Some Seemingly Random Coverage for Today’s FirsTrax News


It seems that we ALWAYS install a great new camera and then see nothing but rain for a day or two! The images being seen right now are not great…but…

Our designers have rolled out a brand new website! We think you’ll like the new format. We’ve already had some great, early reviews. We’ve already added a few new cams to the mix and we just installed a new Grandfather Mountain Profile view cam and some very cool LIVE CAMS at Appalachian Ski Mountain and Beech Mountain Resort. We have a brand new video server being installed this week that should allow us to see some even better speed and updates on many of these cameras and we’ll debut that new server integration sometime within the next week.

Here’s some of the cooler links:

Grandfather Profile Cam (this is the famous profile angle of the mountaintop)

Appalachian Ski Mountain LIVE CAM

Hwy 184 LIVE CAM

There are many more cameras than we’ve ever offered before and plans are to add several more in the coming weeks and months. We are also in the process of creating a new website that will be featuring live cams from the beaches of North and South Carolina so stay tuned for that!

Why the new website?

We’ve had the webcams site for several years now but with all of the other tourism sites we’re involved in we kind of allowed the webcam site to “fall into disrepair” and I personally was allowing it to die a slow death. At one point that website saw as many as 18,000 unique visitors per day and fame via The Travel and Discovery Channels. However as of August of last year traffic had dropped to about 1900 visitors per day and many of the cameras were inactive. Although the site pulled an impressive 57,618 visitors in September 2009, that was a far cry from the kind of visitation the site enjoyed at its peak popularity.

At about the time we considered allowing to simply “go away” we were introduced to Paul Huffman who had recently moved here to the area. Paul joined our staff with the idea of bringing back to life. He got us excited about the site again by simply getting old cameras back online and in October we saw traffic jump to 173,524 visitors or 5,597 per day. On October 18th we saw a one day traffic total of 14,086 that got us reenergized. We added a few cams and worked with Appalachian and Beech to put new cameras in place and in December we saw our traffic jump to 447,572 unique visitors or 14,437 per day. I’d say “we’re back!”

The big December snow that hit around mid month caused us to see a record-breaking single visitation day of 68,748 unique visitors! The 447,572 visitors in December looked at 8,830,440 pages – so we’d say that you guys are passing the word that we’re back and stronger than ever! We’re off to a great start with January traffic already coming in at 240,372 visitors in just the first 15 days.

We have some really big plans for the twin cams websites and invite you to visit us often and watch for new techniques and offerings over the coming months!


For the most part all of our Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski resorts are holding steady with all of their trails open. As we suspected, a few resorts did drop a trail or two from those that were open on Tuesday.

All of the North Carolina ski areas are 100% open with the exception of Wolf Ridge which dropped four trails from those that were open on Monday.

Wintergreen dropped a double black “Turkey Shoot” and Wisp dropped one trail. Other than that, we’re 100% open across the region.


After a couple of days of talking about base depths and the fact that some ski areas had not dropped an inch of base depth reporting in the last six days…more did so. Both Massanutten and Wintergreen Resort edited their base report for the first time in a week. Massanutten dropped their base by 5″ and Wintergreen dropped theirs by 10″.

Now if we can just get Bryce Resort, Canaan Valley, Timberline, Winterplace and Wisp to pay attention…

There IS PLENTY OF SNOW ON ALL SKI AREAS AND VERY GOOD SNOW CONDITIONS…so these reflected numbers are not cause for concern as there’s good snow depth to weather this period of thaw and more cold and snow is headed our way into next week.

