Cold Weather Returns today! The Forecast is for Great Conditions at Your Favorite Ski Hill!

First Trax

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It is hard to fathom just how fast the days fly by these days. New Years Day has now come and gone in the blink of an eye and before we know it Christmas will be here! Okay, I know that’s over the top but you get my point. It’s just kind of hard to believe that another Christmas to New Year ski vacation is coming to a close. Most Holiday travelers are either already back home chillaxing for a day before heading back to work (and school for some) and others are flying or driving home today. Regardless, by all means of measuring, it was a great Holiday ski week and that is good for all concerned.

Was it THE BEST Holiday week on record? Probably close as far as commerce is concerned, but as far as the weekend skier visits probably not – due to a little underdeveloped snow (rain). We received a fair number of photos from around the region and it just seemed a little less wall-to-wall crowded than some years. We’ll see if we can get some real data on that when we get back to work for real on Monday. I’ve been handling the snow report updating from Canadia as one of the kids has been calling it this week. Although it has been a blast up here, I’m looking forward to getting in my car in Charlotte and heading to MY mountains. It is always fun and interesting travelling to new destinations, but nothing beats "home" – and that’s true for wherever home is, but especially true when home is "God’s country" like those of us who are blessed to live at high elevations.

I guess because I was so busy having fun I never got around to considering any New Years resolutions. That’s probably a good thing since I’m fairly certain I’ve never kept one that I’ve set in prior years. You know the drill – I’m going to ski more days, ski more places, get in better shape so I CAN ski more and better, etc. I guess I’ll still shoot for those things, but this time I’ll have to remember not to get on myself at the end of the year about falling short on any goals since I didn’t set any!

We’re going to have a quiet few days ahead as the entire U.S. looks rather "weather quiet" with no real event in the picture. All the way through January 8th or 9th we’re looking at a pretty sunny and dry period with highs in the 30s and low 40s in the North Carolina mountains. Lows will be in the upper teens and lower 20s which is nearly perfect for skiers, snowboarders AND for the snowmaking crews of the region. Conditions are already pretty darn nice across the board, but more snowmaking will make things even better. We saw a few thin coverage areas in some photos that people sent us on Saturday. Those will get all covered up as snowmaking returns Sunday night. By the way, for you newbies out there – don’t get the wrong idea about conditions. When I say a few thin coverage areas I am really saying that there’s GREAT side-to-side coverage on all open terrain, however at some of the edges of some of the busier trails, at some resorts – – – oh heck we’re always educating around here. Simply put – there’s great conditions out there on the slopes. Go enjoy them!

Not all resorts are at 100% Yet…

Several people emailed me about that fact. Although we had a near record amount of snowfall during the month of December and while it was also one of the coldest Decembers on record – some resorts have yet to get to 100% open. I received a few emails from people questioning how that happened and others commented on the fact that it seemed more crowded at some resorts over the holidays since some ski areas couldn’t disperse traffic to all slopes – since all were not open. We don’t have the definitive word on that subject from the ski area management teams, however we can tell you that your memories are pretty short at times. First, it was a record December for snowfall in some areas like North Carolina, however Virginia barely received natural snowfall and while some of the West Virginia resorts picked up 70" of snow, that was not a record. All of the region’s ski resorts are either way ahead or on par for their average annual snowfall, but it wasn’t bomber for every resort. Second, while some ski areas like Snowshoe, Cataloochee and Sugar got off to an early start with snow making, most didn’t. Even those that did saw a quick start to their seasons with a week or so of skiing like Sugar pulled off, but then we had a thaw that closed those resorts in late November until the really cold and snowy weather kicked in in early December (around December 2nd). Resorts began making snow on their most important, beginner terrain to be ready for the holiday week and even then we saw a heavy rain event that made things tough in the middle of the month. As an example, on December 11th Wintergreen Resort posted that they had only half of their mountain open with 13 of 26 trails for day sessions only. To get from there to 100% open by the holidays only happened because of some great snowmaking equipment and some opportune temps later in the month.

That’s one thing that this website of our gives you guys. You get all of the information at your fingertips to see how a season has gone simply because we archive EVERY SINGLE story, every day, every year. You can easily look back at any archived story for years back and with a little clicking you can literally graph how each day of each season has gone.

To close the point of some ski areas not being a 100% open at this time… it IS ALL ABOUT timing. You can have great natural snows, great temps and plenty of water, and you still have to have great timing (and no torrential rains) to make for a 100% holiday skiing. While December 2010 was near perfect for many ski areas, it was necessarily a perfectly timed December.

Gotta shutdown my laptop for a few hours as I’m packing up and heading to Montreal, to the airport and hopefully I will be landing safely in Charlotte, NC, USA later this afternoon. We’re getting some light snow right now (perfectly timed for our departure) and I know that my beloved Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas are experiencing a little more foggy, showery weather this morning, but that is meant to clear out midday so YOUR Sunday skiing and snowboarding should be good. Some of the ski communities around Snowshoe, Canaan and Timberline should be getting a little ambience snow right now and through around lunchtime today, and that should be clearing out as well. It should be pretty and sunny most of the afternoon if the forecast holds. Look for the snowguns to crank up sometime mid to late in the day as temperatures allow.

Don’t moan much when they do, because resorts have to make it when they can to insure that the slopes are covered for potentially mild days ahead. As I close this post I WILL say right now that I am glad to see that most of the meteorologists of the region were incorrect about things supposedly getting pretty mild for early January. Yes, we’ve had a couple of days of mild temps but the high in Davis, WV just three days ago was 15°. The forecast for the week ahead is PLENTY COLD for some ski areas to make snow around-the-clock if they want to. So there’s no early January thaw like Joe Bastardi with Accuweather or Ray Russell with Rays Weather, or Herb Stevens (the Skiing Weatherman) all predicted. …and that’s a good thing!

Go enjoy your day and check the snow report page for all the details.

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Wintergreen Resort was looking nice as this photo from Anne Marie Jones shows!
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Snowmaking Tempertures have returned and Ski Areas are taking Advantage!!
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