Traffic on SkiNC and the Slopes Way Down; Get Out and Ski YOUR Favorite Resort!

Lorrie Tomlinson WINS the On-Snow Reporter of the Year Award!

Let’s go ahead and make the announcement.  Lorrie definitely submitted far more images and reports on the entire season than any of the other reports.  Lorrie also caught some flack from some of the other reporters via the messageboard, but she not only submitted far more pics and writeups…she got considerably better as the season progressed in sending some quality shots particularly at Appalachian Ski Mountain and Hawksnest, although she sent images from Ski Beech and others as well.

For her efforts Lorrie wins $1000.00 and also a FREE VACATION LOG CABIN RENTAL FOR FOUR DAYS and THREE NIGHTS that we will coordinate with her to take whenever she prefers.  Congrats to Lorrie!

SkiNC and SkiSoutheast Traffic Indicative of Resort Traffic –

It’s funny how this time of year we begin getting a fair number of emails about “WHY” the resorts close “so early” when there’s plenty of snow.  Last night I received one from a fellow who said, “I hope Beech stays open til March 26th.  They look like they have the snow to make it.”

Well whether they have the snow to make it to March 26th is debatable, but they probably DO have plenty of snow to make it to March 19th, but the question is not snow – but people.  One look at the slopes this morning will tell you that there just isn’t a lot of people on the trails.  We zoomed into the slopes at Sugar JUST now at 9:28am and we could only find TWO skiers on the slopes.  We’re certain there’s more around and will certainly be more later in the day but the point is that during the busy part of the season you couldn’t count the people on the slopes. Simply put, interest just dies dramatically at this point in the season and particularly when we get mild temps. There’s no doubt that 70-80° temperatures in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina will get people to thinking about golf, tennis or another kind of skiing – water.

We are currently running an updated report on our stats package but so far the numbers that are being returned are VERY telling. Traffic to SkiNorthCarolina.com has dropped off about 60% from just three weeks ago. SkiSoutheast.com traffic is even further off at 64% of where we were just weeks ago.  During the peak of the season we were experiencing about 60,000 unique visitors a day every day.  We had bursts far above that during snowier days, but each day we’d see those kinds of numbers or more.  In the last week those numbers have dropped dramatically to 27,000 unique visitors a day.  The lowest day was yesterday with 19,134.  We’re betting that next week will see another huge drop in traffic.  For the record our sister website of www.HighCountryWebCams.com average more than 26,000 unique visitors a day in February and we had three days of more than 39,000 unique visitors each day!  Here into March we have seen that website’s traffic drop to about 10,000 unique visitors a day!

So traffic and interest in what’s happening on the slopes is WAYYY down.  That is also being reflected at the resorts.  While it’s a little early to see the traffic dip as much as it has, it is what it is and with mild temps in the forecast for the next week, and the lack of people on the trails look for more resorts to close up on Sunday.  If you want to extend the season – HIT THE SLOPES.

Skiing this time of year is phenomenal for the reasons we mentioned above!  There’s so few people on the trails and you pretty much get the feel that you have the slopes to yourself.  It should be a nice weekend to ski some nice conditions.

FINAL NOTES ON TRAFFIC – Thursday was the first time that we only received ONE On-Snow Report with photos for the entire season!  We often go through hundreds of photos and a few times this season we received more than 1000 a day!  Yesterday we received four images!  Even the messageboard regulars are talking about how boring the banter was yesterday.  We’re seeing this season come to a quick halt.

OBSERVATIONS:

Expect some soft, variable granular snow wherever you ski today and you’ll also see some thin coverage and a few bare areas beginning to show at most resorts. We were spoiled a bit by last season’s late burst of winter and snow. (We had a foot of natural snows during this week – last season.)  However, a little soft snow and thin coverage is normal for late in the season but they will be few and far between…meaning that there is plenty of good, clean skiable terrain on all trails and at all resorts.  Probably the only place you’ll see NO thin coverage or bare spots would be Appalachian today.

Appalachian Ski Mountain’s snow is looking quite nice today (check the live cams) and they are 100% open and also offer their Terrain Park and Ice Rink as side attractions for fun.  App is our pick for the best snow in the state today…and maybe the Southeast.

Cataloochee is open with all ten trails from 1pm to 10pm today and tonight. Also, don’t forget that season passes are on sale now for the lowest price of this season and next. All passes purchased now will be good for skiing and riding for the rest of this season and for the 2006/2007 season, so buy now and save bunches.

Hawksnest Resort is actually looking pretty good today.  We got a fair amount of emails from people alluding to the fact that they didn’t make snow, but they didn’t have to.  There’s plenty of snow to push around and we captured a nice shot from the web cam this morning grooming to get it ready for what should be a darn nice day at Hawksnest.  The weekend schedule will be Friday 12:30pm to midnight, Saturday 9am – midnight, Sunday 9am – 4:30pm. They have Snow Tubing and Sock Em Dog Terrain Park ready to make some sweet turns on. We’re going to say that Hawksnest may be the best snow to play on by 1-2pm because of great grooming and setting up until opening!  There’s your “ski tip” of the day.  Hit Hawksnest mid day! They will have some thin and bare areas begin to show later with skier traffic but it should be nice today!

Ski Beech is reporting 20-32” of base on 13 trails and even with some thinning areas they have plenty of good terrain to ski. Get up there and enjoy!  (We’re still thinking that this may be the last weekend of skiing at Beech for the season so if you’re wanting to ski Beech Mountain we highly suggest hitting them now!)  We COULD be wrong but the spring-like forecast for the week ahead may just prompt them to pull the plug on this season on Sunday!  We warned you – go ski!

We received some reports of thin coverage beginning to show at Sugar yesterday, particularly on Big Red and a couple of others, but they are looking very nice this morning as we zoomed in with the Extreme Ski and Snowboard / SkiNC cam. We’d have to give the conditions there a strong recommendation. Brian at Extreme got the camera back up for us this morning (thanks dude!) and it’s showing some nice shots right now.

Until Next Time!

Be sure to check out www.SkiSoutheast.com  for more news and stories for all of the Southeast’s ski areas.

Be sure to email photos, snow reports and comments to: [email protected]