Here’s the latest in terms of base depth loss since January 13th: SEVEN DAY DROP IN BASE DEPTHS (Ranked by best reporting)

Resort                   24hr / Seven Days

Sugar Mountain:  – 4″ / – 25.5″
Ober Gatlinburg:  – 5″ / – 19.5″
Cataloochee:        – 2″ / – 14″
Beech Mountain:  – 9″ / – 13″
Appalachian:         – 0″ / – 12″
Wintergreen:        – 10″ / – 10″
Wolf Ridge:            – 0″ / – 9″
Massanutten:        – 5″ / – 5″

Bryce Resort:         – 0″ / – 0″
Canaan Valley:      – 0″ / – 0″
Timberline:             – 0″ / – 0″
Winterplace:           – 0″ / – 0″
Wisp Resort:          – 0″ / – 0″

Snowshoe Mountain is not listed because they use a single digit base average reporting system that we fully support. They are reporting an average base of 50″


Appalachian Ski Mountain – 100% open – App hosts the Red Bull Buttercup this Sunday, January 24. Red Bull Buttercup is an extra creamy contest series all across North America. Red Bull has built a super fun, custom butterpad that will be traveling to each resort in the series. Set at the base of Appalachian this Sunday, under the lights after the lifts are closed, Red Bull Buttercup is all about how much style you can spread onto the butterpad. Jib, bonk, tap and slide your way across the multi-featured pad however you like, just make sure you lay it on with a lot of smooth buttering. Overall style and creativity will help the cream rise to the top in this jam format contest. Only tricks that include buttering will count for judging, so be ready to spread it on in this purely pasteurized competition!

Beech Mountain Resort – 100% open – Beech hosts The 3rd Rail Jam this Saturday. 3rd Rail Jam Brings the Funk to Five Resorts Across the U.S. Some of the nation’s best amateur skiers and riders with the authentic, all elements brand of the hip hop culture, the renowned 3rd Rail Jam is making the rounds again for 2010. Expanding the urban edge to five resorts across the nation, 3rd Rail will showcase some of the best in snow sports with a series of winner-takes all rail jams, slope side graffiti art, MC battles, hip hop music and live performances by Grammy- nominated British-American rapper Slick Rick.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 100% open – Join the Cat Crew on Thursday nights here for the Cataloochee Challenge Cup Race Series. Individuals race against the clock for the best of two runs. Top three challengers in both men’s and womens’ age divisions win cool stuff. You must be 21 years of age or older to participate. The Cat is where it’s at on Thursday night’s Challenge Cup Race Night. Call the ski area for more information. Also, don’t forget that Thursday and Friday, January 21 & 22 are Military Appreciation Days and all active and retired military personnel and their families will receive very special rates on lift, lessons, rentals and also tubing with valid i.d.

Sugar Mountain Resort – 100% – Sugar is celebrating their 40th season and continue to offer fun events on weekends. This Saturday their will be LIVE BLUEGRASS MUSIC BY BOSS HAWG.

Wolf Ridge Resort – 14 of 20 trails open – They have a great “Church Day” Special each Sunday where from 1-4:30pm you can ski or ride with an $18 Lift ticket. Ski rentals are only $5 and Snowboard rentals are just $10!

Wisp Resort – It’s 22° up there! It’s the coldest spot we found this AM and they are making snow. The only resort doing so according to all reports. They are open today til 9pm with 31 of 32 trails and the only one not open is “Muscrat” one of their blue trails. They have some great events taking place this weekend.

The Remedy Concert / Ski Patrol Fundraiser
Date: January 23, 2010

Join us for an evening of ‘hometown’ entertainment and help raise funds for the Wisp Resort Ski Patrol. A 50/50 Raffle will be held during the evening at $5 per raffle ticket & $1 raffle.

Wisp also hosts the Burton Demo Tour
Date: January 24, 2010

Try the latest and greatest from Burton Snowboards from 10am – 2pm.  Complimentary demos with purchase of lift ticket..

Location: Wisp Resort, near the ticket center, look for the Burton Tent
Cost: Sign a waiver, under 18 must have parents sign waiver, need a major credit card to demo board

Bryce Resort – 100% open – no events planned that we are aware of this weekend.

Massanutten Resort – 100% open – They host Karaoke January 23 2010, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm in the Hideaway Lounge! Step up to the mic and belt out your favorite tune or sit back and enjoy the show! For some added LIVE ENTERTAINMENT enjoy Jimmy-O, January 23 2010, 6:30 pm in Fareways. “Reflex” performs January 23 2010, 8:00 pm in the Ski Lodge!

