Sunday, April 2nd, 2023 marks 138 days that the Southeast and mid-Atlantic season lasted. Here at SkiSoutheast.com we mark the length of the season by the FIRST ski area to open and through the last resort that closes.
Sugar Mountain Resort and Cataloochee Ski Area (both in North Carolina) opened on November 14, 2022 and Snowshoe Mountain Resort closed it all up on Sunday, April 2nd. Hence, 138 days.
The Photo of the Year, up top is of Cataloochee Ski Area, which opened first, along with Sugar.
Those 138 days make up nearly 38% of an entire year! That is amazing when you consider that we had so little natural snowfall AND even the temperatures were above average for the majority of the winter. It is a real testament to the resorts and their leadership, as well as huge, financial investments in snowmaking technology and the perseverance to bring it all together to offer a product that kept us all on the snow within SIX separate months of the calendar this season. We skied in November and all the way into April. Pretty impressive!
JUST HOW LITTLE NATURAL SNOW DID WE GET?
Let’s go ahead and get the obvious comments out of the way. NO meteorologist or weather expert came CLOSE to getting their preseason winter forecasts accurate. Not one. This was a winter for the record books. The highest rate of percentage-to-normal was at Beech Mountain Resort in North Carolina where they received 45.6% of their average, annual snowfall.
Ray Russell, who is a High Country, local weather source does a “fearless forecast” each preseason and he predicted 25% less snow than normal for the long term average of 80″ but near normal for the past ten winters. Both forecasts missed the mark. 25% less snow would have meant that Beech would have gotten 60″ instead of the 36.5″ they received.
Prognosticators for the rest of the region fared no better. I looked back our early predictions for the winter and I also dug in with Accuweather and NOAA’s teams and every one of them hedged (understandably gun shy with this being a 3rd La Niña winter in a row). Most predicted this past winter to be off by about 25% per natural snowfall…or about the same thing that Ray Russell did.
Again, nobody got this winter even CLOSE to be accurate.
If you study the data above it is very clear that the resorts with the highest elevations still fared better as Canaan, Timberline, Snowshoe, Wisp, Beech and Sugar all saw at least 37% to 45.6% of average. Terrible, but not as tough as the rest of the pack in Virginia, Tennessee and the more southerly located resorts of North Carolina.
However, the 2022-2023 Ski & Snowboarding Season is in the Books and it will go down as a VERY successful ski season in terms of skier visits and revenue generated. We might need to commission a study on just how successful this season was, despite the challenges of weather. All four important Holidays had good, cooperative weather which kept bookings and reservations UP. No massive cancellations there.
I will look to pull some comments from several ski areas management crews to sum up this past winter and we will also reach out to Brad Panovich to get some measure of how much milder-than-usual this winter was.
Here Are Some Quick Glance Temperature Discoveries of My Own:
I know that David Lesher of Canaan Weather is reporting that from 2013 to 2022, the average temperatures during each winter have risen from 27.1° to 30.1°. I also had a look at Beech Mountain’s data and it is clear to see that Beech Mountain’s average temperatures were 32.5° in December, 32.6° in January, 39.6° in February and 38.6° in March. The lowest temps this winter at Beech was:
-17.3° on 12/24
11.6° on 1/14 and then we had a 9.3° reading in February and an 8.3° in March.
Those were all well-timed to allow for timely snowmaking and grooming and THAT, my friends is how we managed to see ski areas operate into late March and through April 2nd for Snowshoe.
In Summary – Despite the Challenges of from the Weather and a HUGE Deficit in Natural Snowfall, the Season Was a Successful One
…and perhaps my favorite photo submission of the year, came on April 1st, 2023 and it was submitted by “Jimbo Bee” who sent me the photo above from snowy Taos, New Mexico.
We Have a LOT To Be Thankful For
I need to take some time and space here to give some hearty thanks and shout outs, now that we’ve come to the end of the season.
Thank YOU, our readers and followers of SkiSoutheast.com and ResortCams.com. Without YOU, there is no reason to do what we do here. Thank you guys and gals for being such hearty fans and for interacting with us (and me personally) more than within any season prior.
We appreciate you spreading the word of what we do here.
Thanks to Our Resort Partners –
We’ve always felt that what we do here at SkiSoutheast deserves the support of every ski resort in the region. However, that has never been the case. So a HUGE thanks to those resort partners that DO support us with your time, efforts and marketing monies. Every organization has their top patrons and I feel it necessary to thank them in order of their involvement with us here at SkiSoutheast and ResortCams.com. Those listed first are special in that they go the extra mile to support us here in all that we do.
Snowshoe Mountain – Your support and involvement is unparalleled and I cannot tell you how much it means to us. You guys rock. You guys are special. You’ve been there for us from our humble beginnings.
Canaan Valley Resort & Omni Homestead – Your support is top notch and we so appreciate you guys and the interaction all season long.
