Western North Carolina mountains are looking at a good day on Wednesday, some chances at snow tonight, snow/sleet and rain Thursday, 80% chance of rain Friday and a good weekend ahead. However it will take some good snow maintenance and some Saturday night snowmaking to make for a nice weekend.

MAKE THOSE RESERVATIONS…IT WILL BE GOOD TO GREAT THIS WEEKEND (Depending on where you’re headed.)

QUALITY SNOW TAKES A COMMITTMENT TO EXCELLENCE…

We have a column on this website titled "Joe Knows Snow" but the truth is that our readers know snow as well. Probably the most received email that we have seen over the last two seasons is how this or that ski area’s snow is better than the other. We receive so many emails wherein you guys trash one or more resort’s grooming and praise another one or two. (Hint: That’s related to the followup story that we’ll be posting later today.)

One that gets a lot of praise is that of Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock. The reasons are multiple, but an announcement that Drew Stanley, Brad Moretz and his staff released yesterday says a lot in just a short paragraph. They announced, "Anticipating our last day of skiing as Sunday, March 30, Hard Core and Thin Slice are closed for today only, while we take this opportunity to deepen our base for any possible warm periods ahead. Snowmaking took place on all slopes last night, and continues while temperatures permit, for today only. We are planning to continue making snow at night up until the day before we close. Our continued snowmaking seals in loose and granular snow conditions with a new packed powder surface, and provides our skiers with the best quality conditions possible. Hard Core and Thin Slice will reopen on Wednesday, February 20."

With that one announcement, they advised people of their last day of skiing and riding for this season, they showed their need for closing a slope or two for one day to focus and insure great conditions on them, and committed to making snow RIGHT UP TO THE LAST DAY of this season to guarantee the best quality snow possible – and they even gave us a small lesson as to why they do it. Notice they wrote, "Our continued snowmaking seals in loose and granular snow conditions with a new packed powder surface, and provides our skiers with the best quality conditions possible."

Great stuff App!

HERE’S SOME NOTABLES FOR TODAY!

Bryce Resort is looking at some snow in their forecast from today right through early Saturday. They didn’t make snow although temps were cold enough for the second night in a row.

Massanutten made snow at 18° and opened another trail and again have 11 trails, snow tubing and both terrain parks open. 

Wintergreen Resort does a great job of keeping their fans informed and they know how to put a smile on my face as well! First, the smile reference. Thanks to Anne Marie Jones of Wintergreen, I will have the pleasure of interviewing Grete Eliassen, the two-time X-Game winner and four-time U.S. Freeskiing Open winning skier!

She will be at Wintergreen Resort this weekend to host the Double Cross Skiing and Snowboarding event. Grete Eliassen is the American-born, Norwegian-raised skier who won back-to-back gold at WX ’06 and ’05 and silver at WX ’07. Grete distinguishes herself from the other women by going huge in the pipe. She learned to ski in Minnesota but raced as a teenager for the Norwegian Nat’l Ski Team when her family moved there in 1999. She has since moved back to the U.S. and attends the University of Utah. One of the best all around skiers of her generation, her racing skills apply to backcountry skiing, slopestyle and halfpipe. Grete was crowned Ullr Girl at the 2007 TELUS World Ski and Snowboard contest.

We will do that interview on Friday and post the results later in the day, so stay tuned for that.

Thanks for that assist, Anne Marie

To address the "keeping their customers informed" reference, Anne Marie writes, "Mountain crews have been working round the clock and have produced a large amount of high quality snow throughout the resort. The extended forecast shows a chance of snow showers today and tonight with temperatures expected to remain in the low to mid 20’s through mid day Friday.

Today we have 18 slopes and trails open for skiing and riding and 4 lifts. The average snow base depth throughout the resort is 15-40” .

We anticipate having 21 slopes and trails open for skiing and riding and 22 slopes and trails and all lifts open for skiing and riding on Saturday."

Canaan Valley reported 11° and 2" more of natural snow over the last 24 hours and that makes it 4" from the storm.

Snowshoe Mountain’s Laura Parquette is another great example of marketing departments that keep guests perfectly informed. They picked up 3" more natural snow (4" the last 2 days) and she writes, "With three inches of new snow on the ground, the conditions should be awesome today. Light snow continues to fall this morning, and should pick up as the day goes on. By tomorrow morning another 6" of snow is possible, and snow remains in the forecast for the end of the week as well. Very cold temperatures have provided the perfect conditions for our snowmakers to work around the clock this week, continuing to add to our great base and ensuring our slopes will be in excellent shape through March and the end of the season. Please be aware of snowmaking on open terrain today.If you’re looking for a new way to make your Snowshoe trip extra exciting, be sure to check out our amazing guided snowmobile tours."

Timberline Resort also received 2" of new snow and 4" from the storm.

Winterplace also picked up another 1" of snow.

Snow is forecasted ALL week for the WV resorts and they are in fabulous shape.

Wisp Resort in Maryland is also due for some more snow this week. They picked up another 1" of new snow as well.

Ober Gatlinburg saw a trace of snow for the second night in a row and it was cold enough to make snow overnight as well. Kathy Doyle writes, "We made Snow overnight for a few hours until temps changed." The current temp as of this report is 40°.

Cataloochee reported 1" of snow from the brief storm that left most of the rest of the state with nothing more than a trace of snow.

Hawksnest is giving Ladies a Free Lift Ticket today. Ladies go ski free today…and guys…well you know.

Ski Beech should be proud of their race team. Thge TEAM BEECH Alpine Ski Race Team was named High Country Junior Race Series Champions for 2007-2008 Season

After almost a decade of competing with no title, TEAM BEECH (BMSEF) reclaimed the High Country Junior Race Series Championship Title this year with a total of 2262 pts versus Sugar Mountain (1789 pts) and Appalachian Mountains (1569 pts). Every racer on the team contributed to these points and this achievement. CONGRATULATIONS to ALL of their RACERS who gave it their all each and every event!

Enjoy your day…

Until Next time…

Be sure to visit www.SkiSoutheast.com  for more news from the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas!

Send your snow photos, videos, comments or emails 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.