Four Resorts in North Carolina and Snowshoe Are Open Today!

First Trax

Happy Lunar Eclipse Day! After getting the snow reports done for the day I logged on to and watched the huge, lunar event that was covered with LIVE WEBCAM feeds from Singapore, Australia and in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. I was listening to a LIVE FEED that alluded to the moon turning blood red and it was kind of interesting to hear callers placing bad luck and even biblical significance to these events.

<Brought to you by Slooh Space Camera at 10am EST via Hawaii.

One interesting comment made by the host, Bob Berman was the fact that these kinds of events tell us a lot about our Earth in that as the light from the sun is bent around the Earth and cast onto the moon we can tell a lot about how dirty our atmosphere is, etc. He proclaimed, "Man all looks well and it appears our atmosphere is alive, healthy and well."

This is coming from a professional astronomer.

The Slooh Space Camera covered the event LIVE using remote facilities in Hawaii, Asia, and Australia. Bob Berman had special guests Duncan Copp and Dr. Lucie Green.

The images from Slooh allowed (FOR THE FIRST TIME) the ability for professional and amatuer astronomers from all around the world to click around from different locations worldwide and see the lunar event via webcams. Duncan Cobb was in England, communicating with Berman at Slooh and whether the sun was shining in your part of the world, we were all able to see the event!

Interestingly, Australia’s view was upside down!

The most interesting thing to me was the fact that NASA and SLOOH actually didn’t have a LIVE FEED in the sense that it wasn’t actually streaming LIVE like we’re doing for several of the ski cams these days. The images being delivered for the eclipse were fantastic but only updating every minute or so.

The eclipse turned the moon from bright white, to pinkish, to pale red, to dark red, to black as it happened. It was amazing technology and quite brilliant to participate in.

Why the heck am I going on and on about the moon? Maybe I’m suffering a bit of snow withdrawals as we’re now at December 10th and by now I think all of us were hoping that all of our favorite resorts were open with all of their terrain. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. You can read this entire Saturday update for all the details, but a quick summary of openings are as follows:

Appalachian – 4 trails
Beech Mountain – 5 trails
Cataloochee – 8 trails
Snowshoe Mountain – 11 trails
Sugar Mountain – 7 trails

That’s it for today. 35 trails are open in the entire southeast and mid Atlantic. Be thankful for that though, because the weather certainly has not been cooperative to date. Sugar and Cataloochee have been open every weekend for five weekends now, but the cycle of rain and mild weather weekly have made for challenging times to say the least.

COLD, COLD air and from 3-10" of snow came in this past Wednesday/Thursday and that made for some great snowmaking ops for most all of the ski resorts in our region. That got the five resorts mentioned above open and everyone else is hoping to open December 16th or 17th.


<Bryce Resort in Virginia has been able to make snow, but like most of the ski resorts, we’re all awaiting consistently cold temps.

Man I know a lot of people are beginning to fret just a bit. I’ve been covering the Southeast and Mid Atantic ski region for sixteen years now and I don’t think I’ve seen quite the pattern that we are experiencing right now. Things are not GREAT TODAY to say the least. The great snowmaking and natural snow will make for a sweet looking day today for the limited terrain that is open and we’ll see more snowmaking tonight and Sunday night. Many ski areas will have additional snowmaking opportunities through Tuesday and Wednesday night but then we’re looking at a forecast from December 13th through the 19th that is not condusive to making snow. If that forecast holds, that will put many if not all of the ski areas just one week away from the important Christmas to New Year Holiday ski period with little to no trails open.

Most forecasters have been forecasting a COLD second half to the month and we’re going to have to hold out some hope that this happens. If things go cold and snowy from the 19th forward, then the resorts can create some miracles and get a lot of terrain open in a week.

Many people have emailed me asking whether any resort will have all of their terrain open by Christmas with the way the weather has been and with the forecast we have in place.

The best way I can answer that is "WAIT AND SEE". I’m thinking that it is highly doubtful that any of the larger resorts will be fully open unless things REALLY get cold and snowy after the 19th of the month.

Here are some notables for today. Keep checking back and we’ll hopefully be able to share more good news soon.

