I was all prepared NOT to do any morning update this morning. I was going to come in to the office and update the slope conditions page and let Tuesday’s front page column ride for today. However, Mother Nature and Snowshoe Mountain just couldn’t stand for that!
Mother Nature fired up the temps again on Tuesday and Cataloochee just couldn’t weather the conditions any longer. The writing was on the wall on Tuesday morning when Cataloochee had to drop to just two trails open. They were still prepared to ride it out until Sunday, April 1st, but Mother Nature wouldn’t stand for it. Cataloochee made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon to end their season after skiing on Tuesday. Tammy Brown wrote, “After 120 days of skiing and riding this season, the unseasonably warm temperatures of the past several days are making it such that Cataloochee will be closing for the 2006/2007 season at the end of the night skiing session on Tuesday, March 27, prior to our original date of April 1.”
She added, “We wish to thank each of you for visiting with us this season. We are looking forward to many exciting additions over the summer months which will include lodge and locker room improvements and two new trails.”
TWO NEW TRAILS!!!???
That seems to be a reoccurring theme in today’s “unscheduled” update. I’ll elaborate more in a moment. But first, Cataloochee’s untimely closing leaves Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock as the only ski area open SOUTH of West Virginia. They have many fun events happening Saturday and Sunday with their Meltdown Games. Click here to see yesterday’s story (complete with Meltdown Games schedule).
Okay, NOW let’s talk about more trails to ski on for next season. In addition to Cataloochee’s two new trails – Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia will open two new trails of its own. Next season Snowshoe will have two new ski trails that will be accessed by the Soaring Eagle Express. The two new trails will likely consist of intermediate and expert level terrain and will increase the total number of trails at the region’s largest resort to 59.
Lindsay Kutsko, Snowshoe’s Communication Coordinator, said, “Snowshoe Mountain Resort and one of its premier residential development companies, Sawmill Village, announced today that we will join forces to construct two new ski trails at the Pocahontas County resort in West Virginia. The deal includes an investment of roughly $1 million for construction of the two trails, which will be adjacent to the Sawmill Village development in Snowshoe’s South Mountain area.”
Trail construction has already begun and will continue throughout the spring and summer to ensure opening with the 2007-2008 ski season. The last time Snowshoe expanded the terrain was back in 2004 with the widening of a few trails including Spruce Glades and Whistlepunk.
Miss Kutsko also wrote, “It was another great season up here at Snowshoe with 122” of snowfall for the 33rd ski season. That’s pretty good considering the warmer temperatures that we endured early on this winter. There’s still a few days left and we’ll pull the ropes on the final day of skiing and riding on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.”
If you guys haven’t visited Snowshoe in the summer months you should consider doing so. They have a wealth of summer fun such as the GNCC, Mountain Bike Race Series, Chili Cook-Off, Wine and Jazz and so much more! For those who love the game of golf, the golf course opens Friday May 3 and while you’re pulling out your clubs grab your bike too. The mountain bike trails open Memorial Day Weekend.
MORE FUN FOR THIS WEEKEND!
Timberline Resort will host a Traditional Locals’ Cup Race March 31- April1
The Locals’ Cup was started in 1991 by the Timberline Four Seasons Resort Race Department to allow racers to have access to the full 1000 foot vertical and consistent slopes of Herz mountain ski terrain. It was planned to be held one of the last ski weekends of the season in recognition of the ideal spring condition on this high altitude resort. The Locals’ Cup is a dual slalom ski race that is open to Alpine, Telemark and snowboard participants. Timberline is the most uniquely able of the southeastern ski areas to hold a ski race in April because of its location, altitude, 4268 feet on the Eastern Continental Divide, and its north facing slopes. Timberline has become recognized as one of the best eastern spring skiing locations. This year the race will be held on March 31 and April 1, the resort’s final skiing weekend of the season.
According to John Lutz, Director of Programs and Events at Timberline, a local, by definition, is anyone who ski races at Timberline in April. The race has been won by racers from most of the southern states as well as by Timberline skiers, who challenge any other racers. Each year the overall winners have their name engraved on a permanent trophy. There are age categories for alpine and prizes for all ages and divisions. The prizes are donated by Tucker County businesses.
Tim Worden, Timberline’s race director, reports that the 2006-2007 racing season has been a successful and busy one at Timberline, the enthusiasm of the racers has been enhanced this year by newly complete reconstruction of White Lighting, one of the resorts major trails. This ski season, Timberline has hosted the United States Collegiate Ski Association Mid-Atlantic races. A number of West Virginia Colleges, including Davis and Elkins, West Virginia Wesleyan, and West Virginia University racers competed against major universities and colleges from the East including Navy and Penn State among others.
Recently the Southern Alpine Racing Association (SARA), which races at Timberline annually, held their championship finals on Timberline’s slopes. This major event attracted skiers from Pennsylvania to Georgia. SARA is a division of the United States Ski Association which holds competitive events around the United States every year. It is the winners of these events who are then selected for the US Olympic Team.
West Virginia’s annual Governor’s Cup Race was also hosted by Timberline on March 3 and 4. This classic event has been held in West Virginia for 47 consecutive years. This year Timberline also hosted the Ohio Valley Ski Council which attracted racers from West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio to compete in the Governor’s Cup Race.
According to Timberline’s General Manager, Tom Blanzy, the recently widened White Lightning Trail at Timberline has produced a high level of excitement among skiers from the general public as well as among racing communities. And Timberline has also created excitement by its major increases in water pumping and snow guns, the addition of last season of a major trail, Twister, a newly opened surface lift at its terrain park and rapidly expanding entertainment food and beverage service.
John Lutz indicated that it is unique for a southeastern ski area to have a racing trail of the caliber of White Lightning and he indicates that this season is the first time in five years that Timberline has held high speed giant slalom racing. Lutz rates White Lightning as the best ski racing trail in the Southeast.
Until Next Time…
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For more information about the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic visit www.SkiSoutheast.com
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