It’s Sunday, and it’s snowing in Banner Elk, North Carolina this morning.
There’s about 3-inches of natural snowfall projected today, as the temperatures finally have dropped to what they should be for the final week in January.
I was at Beech Mountain yesterday, and I’m headed there again today. While the forecast predicted rain for about 10 days leading up to this weekend, I figured that since the forecast was wrong about Friday’s weather, it could be wrong about Saturday’s too. I was right.
When I went to bed last night, it was supposed to rain at Beech starting around 10 a.m. I woke up, wrote the FirsTrax report, and brought my dog Ollie to the Beech Mountain dog park before I headed to the slopes, and by then, that forecast was shifted to about noon. And while there were certainly some raindrops coming down at different parts during the day, it didn’t really start raining until after 3 p.m. By then, I was all packed up, and headed to Atlantic Ale House for the X Games watch party. More on that in a bit.
The biggest negative about riding yesterday was the fog. When I first arrived, it was creeping in. But by my third run, the summit was engulfed in fog, and that made its way toward the base of the mountain as the day went on. It was a googles up kind of day, but luckily, the precipitation and wind was at a minimum.
This was my first weekend day at Beech. And while it was certainly crowded – what ski area isn’t crowded in America on the weekend? – it was remarkably efficient. A huge shout out to the liftie at chair five. It isn’t easy to maintain order during a Saturday ski session that was only made more chaotic by the weather. And she kept things running as smooth as possible.
As for the snow: it was icy in patches, for sure, particularly at the top of the black diamond runs Upper White Lightning and Upper Southern Star. But that’s where the ice started and stopped. It was all relatively manageable, and those trails hardly had any skiers or riders on them to begin with.
One thing that cannot be overlooked: Beech has a minipipe right now! The park – for those of you who care, or more likely, have children who care – has a great setup. But the minipipe was perfect icing on the cake. A good halfpipe should be icy already, so if the conditions aren’t ideal, just hit that over and over again.
Without further delay, here’s what you need to know about the southeast today:
Girls Go Shred is hosting a women’s beginner snowboard camp today.
Aspiring riders 16 and older can Join them for a small and intimate camp, limited to only 20 women.
“It offers a fantastic opportunity to learn the basics of snowboarding in a supportive and empowering environment,” the group said online. “Whether you’re curious about snowboarding or eager to improve your skills, this Women’s Beginners Snowboard Clinic is the perfect place to start. Join us for a day filled with laughter, learning and the joy of gliding down the slops. ”
There are 21 open trails today. The black diamond run Squirrel Cage is closed to the public due to an event today.
A significant amount of the resort’s base has melted over the weekend with the warm temperatures, but that should be replenished with the incoming snow soon enough.
There are 23 open trails today, and seven lifts spinning. Massanutten is working with a 36-inch base. Lower Nutten-To-It Park will be open today.
Did you make it to HeArt and Soul Winter Fest? If not, here’s a video of what you missed out on.
Next year’s festival is planned for January 9-12.
Still 100% open.
“You’ll find soft and slightly saturated machine groomed surface on the majority of terrain today,” the snow report says. “The Drop and Off the Wall remain ungroomed for a more challenging terrain option.”
Up to three inches of natural snowfall is expected today. There are 27 open trails, and a base between 41 and 51 inches.
Chairs 8 and 9 will be ready if needed today to keep lift lines down.
Widowmaker will be delayed until 11:30 a.m. for race training. There are still 58 open trails, and 12 open lifts this morning at the ‘Shoe. Wet weather is moving through, but that should turn into snow later this afternoon. Temperatures should be back down to normal for the winter time, so the snowmakers can get back to work.
If you are on the hunt for some SkiSoutheast stickers, here’s good news: I’ve scattered them throughout North Carolina’s High Country this weekend.
- Recess Skate And Snow
- Perry House Bed And Breakfast
- Atlantic Ale House
- Beech Mountain Resort
Beech Mountain’s Brantley Mullins made her X Games debut yesterday, and she started it off with a real heavy frontside boardslide to make her presence known.
The watch party at Atlantic Ale House was rad. Tons of people turned out to watch Brantley, and later, Zeb Powell and Luke Winkelmann, throw down in the first X Games street style competition since 2013.
I spoke with co-owner Jacob Grieb, who organized the event.
“We just want to support some local shredders that get out, and throw down, and show the whole world that North Carolina can represent,” he said. “It’s super exciting to know when they’re coming to the mountain…and see all these young rippers follow them around the mountain and try and emulate what they do.”
It did seem like the format of the contest didn’t necessarily favor the riders. The size of the features – at least as I saw it from a spectator’s point of view – made it really difficult for riders to establish themselves apart from each other, until the end of the 20-minute session.
In the end, none of the North Carolina riders took home any hardware in the streetstyle competition. Pat Fava won for the men, wearing a bike helmet.
Grace Warner – who you may remember because she crushed the Red Bull Rail Yard contest at Appalachian Sk Mountain last year – took home first place for the women.
Don’t forget: Clear your calendar from February 9-11. That’s when Massanutten and SkiSoutheast will host team up to host our summit. It’s a great way to meet like-minded, snow-loving people, and possibly make some lifelong friends in the process.
Click here to join us on our new SkiSoutheast Discord channel. It is a great way to meet new snow loving friends and shares experiences, ask questions, and more!
And as always, email me at [email protected] with your thoughts and photos.