I’m going to paint a picture for you guys this morning and I want you guys to tell me if you can figure out where in the world this scenario might happen.
It’s 7:18am. There is a BRILLIANT SUNRISE happening as a giant, yellow, fireball is rising in the sky. It is raining, snowing, sleeting and something resembling "slushing" all at the very same time. For a few moments some of the largest snowflakes that I’ve seen this season were falling (or floating) to the ground. It’s 32° and there is anywhere from a foot to 40+ inches of snow blanketing the ground – where it HAS been since mid December.
It’s now 7:25am. SEVEN minutes have passed. The sun is coming up in the sky and that sky that was spitting out all the above just moments before is now a brilliant, azure blue.
Where else can all of the above be taking place but in the mountains?
This past weekend was in one word – awesome. Sunny skies, great temps and tons of great snow conditions combined for what was perhaps THE BEST WEEKEND of skiing and riding we’ve seen this season – in a season that has been FULL of "best weekends".
I and about 25 fun loving, snow enthusiasts were allowed to duck under the ropes at Snowshoe Mountain on Sunday morning from about 8:15am until moments before a normal rope drop. Laying down some true first tracks on perfect corduroy on White Lightning, Camp 99 and the Sawmill trails was simply priceless! Thanks again to Laura Parquette, Bill Rock, Ed Galford, Dave Huber and the ski patrol (and lift ops) that hung with us earlier than normal. It’s hard to imagine a better six runs down a mountain this season. A couple of people rode up with me and commented that they’d spent nearly a half day on some of the busier weekends this season and not be able to get in six trips down. We did it in about 40 minutes. Firing down a mountain full speed with perfect snow consistency and experiencing the carves and weightlessness that you catch occasionally on some of the fall lines – man there’s just nothing like it!
Thanks again to Snowshoe for putting us up and putting up with us for three days this past weekend. As close as we can tell we had 168 people sign up to come and hang with us and nearly 150 of those showed up for the Saturday night party.
Thanks to all who spent their time and monies to be with SkiSoutheast.com this weekend. I think it is safe to say that we made some new friends and got to spend some quality time with old friends and in one case one lucky man found a wife-to-be. It was a super weekend. Within our own crew we lost one snowmobiler (found her 5-10 minutes later), had another flip a snowmobile (she got right back on and was at top speed in seconds), saw some models being filmed for some Snowshoe promotions, was featured on Snowshoe’s on mountain video loops, made too many turns with too many people to mention within this report…and simply had a great time.
I enjoyed spending every second with several of our messageboard peeps. I don’t want to offend anyone by leaving out even ONE of those moments or individuals because truly they were all special and appreciated. Again, thanks to every single person who devoted their weekend to be with me, our crew, SkiSoutheast.com and Snowshoe Mountain.
Special thanks to Austin Beeghly for being a great friend to this website for getting involved and even inspiring Peter Glenn Sports to donating those great skis, Burton bags and other goodies. Thanks to Blake Couch for being our unofficial, official photo guy. Thanks to Ed Schneider of Snowshoe for representing us and Snowshoe so well with all of the time snapping great photos and videos that we can share with you guys.
It was super meeting the MANY of you who introduced yourselves to me this weekend. I never grow tired of hearing from those of you who tell me that they’ve read the site for years and always wanted to attend "one of these things" – joined up and did so. It seems we’ve created some new friends to the site this year and I hope to see those connections flourish in seasons to come.
SkiPink and several other messageboard members told me this weekend that she and others had never been to Snowshoe before but not only would they be back – they were making certain to tell others to join our site and post up, communicate and become involved in what many related to me was a special "club" to them.
Very, very cool.
We’re obviously growing to the point that I and my staff will have to be creative in finding new ways to manage our growth and keep you guys entertained. Truth is though, YOU GUYS on the messageboard are pretty talented at keeping that part of our website "colorful".
We’ll do our best to support you guys…and we certainly appreciate the heck out of YOUR SUPPORT.
DOES MARCH MADNESS MEAN ITS NEARLY OVER???
It doesn’t have to…but I got to my office this morning, did the snow report first and then checked my personal INBOX only to find HUNDREDS of emails basically relating the sentiment that this season is over. Every reference from the weather going south, to resorts closing down for the season to ski areas operating only for weekends, to thanking us for a great season and "we’ll see you next season" remarks filled more than three dozen emails this morning. (ALL FROM THIS WEEKEND!)
Have we not taught you guys A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G?!?!?!
Every day since about six weeks ago we’ve included a timeline reference to help our readers see where we are within the current season. Instead of tagging it to the bottom of our report today, I’ll use it here for emphasis.
We’re on day 102 and there are 35 more days of opportunities to enjoy the snow for the 2009-2010 ski and snowboarding season!
To be clear, yes only ONE ski area is offering 35 more days to ski and ride. That is Appalachian Ski Mountain. Thanks to Brad Moretz and his crew with their minimum of 88" of base depth and pristine conditions through May if they wanted to stay open that long. Snowshoe Mountain extended their season to stay open until April 4th so we have 28 more days of snow play left at the Pocahontas County, WV resort. Yes, others like Massanutten will ride through "at least" March 28th and that could mean only twenty more days of play at resorts that will pull the plug on the last Sunday in March.
