We have so much to share with you guys today, so let’s get right to it.
The big news of the day is without question – THE WEATHER. If you were in a coma and just came to and looked around at anything other than a calendar, you’d swear it was mid February out West. Case in point is Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia where TWENTY-THREE INCHES OF SNOW has fallen in the last 24 hours! They have seen 30" since Saturday night and 39.5" on the season so far. …and by the way the season hasn’t even STARTED yet at Snowshoe and the rest of the West Virginia ski areas. (More about that in a second.) First, let’s put this snowfall in proper perspective. Snowshoe Mountain has seen more snow in the last FOUR DAYS than ANY of the ski areas in Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina saw ALL LAST SEASON! I-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e!
I know I’ll get a challenge or two on that statement, but Beech Mountain in North Carolina had 38" on the 2007-2008 season (yep it was that bad) and they led the way for all of the NC, VA and TN ski areas. Massanutten only had 11" of natural snow last season, Wintergreen was less than that. Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee received 17.5" of snow last season. Timberline Resort in West Virginia led the snow totals last season for the region with 149" of snow – compared to Snowshoe’s 134.7". So suffice to say that we are off to one phenomenal start to the season.
Speaking of starting the season – as we shared with you guys yesterday (and in case you missed it) – Snowshoe has decided to open for the season THIS FRIDAY, November 21st! Who can blame them with the outrageous head start that God has blessed them with! 39.5" of snow (30" in the last four days and more is on the way!)
Here’s the official word from Communications guru, Laura Parquette from up at Snowshoe. "Snowshoe Mountain will be opening this Friday, November 21! We hope to plan to open 6 runs and 2 chairlifts. Open trails will be Skidder, Crosscut, Spruce Glades, Whiffletree, Heisler Way and a portion of Whistlepunk. The cost of a ticket is just $29… and with all of this snow, that is a deal! 30" of natural snow has fallen since Saturday and snow continues to fall lightly early Wednesday morning. Additional natural snow is in the forecast for Thursday, with about an inch of accumulation expected. Snowmaking also began again on Saturday night and has continued around the clock. Temperatures are cold in the region, and the forecast for the remainder of the week shows more perfect snowmaking weather. Opening Day is now just TWO DAYS away, and Snowshoe is offering early season lift tickets for just $29 from Friday, Nov. 21 to Tuesday, Nov. 25. We also has some incredible deals available via our Smart Ski Escapes Packages. We’re celebrating our 35th season this year and want you to be a part of this milestone, so be sure to make your reservations TODAY!"
We’ve received a ton of requests for opening day information and we’ve posted that information on the SLOPE CONDITIONS page. However, we’ll provide a little tour here as well.
Wisp Resort – We got news from the popular Deep Creek Lake, Western Maryland (should be in WV) resort. They are planning to open November 28th (weather permitting) and they have seen 6" of snow in the last 24 hours! (That’s 11" already on the season!)
West Virginia Ski Resorts:
Canaan Valley – I just spoke with Lisa Ratcliff up there and they are planning to open December 12th. Canaan Valley has a great snow resource up their way. It is much like the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network in other state. Anyway, the official snow totals around Timberline and Canaan Valley are:
Nov 19 12"
Nov 18 10"
Nov 17 4"
Nov 16 3"
That is 29" of snow in the last FOUR DAYS!!!
Coop has sent us some great photos from up that way and we’ll share those with you guys ASAP. They are off to a GREAT start though! David Cooper has done a nice job of keeping us informed over the last couple of seasons and we look forward to more of the same from Coop, but Lisa Ratliff and Dave Vance of Canaan promise to share all things Canaan with us this season. Too cool!
Snowshoe Mountain – Ummmm, we’ve talked about them already! 30" of snow and they are opening this Friday!
Timberline Resort began making snow on Sunday, November 16th and will continue to do so in preparation for their intended December 4th opening! They have seen 29" of snow in the last four days and are stoked about a great start!
Winterplace Resort has been burying their slopes with manmade snow and they plan to open December 12th! Missy Cline just contacted me and they received 12" of snow from this storm! There’s also a GREAT new image on the front page of the website…
Bryce Resort is making snow and planning to open Friday, November 28th. Horst and Ryan Locher and crew are gearing up for a great season.
Massanutten Resort – they are making snow and tentatively planning to open for the season on November 28th. They have only received a dusting of snow over the last few days.
The Homestead – No word just yet from these guys. We’ll update you when we get word.
