First Trax
silvercreek at snowshoe mountain

THAT IS THE question of the last few days and we will try to take those worries and anxieties off of you today. Maybe. Hopefully.

Holiday Rates have begun…Check the snow report for all the details. We’re talking about a few resorts today on FirsTrax and then covering the important “WHAT TO EXPECT FOR THE HOLIDAYS” “conversation”. I’m out of town handling the snow report from the flat lands today and the internet in my hotel room is not the best. I thought EVERYONE now offered high-speed WIFI. Not so here this morning anyway.

First of all it is a good bit colder into Virginia and West Virginia than in the North Carolina mountains this morning. We are witnessing low 20s and snowmaking happening at Wintergreen Resort and yet temps nearly 10° milder into the NC mountain resorts.

Snowshoe Mountain is taking advantage of the temps and making snow and they’ve also added more open terrain to go to 33 of 60 trails open including night skiing at Silvercreek. You can see by the photo up top just how nice Silvercreek and Snowshoe is looking. One trip through the FOUR live cams they have will attest that things are looking pretty awesome right now.

We’ll just invite you to view ALL of our SKI CAMS by clicking here: Southeast Ski Resort Webcams

Timberline Resort is looking good today and open with 10 of 41 trails. Salamander opens today. I lot of people don’t know that Timberline Resort has the LONGEST trail in the region at just over two miles!

Wintergreen is making snow at 21° this morning and playing on 9 of 26 trails, terrain parks and snow tubing all open.

2014-12-20-homestOmni Homestead Resort in Virginia opens for the first time this season – today. It is 24° as of 8am this morning and they made snow and are open for day sessions with 2 trails to their mid-station for now. Lynn Swann (no NOT the wide receiver great out of Pittsburgh) the popular Director of Marketing and Communications for The Omni Homestead Resort invites you to view their webcam at: http://www.resortcams.com/webcams/homestead/

Beech Mountain Resort – 29° this morning – 8 of 15 trails open, ice skating is open as well. Is everyone else loving their new website? Unlike their old one, everything you need is a click away and easy to find. Visit their website at www.BeechMountainResort.com to view it and their many webcams as well.

By the way Pro Snowboarder Cam Pierce will be at Beech on Saturday!

Massanutten Resort – 22° this morning and making snow. Open with 6 of 14 trails and 8 lanes of snow tubing open. Mass looks pretty great via their webcams. http://www.resortcams.com/webcams/massanutten/

Wisp Resort – 19° – making snow – 7 of 34 trails, ice skating, tubing and their mountain coaster are open.

Sugar Mountain – 30° and making snow. 11 of 20 trails open as well as ice skating and snow tubing.

Wolf Ridge Resort – 29° this morning, not making snow and open with tubing and 3 of 15 trails open.

Sapphire Valley – TUBING ONLY today

As you can see from just a cursory look at a few ski areas within each state – resorts ARE fighting to make snow at every opportunity. They ARE in pretty good shape in terms of what slopes and trails that they each have open, but not everything is open. In fact, it’s probably fairer to say that a lot of ski areas are operating with less than one-half of their available slopes and trails open.

2014-12-20-silver2(The Snowshoe Basin Cam shows pretty views this morning.)

I have to say though that as I was looking around the region at the many LIVE webcams, man it was looking pretty awesome this morning. Snowshoe’s Silvercreek opens today and viewing that new HD cam over there was just a little bit “holy”. Everything was still and quiet with the exception of a snow groomer and snow maker getting the snow ready for prime time. Snowshoe has found the “holy grail” in terms of showing off their mountain with all of their webcams. They’ve come a far cry from when my buddy, Bill Rock was there. Bill didn’t believe in webcams at Snowshoe. What a difference these days. Kudos to Frank DeBerry and David Dekema.

Over the last few days I and my marketing team have been wrapping up advertising placements on SkiSoutheast.com and ResortCams.com and in the process I have had to monitor my “skiMail inbox” closely as I’ve been working with more than a few agencies. Probably the toughest part of the process this past week was picking the “money emails” out of those emails that started coming into my [email protected] email inbox from people wanting to know answers to the following questions:

1. Do you think there will be good enough conditions on the slopes for us to keep our trip plans?

2. Do you think we’ll see any snow during the Christmas week for [INSERT VARIOUS SKI RESORTS].

3. We didn’t buy trip insurance and we’re worried that the conditions will be pretty bad for our trip during the Christmas break. What are your thoughts about whether we should still make the trip?

…there were some funny ones as well. My favorite was, “I trust you guys site and your pinion of conditions. You tell it like it is. I want to no if you think they’ll have snowmobile tours going at Sugar?”

