10am Update: About 8:45am the HEAVY SNOW HIT and we’ve been getting BOMBED for about the last hour. Another 2-3" of snow has fallen (6-7" of snow here at our office) and I’m certain the ski areas are seeing even more! The sun broke out moments ago and it quit snowing – AND THEN everything clouded back over and it is POURING SNOW again! WHAT A DAY!!!
Like many who call the mountains of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic "home" – I woke up this morning to a surprise 3-4" of snowfall. On my way in to the office I caught myself simply saying – "wow". As I sat down at my computer to begin filing this report, I attempted to dig up whatever level of journalistic vocabulary that I could to describe the start that we are being blessed with (to the 2008-2009 snow season) and all I could come with was – WOW!
Having "waxed philosophical" let me get right to the news of the day…and I guess the best place to start is where the "BIGGEST WOWS" have been taking place. SNOWSHOE MOUNTAIN IN WEST VIRGINIA! It’s crazy how much snow the Pocahontas County, West Virginia ski resort has already received in N-O-V-E-M-B-E-R!!! How about 42.5" so far! They received another 3" of snow overnight and TODAY IS OPENING DAY.
Laura Parquette writes, "It’s opening day for the 2008.2009! The latest storm surge dropped 32” on the resort this week and we couldn’t wait any longer. We are dropping the ropes at 9am to officially open the season! Even better is that last night we picked up an additional 3” of snow! This is gonna be an opening day to remember! The 6am temperature is 12 degrees at the top of the mountain and 16 degrees at the base. Today, we’ll be operating the Skidder and Ballhooter lifts and the Wonder Carpet which will service 6 trails. Today’s open trails are Skidder, Spruce Glades, Heisler Way, Whiffletree, Whistlepunk and Crosscut. We have fantastic groomed and powder conditions across our open trail system with a base of 24”-36”."
From what we are seeing, Snowshoe should pick up even more snow with up to an additional 5” is predicted to fall today! For those questioning the 6 trail openings at Snowshoe – they are focusing on burying the closed terrain with even more snowmaking for a great Thanksgiving Holiday. They are hoping to open up all of Powder Monkey, all of Whistlepunk, Gandy Dancer, Tailtree, Logslide, Greenway, Cutoff, Powderridge, and Skidway. They are planning to open 5 features within the Powder Monkey Terrain Garden as well. WHAT A START!!!
Snowshoe is the only ski area open North of North Carolina so let’s drop down to the open ski areas and go from there.
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 18° – 4" of natural snow and a 36-58" base on OPENING DAY!!! They are opening for day skiing only right now with 5 trails and no snowmaking on the trails that are open. They are burying those still closed. Most impressive is that one of the five trails open is the Appaljack Terrain park! App hinted that with the improvements in snowmaking that they might be able to open one of their terrain parks simultaneously with the opening of their trail system. I’m not sure we’ve EVER seen that!
Remember that the FIRST 100 people get a FREE SKI TICKET TODAY AT APP!
Cataloochee is reporting 2" of snow in the last 24 hours and they are making snow in preparation for RE-Opening on Saturday!
Hawksnest TUBING – Remember that Hawksnest is a tubing only park now. They open for the season at NOON today with the longest tubing park on the East Coast!
Ski Beech is reporting 4" of new snow (which takes them to 11" on the season already) and they are planning to open for the season on SATURDAY! Bear in mind that Ski Beech, which normally receives about 80" of snowfall each season – only received 38" last year and with today’s 4" of snow they are already approaching one-third of that total!
Sugar Mountain is reporting 12°, 4" of new snow and 7 trails open for today and night skiing tonight! Sugar has already seen 11" of snow in November!
NOTES ABOUT THE REST…
As reported earlier, here’s the scheduled Opening Day info for the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas:
Wolf Ridge in North Carolina plans to open the first week in December. Sapphire Valley plans to open December 21st.
Bryce Resort and Massanutten in Virginia plan to open November 28th. That’s NEXT FRIDAY! Wintergreen Resort plans to open December 6th or shortly before.
Canaan Valley in West Virginia plans to open December 12th and Timberline Resort (one ridge over) plans to open December 4th. Winterplace Resort will open December 12th.
Wisp Resort in Maryland will open November 28th – next Friday!
Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee plans to start up the first week in December.
If you’re out and about driving, skiing or riding in the area, snap some photos and video and send them our way. We are also planning to take our crew up to Hawksnest at 2pm today to check out their new Snow Tubing Park. We’ll get some pics and video to share with you later this evening. if you’re up that way – come see us.
Nobody could have expected or hoped for any better start to the 2008-2009 ski and snowboarding season here in North Carolina! If you’ve been thinking about riding up, turn this darn computer off and get up here. The temps are cold, the snow is perfect and slopes are opening all over the place!
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