First Trax

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Rain, freezing rain, snow, yuck – it all fell!

First, Brad Panovich has posted his newest skier’s forecast video and my team is configuring that right now and it will be live by 10am. Be sure to check that video out. More about the weather in a moment. When you’re watching that forecast video pay attention to the background image as that was taken on Appalachian’s Opening Day, Sunday by old SkiNC’r Mark McKelvy who visited App with "Snowbird" from the messageboard and many of you will know that to be old Joe Harmon. It was great to hear from Mark and see that they are all doing well.

By the way, that video background showed some nice "powder-like" conditions and we featured that as our Photo of the Day on Tuesday. You can still see image on App’s photos pages by clicking here> Appalachian Ski Mountain Photos

Also bear in mind that you can see ALL of our Photos of the Day and videos archived on each of the ski area’s content pages via SkiSoutheast.com. All you have to do is click on any ski resort link at the top of most pages and then once on that page simply click "PHOTOS" at the top and you’ll see the latest. Remember that our photos and videos are NOT promotional videos that simply show marketing shots of only the best of conditions at each resort. Our featured photos are photos that are taken within that day or two and reflect what you’ll find when you get to the ski area!


As far as the weather is concerned, several of our weather input gurus are all saying that the "active, roller-coaster" weather pattern has no end in sight and that is on par with what Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich indicated in his pre-season Winter Forecast. Remember he said that along with the colder and snowier forecast we’ll see a volatile winter with periods of ice and freezing rain, etc. We’ll take the bad with the good as long as that means a lot of snow!

Last night I was crashing for the evening and about the time my head hit the pillow I heard the not-so-great sound of pretty heavy rain hitting the french doors out to our back deck. The wind was driving that rain. When I left out this morning I literally had to walk through a stream of water to my truck. When crossing the covered bridge over the Watauga River as it exits my neighborhood I couldn’t help but notice the roaring rapids that were exploding under the bridge.

When reviewing all of the live cams around the region I was amazed to see some darn nice conditions at most all of the ski areas. Of the open resorts only Sugar showed any real thin spots at the bottom. Now, though after a little grooming by 9:15am things look much better.

The sun is BEAMING across most of the Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina ski areas as of 9am. The WV resorts are looking at a little rain, snow mix today. Then thankfully, with near perfect timing – the cold returns in full force with expected lows tonight of near 10° up north through Snowshoe, Timberline, Canaan and perhaps a degree or two above that around Wisp Resort. Thursday and Friday looks like a bit more light snow for those guys with highs in the TEENS and lows in the single digits! Saturday and Sunday look great as well.

Further south into the Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina mountains we’re seeing lows around 21° tonight (GREAT for snowmaking) and then Thursday and Friday look sunny with highs in the 20s and lows in the teens! Saturday and Sunday look cold with some mixed precip and highs in the 30s and lows just below freezing.

So let’s get through this last day of milder temps forecasted for today across much of our coverage area and then get to an extended six day stretch where we’ll see snowmaking opps throughout. Snowmaking will make for more open slopes and trails and much improved snow conditions as we work towards the Christmas Holiday period.

Here’s the quick tour for today!  (skipping around to cover the resorts that are open first)

34° – Snowshoe Mountain will operate today with the same 6 of 60 trails open and they are looking for more snow and PLENTY of frigid temperatures heading their way. Look for more terrain and great conditions for this weekend. Laura Parquette writes, "It’s a little messy out there this morning, as ice, rain and snow all fell at periods overnight. This morning much of the mountain is coated in a thin cover of ice. We weren’t able to make snow overnight, but did make snow on closed terrain throughout much of the day yesterday, continuing to add to and build our base with the hopes of opening more terrain this weekend. Today may be somewhat of a wash, as rain is expected to fall throughout most of the day. While that’s not great news, Mother Nature makes up for it beginning tonight, with overnight lows in the teens, which should allow us to restart our snowmaking efforts. Tomorrow snow and single digit temperatures expected. Those conditions should allow us to make TONS of snow, more than making up for what we may loose off the base today. If you’re out on the hill, use caution, as there may be some icy spots, especially first thing this morning. Overall, our grooming team did a fantastic job with some tough conditions. Although the season is young, Snowshoe should provide some of the best groomed conditions anywhere this season–see our updated daily pictures from yesterday, loading later today. **Strong possibility to open in the near future: Upper Whistlepunk and Tail Tree**"

<Beech looks great this AM

41° – Beech Mountain Resort – They look remarkably well this morning and will operate with the same 3 of 15 trails for day skiing only on Wednesday and they will crank the snow making up as soon as temps allow later today! They should be in great shape by Friday with more trails open as well.

32° – Appalachian Ski Mountain is not making snow this AM, but they will definately be making snow tonight. We spoke with Paul there this morning as we received a bunch of emails about App’s snow report not being updated in a couple of days. They had a small glitch in the system but will get that rectified as App does a great job of keeping you guys (and us) informed. They have the same 7 of 11 trails open today with a base of 12-18" and good coverage top to bottom. They are open for day and night skiing and ice skating and terrain parks are open as well.

