Appalachian and Wisp Still Going! It will be wet out there!

First Trax

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Here comes the rain, little darlin’ – here comes the rain, and I say… it’s alright.

Okay, we replaced some of the lyrics of the old Beatles classic "Here comes the sun", but we’re probably not going to see the sun for a few days as rain, rain and more rain will be pelting the Southeast for the next few days. Showers are in the forecast everyday and most all day from North Carolina to Maryland (all of our area of coverage).

With anywhere from two-to-four inches of rain in the forecast from Wednesday through Sunday for much of the region, it is looking a bit like God is doing his own version of the "Meltdown Games" for the lone few ski areas still in operation on this 25th day of March. Typically a few more ski areas are players this late in the month. Sugar Mountain, Cataloochee and others will usually stay open until the last day of March or so, but both of those resorts called it quits a bit earlier than some expected. However, Cataloochee pulled the plug on the season on Sunday and Sugar did their annual "Burning of the Snow" on Tuesday afternoon after operating for day sessions. They burned some snow, drank some beer, devoured some burgers and then called it a season.

That leaves only Appalachian Ski Mountain in North Carolina – and Wisp Resort on the other end of the region in Maryland – as the only two ski areas still in operation. Appalachian Ski Mountain still plans to do their version of The Meltdown Games this weekend and close for the season on Sunday – and Wisp is still holding to their plans to stay open – although we REALLY think that may change and they may close up on Sunday as well. These decisions usually come with "weather permitting" as a addendum. Wisp Resort announced a couple of weeks ago (as did Timberline Resort in West Virginia) that they’d close up this coming Sunday, and then reopen the following TWO WEEKENDS in April for weekend sessions.

However, with an eye on the forecast and the fast-melting slopes, we’re thinking that both Timberline and Wisp may be reconsidering that decision and close up this weekend. According to the forecast, we should see a parade of fronts that will bring one system of rain after another into the region. After four-to-five days of rain coming from Wednesday through Sunday, it looks like we’ll see a short break with some sun late on Sunday and Monday – and then another system is approaching that should bring in some more rain late on Tuesday and into mid week – next week.

That doesn’t bode well for ski resorts listing 6-36" bases. At Wisp Resort – Squirrel Cage and Main Street looks pretty darn good, but there are only 8 trails open right now and that will probable be reduced more after 4 straight days of showers. 

WE NEED THE RAIN… so let’s get five more days of turns in at Appalachian and Wisp and call it a season. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor the official beginning of the "water year" is October 7, 2008 and even though the drought is nowhere nearly as bad as it was in 2006 and 2007, we’re still in the "abnormally dry" range with some areas of the Southeast still in a moderate drought.

So let’s let Spring do its thing and bring about all of the late March and Arpil showers that we can get. That deep, cleansing breath that you are hearing is the collective sighs of relaxation that all of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski management teams are taking (or about to take) as we are coming off one of the best seasons ever for ALL of the ski areas and THE BEST SEASON ON RECORD for many of them.

We’ll probably post a closing statement and few picks from over at the Meltdown Games at App this weekend, so check back if you’re one of the few, the proud, the SkiSoutheaster’s and SkiNC’ers still reading this column!

That’s it for today. Check the SLOPE REPORT for more news and have a great day!

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