Good Conditions for Saturday, Wet Sunday, Snowy Monday

First Trax

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The weather and temperatures are as diverse as I have seen them all season this morning – across our area of coverage. For example it is 26° at Wisp Resort in Maryland, 19° at Snowshoe, 30° at Winterplace in West Virginia, 37° at Massanutten in Virginia, 33° at Ski Beech in North Carolina and 48° at Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee. The temperature differences meant that some resorts made snow, some still are and many did not.

Saturday looks like a great day to ski pretty much anywhere, but there are certainly some top picks. Anywhere in West Virginia or Maryland will be great for today, Wintergreen gets the nod in Virginia and Appalachian, Sugar and Cataloochee get top choice status for the North Carolina resorts. All will be pretty darn nice for today, but there are some ski areas showing some weather-related thin coverage.

Sunday still looks like a wet one with gusty winds so we’ll still on target to have a great ski day today and a good day to hang out, do some shopping or play some games with the family on Sunday.  Monday and Tuesday look snowy with the possibility of some accumulating snows.

Most all of the resorts look to have done some sweet grooming this morning and that will make for VERY NICE conditions especially early and things will change to Loose Granular conditions mid morning. Expect variable granular conditions everywhere due to skier traffic.


Massanutten did not make snow as is being reporting by the SSAA. Like everyone else in Virginia and North Carolina…the snowguns were quiet there as well.

DITTO for Wintergreen Resort in Virginia. Anne Marie Jones informed us that they have 22 trails open today but contrary to the SSAA report, there was no snowmaking there overnight either.

Canaan Valley DID make snow last night and are right now as the temp is 20° right now (9am) and they have 16 trails open. However, contrary to the SSAA report, they did not get 3" of snow overnight. They HAVE, however seen 6.5" of snow this week. Let’s see, snowmaking, early week snow…I’d say that translates to great conditions for Saturday.

Snowshoe also made snow with 19° this morning. Laura Parquette writes, "The entire mountain is groomed and looks great this morning. Snowmaking did occur overnight, and will continue in the Western Territory this morning. Snowmaking will restart across the mountain overnight as temperatures allow. With 57 slopes open today we have the most open terrain in the region for this holiday weekend."

No snowmaking at Timberline or Winterplace but they are both in great shape with cold temps.

Hawksnest has setup various terrain features around the entire mountain. That is a new twist for them and actually a pretty cool idea. Go check it out and get us some photos and trail reports.

* Hawksnest does have some thinning areas beginning to show up some the hoped for snow and the return of snowmaking temps for Thursday will be a welcomed sight.

Sapphire Valley is closed for skiing and perhaps for the rest of the season. They DO have their Frozen Falls tubing area open this weekend. A couple of people have asked us if we thought that Sapphire would end up going the route of Scaly and simply provide a tubing option only, and close down their two trails for good.

That has evidently been on the minds of several old Sapphire fans as we have received several emails of that nature this week. One fan wrote, "I have heard some talk that my boys at SV may opt to provide tubing only down the road. Since they only have one intermediate slope and a bunny hill it’s probably not financially viable to continue on. What do you guys think?"

I THINK that we’ll leave that to Sapphire to decide, but that did happen to a couple of other of the smaller ski areas several years back. Hound Ears closed their ski hill a decade or more ago and so did Mill Ridge. Sapphire is more of a family resort that HAPPENS to provide a snow hill…

<We expanded the shot to show you the area…


That has been the most emailed question of the last few days. A couple of people emailed that it was the result of an underground leak or stream that is keeping them from making snow there. NOT SO MY CONSPIRACY-MINDED FRIENDS!

Beech has just chosen not to make snow over that way. Typically Beech has made and kept snow over towards the blue lift that provides another access up the hill. They are simply not doing that right now and because the webcam is only picking up part of that "no-snow" area, it LOOKS like a bare spot. That is not the case.

Another email that we’ve been getting quite a lot now that Beech’s conditions are not up to snuff with Sugar’s right now is that Beech is not living up to their past laurels where they were always competitive with Sugar and App for conditions, snowmaking and grooming.

The messageboard crowd has added a thread about it, so all we can do is say:

1. Yes, the ski season started tough. But Sugar made snow at every op, Beech didn’t.

2. Sugar certainly looks better than Beech today.

3. Sugar consistently gets it right with grooming and Beech falls short.

One person connected with Beech has posted some valid statements on the messageboard, but one fellow James Seward of Greenville, SC (I got permission to post his name) wrote, "I appreciate the fact that SkiNC probably has to equally talk about all of the ski slopes as if they are all doing the same great job but alls I can say is that me and my wife have been up there three times this season and we watch your reports and the cameras on the slopes and my wife recently told me, ‘Sugar has had the same weather and the same temperatures and the same snow and yet they (Sugar) have looked better all season long.’ So SkiNC how is that possible?"

James, that is not a question for SkiNC. Well, of course you can ask it, but the answer as to how it is possible should be sent to Beech. It SHOULD be noted though that Hawksnest doesn’t look as good as Beech today either. So what is at play here and what people should perhaps be doing is recognizing the pro-active and great nature of Appalachian or Sugar’s management and willingness to gamble with marginal snowmaking ops, instead of complaining or attempting to admonishing others who don’t measure up to Sugar or Appalachian right now.

Those of us who love Beech Mountain would have loved to see Beech make snow each and everytime that Sugar does, but they operate under a different set of criteria, whether we like it or not. Also, while all men are created equal, they don’t grow up equally. Some men simply become greater men than others. The same is true with ski resorts. They are simply NOT all equal. Some are simply better.

That doesn’t keep us from wishing though.


While everybody has pretty good conditions today, it will be of a loose granular nature today and base on base, trail openings and conditions as they are being reported to us…

1. Anywhere in WV and Maryland.

2. Sugar Mountain

3. Appalachian (Second on the strength of quality of snow and terrain parks)

4. Cataloochee and Wintergreen tie

The rest are all pretty equal right now.

Enjoy your day…

Until Next time…

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