Wintergreen Resort – They have 25 of 26 trails open on Wednesday. Only their double black trail “Turkey Chute” is closed. They host some great events this weekend and into next week! January 22-24, 2010 is Armed Forces Weekend at Wintergreen Resort. They post, “We salute those who have given so much for our country. Cheer on the competitors in the USSA Giant Slalom and Slalom races. And Freestyle present will the first Double Cross race on 1/24.”

Wintergreen also hosts the Virginia Special Olympics Alpine Races January 25-26, 2010. They write, “Eunice Shriver’s vision to see beyond every horizon to create new opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities lives on each year as athletes complete in the Winter Olympics. Wintergreen is proud to again host the Virginia Games.”

Canaan Valley Resort – Has 36 of 29 trails available with only “The Glades”, “Lower Spruce Run” and “Upper C Lift Line” not open. They are operating for day session only today. They host a very cool event this weekend. January 22 – 24 will host an AIRBOARDING CLINIC. They post, “We introduced this winter sports to the Mid-Atlantic region four years ago. Snowboarding on inflated “air-rockets” is the newest craze in this mountainous state. The sport is more maneuverable than snow tubes, they travel much faster and by shifting body posture airboarders can come to a complete stop within a few feet. It’s a memorable experience you’ll want to enjoy again and again. Call today for reservations at 800-622-4121 (Reservations Department).”

Clinic Rates:
Day participants may join in the fun of the airboard clinics. The rate is $50 (Saturday) and $75 (Sat & Sun). All participants will qualify to race on Feburary 6th (race fees included in clinic fee).

To see the full agenda, click here> Canaan Valley Airboarding

Snowshoe Mountain – 100% with all 60 trails, terrain parks and snow tubing open! Snowshoe hosts “Subaru Master the Mountain” this weekend! Subaru is giving skiers and snowboarders a chance to tour the mountain with Snowshoe’s ski patrol, get mini lessons from our Snowshoe Ski & Snowboard School, test some of the latest equipment from Nordica, and spend time with the Subaru team!

Timberline Resort – 100% open – day sessions only today. ENTERTAINMENT THIS WEEKEND is in the form of “Freak Tent, JB Tenney, DJ Dub”. RACING AND TRAINING EVENTS INCLUDE: Telemark Workshop – 1/23/10 Snowboard GS USASA- 1/23/10 USCSA Races. The Telemark Workshop is Open to Everyone January 23, Saturday and Rentals Available!

Winterplace Resort – 100% open and snow tubing opens at 1pm today! No events scheduled that we know of.

Ober Gatlinburg – 100% open – Ober is hosting the first ever Freestyle Terrain event called “Sunday Session 1.1” It will be Sunday, January 24, 2010 from Noon ’til ?

Games of S.H.R.E.D., highest ollie contest, best trick, and more!  Win better prizes than you would sitting at home! Come out to show your stuff and have fun, even if you don’t want to ride come out and throw some high fives, watch people throw down, and listen to music. Register in ski rentals and fill out the waiver out. If you’re under 18 you must have your parents sign it also and you must wear a helmet. Oh and it’s FREE!

That’s it for today. Check out the Snow Report at  and
please send us your favorite ski photos, ski videos, trip reports and comments to
[email protected]

We’re on day 55 and there are 82 more days of opportunities to enjoy the snow for the 2009-2010 ski and snowboarding season!

WE’RE ON DAY 34 and 55!

We’re tracking how many days in a row that we’ve experienced measureable snow pack in the area. We’re not talking snow base at the ski areas. They’re loaded with snow! In this case we’re talking snow pack in the communities around the ski resorts.

In the Mountains of Western North Carolina (we’re tracking the High Country specifically) we’ve now had natural snow on the ground for 34 straight days. It has now snowed 18 of those 34 days. (There’s lots of snow around Banner Elk, Blowing Rock and Beech Mountain as well as many of the surrounding communities.) If you’re headed to Wolf Ridge or Cataloochee you’ll find the
same is true!)

David Lesher’s Canaan Valley / Tucker County, WV weather center has reported  55 straight days with snow on the ground and snowfall on 35 of those 55 days. That record is dittoed at Snowshoe, Wisp and Winterplace Resorts!

SSAA: 0 for 55/saphopenNOT/timb not open night/self 53/55

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of, and 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.