…and then there’s the unnamed-at-this-time ski areas that will undoubtedly punch up some numbers on their calculators and cease snow ops as early as this Sunday or Sunday, March 21st.
So, "YES" we are winding down, but there’s still some great life in the 2009-2010 ski and snowboarding season. If there’s ONE MESSAGE that I could send out to those of you who are debating about trying to make it to the snow ONCE this season or even one more time…it would be to JUST DO IT! (Apologies to Nike…)
It’s all about TIMING, and yes we’re in for a relatively YUCK week and perhaps even a YUCK weekend ahead, but there’s TONS of great base depths and plenty of great conditions that will be in place for weeks AFTER all of the ski areas have ceased snow operations for this season. It has been THAT good!
So keep coming back here for a bit longer. Watch the weather and snow reports and we’re betting that this season will offer as many as two to three more bursts of cold, arctic fronts and plenty of snow yet. We’ve been on a record setting season in many respects and you guys need to remember that March is traditionally one of the snowier months in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic. The way that this season has gone, I just can’t believe that it will be anything but a great last five weeks to ski and ride.
PAY ATTENTION TO THIS AND THE RESORT’S WEBSITES FOR CHANGES IN OPERATING TIMES.
March Madness isn’t just for basketball fans. Sugar has long used that term for their discounted March skiing and snowboarding rates. Beech is mentioning it now that they are offering a rates drop to $20 for a day or twilight ticket and $10 for a half day or night ticket. Talia Freeman posted, "Come enjoy our great slope conditions for an unbeatable price!!!! The entire mountain is wide open today including Oz Run…"
MANY have written to tell us that Beech has had their "best season in years". Those sentiments are from fans happy to see an awesome season of a "New day at the Beech". Very cool to hear.
Cataloochee Ski Area – I’ll admit I’m a little confused because Cat’s website shows that they are not open for night skiing but they write, "Beginning Monday, March 8, we will be twilight and night skiing Monday through Fridays from 1pm until 10pm and day skiing only on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30am- 4:30pm through the end of the season on Sunday, March 21."
I think they are open for night skiing this week. Call ahead to make sure.
Sugar Mountain has greatly discounted their lift ticket prices as well. See http://www.skisugar.com/rates/
Wolf Ridge Resort posted, "It’s Monday Morning and the Wolf will be CLOSED TODAY and TOMORROW and will re-open on WEDNESDAY for Day Skiing/Boarding. We will also be closed THURSDAY and Re-open FRIDAY Evening for night skiing and open the entire mountain SATURDAY and SUNDAY. Make Plans to Join us WEDNESDAY and the WEEKEND as we offer our "Year End Ski the Wolf Special"; Buy One Lift Ticket and Get the Second One FREE. This will be available to all skiiers/boarders both youth and adults alike. SEE YOU ON THE SLOPES WEDNESDAY!!!"
Massanutten Resort opens 11am-7pm today through Thursday then full schedule for the weekend. All 14 trails and snow tubing is open all this week.
Wintergreen Resort is open for day sessions only today. Anne Marie wrote, "BEAUTIFUL WEATHER, WITH BLUE BIRD SKIES THIS MORNING AND LOTS OF SUN. INCREDIBLE SPRING CONDITIONS CONTINUE WITH COOL NIGHTS AND DAYTIME HIGHS IN THE MID TO UPPER 40’S. WE HAVE PLENTY OF SNOW THANKS TO A RECORD BREAKING 93 INCHES OF NATURAL THIS YEAR. WOW! THIS IS THE MOST SNOW SINCE WINTERGREEN OPENED ITS DOORS IN THE MID 1970’S. PLENTY OF SKIING AND RIDING STILL TO GO, WITH PLANS TO SKI, RIDE AND TUBE THROUGH AT LEAST MARCH 21ST! REDUCED OPERATING HOURS BEGIN THIS WEEK, PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF OUR NEW SCHEDULE LISTED BELOW."
Snowshoe Mountain writes, "Wow, what a weekend! It’s hard to get any better than bluebird skies and sunshine, especially with the amazing snow conditions we continue to offer. Today and tomorrow we should see more of the same, with milder temperatures reminding us why we look forward to March skiing each year. Mid-week it does look like we have some rain moving in, but by this weekend temperatures may drop, turning that precipitation into snow. Snowshoe does average 30" of snow in March, and all of our meteorologist friends are telling us that we probably have one more big storm in the forecast before the end of our season on April 5th. So don’t pull out those golf clubs or beach chairs just yet; we have almost a month of great skiing and riding left to enjoy. And Snowshoe is making sure you can get in those turns without breaking your budget. March lodging offers are some of the best of the year, and we’ve put together some amazing deals for our extended season period of March 28-April 5th, including FREE SKIING for anyone staying 2+ nights. And don’t forget that Kids Ski Free all month long with any 3+ night lift/lodging package. So call 877-441-4386 for complete details and to book your Snowshoe escape today!"
There are some reporting services that are showing Sapphire Valley and Wolf Ridge as open today. They are not. One of those same services is reporting 9" of snow for Sapphire and there’s been no snow in the past week at the southernmost North Carolina ski area.
That’s it for today. Go enjoy the snow! Check out the Snow Report at http://www.skisoutheast.com/skireports.php and please send us your favorite ski photos, ski videos, trip reports and comments to [email protected]