First Trax

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It’s Monday. It’s cold and a little snowy here and there. Snowmakers are doing there thing and life is great here in the mountains! Check the slope conditions page for details per resort and slope openings, etc.

We’re just posting some random thoughts as they’ve come to me over the weekend.

Joe Stevens’ reminds us to "worry about tomorrow – tomorrow…and ski and ride today!" I’ve enjoyed Joe’s column this season moreso than any of the seasons past. Today he shares some observations while on a day trip to Snowshoe from this past weekend. You can read this week’s post by clicking here.

We were over at App on Sunday and the conditions were simply awesome. App has a base of 44-70" and bear in mind that this comes only days after a period of FIVE WEEKS of subpar, rainy weather.  With THAT in mind, I find it pretty impressive that Appalachian is NOT making snow during ski and snowboarding sessions. They have announced that they will only be making snow from 9pm to 9am over the next several days as we’re headed into the coldest temperatures of the season from today through the weekend ahead.

Appalachian posted, "The next seven days will offer the best snowmaking opportunity of the 2008-09 season. With a current average base depth of over four feet, snowmaking operations will only be in effect at night from 9pm – 9am in order to give our guests the best quality on-slope experience possible. Appalachian could see triple digit base depth by the end of this cold spell. Our last two unopened slopes, Hard Core and Thin Slice, should be open by Saturday January 17."

That is cool as heck and impressive. They are probably the only ski area in the region to have enough base after all the rain and warm weather to bypass all the upcoming daytime snowmaking and only make snow at night.


Meteorologist Matthew East has provided a nice video that tells us what to expect for the next week. The summary of the update is a quiet Monday with cold temps. Look for highs in the 30s and lows in the low 20 and teens. Every day this week will be colder than the next with quick clipper shots of natural snowfall!

By Thursday and Friday look for lows in the zero degree range and colder still into the Virginias. The highs on Friday should be in the teens in the NC mountains and perhaps some single digit highs further north.

The MLK weekend looks sunny and cold with highs in the 20s and lows in the teens! Click here> Skier’s Forecast for the Mid Atlantic and Southeast Ski Resorts 


Sunday was a crazy snow day! I had some family visiting and woke up Sunday morning to some carry-over light "underdeveloped snow" that had me question our plans for the day which was to take in some snow tubing. We skied over at Appalachian Ski Mountain on Saturday and had a ball, so we figured another round of snow fun was in order. By the time we could get into a decision making mode, the weather made it for us as we began to see some light snow. We piled in the cars and headed up the ten minute drive from my home to Hawksnest and on the way saw some beautiful scenery as the colder temps on the way up the hill made for some all-white forests. As we got to the top, the snow had stopped.

A-n-y-w-a-y…after less than an hour of the two hour session we packed up the 8 of in our party and headed up to Beech Mountain to enjoy a quick trip up to Fred’s and maybe take in Beech Mountain’s free sledding hill. It was foggy as heck on the way up however I could tell about halfway up the parkway that blue sky was not too far above the heavy cloud cover. Sure enough as we crested the final couple of switchbacks before entering the town of Beech Mountain, the skies turned blue and there was a sea of white clouds below us and only the tips of Grandfather and Hawksnest were visible. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Our friends with us felt that they were on top of the world! Talk about perspective!

Those kinds of moments come often here in the mountains of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic…and they remind those of us who call them "home" why we love it here!

We had lunch at Fred’s General Store (The Backside Deli) which is always good eating…and I ran into John Huffman who has worked at Fred’s forever. John was one of the people who kept talking to my wife and I about moving up here nearly twenty years ago. It was great seeing John for the first time in maybe ten years. While we were there we kept seeing a few snowflakes falling but nothing ever materialized while we were up there.

After lunch and an impromptu snowball fight with the kids in our party, we parted ways and I headed down the mountain. Snow was falling at the foot of Beech, but quickly stopped as we drove through Banner Elk and Sugar. About the time we came off the steep decline on Highway 105 and entered the normally "No Snow Foscoe" THAT is when pretty significant snowfall fell.

We had snow on and off all night and I was surprised that school was not called off in Watauga County. Once I got out of my driveway and across the Sleepy Hollow Covered Bridge I knew why! There was no snow.

It’s obvious looking at the ski reports and live cameras that this particular snowfall was a hit and miss variety that left little pockets of snowfall around the area.


Go enjoy YOUR day and make a few turns for yours truly!

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