Note: We also received a couple of reports that some reporting services are reporting 9 trails open for App and that is not correct. Get the right report right here, everyday.

36° – Cataloochee Ski Area looks nice this AM via their webcam that shows the bottom face of the mountain. They are reporting a drop of 6" in base depth in the last 24 hours and that is indicative of how much rain fell overnight. It is amazing how good things look this AM and Cat will be open from 1-10pm on Wednesday with 9 of 16 trails and a base of 12-28". They will probably be making snow later this evening during the late session. 

29° summit / 48.5° base – Sugar Mountain – TALK ABOUT a variance of temps from top to bottom! It is 9.5° colder just 1200 feet up the hill! Sugar will be riding on the same 6 of 20 trails today for day and night skiing. They are reporting a drop of 6" in base depths in the last 24 hours down to 8-30". They appear a little worse for wear at the base area with some watery thin areas, but on up the mountain things look really quite good for this early in the season and after all that rain hit. Sugar will begin making snow (probably before anyone else) later this evening or afternoon so night session attendees should make note of that. With the cold and snow coming in Sugar will be in great shape for this weekend’s SugarFest activities.

Here’s news on the rest:

34° – Canaan Valley reported some freezing rain overnight and Canaan Weather is reporting another .4" of snow mixed with that. Canaan is preparing to open December 12th and they should be in agreat shape for that. They’ve picked up 10.6" of snow in the last 72 hours (as seen via our snow report page) and there’s still quite a lot of snow on the ground says Canaan Weather’s David Lecher. 

We want to take a quick sidebar here and welcome a new client to our fold up there in gorgeous Canaan Valley. Ron & Rella Cvetican of Golden Anchor Restaurant & Cabins operate a great log cabin rental community up there with some sweet vacation rentals and restaurant to boot. Do us a favor and check out their current website (we’ll be creating a new one) and call to book your ski getaway with these guys. You’ll thank us! Call Ron or Rella and be sure to mention that SkiSoutheast recommended you. Call 304-866-2722 or drop them an email at [email protected] . Visit their website by clicking here> Canaan Valley Vacation Cabins 

(Again, tell them Mike at AppNet or SkiSoutheast.com recommended you guys and they’ll take great care of you!)

Also Canaan Valley is promoting a great deal of their own:

Join them for their 38th Anniversary Celebration December 12-13, 2009.
Lodging – $38 per night based on single or double occupancy
Lift Ticket and Rental – $38 per person
Lift Ticket – $20 per person

In honor of the 38th birthday you can get special .38 food & beverage prices i.e. .38 draft, .38 wings, .38 hot dogs, .38 coffee.

P-r-e-t-t-y cool!

37° – Wolf Laurel Resort – They are ready to make more snow this evening and are trying their best to open this Friday. Stay tuned for more.

34° – Bryce Resort is counting down the days until their December 12th opening day. One look at their live cams shows that things are looking good there and with a lot of snowmaking ops heading our way for the next week, Bryce will be in great shape for their opening weekend and looking forward. Horst & Ryan Locher and their crew do a great job at this Virginia ski area.

34° – Massanutten Resort was able to make snow about 24-30 hours ago and they are now poised to open Friday, December 11th according to GM, Steve Showalter. They are also ready to crank up the snow guns this evening to lay down a great base for their opening day crowd. They wrote, "We will open Fri. Dec 11th and ski and snowboard from 9am-4:30pm. Tubing will operate from 9am-5pm. Night sessions start Fri. Dec. 18th. Passes and gift certificates now on sale. Office open daily 8:30am-5pm."

35° – Wintergreen Resort is primed and ready to open December 12th. They too will crank up their amazing, high tech snowmaking plant as soon as temps allow today.

33° – Timberline Resort looks primed and ready for a great season that will begin Saturday, December 12th. They will make snow ASAP this evening.

29° – Winterplace Resort – They have adjusted their opening day from the 11th to Saturday now. With tons of cold temps headed into the area on Thursday they will make a ton of snow and plan to open on Saturday.

35° – Wisp Resort is reporting 40° this AM, but one of our other reporting stations at the bottom of the resort is reporting 33°. They have some low level cloud cover kind of fogging in the top of the mountain. They are primed and ready to make snow the moment that temps allow and will open either Thursday or Friday. Stay tuned for updates.

55° – Ober Gatlinburg – It is literally 20 degrees warmer at the Smoky Mountain ski resort than at Wisp Resort in Maryland this morning. That is crazy. Kathy Doyle wrote this morning, "Colder temperatures are predicted tonight…we will resume snowmaking as soon as weather permits!"

That should happen tonight for sure.

Be sure to click over to the ski resorts of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and North Carolina via https://www.skisoutheast.com/skireports.php  as well as videos, photos and more.

Send your comments, videos, photos, trip reports and questions to: [email protected]  

SSAA: 0 for 13 Appslopes9/

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