Base Depths Numbers Soaring, Some a Little Too Much We Suspect!

First Trax

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We’ve been singing the praises of our ski area’s snowmaking crews this season and have rated Sugar Mountain’s crew among the top two in the state of North Carolina and among the best in the Southeast and Mid Atantic region in creating a quality of snow that all of our visitors know and love. So it comes with great hesitation that we have to draw attention to some anomalies this morning that we just simply wish would not start happening again. Read on.

All resorts have been making snow under optimal snowmaking conditions with cold temps and very little wind. Before I report some strange base depth reporting let me report that the conditons at ANY resort that you hit today, tomorrow or over the MLK Weekend WILL be phenmomenal. More slope openings are promised by the resorts as we get closer to the weekend.

Having said that, we are also sharing some strange base depth growths this morning. Joe Stevens reported over the weekend that he was afraid that some resorts would begin reporting marketing numbers on base depth reports, rather than actual growth as we head into the important MLK weekend and there certainly appears that may be the case as we have been monitoring AND DOCUMENTING base depths numbers for every resort, every day this season and during the rare, perfect snowmaking periods this season – most of the resorts have only reported 6-8" of base growth over some 24 hours periods and that is "reasonable". We’ve seen pretty reasonable base depth reporting most all of this and the last couple of seasons, but after what has been a tough season to date for MOST ski areas, we are in the midst of the best, prolonged snowmaking weather of the season to date. Snowmaking began in earnest on the 12th and 13th and we have watched as most of the ski areas have upped their base depths a few inches each day over this period.

Even WITH those daily increases of 3-6-8" per resort, we now see on this Wednesday morning prior to a very important weekend ahead – some HUGE increases in base depths this morning. Quite frankly one of them is either a mistake (if so we should see some reductions tomorrow, right?) or they are reporting a SWELL of snow under a couple of guns.

As Stevens shared with me years ago, if you can’t report 0" on a bare spot that can’t be skied, resorts shouldn’t report 80" on one or two swells that won’t be skied either.

The bad news is that now that one resort has swelled their base depth, other will follow and then we’re off to a numbers war that is unimportant anyway.

We just hate it when a resort – resorts to inflating numbers to try to gain an advantage. Let great conditions and growing OPEN SLOPE NUMBERS win the markerting battles, not inflated snowfall and base depth reporting. Enuff’ said.


The good news about all of this optimal snowmaking is that more terrain will be opening up. Our report this morning reflects which resorts have added more slopes openings today and what they are reporting as base increases.

Do with our reporting what you wish…

Appalachian – 19° – 8 Trails Open (same as 24 hours ago) and +8" of Machine Made in last 24 hours.

Cataloochee – 13° – 8 Trails Open (+1 from 24 hours ago) and +6" of Machine Made in last 24 hours.

Hawksnest Resort – 14° was the low overnight but it is now already 22° at 7:30am – 6 Trails Open (same as 24 hours ago) and + 12" of Machine Made in last TWELVE hours since they updated their report at 8:42pm last night!

Ski Beech – 13°was the low overnight at 1:21am but it is now 25.3° at 7:50am. They are making snow and will as long as temps allow today. Ski Beech show no growth in their reported base of 8-16" but they have made a ton of snow. Beech tends to reflect only a small increment of base throughout the season. They show the same 5 trails as were open 24 hours earlier.

Sugar Mountain was at 11° overnight and now show 17° at 7:52am. They have the same 12 trails open that were open 24 hours ago but grew their reported base depth by a WHOPPING 30" overnight! They reported a base of 18-42" on Tuesday morning and now report 26-72". To borrow a phrase from a popular news network – "We report, you decide".

Wolf Ridge is at 16° this morning and offer the same 6 Trails service by two access points on the mountain and grew their base by 8" in the last 24 hours.

In closing, ALL resorts are at the BEST SHAPE of the season right now and if you have plans for a ski getaway this week or weekend, you are in for a GREAT time. We’re expecting more snow (2-4") this evening into Thursday and Snow Showers are forecasted for Saturday with highs in the 20s and lows in the single digit range for the weekend.

Bring your layed clothing, face protection and goggles!


Until Next Time…Send your comments, photos and videos to: [email protected]  

For resort news, photos and videos from ALL of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas, visit  

See You On The Slopes!

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