Wintergreen Resort – They are making snow and planning to open December 6th. Here’s the official word from Anne Marie up at Wintergreen, "Its 18 degrees at 7am! YES, winter is here! The start of the 08/09 snowmaking season began last night! Overnight temps provided a great opportunity for us to begin transforming our mountain into a Winter Playground. Our goal over the next couple of weeks will be to make as much snow as we can in hopes of opening THE PLUNGE by Thanksgiving weekend. We are also going to try hard to beat our scheduled opening of the ski area by a week and hope to ski and ride on December 6th. All of the weather people we talk to are telling us that below normal temps will be the norm for the rest of November. Cold weather like that should allow us to get off to a great start this season. Bring it on!"
Ober Gatlinburg – I spoke with Kathy Doyle at the popular, Smoky Mountain ski getaway. Kathy said they were still awaiting a few pieces to the puzzle and hope to open the first week of December.
NC Ski Areas:
All of the mountains of North Carolina picked up anywhere from 2"-4" of natural snow Monday-Tuesday. That was on top of some weekend snow that blanketed the area with another 2" or so across the higher elevations. That 6-7" of snow this early has really excited the masses and the conditions that await early season skiers and snowboarders are (and will be) some of the best opening day conditions on record!
Cold temps invaded the region last weekend and they have allowed around-the-clock snowmaking ops for all ski areas and they’ve all taken great advantage of it by blasting veritable blizzards across each ski area.
I glanced at the National Weather Service forecast for much of the North Carolina mountains and the temps look great for the next period. Check this out:
Wednesday: Sunny; High 35°, Low 25° (More snowmaking!)
Thursday: Variably cloudy with late snow; High 38°, Low 19° (More snowmaking!)
Friday: AM Snow then Partly Cloudy; High 25°, Low 13°! (More snowmaking!)
Saturday: Clear; High 34°, Low 17° (More snowmaking!)
Sunday: Clear; High 42°, Low 28° (Probably more snowmaking!)
This early, sustained cold and snow has created quite a stir amongst all of the ski area management and snow lovers everywhere. I was in and out of my office most of the day on Tuesday but still heard from almost every one of my ski contacts. I met with Brad Moretz, the General Manager of Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock, on Tuesday and he was smiling like the proverbial Cheshire cat! I have some AWESOME news to share with you guys (perhaps later today) about a special bit of synergy between them and another resort, but I’ll save that for later.
While on the subject of Appalachian, I have to take a moment and say a very special "Thank You" to Brad Moretz. I don’t want to toot our own horn here, but suffice to say that I am very appreciative of the extraordinarily nice comments and praise that was heaped on SkiNC and SkiSoutheast.com yesterday.
I also have to add that while touring around App on Tuesday I was amazed at the blur of activity that was going on! They had dozens of people busy readying for their Friday, Opening Day. A lot of construction was going on in the lodge area, rerouting cafeteria traffic flow. They also are adding a new snowboard rental area that is pretty impressive. App is one, well-oiled machine and they keep making tweaks that are all geared to making YOUR ski getaway the best that it can be. It is obvious that Appalachian subscribes to the theory of all successful businesses – if you’re in the business of entertaining people – stand pat and you’ll lose your advantage. App sure isn’t standing pat!
They should have an amazing opening day on Friday.
Sugar Mountain Resort remains the only ski area operating in the entire Southeast and Mid Atlantic! They opened Monday with 2 trails; increased to 4 on Tuesday and now offer 7 trails and 3 lifts for Wednesday – Day Skiing Only.
We received hundreds of emails asking about OPENING DAY DATES for other ski areas. Here you go.
Opening Day Info:
Appalachian Ski Mountain will be opening THIS FRIDAY, November 21st. Remember that the first 100 people to show up get a FREE LIFT PASS. You can pick those up at the ticket cashier window. Get their early as they will go fast!
Cataloochee Ski Area has been cranking out the snow and plans on reopening on Saturday, November 22nd.
Hawksnest’s Tubing Only Park will open Friday, November 21st. Check out the live camera that we’ve repositioned to show off the tubing fun!
Sapphire Valley Ski Area and their popular Frozen Falls Tubing Park will open for the season on December 21st this year.
Ski Beech – The new day at the Beech debuts this Saturday, November 22nd. Beech has added a second terrain park, two new piston bullies, new tubing run and a new quad lift. Expectations are high and the season begins at Beech this Saturday!
Sugar Mountain is already open (See Above)
Wolf Ridge Resort is making snow and plans to open the first weekend in December.
How much snow has fallen?
We’re still compiling some official data but so far, here’s some numbers for you natural snow lovers:
Spruce Pine: 1"
Beech Mountain: 3.5" – 5" since Saturday night and 7" on the season
Little Switzerland: 2"
Blowing Rock (Appalachian) – 2" – 3" since Saturday and 4" on the season
Sugar Mtn – 3" – 5" since Saturday and 7" on the season
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