I get asked about where people can snowmobile in North Carolina all the time. Let me start off by answering that one first. You guys are WELCOME to come to my little piece of heaven at the foot of Beech Mountain off of highway 194 off of Shomaker Road in Banner Elk. I have two REALLY OLD-SCHOOL snowmobiles that run like scalded dogs. One doesn’t have any brakes on it and the other one has brakes but the accelerator is stuck on WIDE OPEN…so you’re either OFF of FLYING (except when you’re jamming on the brakes!).

Outside of my couple of “scarier-than-hell” snowmobiles – there are no snowmobiles available to ride or rent at the ski resorts in North Carolina.

The Omni Homestead Resort in Virginia offers snowmobile tours @ $49 for a one-half hour tour and $79 for a full hour. Visit this page for more information: http://www.thehomestead.com/snowmobiles


West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain offers several ways to have some adventure on the snow. They DO offer Snowmobile tours, but they also offer these 4-seat, enclosed (and heated) Polaris RZRs that will take you into Snowshoe’s backcountry where you’ll see some awesome views and more.

You can check out Snowshoe’s Snowmobiling and other Snow Adventures at: http://www.snowshoemtn.com/events-and-activities/winter-activities.aspx


Outside of The Homestead and Snowshoe, you’ll to travel to Wisp Resort in gorgeous Garrett County, Maryland for snowmobile tours.They offer them Day or night, big and little kids alike will love driving their own snowmobile. The 30-minute guided tours are offered daily on groomed trails and backcountry, weather permitting.

See more at: http://www.wispresort.com/snowmobiling.php


(Ask Kenny (THEKenDog) Griffin about my snowmobiles! They are s-c-a-r-y! …and I’m not insured if any of you get killed!)


1. Do you think there will be good enough conditions on the slopes for us to keep our trip plans?

2. Do you think we’ll see any snow during the Christmas week for [INSERT VARIOUS SKI RESORTS].

3. We didn’t buy trip insurance and we’re worried that the conditions will be pretty bad for our trip during the Christmas break. What are your thoughts about whether we should still make the trip?

ALL of these questions can be answered with one blanket response.

1. YES.

Okay that was three responses. Now let me elaborate with the answers that you guys REALLY want to know.

I checked the long range weather for several mountains and let me start by saying that RIGHT NOW there’s plenty of snow and really quite good conditions at the resorts.

Temps look borderline for snowmaking AND there IS some “under-developed” snow (okay rain) in the forecast from Sunday night into Tuesday evening. (Not great.) HOWEVER, Christmas Eve looks like Snow Showers and with low temps in the low to mid 20s – which means great snowmaking ops. Thursday night should bring more snowmaking.

(From my lips to God’s ear, right?)

With that forecast, you’ll PROBABLY see about the same conditions and slope offerings that we have right now. Plenty of snow. Plenty of slopes open. (About the same as we’re seeing right now. Check the snow report. I doubt resorts will be 100% open with all trails with the exception of Appalachian.)

The West Virginia resorts have a bit more favorable forecast with some snow and wintry mix in the forecast from Sunday night into Christmas day. Lows in the 20s will allow snowmaking PROBABLY EVERY NIGHT from last night through the Holiday weekend. That should make for pretty sweet conditions even though there may be some under-developed snow for the first part of the upcoming week.

With most people starting their ski getaways on Friday after Christmas – Snowshoe, Canaan, Timberline, and Winterplace should all be pretty bullet-proof in terms of offering really good conditions. Wisp’s conditions will probably be a notch down from those in West Virginia.

So all in all – I’d say keep the plans in tact and make the trip. Conditions across North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia SHOULD be about what you’ll see out there right now. So check the snow report and plan accordingly.

Snowshoe has about 50% of their trails open right now and we’d expect a few more to open by Christmas. It’s going to be a close call on whether or not The Cupp gets open by then. You could say much the same thing across the region other than at Appalachian Ski Mountain which is close to 100% open now.

We’re being asked about Beech and Sugar a lot. Looking at the forecast, there’s probably FOUR NIGHTS of snowmaking opportunities between Saturday through NEXT Friday. There’s also some light rain and wintry mix in the forecast between now and then. Chances are what you see open RIGHT NOW at Sugar AND Beech is what you’ll see NEXT WEEKEND.

EVERY resort will be sky watching and temperature watching as well and when and if the weather turns even slightly more favorable – you’ll see every snow maker and snow maintenance team scrambling to blast the slopes with snow to open more terrain.

So KEEP the faith and the plans and head to your favorite resort. NO, it probably ISN’T going to be perfectly, pristine powder type weather for your trip this time around. But it will STILL be awesome and you can thank me later.

Check out the FULL SNOW REPORT HERE and feel free to drop me an email with your thoughts and reactions at: [email protected]


EDITOR’S NOTE: I apologize in advance for any typos, poor grammar and misspellings as this internet connection here is killing me. I’ll be in a better spot later this evening and will try to clean up any issues with this report!

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