Almost PERFECT Conditions for Today! Go Enjoy Them and Quit Reading This! (GO!)

First Trax

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It’s the day before – the day before Christmas (or Christmas Eve – eve for kids of all ages). Pulse rates are already starting to rise amongst the Santa Claus set. That is such a cool time, isn’t it? If we could only harness that energy, we could power the a snowmaking mechanism large enough to bring a White Christmas to every household in America – or at least the Southeast and Mid Atlantic, right?

As I get started with compiling all of my notes to write about for the day, I can’t help but notice that it is at least twenty degrees "warmer" than 24 hours ago. The GOOD NEWS is that I am seeing temperatures that are all in the teens and 20s. Here’s a quick look around the area at 7am:

Beech Mountain – 20°
Banner Elk – 26°
Sugar Mountain – 22° and 14.8° at the top of their mountain.

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 19.5°
Rich Mountain – 20°
Wolf Laurel (Home to Wolf Ridge Resort) – 21°
Cataloochee Ski Area – 24°

Basye, Virginia (Home to Bryce Resort) – 10°
Massanutten, Virginia – 12°
The Homestead Resort (Hot Springs, Va) – 19°
Wintergreen Resort – 14°
Davis, West Virginia (Home to Canaan Valley and Timberline Resorts) – 7°

Snowshoe Mountain Resort – 7°
Winterplace Resort – 16°
Wisp Resort – 15°
Ober Gatlinburg – 24°

As you can see, the cold spot in the Southeast Ski Region is at Snowshoe, Canaan and Timberline Resorts with a 7° reading and the "hotspot" is Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee with a "balmy" 24° status at 7:45am. That means that snowguns are still cranking out snow and most resorts have been doing so for nearly 48 hours straight as of the post. That means that conditions will be AT THE OPTIMUM today. Once the temps warm above snowmaking capability (and they will at some point today in most areas of the Southeast, with only the West Virginia and Maryland resorts staying at or about freezing today) the snow guns will be off until sometime Sunday.

Wednesday simply looks wet across the entire region. Get your skiing and snowboarding in TODAY and then take Christmas Eve to be with family and friends. Christmas Day looks good. Then we’re hit and miss with some showers possible for this weekend. Things get back to more seasonable temps Sunday night and beyond as far as we can tell. So if you have a ski getaway planned for this weekend and into next week, it looks like you’re going to get a little wet in the beginning and then the week after is looking pretty!

(You didn’t expect it to be perfect EVERY DAY, did you? Of course not.)

If you were hoping for frigid temps and snow for your Christmas / New Year Ski Getaway, forecasters are saying that the Holiday week will be seasonable with some good ski days, but the more-winter-like temps and weather are still a week away. According to most, they are not expecting a true return to consistent cold temps until the week AFTER January 1st.

It IS what it IS, go enjoy the great manmade snow that all of the resorts have blasted the slopes with and make the best of it. There’s plenty of good snow right now to be carved up.

On THAT note, Appalachian Ski Mountain writes, "After seven consecutive days of sporadic warm weather, drizzle, and rain, round-the-clock snowmaking began at 9:58 pm (Sunday, December 21). Temperatures dipped into the single digits for over 12 hours earlier on Monday. By mid-morning Tuesday, the average base depth should range from 40 to 84 inches. This 48 hour snowmaking window of opportunity has allowed our recently improved snowmaking system to convert approximately 10 million gallons of water to snow. Snowmaking is expected to end mid-morning Tuesday, leaving all our guests a fresh, packed powder surface over 8 of our 10 slopes. Both of our Terrain Parks will continue to be open. Appalachian Ski Mtn. has the largest snowmaking pumping capacity per acre of any ski resort in the Southeastern United States."

Appalachian is reporting that they have ADDED 28" of new, manmade snow across all of their open terrain in the last 36 hours!

WE’RE SKIPPING AROUND A LITTLE BIT TODAY (to keep things interesting!)

Winterplace Resort has some exciting news today. They have added FOUR new trail openings for today to take them to 15 trails open for day and night sessions. Snow tubing is not quite ready to open. They report, "Open to the Top of The Mountain by 1pm includes: Compromise, Look At Me!, & Drop Off."

Drop Off is one of their black diamond trails that we saw a lot of snowmaking going on a couple of weeks ago. The last 48 hours has enabled them to get that trail open and that is great news as we enter Christmas week.

Wintergreen Resort in Virginia is reporting, "10 glorious degrees at 7AM, WOW! The wind died down overnight and we piled up the snow! Our plan for the next few days will be to resurface all of our open trails, increase base depth amounts and re-open Sunrise and Tequila. We have pulled all our terrain park features on Upper Dobie so we can pound the area with snow. We will begin rebuilding the rail park on Wednesday in an effort to have new features for you Christmas Day."

Wintergreen has 6 slopesm open for today! The Plunge (tubing) will be open today and the rest of the week All sessions are sold out today but tickets are available for days later this week.

