A Snowy and Cold Sunday Awaits You – GO SKI!

First Trax

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Snow. Beautiful Snow. Snow that is not driven by 90 mph wind snow. That’s what is falling as I sit here and write this report, while looking out of my dining room window this morning at 8:22am. Sugar is reporting an inch thus far, Beech one-half inch. (That’s probably because Gil Adams up at Beech posts his reports at 6am and Sugar hits about 7am-7:15am each morning.) Regardless, it’s snowing! Cataloochee, Wolf Ridge, Hawksnest – they’re all reporting snow. 1-2” of snow is expected today at the highest elevations of the western North Carolina mountains. For those who made it up this weekend, today will be a nice reward…of course along with very nice conditions on the slopes at YOUR favorite ski resort.

The Virginia resorts are all reporting only a dusting. The West Virginia resorts have gotten a nice dumping thus far with Canaan Valley reporting 5”, with Snowshoe and Timberline reporting in with 4” thus far and 2-3” more on the way! Wisp at Deep Creek in Maryland has seen 2” thus far.

Check the SLOPE CONDITIONS page for all of the details for temps this morning as well as snow tallies thus far. The snow really just got started in the North Carolina mountains so we’ve toggled “on” the natural snow within the slope conditions report for this morning, but we’ll wait and report just how much the NC mountains get on Monday morning or perhaps later today when it stops. 


We received a few emails from people wanting to know if those of us here in the mountains were able to see the lunar eclipse of yesterday. The skies were plenty clear enough and I’m betting that some did. I didn’t, but here’s a nice shot of it taken for the Washington Post by AP Photographer, Boris Grdanoski. He was on Vodno Mountain, south of Macedonia’s capital Skopje. It’s been 3 years since there was a lunar eclipse and there’s supposed to be another one on August 28th of this year.

I’m not certain if you guys know this but a total lunar eclipse only happens in the winter just before a huge snowstorm hits. Additionally, a winter lunar eclipse trumps and of the fuzzy rodents that predict the weather, so this years forecast for early Spring by the LATE groundhog prognosticator, Punxsutawney Phil is no longer valid! So ignore ALL of those signs of an early Spring and hit the slopes people!

Okay, I lied. Winter lunar eclipses have NOTHING to do with snow events; but it did sound good didn’t it? It IS nice writing this morning’s update watching some nice snowflakes flying. Will this bit of snow excite enough people to hit the slopes again this season? I wish. The truth is that our SkiNC.com and SkiSoutheast.com traffic is already down almost 60% from late January numbers. How does that translate to actual skier visits on the mountains of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic? Who knows?

I can see it now. Someone’s going to be doing a search on Google in a few days or weeks and come across this report and then think that there’s some validity to the fact that lunar eclipse that occur during the winter months translates to more snowfalls.


While many resorts have already posted that their last day of skiing or riding for the 2006-2007 season is still some 28+/- days away, (some a week to two weeks earlier – check the SLOPE CONDITIONS PAGE for all announced dates thus far), some have not yet revealed when that will happen. One such is Ski Beech which annually closes up shop anywhere from March 11th to the end of the month. Several people have emailed us asking us when we think that might happen THIS season.

Not even the management of Ski Beech knows the answer to that question just yet and that is the truth. They are watching the weather and the hill to see how the snow holds out AND how the skier numbers are "playing".

One GREAT sign that it’s not going to happen this week, is that Ski Beech made snow last night and is still making snow as of this writing. So did Appalachian, Cataloochee and Sugar Mountain in North Carolina. Of course App, Cat and Sugar are all already saying that they are shooting for April 1st, weather permitting.

Ober Gatlinburg ski area in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee ALSO made snow last night. They are turning the snowmakers off at 9am, but that is a great sign. We received some emails speculating that Ober would call it quits after today’s sessions. That does not look like the case. Expect their season to go through next weekend – at least.


I wish I had a nickel for every email that I have received in the last week asking something to the effect of, “Since the season got off to such a slow start, and since there’s plenty of snow NOW, will the ski resorts stay open?”

I know how some of the people on the message board feel when people ask the same question that has been answered a thousand times on other posts. You kind of feel like saying, “do a search BEFORE you pose your questions.” I guess it’s a little different since many of you guys come to the site anew each day. You’re looking for answers and we provide them.

To answer this particular question, let me first say that for the resorts that have already posted a closing date – expect THAT date to be the last day of the season for them, as long as the weather permits them to get TO that date. Of the 17 ski areas of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic, 14 have announced closing dates. 15 if you count Sugar Mountain which we all KNOW with great certainty will attempt to ski and ride until April 1st. Gunther is a skier and you have to love his zeal. The man would stay open until all the snow was gone if he could find a way to make it fiscally sound.

That leaves only Hawksnest and Ski Beech that have not announced a closing date. We’ll talk more about Beech in a second. First, let’s talk about Hawksnest. I spoke with Rowe just moments ago and he said that they had to cancel today’s second day of the Nest Games due to the winds. He said their wind gauge broke this morning with 55 mph winds. He added, “We’re trying to ski today until 4:30pm and then we will be closed this week and look at the possibility of reopening next weekend.” He DID say that reopening would depend on how their snow held up and the weather. With some 50 degree weather in the forecast AND with rain forecasted for next weekend (that could change) today MAY be Hawksnest’s last day of skiing for the 2006-2007 season.

Ski Beech looks primed and ready to extend the season. They are making snow right now and will be as long as temps allow. They have VERY NICE conditions right now with NO thin coverage, no thin spots and even some natural snow to boot. Beech’s basic mentality is when the number of skiers on the mountain is lower than the temperature – it’s time to close up. If you want to prolong the season atop the 5506’ elevations…all you have to do is ski or ride there. GO SKI!

All of the ski areas look VERY NICE today and obviously there’s some powder out there in varying depths from 1-2” around Sugar and Beech to 5” or more across the West Virginia mountains. Things should be quite nice as we move into this next week.

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For more information about the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic visit www.SkiSoutheast.com  


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