…and we thought November was great! What a phenomenal way to jump start December! The ski areas of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic are reporting anywhere from 6" of snow over in Maggie Valley, North Carolina (home to Cataloochee Ski Area), to 5" of snow at Snowshoe (the snow just keeps on coming), to 4" at Sugar and Beech Mountains, to 3" at Appalachian and Wisp Resorts, to only a dusting across the Virginia Mountains.
We’ve already reported on it earlier in the season, however it bears repeating that the snowfalls to date all seem to leave good, measurable snow across all of the ski areas accept for the Virginia resort areas, where they’ve only received a few dustings of snow so far this season. (Thank goodness it’s also been COLD!)
The frigid air returned and that had snowmaking crews cranking up yesterday and they have put down a ton of snow in the last 24 hours to help out nature’s 3-6" across the region. Snowmaking will continue today as highs are expected to stay in the 20s. So we’ll see yet another, early season bit of around-the-clock snowmaking.
We have had an awesome start to this ski season and there’s no better way to judge that than to see where we are right now – compared to ALL of last season in terms of natural snowfall. You can do this yourself ANYTIME by simply clicking on ANY ski resort link. The resulting page will tell you how much snow a resort has already seen to date. Then scroll down a bit on that same page and you can see how much snow that resort had last season and previous seasons – as well as their average over most ten year periods.
We believe that we are THE ONLY resource that provides this data…so remember that you can "do it yourself" anytime. However, since we teased you with that information today, we’ll do the homework for you as a way of showing how we’re doing with this great start!
How’s THIS for a start???!!! (Shown most to least)
Resort This season All Last Season Yearly
Snowshoe Mtn 68.5" 134.7" 180"
Canaan Valley 55" 147.6" 150"
Timberline 55" 149" 150"
Wisp Resort 31" 88" 100"
Winterplace 31" 63" 100"
Ski Beech 22" 38" 80"
Sugar Mtn 21" 5" 78"
Appalachian 14" 17" 50"
Cataloochee 14" 26" 40"
Wolf Ridge 14" 32" 65"
Bryce Resort 2" 8" 30"
Ober Gatlinburg 2" 17.5" 35"
Massanutten 0" 11" 35"
Wintergreen 0" 7" 34"
As you can see, most resorts are already approaching the TOTAL snowfall for all of last season (and actually a few seasons prior) AND are well on their way (about 25-30%) towards their full seasonal snowfall! Snowshoe Mountain is more than 50% of last season’s snowfall and more than a third of the way to their full season norm of 180"!
We keep saying it, but what a GREAT, GREAT start to the 2008-2009 ski and snowboarding season in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic!
Some Resort Notes: (In no certain order 🙂 )
Bryce Resort – Ryan Locher said they only saw a few flurries from yesterday’s snow system that brought 3-6" of snow to the NC Mountains. We are speaking later today with Ryan about "What’s New at Bryce" for this season and we’ll provide you guys with that information later today or Wednesday.
Ditto for Massanutten Resort.
It is 24° at Wintergreen Resort this morning and they are making snow. We have no reports about any natural snowfall thus far this season but we have a call in to Anne Marie Jones in their communications department and we’ll update you guys ASAP. Wintergreen plans to reopen this coming weekend.
Taking a Sidebar for a second…
Has anyone else noticed how a lot of the ski resorts have gone to websites that are extremely slow loading? We’re on a fast, broadband connection and things are slow as heck on several of the resort’s websites. I can not imagine how excruciatingly slow things are for the 20-30% of you guys who are still on dial up! Yikes!
Moving on…to West Virginia…
Snowshoe Mountain is reporting 17° this morning and the natural snow just keeps on "keeping on" up there! They are reporting another 5" of snow (and 68.5" on the season)!
Laura Parquette writes, "The snow just keeps coming down at Snowshoe. Another 5" fell throughout the day yesterday, and skiers and riders will be greeted by some gorgeous powder conditions this morning. Snow is expected to continue throughout the day and another 1-3" is possible. Because we have some sustained, very cold temperatures today, we’re shutting down a couple of trails and lifts in order to do some more snowmaking in preparation for this weekend and the coming holiday season. Lower Hootenanny and Gangway will all be closed today. Only the Skidder, Ballhooter and Powder Monkey lifts will be running. While some terrain will be closed in the coming days, we’re going to be adding some terrain this weekend…including the entire length of CUPP RUN!!! This is one of the earliest openings EVER for Cupp, and we’re excited to offer the entire length of the slope with beautiful snow coverage. Other slopes opening this weekend will be: Camp 99, Camp 4 and Knot Bumper. All of the terrain we’ve previously had open will reopen as well. This weekend is Demo Days and it’s a great time to test out some new equipment on our fabulous conditions. Call 1-877-441-4FUN to make your reservations TODAY!"
