Tuesday SkiSoutheast.com Notes – Quotes and On-Snow Reports-

If it wasn’t a beautiful morning I’d be ticked off! I spent the first hour writing my morning story, posting the ski report and answering calls and doing my normal thing. I typed the last punctuation mark and copied the story from by text editor and was readying myself to paste the story into my website management program and BOOM…the DSL went down. In my haste to see what was going on, I COPIED my network information …and thus LOST my morning story! I’ve been doing this stuff for almost ten years and you’d think a "pro" wouldn’t mess up like that. However…onward with today’s story…albeit a little late!

Man what a beautiful day. I must admit that I have caught Spring Fever! Here I am, the editor of a fairly popular website devoted to skiing in the Southeast – admitting that I am ready for Spring! I thought I might be catching the Spring Bug over this past weekend with the warm temperatures and abundance of sunshine. Then yesterday morning after a chilly start that had me firing up the gas heater in my office…just long enough to know the morning chill off…I found myself opening the window to my office to allow a little fresh air in. Hey, maybe THAT’S when I caught Spring Fever! …and then there was this morning.

I woke up to birds chirping and crows doing whatever the heck that sound it is that they do. I walked out to my truck in short sleeves and was greeted with warm sunshine that shown through the trees. It’s Spring in the mountains…and I love it. I’m now ready for golf, hiking, mountain biking, tennis and all that comes with living in this beautiful area in which we live.

I have one more ski trip planned for April 6-10th. I’m headed to Mammoth Mountain in California, just one day after Bode Miller, Daron Rahlves and the rest of the U.S. Ski Team will finish up competing in the U.S. Alpine Championships that are being held at Mammoth. The races start March 31st and end April 5th. I just hope that they leave us a little snow! That shouldn’t be a problem as Mammoth has received 484" of snow this season and 38" of new snow in the last four days. Their base depth is 13 to 15 FEET! What’s that? Th- the fev- the fever…it’s gone! I’m cured.

That’s the war that snow lovers go through this time of year. We battle the two natures that we love so much. We love the snow and we love the outdoors and all that comes with living here in the mountains. Most of us will fight that battle another few days and I will probably give in to Spring sometime on April 11th when I put my Atomic SX-11s in the closet for the last time this season.

Speaking of the U.S. Ski Team – The U.S. Ski Team is having its best season ever, having earned historic world title wins in the past month. Now the team is headed to Mammoth for the U.S. Alpine Championships, where they’ll compete in Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G and Downhill.

Bode Miller, Daron Rahlves and the rest of the team competed in the World Championships in Bormio, Italy in February. "The 2005 U.S. alpine team shined as the nation’s most talented group since the legendary racers of the early 1980s," says Ski Racing magazine. Miller is always an exciting racer to watch – when a ski came off he continued down the course on one ski! He is the first American alpine skier in 22 years to win the World Cup overall title. The team finished second in the final Nations Cup standings in Switzerland. Now it’s back to the U.S. for their homeland comp.

This year’s Nationals are especially important, as the Winter Olympics are less than a year away. With so much at stake, the country’s best skiers will be out there killing it on some of Mammoth’s steepest terrain. Mammoth is the ideal mountain to host the Nationals because of 3,100 vertical feet, a great snow year and a finely-run race department.

The races will be held on the Main Lodge side of the mountain, starting at the top (11,053 feet high) and running down Cornice Bowl to Main Lodge. The events, for those not familiar with race terms, are four disciplines that vary from technical to speed. Slalom involves the most turns through gates and is considered the most technical. It’s the shortest race that will take place on Fascination – the run to your right as you ride up Broadway Express. Giant Slalom, or GS, is faster, with fewer gates. It will start higher up, on Cornice, and go down to Terry’s Run. Super-G is the medium between GS and Downhill, with about half the turns and more speed. Super-G starts at the top of the mountain and finishes at Main Lodge, following a course from Cornice to Fascination. In the Downhill event, skiers speed down Cornice from the summit and reach the Main Lodge in about a minute and a half, hitting speeds of up to 75mph.

The races start March 31 and end April 5.

Now to the closures…

Closed for the season are:
Cataloochee
Hawksnest
Sapphire Valley
Ski Beech
Wolf Laurel
Bryce Resort
Ober Gatlinburg

The Best Snow in North Carolina?

We were asked some form of that question no less than 37 times yesterday. The answer? It’s a toss up. Both resorts, coincidentally are showing 37" and 38" of minimum base depth and it doesn’t matter what the maximums are because there’s a lot of snow on both mountains. We received some photos of thin coverage spots at Sugar yesterday, but a little grooming and even the highest traffic areas should hold up well.

Appalachian Ski Mountain has their "Meltdown Games" scheduled for this weekend which should be lots of fun. Sugar Mountain is hosting their first ever Easter Egg Hunt on the slopes. Before you adults frown up on that idea…there’s some valuable prizes in some of those eggs!

THE WEATHER — Today is looking quite nice which is not exactly what local forecasters were calling for. It now appears that the showers they were forecasting for today will hold off until later this afternoon and evening. So skiing today should be quite nice. Showers ARE in the forecast for Wednesday and early Thursday…then again late Friday and late Saturday. …and then Sunday is looking kind of wet. That could change and we’ll keep you updated. However the entire east coast is looking pretty showery this weekend. A little rain shouldn’t spoil the fun at App on Saturday because in many of their planned activities…you get wet anyway!

The best days weatherwise should be today, Thursday AM, most of Friday and Saturday AM.

Ski Beech’s last ski day yesterday was a huge hit. McKinney Trammell, or was it Trammell McKenney…wrote, "The last day at Beech was really nice. Even though the quad was not running, the sun was booming and the snow was great. Lift lines were minimal and there was no wind. Lots of snow meant very few bare spots. A very pleasant way to spend a day for FREE!"

We were up there and took some photos yesterday as did McKenney and we’ll post those in a little bit.

The Virginias and into Maryland

I’m going to have to take our northern friends to task a little bit today as they have not been paying attention in class. Our North Carolina ski areas have been showing base depths that have consistently shown downward movement. Those in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland didn’t drop one inch in the last 24 hours. Evidently they have found a way to make the snow stay put up that way. NOW if they can just find a way to keep it cold OFF the mountain and ward off that pesky Spring Fever and then we could extend ski season another month …and then we could…

It was just a thought!

Regardless of base depths…there IS a LOT of snow at all of the resorts in the Southeast…and a ton of fun activities planned for this weekend. As mentioned yesterday, Snowshoe Mountain has a great Beach Music event planned…and we’ll cover more of the events going on in Wednesday’s or Thursday’s update.

THE WEATHER — As with the North Carolina mountains…the mountains into Virginia and West Virginia will be a bit on the showery side. There’s a 40% chance of rain Friday and Saturday with temps in the 40s and maybe even 50° on Saturday. We might even see a thunder shower or two up that way. Sunday looks a little less threatening with a 30% chance of precip.

See you on the slopes at least another time or two!

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