The Final Weekend of the Season Has Arrived

Well, this is my final First Trax report of the 2010/2011 season folks. The final weekend of skiing and riding in the Southeast has arrived. On Monday morning, there will not be any remaining ski areas open in our region and you’ll either have to go up north or out west to ride. That is depressing I know.

It’s been a tale of two seasons this winter. The first half was an extension of last year. In December and January we had snowfall after snowfall. The was at least one major snow event per week and some deep bases at the ski areas were quickly established. I had 3 or 4 legit bluebird powder days at Beech this year. I was able to ride some lines at both Beech and Sugar that I had never done before because of the abundance of snow. I still haven’t decided if the line underneath the very top of the yellow lift at Sugar or the one underneath lift 6 at Beech was better. They still don’t compare to the poaching of Hawksnest though.

After a couple of really good months of riding and cooperating weather, the dreaded yearly thaw set in starting in the second week of February. Unfortunately, it lasted pretty much for the rest of the season. Luckily, the resorts had significant base depths already and were able to offer good skiing and riding conditions (for the most part) up until the past couple of weeks or so. Indeed, things have gotten a little sloppy out there lately but hey, we live in the Southeast! Crazy weather happens here and I feel like December and January more than made up for it.

I received an email the other day asking about the bean count at Mast General Store. For those of you who don’t know, every year they put a bean into a jar for every foggy morning in August. This is supposed to be a good predictor for the number of snowfall events over the course of the winter. They have actually been pretty accurate over the years and this year they once again came fairly close. They had 15 beans at the beginning of the winter and as of right now, they still have two and a half still in the jar. How do they have half a bean you ask? I forget the owner’s name, but he told me yesterday that his criteria for a snow event is that the ground has to be adequately blanketed, and that there was one event where it was semi-covered. So once again, the foggy morning bean jar was a pretty decent predictor of our yearly snowfall events.

I’m going to write a little article about how this year’s snowfall totals at the ski areas compared to their averages. I’ll post it under the announcements section on the front page so look for that later today.

If you can, get out to the resorts this weekend for one final day of skiing and riding. Most everywhere is having some kind of event or celebration to end their season. App is hosting the Meltdown Games, Snowshoe is having their Last Hurrah, and the others will have something to partake in I’m sure. It will be a fun time everywhere.

I guess that’s all for this morning…or the season for that matter I guess. Mike will keep you guys filled in with the morning report this weekend so you can check back for that.  Thanks to everyone who visits the site and makes it what it is. It’s been an awesome month or two now getting to write this morning report and I can’t wait to do it again next season.  Keep checking back between now and then as we are going to be making some changes and what not to the site. Next year it is going to be better than ever!

Here’s a look around the region…

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 32°- They are open on 8 of 12 trails today with a groomed surface. This weekend they will be hosting the Meltdown Games. There will be a number of events and contests going on so it should be a good time out there. Click here for more info.

Snowshoe Mountain – 17°- They are open on 39 of 60 trails today with a frozen granular surface. The have received a trace amount of snow in the past 24 hours. Here’s what they have to say – “It’s Friday once again and that means the weekend, and Closing Day, are just around the corner. We have just 3 days left to ski and ride in the 2010.2011 season. It definitely looks and feels like winter around here again. Snow fell lightly on and off throughout the day yesterday, leaving a light coating across grassy areas, in trees and of course on the slopes. More importantly we’ve had some consistent cold for over 24 hours. That means the snow has been able to set up and we didn’t have a daytime thaw. With those conditions our grooming team was able to get out last night and lay down some sweet corduroy conditions across our 40 open slopes. Snowshoe continues to offer the region’s most open terrain and we plan to continue to ski and ride on almost 150 acres of terrain through the weekend.

Western Territory is reopened today; after a late freeze in the early morning hours yesterday, we kept that area closed in order to give it some extra TLC during the day. With sun expected today there should be some great conditions to enjoy over there, as well as across our open terrain. As it is March, and we’ve faced some challenging weather over the last month or so, there are some thin and bare spots out there. But there’s nothing that should interfere with a great day of skiing or riding. We have some lingering clouds hanging around this morning, but they should clear during the morning hours and we have a beautiful sunny day ahead. Tomorrow clouds should return and snow is expected to begin overnight Saturday and continue throughout the day Sunday. We’re looking at the possibility of nearly 6" of fresh snow to enjoy on Closing Day on Sunday. What a way to end the season that would be!

And don’t forget, we’re letting anyone enjoy these last three days ABSOLUTELY FREE! That’s right, just book lodging with us between today and Sunday and you SKI FREE. If you can’t stay the night, no worries, daily lift tickets are just $26! That’s 50% off of our regular value season pricing! Additional discounts this week will be offered at rental and retail locations, as well as on our exciting adventure activities. Lodging starts at just $125 a night, or $32 per person, per night for you and 3 friends. And your lift tickets would be FREE! That’s an incredible deal that will allow you to enjoy the region’s most open terrain, as well as our Last Hurrah Festivities.

Snowshoe will host a traditional pond skimming competition tomorrow afternoon on Skidder slope, as well as a Happy Hour Survivor’s Party at Moonshine Pub. DJ Judd will be spinning tunes all day long and it should be a great day to celebrate another fantastic season at Snowshoe! Thank you to all of you who have made this year such a success. We also can’t forget to thank our phenomenal mountain operations team who has done such an amazing job all season with our snowmaking and grooming operations. We’ve had an incredible base all season, yet we had only a handful of days where snow gun activity occurred on open terrain. The grooming team has provided day after day of terrific conditions. The terrain park team stepped up in a big way this year and the parks have never looked better. And yes, Mother Nature did do her part for most of the year, dropping nearly 150" of natural snow on us, providing some epic powder days, as well as some fantastic bluebird days. And you can’t ask for more than that. So thank you to everyone who has made this a great season and we look forward to enjoying the last 3 days!”

Wisp Resort – 17°- Open on 11 of 32 trails today with a groomed surface. They do still have a terrain park open and a tubing session will be held tonight from 5-9.

Wintergreen – 22° – They remain closed today but will re-open tomorrow for one final day of skiing and riding. They are saying they will have numerous park features set up and lift tickets will only be $20.

Timberline – 18°- Open today on 27 of 39 trails with a frozen granular surface. They have received an inch of new snow in the past 24 hours so that is cool. They will be having their annual Locals Cup as part of their closing festivities this weekend.

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. 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.