What a Day! What a Weekend! Have a Great Easter Ski or Snowboarding Weekend!

…or kayaking…or hiking…or whatever! Just get outside! It’s BEAUTIFUL in the mountains!

Good Friday Everyone…

As I’m typing this at around 8am EST, it is near 3pm in Jerusalem and news services have already covered the fact that the cobblestone alleyways of Jerusalem’s Old City became moving forests of wooden crosses hours ago as Christian pilgrims and clergymen commemorated the day of Jesus’s crucifixion, Good Friday.

…just giving a moment to pause and think about that…

Very moving…

Yesterday was an AMAZING day to be in the mountains. I attended one of my daughter’s soccer matches on Thursday evening and at 5:30pm it was 81° here in the High Country. There were MANY summer days last summer when the temperature never reached 80°. It was simply awesome. If you liked that…you LOVE today as we’ll see yet another upper 70s to 80+ degree day across the region as highs are forecasted to reach 76-78° from Blowing Rock, North Carolina to Snowshoe Mountain.

As was the case on Thursday – only TWO ski areas will operate again today – Appalachain Ski Mountain and Snowshoe Mountain. Both are offering a lot of good, final days, skiable terrain, although Snowshoe is now hurting a little with reports of bare areas and warning guests to, "**Please be aware of bare spots and hazards**." Make no mistake about it though – there’s plenty of good snow to ride at the West Virginia resort.

Appalachian is still running at 100% with nothing in the way of thin coverage or bare spots. All things being equal it would be fair to say that Snowshoe could also produce 11 trails of unblemished terrain. So we’re looking at good Spring conditions for today.

I saw some burned faces out and about on Thursday and if you’re headed to the slopes today or this weekend, PLEASE lather up on the sun screen as you will get burned if you don’t.

I was talking with another one of my ski industry contacts yesterday who asked me when everyone was closing up – although I think he already knew the answer to that question as I’m p-r-e-t-t-y certain that he reads this site regularly. I told him that Wisp had decided to end their season on Sunday and that Snowshoe will do so on Monday. That will leave Appalachian to operate all alone in the region during the weekdays next week and then Appalachian and Cataloochee will play again NEXT weekend before Appalachian ends their season on April 11th. I really think that Cataloochee Ski Area will do so as well on April 11th, but I DID mention that there was an outside chance that if enough skier interest is shown this weekend – that Cataloochee might opt to ride yet another weekend and end their season on the 18th.

He responded, "They just like that advertising that they get by opening up earlier or closing last, and you can’t blame them."

I defended Cataloochee even though they don’t need me speaking for them. The truth is that years ago I thought that this was probably the case. That Cataloochee only made moves like that for the marketing value. THERE IS a benefit to being in the news as the first to open kind of thing. Sugar and Cat tend to vie for that honor annually. However I’ve come to believe that although there is a measureable blip of benefit marketing-wise, the MAIN reason they do it is because they simply WANT TO BE OPEN…for themselves and for their fans…their season pass holders.

Besides in all honesty I don’t think THERE IS an IMMEDIATE benefit as far as marketing goes to say you’re the last to close during a season. The news in Asheville could report that Cataloochee was the last ski area in the region to close and what good would it do? It certainly won’t incite people to go ski. Where?

Yes, there’s some value added marketing benefit to open EARLIER than anyone, because then people would flock to the mountain to be among the first to ride. There’s some additional benefit if you’re in the same area as another ski resort to be able to promote yourself as staying open more days or opening first and closing last.

However, I’ve come to believe that at least as far as Cataloochee is concerned – that’s just a "side effect" or residual benefit and the REAL reason that they would stay open past Sunday, April 11th is – BECAUSE THEY CAN, BECAUSE HAVE THE SNOW and what else are you going to do with it, and BECAUSE THEY WANT TO.

I shared that with my friend on Thursday evening. His response? "Naw, it’s the marketing."

Naw…I don’t think so.

Regardless…go ski or ride if you want to today and this weekend. After Monday your choices will be limited to travelling to the great state of North Carolina.

It will be warm to take your cameras and get us a shot.


I received two emails this morning from readers who wished me well with my knee surgery. That was funny because I haven’t told anyone that I was HAVING knee surgery. However I guess within this "small pond" that we swim around in called SkiSoutheast.com it is hard to keep something like that a secret – not that I was trying to do so.

It’s cool that you guys care and I appreciate the well-wishing.

Anyway, yes I am going to have knee surgery soon, but I don’t think it’s anything of major consequence. I injured it a while back, then reinjured it in mid January SLEDDING with my youngest daughter. I caught my foot on a rock and it pulled my knee sideways in a way that it isn’t designed to do! (I just sensed a number of you cringing.)

It seemed to be healing on it’s own and I skied at both Summits this winter, but after getting back into some hardcore exercising lately it began to kind of freeze up and then this past week I stepped funny coming off some bleachers and felt something kind of snap and my knee went numb and I could barely walk for the last couple of days.

So I figured I’d sacrifice this summer’s lake and tennis seasons (which I really didn’t want to do) and get the surgery done. I visited the best Ortho guy in the area (he does most of ASU’s athletes work) and after some Xrays he’s 98% certain that the damage is minimal. We’re doing an MRI next week and if his prognosticating is accurate he thinks he can scope my knee and that I can be back on a tennis courts in three to four weeks. NOW THAT IS GOOD NEWS! The water doesn’t get warm enough to swim in on Watauga Lake until mid May so it looks like my knee issues will be nothing more than a minor inconvenience.

Seems I’m a lucky guy. Very blessed as well.

Enjoy your Good Friday and Easter weekend. I know I am. I’ll miss out on any last days of skiing for THIS SEASON…but hope that you guys enjoy yours on the slopes. Shoot us a few pics or videos.

We’re on day 127 and there are 10 more days of opportunities to enjoy the snow for the 2009-2010 ski and snowboarding season!

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]  

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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.