This is the last weekend to ride the snow my snow loving friends. It looks like I get to have the last word on the season. Earlier in the week I posted some of what I thought were my last notes on the season to share with you guys. I said my "goodbyes" and I guess I forgot to look at a calendar as Kenny Griffin handles the weekday reporting chores these days – but I get you for the closing weekend of the season.
I’ve received a few calls from newspapers this last week wanting to summarize what the season was like. "C-R-A-Z-Y" was the word that kept coming to mind. I’m a wordy guy, so of course I elaborated with each of the reporters wanting to put a final exclamation point on "how things went" across the region.
This season could certainly be summed up as a "Tale of Two Halves". The first half was snowy and cold as you know what. ALL of the North Carolina and Tennessee ski areas were clicking along at a record pace for snowfall. Beech Mountain Resort had tallied 111.9" of snow by February 5th – within a season that most weather prognosticators had preseason forecasted a less than average season for snow. Beech averages 80" per season and had well surpassed that number with a full two months of winter to go.
The rest of February only brought 4" of snow to the highest ski area on the east coast. Although March was a roller coaster month in terms of consistent temperatures, it did provide 9" of snow…and Beech finished with 127.4" of snow. However at the mid point of the season there were some of us that thought Beech might see 250" of snow this season.
The normally VERY SNOWY West Virginia ski areas had some of the consistently coldest temps for the first half of the season however they were a bit sub par for snowfall for the first half of the season and actually trailed Beech Mountain for much of that period. The WV resorts saw quite a bit of snow during the second half of the season however and they finished slightly BELOW average with pulling 148" when they average 180" each winter.
The important Holiday weeks and weekends saw pretty good weather and great base depths so traffic was from good-to-great during those days.
So all in all the resorts fared pretty darn well in terms of skier visits. Joe Stevens of the West Virginia Ski Areas shared that the WV resorts turned approximately 800,000 skier visits during this soon to be over ski season. For those keeping score – that’s about what they’ve average over the last few years.
We haven’t seen any official numbers from any of the ski areas yet, however I will go on record (as I shared with the newspapers this week) that NO ski area in the Southeast or Mid Atlantic topped their best of their best seasons and NONE of them surpassed last season’s attendance numbers. If I have to eat those words I will, but until a ski resort marketing person shows me some numbers that tell me otherwise – I think it is a very safe bet to report that while we had a successful season – this was NOT a top three or four kind of skier visit season for ANY of the ski areas of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.
…AND IT’S ALMOST OVER…
Apppalachian Ski Mountain is the only ski resort in North Carolina still open. That’s a little surprising as Sugar will stretch it out as long as possible – usually. They closed up this past Wednesday. Appalachian’s Brad Moretz set a date that they’d ride to before the season ever started and they’ve met their date. They will enjoy their Meltdown Games activities this weekend. A full weekend of crazy events you won’t see any other time of the year, with lots of snow, sun, and skin.
All events are free with your ski ticket. Take your best shot at tons of prize categories. Thanks to all the event sponsors who made these games possible: Skullcandy, Atomic, Red Bull, Burton, Forum, Smith Optics, Salomon, Spyder, 686, Rip Curl, Nordica, Volcom, Electric, Roxy, Dragon, Mental, Dakine, Line, 686, Rossignol, Spy, Bern, Screamer, Wigwam, Seirus, Kombi, POW, and Chaos.
Here’s the Winter Meltdown Games Schedule:
Saturday, March 26
-10:30am –The Impossible Box Contest
-11:30am -Cardboard Box Derby
-1:30pm – Ski and Snowboard Big Air
-5:00pm – Trash Bag Downhill Race
Sunday, March 27
-11:30am – K2 Pop This! High Ollie Contest
-2:00pm – Pond Skim and Costume Contest
-5:00pm – Chinese Downhill
Wintergreen Resort is the only ski resort in Virginia to remain open – kind of. Their snow report was crashed when we looked this morning but I called up there and they are operating with TWO of 26 trails for day skiing and snowboarding today.
Joe Steven’s of the WV Ski Areas Association shared this with me this morning:
"For skiers and snowboarders looking to make some final turns this season, they better get them in by Sunday. The forecasted snowfall in the state’s higher elevations will help bring the close of the 2010/2011 ski season on a positive weather note. Snowshoe Mountain in Pocahontas County and Timberline Resort in Tucker County will conclude on-slope activities for the year this Sunday, March 27. The season that began early December saw excellent weather conditions through the middle of February and skier visits of over 800,000 at the state’s five alpine ski areas. Canaan Valley Resort also in Tucker County and Winterplace Resort in Raleigh closed for the season this past Sunday, while Oglebay Resort in Ohio County closed earlier this month."
Snowshoe and Timberline Resort are operating today and Timberline is offering night skiing as well.
Snowshoe is holding strong on this their last weekend of the season. They operate with 39 of 60 trails for day session.
Laura Parquette writes, "Today we celebrate the end of the season with our traditional LAST HURRAH festivities. Our pond skimming contest will be held at 3pm on Skidder slope. Please be aware that our pond is built and will be filled later this morning. Please avoid this area until it’s time for the contest later this afternoon. Contestants may register between 10:30am and 1pm in the Shavers Center. All contestants MUST sign a waiver, and NO Snowshoe rental equipment will be permitted for participants. Please also refrain from using poles during the competition. Judging will begin on snow at 2:30pm for our MOST RAD costume contest. Pond Skimming is always about being as outrageous as you can be, so be sure to check out the wacky getups! DJ Judd will be spinning tunes all day, and the real show gets under way at 3pm. Following the skimming, we’ll move inside to Moonshine Pub for awards and the Last Hurrah Survivors Party. Pond Skimming contestants will be battling for great prizes including season passes and Snowshoe gift cards.
Thank you to everyone who is joining us this weekend on the mountain, and to all of you who have made this another special season for Snowshoe."
Ed Schneider sent us some great pics and videos and you guys should check those out. Click here and see many of the images we’ve featured from there over the last few days:
The video is posted at: http://www.skisoutheast.com/videos/
Timberline Resort is playing on 27 of 39 trails today as they wind down to the last two days of the season.
Wisp Resort in Maryland is operating on 20 of 32 with night sessions.
Feel free to drop me an email with your thoughts, suggestions and ideas! Email me at [email protected]