First Trax

Stay up to date by getting notified of new posts!

First we cover some SUMMIT NEWS and THEN CHECK OUT WHERE 6.5" of snow fell on Saturday. It’s Not where you might think!

<John and Parker were a big help! Thanks guys.

We’ve had some great summits in the past. They’re all special in their own way. However I don’t know that we’ve ever had as many NEW MEMBERS meet, greet and take part in the fun at Beech Mountain Resort on Saturday.

We had 194 people sign up to attend the SkiNC Summit which was held on Saturday, January 22nd. We certainly missed a few that we’re fairly certain didn’t make it out, which included some who signed up to come and some of the longtime messageboard members who had already confirmed that they couldn’t make it. You guys were missed. Hard to say precisely how many made it out, but we were the largest group on the mountain for certain.

Bronco Boarder is one high-energy great dude. He’ll make a party if he’s the only one there!>

I saw more SkiNC and SkiSoutheast hoodies than at any previous meetup. It is very cool to see more and more attending these things.

Two things really stood out to me on this particular Summit Saturday. One, we definately had the largest number of new members attend, take part in and make it a point to meet up and join in the fun. Several of you guys and gals came by, introduced themselves and promised to be active with the group. That was pretty cool.

The second certainty was that we definately had the biggest tailgating party as 50-60 of our closest friends made it to the parking lot in time to enjoy some great eats, drinks and fellowship.

<Doug had that grill of his going on! Spiral Ham, London Broil, Brats. It was all good!

Thanks to Doug (2slikstix), John & Parker, and any others who helped out with cooking, etc. John, that boy of yours is a worker! Pink & Bronco…you guys are crazy in a VERY COOL way. Thanks to all who attended. A few people brought some extra hotdogs and bratwurst to throw on the grills. The contraption that Doug assembled on site was pretty sweet. We threw down some burgers, dogs, brats, ham, steak and plenty of adult beverages for sure. A few people driving by were heard to make comments like, "I’ve never seen people tailgating at a ski resort until now." – "Now THAT’s the way to do it." Etc, etc.

Thanks to Beech Mountain Ski Resort for allowing us to do that up right. We even fed one of the shuttle drivers who stopped by to say "hi".

Pink is one crazy, cool lady. What was Parker doing back there?

We saw a ton of SkiNCers on the mountain. Lots of stickers on cars. It is amazing to see this thing growing the way it has. We’ll post up a bunch of photos and more video than I think we’ve ever seen being shot. Several had "Go Pros", and I ran into some great video gurus out there with some sweet equipment. If you get a chance, please contact me at [email protected] and I’ll get you some FTP access to provide the raw footage. The more the better!

Look for some posts over on the messageboard, on our front page and we’ll share some additional links to see photos and videos from about every angle possible as soon as we can.

Here’s link to the Tailgating crew

Thanks to JamSandwich who started the Summit Photo Thread. Check out some of the great shots over there. We’ll be adding to that later today.



Several people made it a point to mention to me about how impressed they were with Beech and the way they’ve "upped their game" over the last couple of seasons. This isn’t the place to rehash old news but it deserves mentioning that two years ago Beech changed GMs and Ryan Costin, the Costin family and those connected to the resort from Gil Adams, Talia Freeman, Rhyne Garris, to mountain managers to their groomers…etc – they ALL have bought into creating a "New Day at the Beech". Recent promotional campaigns have been geared to taking Beech back to it’s glory days and there’s no question that Beech’s team is paying a lot closer attention to the details. From new siding, fresh paint, cleaner restrooms, rubber tarps on icy walkways, to simply dropping gravel around the pedestrian paths…people ARE noticing the improved quality.

Of course the main attention will always be on the slopes and there’s no question that snow quality is another area where Beech has upped its game over the last couple of seasons. Some would argue that a five year old could make and keep great conditions with the snow and cold weather we’ve had over the last two seasons, but there’s much more to it than that. We’ve received a lot of supportive emails in the last few months talking about how great Beech is these days, and I think it is safe to say that things are certainly looking up at the Highest ski resort on the East Coast.

A few people emailed me about how chocky Lower Shawneehaw was on Saturday and that slope could have done with some extra grooming, but everywhere I hit on the mountain on Saturday was great. Skier traffic on some of these extremely cold days will make for some icy spots later in the day, but the edges of every trail were great and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Oz Run looking as nice and exciting. There were several bumps, jumps and rollers even on the long, glide run.

White Lightning was just that – fast. However it was in some of the best shape that I’ve seen it…minus those powder days.

So we’ll take a moment and pass on some great praise from the masses. Way to go Beech!


This crazy great winter continues to bring snow and cold temps. Snowshoe reported the most snow of any ski resort in the region with 2" of snow on Saturday and 7" in the last two days. HOWEVER, the most snow in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic actually fell over at beaches of North Carolina where 6.5" of snow fell in Cataret County, Newport, North Carolina.

Crazy huh?


Brad my man, I want to apologize for a momentary lack of faith. I’ll try not to let it happen again. Friday evening and again on Saturday morning I was checking in on the weather forecast for Summit Saturday on Beech Mountain and previously on Thursday and again on Friday Brad forecasted the high temperature for Beech Mountain on Saturday to be 15°.

<Look we don’t make this stuff up… see photo capture of Brad’s Thursday forecast for Saturday.

However, absent of any further contact from Brad, I checked out Dr. Ray’s forecast as well as the National Weather Service’s. Both forecasted a high of 26-27°. So I went with that and shared to those attendees who were headed to Beech that things would be nearly perfect for our day on the slopes.

The final result: A HIGH of 14° at Beech after a low of 7°.