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 25° – Opens today through 10pm. They will have Upper and Lower Big Appal, Apple Jack (which is their big terrain park trail) and Appaltizer for the beginners. (That’s the conveyor assisted slope for newbies.) That’s 4 trails with 2 lifts and they also have ice skating and a base of 6-16" of perfectly groomed snow to play on.

There is a LOT happening at App today:

Events include:

-First 100 guests receive free ski ticket
-First person to ride the 50th Golden Chair wins prizes
-Rome Pre Jib Snowboard Event
-Spy Super Session

-Free Professional Family Ski Portraits (Digital Copy) taken by Joshua Easterling Photography 10am – 3pm

– Golden Scavenger Hunt Part 1 (Items 1-20) First 3 to complete win prizes

Unfortunately App was not able to do the annual $5 liftie weekend as those dates passed due to the mild weather and today’s events are packed with special, prizes and more. Plus the first 100 people on the slopes get a FREE Lift Pass!

They have a scavenger hunt and also a Rome Pre-Jib happening today as well!

Rome SDS is proud to announce its 8th Annual Pre Jib series.

The Pre Jib is an open format event series that will be held across North America just as the mountains are opening, to give you that early jib fix you’ve been craving. So check the dates, call your friends and… pack a car to get your hands on some Rome schwag, a chance to win a Rome boards and some bindings and most importantly, early season shred.

Entry into the Pre Jib is FREE with purchase of a shred ticket. You must be 18 to sign a waiver on your own, so if you’re younger and showing up alone, be sure to email [email protected] to get your hands on a waiver you can bring to the event pre-signed. You can also download a waiver HERE

Registration is from 11am-1pm
Contest Starts at 2pm

As always App Terrain Park is going to have something dope set up and the RECESS crew will be on hill to help host the event! Dont miss out!

Beech Mountain Resort – 18° – 5 Trails open with a 6-16" base for day sessions only.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 24° – 8 Slopes and Tubing are open. Cat is open for day sessions only today.

Sugar Mountain – 20° – 7 Trails with a base of 6-24". They have ice skating happening as well as their big SugarFest weekend with demos, live music, fireworks, and more!

Sapphire Valley nor Wolf Ridge are open as yet.

Bryce Resort – 33° – Made snow and looking to open December 17th

Massanutten – 28° – Massanutten Ski Area is busy preparing for the 2011-2012 Snow Sports Season. Massanutten always plans to be open as early in December as possible. Weather conditions look favorable for snowmaking Wednesday-Sunday nights. At this time Dec. 13th is scheduled as opening day. THINK COLD!

Wintergreen Resort – 26° and making snow. They are planning to open December 16th.

Canaan Valley – 26° and making snow readying to open December 17th according to Joe Stevens.

Snowshoe Mountain – 23° – making snow and open with 11 trails on a base of 10-20". They wrote, "We had a great opening day yesterday with amazing snow conditions, beautiful weather and a lot of smiling faces. Thanks to our amazing snowmaking and grooming team we’ve added an additional 8 acres to the Snowshoe area and Powder Monkey lift to make your skiing and riding experience even better. We continued to blow snow overnight and will be making snow on Skidder, Spruce Glades, Powder Monkey and Whiffletree during the day. The basin will be open from 9am-4:30pm and Silver Creek will be open 9am-9pm. That means 12 hours of riding on close to 40 acres of terrain. Come up and enjoy the best conditions in the region!"

Winterplace Resort – 28° – making snow and opening December 17th. The new Winterplace webcam is being installed today. Check it out at

Wisp Resort is at 26° this morning and they are opening December 17th. Lori Epp wrote, "In order to provide the highest quality of snow and open terrain, Mountain Operations will use the next week to focus on snowmaking and anticipate opening for the 2011/2012 Winter Season on Saturday, December 17, weather permitting. The 56th Birthday Celebration will be held on Sunday & Monday, December 18 & 19, weather permitting."

Ober is making snow! They will announce an opening soon. They are Making snow on Ski School, Castle Run, Cub Way and tubing park!

Email me your comments, thoughts, photos, vids or anything else you like. [email protected]

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