The sky is blue, the snow is groomed, and it is a beautiful morning over at Appalachian Ski Mountain for their opening day.
App is the third ski area in North Carolina to open in the past three days. We’ve been patiently waiting for the go-ahead since the original opening day of November 17 was postponed, and it looks like the groomers have rewarded us kindly for waiting this one out.
The first 50 skiers and snowboarders on the lift will be awarded with a custom BlackStrap neck tube. Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you’ve already got one in tow. They look sleek.
One of App’s Instagram followers summed up my thoughts in a single comment: Opening day>Christmas.
Matt Laws has more on App’s opening day here.
Virginia is for skiers, and the wait for is nearly over. Massanutten will open for the season on December 2. The slopes will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and that includes snow tubing. Season pass holders will get a special sneak preview a day earlier. Season passes can be picked up from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the slopes will be open for some turns from noon to 4 p.m. Snow tubing will start on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.
There’s a 20-inch base at Massanutten right now, and the Southern Comfort and Showtime Trails will be among those open. The Creekside and Ridge Triple lifts will be in operation, and lessons will be available to book in-person over the weekend.
Bryce Mountain Resort
December 2 seems like the sweet spot for a lot of resorts. Bryce will open that day as well, as the team announced yesterday.
While the resort will be open Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., it will be closed the following Monday through Thursday. Bryce will officially open daily for the season on Friday, December 8. Bootlegger, Little Nip, and the Bunny Slope will all be open. The team is aiming to open up RedEye as well but won’t know for sure until tomorrow.
Discord user Sakpase was at Cataloochee yesterday, for opening day. Here’s what they had to say about it:
Conditions were about as good as it gets for early season riding at Cat. Open top to bottom with seven total runs open. Once the sun comes out and starts to heat everything up a bit, it gets really good! Really good opening day in my opinion!”
It looks like the more of the same goods for today. Temperatures will be considerably warmer than yesterday, so that should soften things up a bit.
if you’re in need of some new (new-to-you, that is) gear, stop by the Cat Yard Sale Saturday and Sunday. Tube World is open Saturday, as well.
West Virginia got a good amount of natural snowfall over the past few days, and the folks at Timberline have parlayed that into a preview weekend, similar to what Bryce is doing.
Lifts will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and it is open for all daily lift tickets and season pass levels. Perfect Pass and Gold Pass holders can bring a friend for 50% off. Once again, Matt Laws has more for you on that opening here.
Beech and Snowshoe will both open for the season on Saturday. For more information on that, check out our previous reports.
I received a pleasant surprise in the mail the other day, one that I learned I would be in on just a few days earlier, when reading about it in the Storm Skiing Journal. The Indy Pass has made a shift to a physical pass, and I received that in the mail, along with a letter from Doug Fish and Erik Mogensen welcoming me to the “Indy Revolution.” It appears as if the company will be shifting away from using skiers’ government-issued ID cards to acquire their daily lift tickets this year.
This will be my second year with the Indy Pass. I have not made use of it in the southeast yet, but Bryce, Massanutten, Winterplace, Cataloochee, and Ober Mountain are all member ski areas. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the Indy Pass gives passholders two days at each member resort, and a 25% discount off of lift tickets for a third day. It’s a great option if you’re a weekend warrior and want to plan a trip or two out west or further north, all while sticking to a budget.
Pats Peak — my favorite little ski hill just 90 minutes north of Boston — is a member. That’s what drew me into the pass last year. But I also used it at Powder Mountain in Utah and Cannon in New Hampshire. Those are ski areas that should be on everyone’s bucket list and are worth the cost of admission. The passes are sold out for this season but keep it in mind for next year.
Bonus: Indy redesigned its entire website and it features an interactive map that shows you exactly where in the world all the member ski areas are. That’s great for someone planning out a road trip, who is constantly asking “is Winterplace on the way to Massanutten?” (Not if you’re coming from Raleigh, but you probably already knew that.)
Teton Gravity Research collaborated with Indy a few years ago to drop an amazing, heartstring-pulling, who’s-cutting-onions-in-here documentary on independently owned resorts.
Warren Miller Showings Near You
If you missed it from yesterday’s FirsTrax report, don’t forget, it’s Warren Miller season! The latest ski movie will be playing in Raleigh, at the Marbles Kids Museum downtown, on Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3. It will be in Clarkesville, Georgia at the Terra Incognita Vineyard on December 1, 2, and 3. And as Brian Dix pointed out yesterday, the Charlotte showing from earlier this month was rescheduled after some roofing issues. That show will be at the Visulite Theater on December 12.