With all due respect to "cutback", one of our messageboard members who feels that I praise Brad too much or that I have a little fun with Dr. Ray or the NWS…um, Brad nailed it again.

Panovich was also one of only two or three meteorologists who have more accurately forecasted this winter’s trends back in November. You can check out Brad’s preseason winter forecast on our video page. When most said we’d see a challenging winter where some areas would have trouble keeping snow on the slopes, Brad at least opened the door of the possibility of a "blocking" of the La Nina effects where we’d get as much snow as normal and maybe more.

We’ve yet to hear from Brad about the prospects of a Tuesday-Thursday snow, however the other day Brad, Dr Ray and tons of weather peeps from Fox News and others were all forecasting perhaps the biggest snow storm of the season. Things seem to have changed a little but as of today most weather gurus have gone quiet really not knowing what the heck to expect from this next system.

However when Brad shares his tonight, we’ll bank on it.


Could that happen? Maybe at some ski areas although we think that some snowmaking will need to happen simply to keep a good texture to the slopes. Several ski areas have long stopped making snow during ski and snowboarding sessions. That is awesome to be able to enjoy your time on the snow without the bother of the snowguns blasting away.

Most of you have probably not even noticed that you’ve spent a lot of days on the snow this season without dodging snowmaking equipment.

Only SEVEN of SEVENTEEN ski areas made snow last night and some are considering that they have enough to make it the rest of the way without cranking them up again. For example, Appalachian Ski Mountain wrote, "Snowmaking beyond today will depend on both weather and slope conditions."

With 111" of snow (9 feet) base, they could probably "make it" to May if they wanted. Of course grooming will become a premium if resorts choose not to make much more snow. Hard pack is even hard for snow groomers to work into a perfect surface corduroy.

Several ski areas will continue to make snow overnight but we’re hearing "noise" that a couple may have already made the last of manmade snow. Of course with the way this winter has gone, God may provide all that’s needed for the rest of the way.


We’re ALREADY receiving emails from some who are planning vacations around what they are asking might be the last days of the 2010-2011 ski and snowboarding season. I’m always tempted to ignore those kinds of questions when we’re at the stage of the season we are right now. We still have TEN WEEKS of skiing and snowboarding left and the questions start. There will probably be a couple of ski resorts that play into April. For most it will all come to a halt with plenty of snow on the slopes in mid-to-late March. THERE! That’s all I’m going to say about the subject – for now.


Lately I’ve been posting a "Just Saying" column but since I handle the weekend news…I will use this space to address a complaint that I’m tired of fielding. When I write stuff here, it tends to "go away" for a bit…unless of course of tick someone off…which I tend to do on occasion.

No less than 13 people emailed me complaints this morning about the price of a lift pass getting too high. One is someone who owns a ski shop in the region. He was complaining that business might be down a little at his home mountain because his ski area’s lift prices are too high. Two others complained about Snowshoe’s lift ticket pricing. A couple griped about Sugars. The rest were just generic statements that lift passes are too high everywhere.

The best way I know how to address these kinds of comments is to say that ski areas don’t simply make snow on the mountain and run chairlifts to the top. Their jobs are not done when you hit the snow and ride. There are a gazillion of considerations from handling emergency services, large staffs, power bills that would make some state governments choke and on and on.

However – forget that. The best way I know how to answer the complaints is this. The last time I looked the slopes are as crowded as I have ever seen them. At the end of this season I’ll bet I will hear that some or most of the ski areas will have met or surpassed some of their best of their best seasons. If the prices were too high they wouldn’t be crowded.

Also you have to look at WHAT YOU GET when you buy a lift ticket at one resort compared to another. For example, Snowshoe’s current lift pass costs $79 to ski and ride from 9am until 10pm. For single day skiers that might seem a bit on the high side, but Snowshoe caters a lot more to those who book accommodations with them. SEVERAL packages make the day pass anywhere from a lot cheaper to FREE. Those who are hitting the mountain for the one day and who are not staying at Snowshoe might look at things differently if they’d compare what they’re getting at Snowshoe with what they might have to pay elsewhere.

For example, $79 gets you skiing and riding from 9am-10pm at Snowshoe’s 59 trails open for day sessions and 18 trails for night skiing. To get 20 trails of riding at Sugar Mountain and some 15 trails of night skiing would cost you $97. (Sugar’s day pass ($66) covers 9-4:30 and then to ride til 10pm would cost you another $31.) They don’t offer a 9-10pm ticket. Twilight sessions are 12:30pm til 10pm and go for $66)

Appalachian offers a "Super Session" that allows skiers to hit the mountain from 9am til 10pm for $63 on weekends. Bear in mind that Appalachian pays a ton of attention to snow quality detail and offers three of the best terrain parks in the Southeast and mid Atlantic. Besides those three terrain parks, App offers nine slopes.

Massanutten Resort offers 14 great trails and their eight hour liftie is $66 on the weekends.

I could go on but the point is if you want to ride you have to pay the piper. Quit your griping and if you need to save money, look for bargains. They’re out there. Ski or ride for half day sessions. Ski or ride in the middle of the week when rates are considerably lower.

For example, right now Canaan Valley Resort is currently offering nightly lodging, and next day lift ticket + Beech Club usage/inclusive). Just *$75 per person/per night. *Rates based on double occupancy with no minimum requirement.

Look for more news, photos and videos to be posted later today.

Drop me an email with your comments, gripes, photos, videos, etc to: [email protected]

Previous Post
The SkiNC Summit Crew Poses for a Photo Op in the Parking Lot on Saturday! Click to see enlarged shot AND a FULL SIZED ONE!
Next Post
Related Posts