While night sessions of skiing and snowboarding had to be a bit on the wet side on Saturday night, the rains stayed away for the day sessions at most of the ski areas. We were over at Appalachian Ski Mountain around noon with some family and friends and I may have been pelted with perhaps five or six rain drops and after that the skies looked ominous but it never rained another drop until about 6pm. That made for a great day of skiing and riding.
I was somewhat surprised that the lift lines were never more than maybe TWO MINUTES for the four hours that we were there and the snow was soft and conditions were near pefect on all of the runs that we hit. While App is small, their lift system does allow you to get back up top fast and often – and that makes for a lot of turns. We’ve said it before but it bears repeating that "pound for pound" Appalachian Ski Mountain is one well ran, phenomenally maintained ski area. We spoke with a lot of beginners who really appreciate all of the attention to details that App puts forth.
<That’s Ryan Wooten on the left and Grant Catoe both Watauga High School sophomores at App on Saturday
I ran into some locals while riding up the lifts. Jim Wooten’s son, Ryan and his buddy Grant were on the mountain on Saturday. We made a couple of turns with them and will work them into a video that will post up later on Sunday. We also met some great people from Lexington, S.C. and Mississippi while on the mountain on Saturday. While I wasn’t wearing in SkiNC or SkiSoutheast garb, some of my crew was and we kept being "recognized" and it’s always cool to meet people that enjoy what we do here.
The weather was on a lot of people’s minds on Saturday. Whether or not it might snow last night, whether or not we’ll see snow this week and numerous people were talking about this coming week’s COLD forecast.
It is forecasted to be a COLD one and that bodes well for all of the ski areas as they prepare for the MLK weekend crowds that perennially hit the region. Temperatures are forecasted to be in the 20s and 30s for HIGHS all week with low temps in the teens and 20s. Next Thursday night’s low is forecasted to be around zero and next weekend looks like HIGHS in the teens and 20s and lows near 10 degrees! Snow is also in this week’s forecast on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. That should excite perhaps even more people than normal to head to the mountains for the long weekend and that will make for some strong skier visit numbers at all of the resorts.
That will go a long way to insuring a profitable bottom line and it is those revenues that allow the ski areas to reinvest in their product making for an even better skier experience for years to come. So this cold snap could not be happening at a better time for skiers, snowboarders and the resort management teams!
Look for more and more terrain (slopes and trails) to open as we move into the middle of next week. The added terrain will help greatly to dispurse the heavier than usual traffic that we’ll see for next weekend. Those of us who call the ski areas "home" won’t be caught dead on the slopes next weekend, but we’ll enjoy the added terrain hopefully a day or two before most of you guys start arriving. At worst we’ll have more slopes to play on after the MLK crowds head home.
So look for perhaps the best ski and riding conditions of the season beginning today and moving through the week ahead.
It’s pretty foggy out via all of the webcams this morning and that is indicative of the moist wet conditions being hit with the falling temperatures today. Temperatures will get colder today and throughout this week ahead.
Here’s a quick tour of what to expect for Sunday. Enjoy the cold temps today and have a great one! We’re thinking of heading up to Hawksnest to check out their tubing park today. If any of you are heading that way, look us up!
We’re going to skip around kind of randomly today just to get some other ski areas up to the top of the report.
Ski Beech – 26° – Beech is making snow right now and they have some sweet conditions for today! This Sunday marks the first event for Ski Beech’s Edge of the World Revival Series. It will be a Slopestyle event and registration begins at 10:30am at the Beechtree. The event starts at 12:30pm and will be $15 to enter and a $25 lift ticket for competitors. We are open from the top all weekend with live music from the Harris Brothers at the Beechtree from 9-12 tonight.
Hopefully we will get some good pics from the event.
Ski Beech will be open with 5 trails and Ryan Costin wrote that they expect to open additional terrain for the MLK weekend! He wrote, "After tonight I see one of the most positive forescasts in sometime. We are planning on trying to go back and create the base we had established before the rain washed it away. After that we are planning on moving forward and making a push to get more terrain open sometime next week. Our goal is to have more slope(s) and the tubing area open by MLK."
He added, "Also, live music will be highlighted next weekend for all guests and we are really working hard for the comeback of Winterfest."
It’s great to see Winterfest making a comeback up there. There’s nothing like the cardboard box derby and seeing bathing beauties skiing and snowboarding to bring about some added interest! Stay tuned for more details!
Sugar Mountain – 26° – Snowmaking is in progress at Sugar as well. They will have 12 of 20 trails open and more opening for the coming week. Snow tubing and ice skating are available today as well.
Cataloochee Ski Area – 30° – They are day skiing, snowboarding and tubing for Sunday. Look for 9 of 14 trails open for today with snowmaking resuming as soon as mid morning or at least tonight.
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 30° – No snowmaking occurred last night but that will happen tonight. App has both terrain parks open and ice skating as well as 8 of 10 trails. Hard Core and Thin Slice are the lone trails not open but look for those to be open by MLK weekend.
Wolf Ridge Resort – there’s been no report for a few days. We suspect that they’ll have 8 or so trails open and tubing open as well. We ran into some very nice people who traveled to Wolf from Ballentine, SC on Friday and they were pretty disappointed in the conditions. So much so that they left and drove to Appalachian for Saturday sessions. This is the first season in memory where simply nobody is talking at Wolf Ridge / Wolf Laurel. We’ve tried to get up with some of the crew over there, but things are awfully quiet. We’ve heard some rumors or talk about some of the developers not working together up there and that it might be affecting some of Wolf’s trail system, but again – things have been pretty quiet over that way. From what we can see this morning things look pretty decent for Sunday and of course conditions will only get better with the coming week’s weather. We’ll try to get you some word on Wolf this week.
As always, be sure to click over to www.SkiSoutheast.com for more news about ALL of the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic including more photos of the day, more snow news, more videos…and just MORE!
Send your comments, photos, videos, and trip reports to: [email protected]
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