Merry Christmas Eve – Eve my friends! Around my household several years back, the kids started counting down the eves before Christmas and you can imagine it’s pretty confusing when you’re still several days away from the magical day.
However, we’re only two days until Christmas and we’re only three days away from one of the most important days to all ski resort marketing and management staffs – December 26th. That’s the day that tens of thousands of snow-loviing people head to the resorts of the region to begin what for some is a weeklong Holiday getaway. It should be pretty magical as Meteorologist Brad Panovich is forecasting some significant snows for Christmas weekend. We’ve seen a TRACE of snow this morning across the North Carolina mountains however Brad says we can expect from 8-12" of snow beginning Christmas day and REALLY getting into the snow storm Saturday night, into Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. He’s saying that at times on Monday we’ll be seeing some blizzard conditions. How cool is that?
In some seasons past we’ve all had to "sweat it out" as to whether or not the weather would cooperate and bring enough snow – or at least enough cold temps to make snow – to make for good enough conditions to keep the throngs of people coming. I remember several years back when conditions were pretty tough around the region such that it made for a 30-40% decline in attendance for the Christmas to New Years ski break. It is always a "good thing" when the ski areas get in a great Holiday period and this year’s promises to be one of the best in several years…and for several reasons.
The most obvious reason is the fact that the region’s ski resorts have had a GREAT start to the season with 30-50" of natural snow, and plenty of cold days and nights to lay down some manmade powder and build bases that have ski areas offering most or all of the slopes and trails for us to play on.
The second is the promise of MORE SNOW in the forecast! People LOVE IT when the snow is falling WHILE they’re here!
Another reason is that as crazy as our economy is, people have figured out that it isn’t going to get better anytime soon the way Washington is handing out money – so it appears that people are just going with the flow and going on with life as usual. For tens of thousands this week, that means a few days to a week at the ski areas of the Southeast and mid Atlantic.
That’s great for the local ski community economies and those that come will be rewarded with an awesome week of conditions ahead.
YOU’RE STUCK WITH ME FOR A FEW DAYS…
Thanks tons to Sarah Davis, our new Communications Director for doing a great job of handling our morning snow reports and posting up some news each morning. She and all of our team are now off until January 3rd so you guys are back to being stuck with me for a few days. Our team is kind of a small family and we have a lot of our staff that is from out of town and out of state so as kind of a small business benefit we’ve always given our guys and gals the Christmas to New Years week off (with pay) so they can travel and spend time with their families. Sarah’s going to handle things remotely on Monday for me as I’ll be driving to the airport at 4:30am Monday. However other than Monday I will be your tour guide for the week ahead. Fasten your seat belts and I’ll see if I can still deliver you guys safely to your ski destinations.
Let’s Crank This Thing Up and see where it takes us today…
Most of the ski areas saw at least some flurries of snow overnight! It was still flurrying a bit this morning as I craked up the laptop. All of the ski areas but one are calling it a TRACE of snow.
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 18° – They made 2" or so of new, manmade powder on top of a five to seven FOOT base and offer 100% of their terrain for day and night sessions. The ice rink is open as well as 12 slopes including all 3 terrain parks.
Drew Stanley from over at App posted, "Ample cold temperatures coupled with some substantial natural snowfall this December has given Appalachian the opportunity to offer amazing conditions this Holiday season. All slopes, 3 terrain parks, and all lifts are open, and have been since December 10th."
Appalachian offers the only late-night skiing in the region and Appalachian’s new Midnight Blast Holiday Week will feature skiing & snowboarding until Midnight every night from December 26-30. These extended hours are offered at no additional cost.
Beech Mountain Ski Resort – 12° – Beech is making snow right now, however conditions are so good right now that they will not be making snow during day sessions during the Holidays! That’s a nice Christmas present! Beech is 100% with the Oz Run, White Lightning, Southern Star and all my favorite trails – all 15 of them. Ice skating is also open as well as Munchies Snack Bar and the Beech Tree grill, etc. No tubing just yet.
NOTE: I and several of my rowdy friends, staffers and family will be taking it to the slopes of Beech today. We’ll hit the mountain around lunchtime so if any of our readers are up this way, come hang with us some. We’ll doing some photos and videos to share, so come take part.
Cataloochee Ski Area – 17° – Trace of new snow and they made snow as well. Expect awesome conditions for your Thursday sessions on all 16 trails and terrain park. The tubing park is open as well!
Sapphire Valley – 25° – OHG! I think this is the first time in my fifteen seasons that RJ and the guys over at Sapphire beat me to the snow reporting this morning! Way to go Sapphire! I’m certain their fans appreciate the early bird reporting! Sapphire is probably making snow now as temps are in the 20s for the first time in a few days. They have both trails open and their popular Frozen Falls Tubing Park.
Sugar Mountain – 11° – Have you guys noticed that Sugar’s temp is ALWAYS 1° colder than Beech’s? Always. Did I say always? Calling Dr. Ray. Dr. Ray to the Sugar weather stations. Oh well, it seems Ray ain’t messing with that station anymore. Hmmmm. A-n-y-w-a-y, Sugar’s looking VERY sweet today with 19 of 20 trails available for your skiing and snowboarding pleasure. The terrain park is now open as well as their amazing ice rink. FYI, the only trail NOT open at Sugar right now is that little trail that comes off of Big Red that connects up to Zoom Yang. I’m not certain I’ve ever skied that one. Most people probably "zoom yang" right past it and take the little connector over to Big Birch on their way down to Lower Flying Mile. Conditions should be awesome at Sugar today.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort – 23° – a TRACE of new snow – Conditions are awesome at Wolf right now! Expect 15 of 20 trails to be available today. We’re assuming the connector trails are open and Wolf says they will only be making snow part of the day today. Tubing is open today. No on the terrain park. Expect groomed conditions on a base of 75" according to their morning update.
Note: We had a couple of people email us that Wolf is reporting an 80" base elsewhere and they are also reporting 42" of snow on the season and one-inch in the last 24 hours. We’re not sure where you guys are getting that information and we DID see the 1" of snow over the last 24 hours. Unfortunately that is a little inflated as is the seasonal snowfall thus far. We’re certain it’s a oversight. CoCoRaHs actually has an official snow measurer who lives near the top of the slopes and he’s officially reported 23.7" of natural snowfall since November 1st. Those guys have the official, boy scout devices to do all that good stuff. However a second fan of the site actually bought a house from another client of ours who also lives up there and he’s reported 36" on the season to date. Both of those guys reported a TRACE of snow in the last 24 hours. See, that’s where you guys are sooooo valuable! We’ll have to recruit Todd and Matt from up there to give us some triangulation on snowfall!
This was a long way to state that Wolf’s peeps are snowloving people as well and so they get a litle overly excited and exaggerate a little. No need to shoot anyone! By the way, we’re going with our fans up there and the 36" of snow on the season. It HAS been a great December and more snow is on the way!
That’s it for the NC ski areas. We’re still taking the tour bus through the REST of the resorts in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic so Visit www.skiSoutheast.com for more conditions and reports from around the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atantic. Also visit:
Send us your photos, videos and reports of your day on the slopes to [email protected] or [email protected] and we’ll post you up! Thanks for helping us spread the word of how great things are on the slopes!