First Trax


I've taken the time to provide a resort by resort "tour" this morning so you guys should check it out. In one sentence – the conditions across the region are close to awesome everywhere. More trails are open today than at any point in the season. Snowmaking occurred across the entire resort coverage area and most resorts were making snow this morning when I was checking the resort reports. If you hit the slopes today or Sunday you will thank me for the push.

The BIGGEST/BEST event of this weekend HAS to be over at Beech Mountain. That's why I've promoted them first this morning.

The rest of the report is basically provided by the order of the agreements that I have in place for the rest of the resorts. How's THAT for honesty in reporting 😉  (Admittedly we've been swamped and with the challenging start to this season, we haven't yet made contact with all of the ski resorts. We'll make that effort this week.)

So check out the tour today. That is BELOW this small "sidebar" about the weather.


Since just prior to Christmas we've had a run of weather that has allowed every ski resort to make a bunch of snow. Additionally most of the resort areas have seen NATURAL SNOW with resorts like Canaan Valley, Timberline, Snowshoe and Wisp seeing THIRTY INCHES since December 20th! Beech Mountain has recorded 16.1" during that same date span. So conditions are AWESOME at most all of the ski resorts around the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.

Snowmaking has been ON much more than OFF during that span including a full day and night of snowmaking since sometime on Friday. However, what's on YOUR mind? NEXT WEEK'S WEATHER! Good grief!

Conditions are and will be great through the next week even though we are expecting a bit of the normal January thaw that seems to happen every season at some point. The forecast through Sunday, January 14th looks mild with highs in the upper 40s and low 50s and perhaps only two nights of snowmaking during that period around Beech Mountain. It will be a notch colder around Snowshoe and the West Virginia ski areas (as it has been all season) with perhaps FIVE nights of snowmaking and even some snow in the forecast for NEXT Sunday.


THAT is the top question of the last 24 hours in MY SkiSoutheast INBOX. Questions like, "Mike, do you think we're now in for more hot weather for the rest of the season?"

Oh Brother….

My buddy and your favorite meteorologist, Brad Panovich sent me his latest Ski and Snowboarding Forecast for the region on Friday and in it he hints that around January 19th look for some of the COLDEST TEMPS that we've seen in several years. Brad was hinting that some models are reflecting HIGHS near ZERO for much of the resort areas by then.

Of course, we'll hear complaints that it's TOO COLD then.

Check out Brad's forecast here:

Also THE WEATHER CHANNEL has a nice reference to the fact that the temps are going to be mild for only a short time. Check that video at:

As Brad suggested – even IF that cold doesn't hit as cold as ZERO, even half of that arctic blast would get us temps in the teens!

So don't fret about a little mild-up. ALL of the ski resorts have GREAT BASES on the trails that they currently have open and conditions will remain VERY GOOD through the short mild up. Then look for even more slopes to open!


BEECH MOUNTAIN: 11 of 15 Slopes Open; Ice Skating; Made & Making snow as long as temps allow.

Cardboard Box Derby is set for Sunday!

Beech is celebrating their ANNUAL WINTERFEST today! That is ALWAYS a great, great time and today's event will coincide with awesome conditions on the slopes. There will be a rail jam on Sunday, figure skating demonstrations both days and of course the always popular Cardboard Box Derby on Sunday at 2pm. Ice Sculpting demos are both days as well and with the cold temps those should hang around as well! You should too.

One note: If you're one of the guys or girls that is looking for the bikini-clad hotties to ski or ride the slopes for the annual bathing beauty contest that USUALLY takes place during WINTERFEST, that IS NOT HAPPENING this weekend.

“We're trying to make Winterfest really family oriented,” said Talia Freeman, marketing director. “We're doing a lot of stuff for kids and families.”

This Saturday, mothers can take a break while kids enjoy Snow Day Camp from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., offering winter activities for children. Snow Day Camp is $25 and includes ice skating, face painting, craft making and lunch.

An acoustic bluegrass band will perform in the Beech Tree Bar and Grille during the day, and during the session break, karaoke will be held in the View Haus. Funk and hip-hop band BPL closes out the evening from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Beech Tree.

Events this Sunday include the annual Cardboard Box Derby. For contest rules and guidelines, call  (828) 387-2011 . Visual judging begins at 12 p.m., and the derby race begins at 2 p.m.

The Winterfest Rail Jam kicks off at noon Sunday, and the Roots Ride Shop Skateboard Competition will start at 3 p.m.

Large sales on apparel and equipment will be held throughout the weekend, and the latest ski and snowboard equipment demos will also be featured. Other activities, including live ice sculpting, bounce houses, professional figure skating demonstrations and figure skating lessons will also be held at Beech Mountain Resort.

Don't be too disappointed over the loss of the Bathing Beauty Contest as it has been moved to the more appropriate College Weekend in February. Stay tuned for that.

