First Trax

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We began getting a lot of emails on Thursday from people asking about opening day news from resorts like Bryce, Massanutten, Timberline, Ober Gatlinburg and more.  Of course we also got a lot of queries as to when Beech or Wolf would be making snow.  As we began compiling all of this news and data, we figured we’d save a little time this morning and provide you guys with a north to south report of the who, what, when and where of the mountains of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.

Before I get any grief from you geography buffs, I realize that there are some anomalies amongst our report.  For example, Ober Gatlinburg is actually somewhat more southerly than say Beech and Sugar, etc.  Bryce Resort is probably a bit more northerly than Snowshoe on the map.  We’re just taking you guys "kind of" north to south 🙂

The first stop is the Southeast and Mid Atlantic region’s most northerly resort…

WISP RESORT – They open this morning at 9am and will play on three trails – Road Runner, Belly Flop and the Wisp Trail with 2 lifts in operation. They have a nice, opening day base of 4-20" and groomed conditions. For those that have not visited Wisp, we can tell you that these people know how to groom. We’ve watched as many as four groomers operated in unison coming down one trail. Expect great corduroy!

They also have their "Mountain Coaster" running today. That thing is awesome looking and I am personally hoping it can run in the midst of Winter, because I’d like a try at that thing in February, when I plan to visit Wisp myself.

Next weekend, take part in Wisp’s 52nd Birthday Bash as they will offer $7 lifties, 1/2 price rentals & lessons and all sorts of entertainment and CAKE!

CANAAN VALLEY – It’s still early for these guys as they don’t open for the 2007-2008 season for skiing until December 22nd. However they are preparing with some early season snowmaking and unless they changed their gameplan, even though the ski slopes will not be open, Canaan Valley Resort is scheduled to open its tubing hill this Saturday, December 1, weather permitting.

TIMBERLINE RESORT – It’s 23° at Timberline this morning and they too are blasting their slopes. You guys should check out the front page of SkiSoutheast.com for a taste of how much snow they have put down in preparation for their opening December 6th. We spoke with Jessica Scowcroft up there on Friday and they have a bunch of fun planned for opening weekend including their annual Military Appreciation Weekend. Sounds like a lot of fun with great entertainment too…so make plans to attend.

SNOWSHOE MOUNTAIN – It is 20° this morning and like all of the West Virginia and Maryland resorts, Snowshoe has been able to really lay down the snowmaking recently and Laura Parquette writes, "It’s a great day to be at Snowshoe! Today we will debut the new Wonder Carpet lift. The new lift, along with the improved teaching area will be available throughout the day. In total, we will be offering 4 lifts and 9 trails, with five terrain park features on Spruce Glades. Snowmaking took place overnight and will continue throughout the day as temperatures allow. The Powder Monkey Lift along with the slopes of Cut-off and Powder Monkey are expected to open sometime after 10am. If you need a break today, be sure to stop in the Shavers Center. Check-out the newly remodelled food court and enjoy a beverage at Moonshine, our newest apres ski location."

Snow is in the forecast at Snowshoe most every day next week, so it looks like a great time to visit!

WINTERPLACE RESORT – It is 23° at Ghent, WV and they are making snow to beat the band, preparing for their December 7th opening.

We now how to the Virginia mountain…

WINTERGREEN RESORT – These guys have an awesome snowmaking system and they’ve been fighting marginal snowmaking ops so far, but they have made snow at every opportunity and they were hoping to open for skiing today (Saturday) however they are now looking at possibly opening as early as SUNDAY! They reported"

"Snowmaking Temperatures are back! We began making snow again overnight and plan to keep making snow whenever temperatures permit. Opening day could be Sunday or Monday. Keep your fingers and toes crossed that the weather cooperates and we get open Sunday. Tomorrow’s update should include more information about our planned opening day. There is great news for next week. Canadian air is expected to take over the region allowing for sustained snowmaking. If we miss out on opening this weekend, we could open sometime early next week.

The start of Wintergreen’s 07-08 skiing and riding season is just around the corner. Starting out, we plan to focus our snowmaking efforts on Upper and Lower Dobie and in The Plunge Tubing Park. After we get a good base down in these areas we will shift to Eagles Swoop. We are getting ready for a great season and want to keep you in the loop about what is happening up here. Please keep checking this report prior to your visit for the most up to date snow and slope information."

07/08 Wintergreen Season Passes are on sale now with a special early season price of $219. Remember this price goes up to $239 in Mid December so buy your pass now and save! By purchasing over the web you can knock off another $10 and get the individual pass for $209.

THE HOMESTEAD – It’s still a bit early for these guys as they are still in the golf, spa mode. We suspect that they are planning to make snow within the next week and open soon thereafter. We’ll keep you posted.