Yours truly will be at Snowshoe this weekend and I am STOKED to be able to ski Cupp Run! If you’re going to be there, let me know and we’ll make some turns.
Canaan Valley is reporting 25° this morning and only a dusting of snow in the last 24 hours according to their great reporting service. (They have not updated it for this morning, but as of last night at midnight they are reporting only a tenth of an inch of new snow.)
Canaan Valley Marketing Director, Lisa Ratcliff reports, "The snow has found its way to Canaan Valley this November. To date, we have received 55” this month (record was 55” in 1995) – so we are sure to break that this season. In the past 24 hours, we have received roughly 16” in the valley – with drifts as much as 2 foot in some areas. XC ski and snowshoeing conditions are awesome at this time. Snowmaking is in progress with plans to open on December 12th for the season."
She shared that Canaan will offer a "FREE POWDER DAY" on Dec 11th from 12pm – 4:30pm to kick off the season. All guests will receive a free lift ticket for the session time.
Winterplace is not planning to open until December 12th, however they have received another 3" of snow and 31" of snowfall to date!
Wisp Resort is reporting 3" more snow (31" on the season) and 13 trails open for today until 5pm.
We featured a nice shot of grooming at Ski Beech as our Photo of the Day today! Ryan Costin has been staying in touch with us and conditions up there are great! They plan on opening more terrain real soon and we’ll keep you informed.
Sugar Mountain wants you to remember that since school is out again today that Snow Day rates are in effect for the students and teachers of the following counties: Ashe, Avery, Carter, Johnson, Mitchell, and Watauga. Don’t forget to bring your valid proof of residency in order to receive your Snow Day discount.
We’ve also received some emails from you guys that we are "taking up valuable space" by keeping Hawksnest and Scaly Mountain within our slope conditions pages. It is being suggested that we move those two off our grid. We’ll probably move them to the bottom, but there’s enough interest in tubing to keep them on it…and who knows, maybe someone will come along and pay Mr. cottom his asking price and reopen things for skiing again someday. HEY! IT COULD HAPPEN!
WEBCAMS…and other news…
The WebCams are all updating non-stop on the new server! That is great news since yesterday you guys visited the site in huge numbers. There’s no test better than seeing 24,911 visitors hit www.HighCountrywebcams.com on Monday! The new video server handled it perfectly. We’ll add a few more cameras to the mix this week and we’re excited to see what kind of visitation we get then!
Thanks to Thomas Steeg and Will Ferris of USRelay. We’ve been in the talking stages for nearly a year about them taking over a few of our cameras and they are doing some testing right now and we may take one of the resort, slopeside cameras LIVE as early as today. They are excited about working with us as well.
Since I am in the "thank you" mode – thanks to Joe Miller of the News and Observer over in Raleigh. Joe does us a great service my including us in his column with great frequency and he was telling me yesterday that he adds a link in his blog even more often to send new visitors to the newspaper over to us. Thanks again Joe. You can read Joe’s Blog at: blogs.newsobserver.com/joemiller – He covers all sorts of subjects including hiking, biking (and of course skiing) in his "Get Out and Get Fit" blog.
Since we’re into numbers this morning, I checked Urchin (our stats package on the new server) and yesterday we saw another 40K+ day this early in the season! We received 45,112 unique visitors and you guys viewed 282,412 pages of content! That is the second highest visitor total that we’ve seen on or before December 1st. (We had a record 48,000+ visitors a week or so ago.) With those kinds of numbers it is obvious that we have two more "people" to thank. First, thanks to the more than 60 television stations that talk about us from time to time and special thanks to Brad Panovich, Matthew East and other meteorologists who regularly include a mention of SkiNC and SkiSoutheast on the air. Second, thanks to YOU, our visitors who give us your time. Spread the word for us, will you?
Send your photos, videos, trip reports and comments to: [email protected]east.com