SNOWSHOE MOUNTAIN: 42 of 60 Slopes Open; Snow tubing; Snowmobiling, Snow Cat rides; made snow and making snow as long as temps allow.

I have to admit that I've had Snowshoe withdrawals since leaving the resort on Wednesday. Conditions will be awesome today. There's TONS of snow on the ground up there if you just want to get the kids out and play.

The Wailers will be at the Connection for just $15, and Gabi Viteri will be there coaching for the Burton Women's Camp on January 5th and 6th.

Note: Man we've gotten a lot of questions about the three LIVE, STREAMING CAMS that we shipped up there a month ago now. Not sure what the problems are but they don't seem to be making them a priority that's for sure. We'll retry AGAIN this week to see if we can get you those running. You guys are missing out on some awesome views. Hopefully these cams don't go the route that The Homestead and Wolf Ridge have gone.

CANAAN VALLEY: 37 of 42 Slopes Open; Ice Skating; Made snow and will as long as temps allow.

MAN has Canaan ramped up!?!!? They added a bunch more terrain for today. Snow tubing isn't available just yet but that should open next weekend. Expect AWESOME conditions at Canaan today.

Canaan has a BUNCH of great deals going on right now and I'd advise you guys to check these out at:

We have a NEW STREAMING CAM going LIVE this week at Canaan. David Vance was putting it up on Friday so look for that soon!

MASSANUTTEN RESORT: 8 of 14 Slopes Open; 12 Lanes of Tubing Open; Made and Still Making Snow as long as temps allow.

MASS has their old snow report page back! Yea! That thing is so much better than what they were using as a temp page. Check out the full report at:

Massanutten is open with BOTH of their terrain parks as well and although they have fought the weather a bit thus far, they do have Diamond Jim open for those looking for adventure. Mass is creating a BLIZZARD this morning and the views on BOTH Streaming Cams are great. Check out:

BRYCE RESORT: 5 of 8 Slopes Open; Snow Tubing; Made Snow

Bryce made snow on Friday and Friday night although as of 8am with temps still hovering around 24° we're not seeing snowmaking happening via the LIVE STREAM at

Regardless conditions will be awesome today with great weather and slopes. Snow tubing is open as well.

THE HOMESTEAD: 6 of 10 Slopes Open; Snow Tubing; Snowmobiles; Mini Snowmobiles; Made and Still making snow as long as temps allow today.

We want to thank Lynn Swann and Matt Fussell for keeping us up to date on the happenings at this popular resort. We hope to get you guys some LIVE VIEWS for up there as we shipped a Streaming Cam to them a year ago. Not sure what the issues are with getting it LIVE but we hope to get you that feed shortly.

Homestead will do NIGHT SKIING tonight and now every Saturday for the rest of the season.

TIMBERLINE RESORT: 24 of 40 Slopes Open; Snow Tubing; Terrain Parks; Made snow

I love me some Timberline Live Stream. Check it at:

Timberline looks to be good to go for an awesome weekend of fun on the mountain. I love their snow report that is reporting, "NICELY Packed Powder!" We'd agree!

WINTERPLACE RESORT: 20 of 27 Slopes Open; Snow Tubing; Terrain Parks; Made Snow

The LIVE STREAM looks awesome this morning at Winterplace and from the videos that Travis Roberts has been sending us, things are in awesome shape at Winterplace for the weekend. Check the cam by CLICKING HERE!

Also you guys should check out the STAY and SKI FREE deals at Winterplace. Here's what Winterplace is promoting right now: and also Glade Springs has a sweet deal. Check it out at:

WISP RESORT: 30 of 32 Slopes Open; Ice Skating; Snow Tubing; Mountain Coastering; Made Snow

First – Lori if you're reading this girl I KNOW I owe you a phone call. Guys we'll be working with Wisp to get you guys some awesome views via Streaming Cams from this popular resort. Lori's done here part and emailed me more than once. Speaking of emails, I got a TON of emails this past week about a newsletter than GM Tim Prather posted in response to Wisp's slope openings this past week. I LOVED it! I haven't shared the rants and responses because I didn't want to get into the fray, but maybe I will address that on Sunday AM. How's that for a setup!?!?!

Anyway Wisp is looking REALLY GREAT today with all but two trails open. Get out and enjoy.

APPALACHIAN: 10 of 12 Slopes Open; Ice Skating; Made snow and will be making snow as long as temps allow today.

App was making a blizzard at 7:20am this morning. As I watched one of their groomers doing their thing you could barely see it due to the manmade cloud of powder.

App is hosting the first event of the Shred for the Cup Rail Jam series today. We attended the Big Air event last season and can tell you that there is a LOT of fun that goes down at these things. If you're in that neck of the woods today, you ought to check them out.