MASSANUTTEN RESORT – They are reporting 39° this morning at 8am, but they have been making snow and certainly will with the Arctic cold hitting Monday and they plan on opening December 7th. They have been making snow on Southern Comfort, Geronimo, Diamond Jim (a black run) and Easy Street Terrain Park.

BRYCE RESORT – They have been making snow at most every opporutnity to do so and plan on blasting the slopes all this coming week for a nice, Saturday, December 8th opening for the season!

Here’s where we lose our GPS readings and head to Tennessee…

OBER GATLINBURG – The Smokies popular ski area overlooking beautiful, downtown Gatlinburg is eyeing mid-December as an opening for the 2007-2008 season.
We’ll keep you up to date as we get closer.

Now to the North Carolina mountains…

APPALACHIAN SKI MOUNTAIN – They reported a low of only 35° this morning and a current temp at 8:21am of 40° so they are already on their way up to near 50° today. Snowmaking took place a couple of nights ago and like all of the North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia resorts they are looking for those frigid temps that are coming in beginning Monday! Appalachian has skied uninterupted since opening with decent conditions and offer three trails and two lifts for your riding pleasure today. They have several terrain features up as well.

Look for more terrain to open quickly at App as soon as the cold weather hits Monday.

CATALOOCHEE SKI AREA – They show 29° this morning but we’re thinking that may be off a bit as they are not making snow (per their camera). (For all of you who have emailed us about asking them to improve their webcam – I passed that request on. Knowing Tammy, Chris and their crew, they’ll probably consider it strongly.)

Cat is playing on three trails today with two lifts servicing them and they are open for DAY SKIING ONLY today. We have not heard much from Tammy and crew this early in the season yet as they usually tell us about the annual Can-U-Ski Drive…but thankfully we saw it. Here’s that promo!

"Don’t forget our 6th Annual Can- U-Ski Food and Coat Drive scheduled for Sunday, December 2. In conjunction with Haywood Christian Ministries, Cataloochee Ski Area seeks to help with the increased need for food and warm winter coats for special families throughout our region. We ask all Cataloochee skiers and snowboarders to bring at least 6 cans of food or a winter jacket of any size that is in good condition to the ski area on Sunday, December 2nd and you will receive your lift ticket on that Sunday for FREE! Skiing on that day will be from 8:30am – until 4:30pm and rentals and lessons are not included. It’s a $49 value!"

Get over to THE CAT and ski and help a good cause!

HAWKSNEST RESORT – As reported earlier in the week, Hawksnest is planning to begin blasting their hill with snowmaking beginning Monday (as soon as the cold blast hits the mountain) and plan on opening for skiing, snowboarding and tubing on December 7th!

SAPPHIRE VALLEY – It’s still pretty quiet at Sapphire as we have not heard from RJ and crew as to when they are planning on opening. We’re guessing they too will make snow this week and open either December 7th or 14th. We’ll keep you posted.

SKI BEECH – It is showing 38° up on Beech this morning at 8:38am and as we have already reported earlier in the week, Beech plans on beginning their snowmaking for the season on Monday as soon as the temps allow. They will probably open a few beginner trails for December 7th and crank open more ASAP. We’ll keep you posted.

SUGAR MOUNTAIN – It’s 37° up there this morning and they are self-reporting thin cover and some bare spots. However they have skied uninterupted so far since being the first to open for the 2007-2008 ski season in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic region. Sugar has 4 trails open today and we’ll ski tonight as well.

Look for Sugar to blast snow THE MOMENT it turns cold enough to do so and open more terrain pronto. This mountain is managed by a skier and he wants more terrain! You HAVE to love and respect that!

WOLF RIDGE RESORT – We haven’t heard anything yet from these guys, and it does not appear (via their webcams) that they are making snow yet, but we suspect they will crank ’em up sometime Monday and blast away for what will probably be an opening weekend of December 7th or 8th.

I had to chuckle a bit when I visited Wolf’s webpage this morning as they have a "MYSPACE" page link that takes you to a page with posts by (and I quote) "A 90 year old man". I am not certain what they are trying to accomplish with MySpace that they couldn’t do better with the main website…but that’s just me.

We’ll keep you posted on when their snowguns crank up and planned opening dates.

That’s it for our tour of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.

Until Next Time!

Be sure to check out www.SkiSoutheast.com  for more news and stories for all of the Southeast’s ski areas.

Be sure to email photos, snow reports and comments to: [email protected]

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Jessica Scowcroft of Timberline sent us this phenomenal shot of their ongoing snow making in preparation for OPENING DAY, December 6th – They will als
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North Carolina Mountains Await COLD AIR for Snowmaking – That should come Monday!
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