We’re a Week or so Away from More Snowmaking

Quick note and then we’re on to the news…

In much the same way that the ski areas operate on an "early season schedule with reduced slopes" our ski network of SkiSoutheast.com and SkiNC.com is gearing up as well. We are trying to get everything cranked up (contests, content, whats new, etc) and for a short time we will be COMBINING the morning updates for all of the ski areas within the Southeast and Mid Atlantic region. Segregated content covering JUST the North Carolina ski areas will begin on SkiNC.com shortly. Until then enjoy some unique photos of the day on the two websites and keep checking back as we post new data.

Now on to the November 3rd update…

I am STOKED over what kind of ski and snowboarding season we’re headed for. There just seems to be something in the air – in addition to a burst of early season cold temps. Last Monday’s cold temps sent Cataloochee, Beech and Snowshoe (in WV) into snowmaking mode. Beech and Sugar Mountains ended up receiving about 5-6" of snowfall although is was wind blown enough to make it hard to locate 🙂

Snowshoe reported 9.5" of snowfall out of the same storm. More importantly, the cold temps allowed each of those ski areas to make some snow and that snowmaking created quite a launching of our website traffic! Last Monday, October 27th, we saw a whopping 32,716 unique visitors to the website – which is unquestionably the most that we’ve ever received in our 12 previous seasons within any OCTOBER date!

The new messageboard seems to be an early season hit as we’ve been seeing more early-season activity that in any of our prior seasons. We now have 827 members of which 206 are actively posting away this early in October/November. We had so many people on this past weekend that some kind of crazy anomaly struck. The messageboard has a great group of fellow snow lovers on it and if you have registered, you should do so! It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s a great way to ask questions from people who are on the snow all season long. The messageboard also offers a phenomenal way of meeting people and many of us end of making some turns together throughout the season. I can assure you that there is no other board to match it on the East coast. Click here> SkiSoutheast Messageboard

http://skinc.com/messageboard/index.php and become part of the fun. We want to see the messageboard expand in a huge way this season. So join early and get in on some great discounts, ski getaways and more fun.

Cataloochee Made it Six Days!

As mentioned earlier, Cataloochee began making snow a week ago today at about 7am and opened with two slopes and a 6-10" base on Tuesday, October 28th. They skied each day through yesterday (Sunday, November 2nd) and they are now CLOSED. They are operating within their NORMAL, early-season scheduling which typically has them open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the first few weeks. 

 <Beech this morning

Ski Beech made some decent snow last week and it is still hanging around this morning. Snowshoe Mountain made a BUNCH of snow and they are excited about continuing to do so as temps allow in preparation of the start to their season, which is projected to be November 26th.

When Will the NEXT Round of Cold Air Hit?

Sugar Mountain was among the ski areas that normally are first to make snow – that chose not to last week. I was speaking with Len Bauer of Sugar Mountain Friday and he said that Gunther and crew are ready to fire them up and get open as soon as the first sustained cold blast hits. He and I were discussing the fact that neither of us saw any cold air in the immediate – long-range forecast and he seemed to be somewhat relieved at that. Ski area operators have a lot to do to gear up their crews, test systems and they like to do some basic "dress rehearsals" before going full bore. While they like to have some early chances to make snow, they really are not hyped up to get open prior to mid-to-late November. Early November (and now late October) openings are good for moral and to get people excited about the upcoming season, but most of the ski areas are not jazzed about having to be open until Thanksgiving weekend or shortly after.

Having said that, the long-range forecast – according to a complilation of three different sources that I looked at this morning – are in basic agreement that we will probably not see anymore snowmaking opportunities until perhaps this Saturday night, November 8th when the lows in West Virginia will be around 28°, with slightly milder temps (near 31°) around Beech and Sugar Mountain. Overnight lows are expected to hover in the mid-to-upper 20s (and low 30s) through mid month. So snowmaking ops may be limited until mid month (with some opportunities perhaps Nov 10-16th).

Until then – what to do…

This is a GREAT time (if you haven’t started already) to begin some cardio exercises and work on the upper thighs, knees and hips conditioning. Get on the treadmill, bike or something and get active! You will enjoy your time on the snow so much more if you will do that!

We’ve posted some good conditioning content in the past, but here’s a quick summary of the important tips. (We’ll feature more in the coming days!)

CARDIO CONDITIONING IS A MUST!

The first fitness component to focus on, believe it or not, is general cardiovascular conditioning. While you may not think of downhill skiing as requiring a lot of oxygen, at least not as much as hiking, running, or cross-country skiing, the very fact that skiing usually starts up at higher elevation means that the better your general physical preparedness, the more alert you’ll be and the less likely to injure yourself. Cardiovascular conditioning will give you a base level of muscular endurance so that your body won’t fatigue as quickly on 10-20 minute ski runs repeated throughout the day. Once the leg muscles begin to tire, mental alertness goes, and accidents are more likely to happen. If you hit the slopes without getting adequate cardio conditioning ahead of time, at the very least, start with the easiest runs until the legs and lungs can handle the exertion and thinner air.

LOWER BODY CONDITIONING

Think about the movements that you’ll be doing on the slopes. Skiing and snowboarding uses muscles that no other form of exercise uses. If you don’t prepare ahead of time, your legs will become fatigued early in your ski outing and you will not be able to get all that you can out of your day on the snow. Whether you are a rondonnee fan (one of those long-distance events), a snowboarder, or prefer to race downhill, you can benefit from some simple jumping, or plyometric, exercises. Try including some simple lateral hops or forward jumps to mimic the skiing motion. Place a jump rope or short sports cone on the floor and then jump sideways over it, back and forth, with feet fairly close together as they’d be in your skis. Start with 30-45 seconds of jumping at a time, for 2-3 sets, and gradually add time to each set as your fitness increases. If you snowboard, think closely about how your body position differs from downhill skiers – you need more body control forward and back, as you traverse across a slope. Try to get really familiar with balance on the heels and balls of your feet by practicing on a skateboard, etc.

FULL BODY STRENGTH

We’re only 2-4 weeks away from some consistent skiing and NOW is the time to get yourself physically ready for skiing. Be sure you’ve included free weights exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges or dips for the legs. Try to resist doing your strength training only on machines, as they don’t require the spinal loading or balance in three-dimensions like your sporting activities do. Exercises that help strengthen the abdominal and lower back muscles are also a good idea. These include all variations of the situp, crunch, reverse situp, and back extensions. Upper back exercises such as rows or pullups are great as well. If you find that your back gives you problems when crouched down over your skis on a run, then start building your “crouch” endurance by getting down in your ski tuck and holding that position for 1-3 minutes, interspersing sets with upper body exercises for the shoulders, triceps and upper back. Be sure to include targeted stretches for the quads, hips, calves, and lower back afterwards.

Okay…that’s enough for today! We’ll be working hard to get all of the live cameras going, contests in place and lots more in the coming week.

Enjoy your day!

Until Next time…

Be sure to visit www.SkiSoutheast.com  for more news from the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas!

Send your snow photos, videos, comments or emails to: [email protected]

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. Since September 1996 he has posted more than 13,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.