Cataloochee Ski Area and Ober Mountain – Thanks so much to Chris Bates, who has not only trusted us with their web design and development, but with his marketing outreach. Thanks to Ober Mountain and the new owners there. You are all much appreciated for your support.
Beech Mountain Resort, Winterplace Resort, Massanutten Resort, Wintergreen Resort, and Wisp Resort.
Talia Freeman of Beech. Thank YOU for being YOU and always thinking of us for involvement at the resort. Being a part of the Lees-McRae National Championship teams has been awesome as well.
Josh Faber of Winterplace. Thank you and Tom Wagner for your support. I’m glad we could get some new cameras there this season. Josh, your enthusiasm for the sport and particularly for Winterplace is obvious. We thank you for being a Gold Partner and continuing the support that Terry Pfeiffer started years ago.
Kenny Hess, thank you for your long-term support. I will make ‘the Nutt’ my FIRST ski trip of the season this year. (2023-2024).
Lori Zaloga – lady you are very much appreciated for trusting ResortCams.com for many of the Pacific Group Resort webcams and for supporting us with both Wintergreen Resort and Wisp.
Thanks to the West Virginia Ski Areas Association and all of their resort partners and particularly to Joe Stevens for his support here. It means a lot for sure.
Thanks again to all of our ski area support partners during the 2022-2023 ski and snowboarding season.
THANKS TO OUR ADVERTISERS
Your financial support allows us to do everything that we do here. We’d probably still do it, because we so love the sport and the ski areas that we promote here, but it sure means a lot that our advertisers think enough of us to offer their support with their advertising dollars. On behalf of myself, Matt Laws, Kenny Griffin, Joe Stevens, Brad Panovich, Brian Dix and Rudy Ryback…we appreciate you supporting us and making what we do here more rewarding.
Now THANKS to some special people:
Matthew, I do not thank you enough for the job you do and I take what you do for granted too often. Dude you are a hard working, dependable man and your assistance and content writing and handling of the FirsTrax and Snow Report all season long are so appreciated. (Matt handles the FirsTrax and Snow Reporting during the week all winter. He also steps in for emergency duty on the weekends and he never says “No” when asked to step in.)
Joseph and I formed a fast friendship when he was the Communications Director at Snowshoe. Then in 2005 he started his weekly Column with SkiSoutheast called “Snow News is Good News”. 324 posts and eighteen years later, Joe is still going strong with us. He’s a 38 year veteran in the industry and a West Virginia Snow Sports Hall of Fame inductee.
Joe, your friendship is even more appreciated than your assistance, industry insight and your contributions here. Thanks again dude.
I’ve looked around and no other ski, web presence out there has their own, dedicated, professional, meteorologist like we have here at SkiSoutheast.com. Thank YOU Brad for being a part of our team. Brad reached out to me way back when SkiSoutheast.com was SkiNC.com. I don’t remember the year, but I’d say it was around the year 2000-2001, Brad called me and invited me to meet him in Blowing Rock before sunrise to do a remote, satellite truck broadcast. I was nervous as heck, but excited that someone in the media even KNEW about SkiNC. He was gracious and I was an amateur, but I think he was able to salvage about 15 seconds of me being on the air on WCNC Newschannel 36 out of Charlotte. Since then, starting in 2008, Brad has provided studio-quality, weather reporting throughout each season with this season being this being his 15th season lending us his professional touch.
Thanks so much Brad,
Brian Dix & Rudy Ryback
Brian and Rudy joined our team a couple of years ago and they have definitely provided another, more youthful perspective on the fun that we can have on the slopes of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic. Brian has made his presence known by making a trek to one of the region’s ski areas about every week and by sharing those experiences with our readers.
You guys are appreciated and we look forward to doing more in the coming years.
theKenDog is an MVP here at SkiSoutheast.com and ResortCams.com. Kenny came into my office about 12 years ago, in 2011, just to say “hi” and see if there was anyway that he could be involved in SkiNC and SkiSoutheast. I hired him that same day because of the “it factor” that Kenny had then and still has today. Kenny handled the snow report and FirsTrax morning updates until around 2018 when he became more valuable to us in several other roles. He still handles emergency duties posting throughout the season, and although he’s skied a little less this season – he still gets out here in the region and out west. Kenny is the glue that holds SkiSoutheast.com and ResortCams.com together. He’s a writer, skier, weather guru, IT server & security guy, and he continues to grow Resortcams behind the scenes.
Just a Final Word…
I HOPE that I have not forgotten to thank anyone. That is always a fear. Really a nightmare. However, I really appreciate everyone who is and was involved this season.
As we look towards the future, the 2023-2024 Ski & Snowboarding season will be our 27th anniversary. I think it would be awesome to arrange for a preseason meetup and then make some on-mountain, mini-summits this season.
With that – thanks again and if you have any comments, thoughts, suggestions for our growth or anything related to snow to share – email me at [email protected]