Get Out and Enjoy What Should be a Nice Day of Skiing!

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Don’t BLAME Resorts for Conditions, Slope Openings and Crowds!

Editor’s Note: I am combining today’s update on both SkiNC and SkiSoutheast as I am attempting to make first tracks at Snowshoe this morning. We will be updating a lot of Photos of the Day and Video later in the day and thanks to everyone who sent photos from around the region on Friday.

Send YOURS today, no matter where YOU are to: [email protected]  

I was in a lift line yesterday and a fellow next to me said, “This is our first trip here and I have to say that I’m really disappointed that they would not have made more snow and gotten more slopes open.” He added, “WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT to these crowds? I don’t think that I will come here next year.”

I responded calmly, “Gosh I hope a few thousand MORE people here think the same way, because I’ll be here year after year and I wouldn’t mind these conditions anytime.”

I keep going back to the perception thing that Joe Stevens wrote about a while back, but it bears repeating. Several of us met up at the top of the Ballhooter lift at 8:50am or so on Friday morning. Among them was fellow SkiNC and SkiSoutheast columnist, Joe Stevens, and family and friends. There were eleven of us in all. We did six runs from 9am until about 10:20am and the snow was absolutely perfect. The conditions could not have been much better and there were NO lift lines until the 10:20am mark. We keep telling you guys to get out early!

As the sun rose in the sky, things got too warm for layers and many stripped down to a couple of shirts and one brave soul was seen at the bottom of the Ballhooter lift with NO shirt on. Yes, the crowds found the slopes after that and things got a bit crowded on some trails at times and yes, there were a few thin coverage spots on a few slopes…but all in all it was a wonderful day to be skiing or riding. All eleven of us in our group were 100% satisfied with the conditions. We were skiing…AND we were skiing on AMAZING conditions considering the weather, lack of natural snow and lack of snow making temperatures for the month of December.

Resorts all over the southeast and mid-Atlantic have struggled and fought the good fight against long odds weather-wise and what we have open to date is a feat in and of itself. It is also a testament to how good the snow makers and groomers are in the region. They are truly second-to-none. With the number of snowmaking days that we’ve had to date…in years PAST…we would not even BE skiing right now.

Later in the day a young lady was commenting to a friend in line and she was complaining that more trails should have been opened up to help with the crowds. These kinds of comments that I have alluded to here make it sound as though the resorts have some kind of control over the weather. Instead of complaining, we should be THANKING and PRAISING every ski resort in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic for the terrain that we have. Yes, some will say that we ARE thanking them with our money. Nevertheless, the fact that we have some 39 trails to ski in North Carolina; 14 in Virginia; 59 in West Virginia and 17 more in Maryland and Tennessee is remarkable.

A few resorts, Sapphire, Cataloochee and Snowshoe WERE able to make some snow overnight last night and unfortunately the rest were just too warm to do so. Expect conditions at or near what we saw on Friday – which were pretty good.

Only three ski areas are reporting thin coverage. Let’s go ahead and say that you’re going to see some thin coverage areas at just about ALL ski areas today. Most of them will be in the higher traffic and trail merge areas…particularly on steeper trails.

We received a few photos of some amazing lift lines on Friday and that will probably the case again today. Embrace it, and enjoy the runs you get in. The best times to ski are early and late in the day. In closing, I have to add (sorry if I’m rubbing it in) but Snowshoe opened up their new “Soaring Eagle Express” high speed quad at 10am on Friday and that had a huge, positive effect on lift lines. After the crowds hit and Ballhooter was swamped…our group headed over to the new lift and we skied another 5 or 6 runs with NO wait in line. No wait! There wasn’t much terrain open on that side of the mountain so we headed back over the Northern Tract and was surprised that the lift lines there had dwindled to MAYBE 10 minutes. After a lunch break we headed back out and did the Soaring Eagle side again (maybe another 4 runs down) and then headed to the middle of the mountain and other than a sporadic delay…we only saw 10-15 lift lines all day. Holiday crowds or not, we probably made 15-16 runs down the mountain during a busy day. That is a real testament to what a high speed quad can do for crowd control!

The weather should be wonderful, the snow should be decent – so get out and enjoy. Be sure to check back later in the day for a ton of photos, some videos and your trail reports! For now, I’m headed out to do some first tracks of my own with Andrea Smith of Snowshoe!

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Until Next Time…


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Lift lines anyone? Lane Passmore sent in this shot of the crowds at Sugar Mountain on Friday.
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