Ober Gatlinburg has open another trail today. They go to 5 trails open and that is an accomplishment and testament to the improved technologies of snowmaking equipment. They made snow until 5am this morning. The temp is now at 33° over there. They are open through 8pm this evening and "Mogul Ridge" (one of the shorter, but better mogul runs), is OPEN! Many have written to ask about Ober’s plans for a new tubing area. They are NOT OPEN just yet – due to construction delays.

Massanutten Resort in Virginia added two more open trails to their count today (as predicted yesterday!). They now offer six trails plus the CMB Terrain Park and six lanes of tubing to boot! That’s what adding 6" of base and tons of snowmaking can do!

Timberline Resort in West Virginia is reporting an added 5" of base due to optimum snowmaking temps. They were still at 7° when we checked…and still making snow. Look for 17 trails for today with great conditions. Jessica Scowcroft wrote, "We have had great snowmaking weather. Our snowmakers are hard at work! We are planning on opening more trails this week including ‘Lower Almost Heaven’, ‘Lower Thunderstruck’ and ‘Upper Dew Drop’"

Thanks for that update Jessica!

Wisp Resort in Maryland is reporting 17° as of this post at 8:45am, but the low overnight was 7°! They are open for day skiing, snow boarding, tubing and with their mountain coaster! If you don’t know what a mountain coaster is> Click here to see a ride from top to bottom! 

Wisp is also reporting, "8 rail features including 20′ battleship rail, 2 quarter pipes with jib option & more!"

Wisp also has four black diamond trails open and 20 trails in all. That places them near the top of the best and most terrain open in the entire Southeast or Mid Atlantic!

Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia continues to lead the region in snowfall, slopes open, conditions and just about any other category you want to throw out there. Some of the other ski areas probably get tired of hearing that, but if you got it flaunt it.(Actually maybe Wisp and Winterplace have better tubing hills 🙂 ) The trend continues as they have 51 trails open for today and night skiing over on Silver Creek.

Laura Parquette writes, "With the piles of snow we have made, it looks like we will open even more terrain in the near future. Probable opening include Widowmaker, J-Hook, Upper Shays, Choker and Skip Jack. This will put us very close to 100% open across the entire resort! The chance for a White Christmas also remains. During the overnight hours of Christmas Eve, temperatures may get low enough for some flakes to fall through the night and into Christmas morning. Speaking of Christmas, it looks like Santa will be making a stop at Snowshoe today before heading back up to the North Pole to get ready for his big trip. Keep an eye out for St. Nick and some of his helpers on the slopes today. And what better way to experience the Holiday spirit than at Snowshoe. There’s still some time, so book today by calling 1-877-441-4FUN!"

What can we say, but "WOW".

Cataloochee Ski Areas reports an added 20" of new, manmade snow over the last two days and they have reopened three more trails to give them 7 of 14 open for Tuesday fun!

Hawksnest’s Tubing Park is OPEN for Tuesday. The low last night atop Seven Devils was 18°.

Canaan Valley’s David Vance reports that they are showing a 9° reading as of 6am this morning and snowmaking has created a perfect blanket of snow for today with 8 trails open! (Thanks David for adding that TRAIL COUNT figure to the ski reports! Very cool!)

The FACE is open for those of us who like some challenge!

Sapphire Valley OPENS FOR THE 2008-2009 SEASON! Perhaps the biggest news and testament to the effectiveness of great snowmaking capabilities within optimum weather is the fact that Sapphire Valley was able to blanket their two trails (they are kind of a family resort that happens to have two ski slopes – rather than a traditional ski area) with a reported 50-74" of snow! They are 100% open with both slopes and snow tubing. RJ writes, "The ski area will open Tuesday, December 23rd, Noon to 9:00 pm. Frozen Falls tube park will open 12/23 at 10:00 am to 8:00 pm for snow tubing fun!"

Scaly Mountain is now OPEN for tubing as well!

Ski Beech reopened Upper Shawneehaw to get them back open to the top. They now offer 5 trails on their wide expanse. They are still reporting some "areas of thin coverage" but they look REALLY NICE this morning.

Sugar Mountain reopens their tubing park today and though they are holding steady with the same 11 trails as were open on Monday, they are reporting an added 14" of snow in the last 24 hours and 17" in the last two reporting periods. They will no doubt open more terrain for Wednesday. They have ice skating open for today as well!

Wolf Ridge Resort – We’re beginning to get concerned about these guys. They have not updated any report with any service – nor their own website, etc. HOWEVER, that’s why you guys depend on us – we got the scoop right from the horse’s mouth (where the heck did that term come from?). Anyway, Wolf really looks good this morning and they have opened another trail to give them 4 open for skiing and snowboarding today and tonight. Tubing is open as well.

Bryce Resort in Virginia has added 6" of manmade snow overnight and that has allowed them to add another open trail for today, taking them to 7 of 8 open for the day! All slopes are open with the lone exception of "Hangover" their black diamond trail.

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