You can see all of the Press Release on what's planned by clicking here.

CATALOOCHEE: 15 of 17 Slopes Open; Tubing; Making Snow

On Saturday, Cat will be skiing on all but two trails. They've inched closer to being 100% open. They have several terrain features available for you to ride on Upper Over Easy, right down from the Snack Shack, accessed by the Easy Way Triple Chairlift. Upper Snowbird Trail and Upper Turkey Trot will not be open today.

Tube World located in Maggie Valley, across from Ghost Town in the Sky, four miles from the ski area will be operating from 10am until 10pm with 1 hour 45 minute sessions available beginning at 10am. Cost for tubing is $25 and you must be 42" to ride alone. There is no two person tubing at Tube World. Please remember that tubing is on a first come, first served basis and some sessions will sell out.

WINTERGREEN RESORT: 20 of 26 Slopes Open; Tubing; Terrain Parks, Made snow and will as long as temps allow.

Man we are SO happy for Wintergreen that they have finally gotten some consistent cold weather to work with. When these guys have the conditions, they can make snow better than most. That is evidenced by the fact the fact that they've opened more terrain in just the last 24 hours and look great! Wintergreen posted:


Our Snowmaking and Grooming Staff continue to work extra hard, opening UpperTurkey, Cross Cut, Lower Cliffhanger and both Terrain Parks today.  Conditions should be fantastic!

We are open today from 9am-10pm, skiing and riding on 20 trails with 5 lifts operating.  The Plunge will be open with sessions starting at 10am and ending at 11pm.  Ridgely's Fun Park will be open from 11am-4pm.

OBER GATLINBURG: 6 of 9 Slopes Open; Snow Tubing; Best Ice Skating around and they made snow.

Ober is one of those resorts that you just have to visit sometime soon. They do the most with some of the most challenging weather in the region over the last two seasons. They average 35" of snow per winter and saw 45" of snow in both the 2010-2011 and 2009-2010 seasons. However last season's 9" stung and so far only 5" of natural snow has fallen and the temps have been challenging until recently. Nevertheless the Anders family and their loyal crew do an awesome job with this ski resort. If you've never been to Ober you should plan to make it soon. They have probably the most unique resort amenities and that Aerial Tram ride from the top of Ober down to the center of Gatlinburg is worth the trip all by itself.

SAPPHIRE VALLEY: 2 of 2 Slopes Open; Tubing; Made Snow

Sapphire has really upped their game this season and you can tell that they are dedicated to provided a nice experience for those who trek to the Southernmost ski area in the state of North Carolina. Sapphire did not have any of the snowguns running this morning at 7:30am but added a ton of base to 24-46" so they are in great shape for the weekend. They have their Frozen Falls Tubing Park open as well.

SUGAR MOUNTAIN: 15 of 20 Slopes Open; Ice Skating; Snow Tubing; Made and Making Snow. Sugar really cranked out some snow over the last 24 hours and will be in mid season form on Saturday and Sunday. Live Bluegrass will be jamming again this evening between 4 and 6 pm.

WOLF RIDGE: 6 of 22 Slopes Open; Terrain Park features and Tubing Open

They made snow yesterday and last night and should be in great shape for today with groomed conditions although only on 6 of 22 trails. We've received a lot of calls and emails asking "what's going on at Wolf" but we really can't tell you as they simply are not talking. We've called numerous times and from what we can tell they are just doing their thing and ignoring much of what's being said and asked via the social media outlets. Both webcams on the mountain were dormant for more than a year and they got those going albeit with such a small image and bad vantagepoint that you couldn't see anything of value anyway. Now this morning both of those have been pulled again. I know a lot of you have emailed me personally asking questions, but our calls have gone unanswered by Orville English, and nobody else over there has any say on anything really.

Not sure what's going down over there. On Friday I personally took four phone calls asking US about tubing and pricing and we really don't know how to answer those questions except to recommend heading to Cataloochee's Tube World instead.  After several weeks of attempts to communicate it really appears that Wolf could care less what we or you guys think.

Just saying…

Email me your thoughts and reactions at: [email protected]

FOLLOW US on Twitter for up-to-date news (like when it SNOWS) and for the best chances to WIN our FREE LIFT PASSES, VACATIONS, FREES SKIS, FREE SNOWBOARD and more! We're giving a LOT away this season and all you have to do is FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, Subscribe to our SkiMail list at the bottom of every page of the website OR Join Us on the SnoForum at

They're ALL FREE to Join, Subscribe or Follow Us and we promise to keep you well-informed. Share our website with your friends. We'd appreciate it a lot.

Previous Post
25 Days of Christmas Giveaways – ALL WINNERS & PRIZES ANNOUNCED
Next Post
Wintergreen Resort looks GREAT today with 20 Trails Open! Click to enlarge!
Related Posts