Sunday’s Southeast and NC Report

Today’s SkiNC.com and SkiSoutheast.com report is one and the same today. For all but a few days of this season we have filed separate stories for each of the websites. However, today’s stories were so closely related…we decided to combine them. Be sure to check out both sites daily because most of the time we do file unique articles AND the Photos of the Day are usually different as well.

Milder Air South – Still Snowing North! – This has been one heck of a roller coaster season! If you have been following this site all season, you’ll know that lately we have been on a cold, snowy swing that has dumped 30+" of snow on the highest elevations of North Carolina and 67" of snow at Snowshoe in West Virginia JUST IN MARCH! This late season snowy stretch has Ski Beech up to 81" of snow on the season, which is close to normal now! The aforementioned Snowshoe was WELL UNDER their normal season tallies on February 28th…at 90" of snow. Now today, just thirteen days later (and after 64" of snow has fallen in March) they are now at 154" of snow on the season and with a strong finishing kick MIGHT get to their average of 180". WEIRD BUT TRUE!

The roller coaster split onto TWO TRACKS yesterday as one track to the South led Old Man Winter into a milder mood. Temperatures in most of Virginia and North Carolina mountains reached into the 50s on Saturday. Some portions of North Carolina got up to 74 degrees. The northern track of the roller coaster led Old Man Winter into northern Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland to dumped MORE SNOW.

Snowshoe Mountain got another 5" of snow yesterday, Timberline Resort received 8", Winterplace Resort received another 5" as well. Wintergreen Resort in Virginia saw a trace of snow. WISP Resort in Maryland also received another 2" of snowfall.

One of our people up at Snowshoe this weekend said that the snow up there is "over your boots deep" and the powder is unreal, particularly for this time of year.

GREAT CONDITIONS ARE THE NORM – No matter WHERE you want to ski in the Southeast today…conditions are GREAT! We were up at Beech and one of our On-Snow Reporters spent the day at Sugar and both areas (as well as the rest) have great conditions and lots of snow. With the milder temps in North Carolina, expect the snow to change to more of a mixture of Frozen and Loose Granular conditions. North into West Virginia and MAryland expect firmer conditions and more powder. We experienced the best powder of the season Friday night and early Saturday up at Ski Beech. It’s simply amazing no matter where you go today.

TODAY’S SUB HEADLINE STORY – If the weather didn’t hog the headlines this morning, the main story would be the surprise closing of Wolf Laurel Resort in North Carolina. This morning we were surprised to find that Wolf Laurel is now CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. No prior warning was given. Last week we reported that we anticipated that they would close today, however we thought that it would be AFTER skiing today, however we didn’t receive a daily update and we called their phone snow report and according to it, "Wolf Laurel will begin making snow as soon as possible for the 2005-2006 season."

Wolf Laurel Resort has focused on their new growth of late and we’d have to say that they get the lowest grade in the state for not updating their own ski report, and for not keeping us and other reporting sources informed. They have had a LOT going on this season with the huge development going on at the top of the mountain, so perhaps their resources were stretched thin and they just had trouble keeping up. We’re hopeful that 2005-2006 will be better in that regard.

The Slope Reports have a couple of changes on it. You’ll note the resorts that have closed for the season are highlighted in pink. You may also notice a new trend that we have implemented at this late stage of the season. On the base depth column we have added a "trend" statement that is designed to show you a trend of plus or minus. It will also state the DAYS DURATION of that trend. For example, if the depth dropped from a previous day it will show a -2" or something to that affect. The main reason that we are doing that is to show visitors and the resorts when NO CHANGE has been made. For example, the Virginia resorts, Canaan Valley in West Virginia and WISP in Maryland have had the same base depth for THE BULK of the season…fluctuating only four or five times during the season…so their "trend" would show ZERO and quote the number of days. This will help us to show you guys even more information that you can use. We think the results will be that resorts will pay closer attention to daily reporting.

While On the Subject of Closing – A couple of people wrote us about the frustration of seeing resorts closing with a ton of snow still on the slopes. Several have questioned whether our reporting of anticipated closing dates is accurate. They are thinking that resorts will stay open longer because of all of the snow. Cataloochee did decide to stay open one more weekend than they were saying a week ago. Snowshoe up in West Virginia also announced Friday night that they will stay open until April 10th, but don’t look for most resorts to change their plans.

The main reason is simple economics. Resorts don’t close from a lack of snow this time of year. They close from a lack of people. Several emailers suggested that resorts might be able to generate enough interest ahead of time to prompt them to stay open longer. Their idea was a separate MARCH SKI PASS. Actually Wintergreen Resort in Virginia already does that and they are still closing March 27th, so we’re not certain how much of an effect a March Pass might make. Wintergreen sells theirs for $99 for the month and that kind of pricing (if enough people were to purchase it) might prompt resorts to extend their season.

If they started promoting it heavy in early February, they could see how many were sold and if a fair amount were sold then they could stay open until mid March; if a lot were sold then stay open til the end of March…and if a TON were sold then they could stay open until the snow runs out. We think that you guys MAY be onto something. It would be interesting to see HOW MANY people would be up for that. We’ll make that our new POLL QUESTION. Let’s see how many of you would purchase a March ONLY pass.

The main problem is when temperatures hit the 70s off the mountain, like it did yesterday in the south…people begin thinking of tennis, golf, water sports, and other outdoor activities. It would be cool though to see seasons last a bit longer. Who knows…if enough of you would be willing to purchase a March Pass…something to think about.

Even better – if ALL of the Southeast’s ski resorts would honor that kind of pass then perhaps. What am I thinking> That won’t happen.

Today is SUGGESTION Day! – Many of you have been emailing suggestions that you’d like us to pass on to the resorts. We’ll share some of those in a few days or so…but the best one that we can share with you today was from Denise Everett of Baltimore, Maryland. She wrote, "Wouldn’t it be cool if one of the resorts dyed the snow GREEN for St. Patrick’s Day. It would be easy to do, and it would not be harmful to the ground underneath. Just a thought."

Nice idea, but could you imagine all of the green people and clothes leaving the resorts. Great idea…not QUITE thought all the way through. If you never fall…it might be cool. But could you imagine all of the green butts on snowboarders. Even the best snowboarders spend a lot of time on their rears. Too funny!

SEE YOU ON THE SLOPES!

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