Great Conditions Abound for North Carolina Resorts!

First Trax

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Snow (God given and manmade) can sure get people excited. If you had been frozen in ice and just woke up on Wednesday you’d have sworn that this past Monday was the first time the snow guns had cranked this season and that yesterday (Wednesday) was opening day of the ski season. Of course that’s not the case. We’ve all been fighting inconsistent temps and less than normal snows.

Things are GREAT out today…and here are some notes. You guys will want to keep checking back as we have a lot of photos to share with you. Additionally, if you’re not used to also visiting, you should start doing it. We’re featuring Photos of the Day and more information for all of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas over there. Also today, we have a very funny story to share. So visit later this morning!

Resort Notes:

All resorts have been blasting the slopes with snow since Monday and that has added lots of base and will make for phenomenal conditions for today and Friday…and going into the MLK weekend. If you can hit the slopes today or Friday you’re in for a great time. Several resorts added open terrain and more will be opening soon. Here’s a rundown of how sweet things are today, as well as some base details, etc.

Appalachian has added 6-8” of base in the last 30 hours or so and thus have opened another slope for today. Terrain park enthusiasts can expect that App will have the park re-opened by Friday.

Cataloochee usually updates their report late each evening for the next morning and because of that Tammy Brown shared the fact that the resort ended up actually receiving 10” of snow from Tuesday night’s storm. That puts them at 15.5” of snow on the season. They have reopened two additional trails for today giving them 7 trails open today. They have also reopened their popular tubing hill.

Hawksnest reopened two more trails and added substantially to their base. They have 6 trails open and also have their popular snow tubing park open for Thursday.

Sapphire Valley – There are some confusing reports circulating out there that seem to reflect that Sapphire is open today. They are not. RJ Grady has been staying in touch and says, “We have been making lots of snow and our plan is to open Saturday, January 13th at 9:00 am, weather permitting.”

Ski Beech has been making snow since Monday AM and with that and 6” of snow Tuesday night, Beech has sweet conditions for today. Mark McKelvy and other reporters wrote that conditions were very nice yesterday afternoon and with more snowmaking all night and as long as temps allow today…expect even better! The temperature at 6:15 AM was 24 and clear. Forecast calls for mostly clear and temperatures in the low 30’s. Today is Men’s Day (during day session only). Enjoy your day, and ski with care.

Sugar Mountain has added another trail opening for today, giving the 9 trails today. They were the first resort to crank up the snow guns on Monday morning and have been making snow around the clock since then and snowmaking will be in progress as long as temps allow. We’re not certain about Sugar’s base depth reporting this morning. They are claiming 22-46” of base this morning. They have been adding an inch or two to their reported base each of the last couple of days with 24 hour snowmaking. Then this morning they are reporting an increase of 12-16” of snow across all 9 open trails in the last 24 hours??? They also added another 1” of natural snow to Tuesday’s snow. Although we’re not certain of the base depth report…conditions will be very sweet at Sugar today. Sugar DOES have one heck of a great snowmaking system over there…but that much of an increase is suspect. Also we’re not sure where the add 1” of natural snowfall came from since it didn’t snow after they posted their report Wednesday morning.

Wolf Ridge Resort – Wanna talk about confusion?!!? Some people are still confused over their name change and that’s understandable. Most regular’s just call it “The Wolf” anyway but others reporting to us can’t get the old Wolf Laurel out of their head. Since The Wolf hasn’t been keeping up with their own web reporting (they were closed) we made it a point to make contact with staffers each day. Wednesday morning we called and got an update that had received 5” of snow from Tuesday night’s storm. They have also made a ton of snow and are in great shape. They reopen for fun TODAY (Thursday) and one Wolf Ridge staffer shared, “We have been closed today (Wednesday) rebuilding our base on top of 8 inches of natural snow we received last night. This will give us a good base of 15 – 25 inches. We will be open at 9 AM Thursday morning. At 10 AM on Friday morning we will open our new ski tunnel and ski run, Boardwalk, and our new Terrain Park, Park Place on the Breakaway Village side of the mountain. Lift Tickets and rentals will be open at the Upper Wolf Ridge Lodge and at our Lower Wolf Ridge lodge this weekend.”

Okay, so we’re now confused. 8” of snow as opposed to 5”. So being the good marketing guy and reporter that I am I called The Wolf this morning. I don’t want to get anyone in hot water, so I won’t provide the name of the contact, however she told me that The Wolf received 6” of snow Tuesday night. Let’s review. Two calls and an email and we have the “fact” that The Wolf received 5”, 6” and 8” of snow on the same night. So I asked one of my regular contacts, “You sure about the 6” ‘cause I was told 5” Wednesday morning?” She replied, “Well we probably did have between 5” and 6”.” I could “live” with that answer, because half the time I can’t tell if it’s 3-4” in my own yard. So comforted by her answer, I asked, “I understand. Was there any chance you got 8”?” She chuckled and said, “Oh, no, honey it was between 5-6”” Okay guys – one hand needs to know what the others are saying. Regardless, of how much snow was received, The Wolf is in great shape headed into the weekend and visitors will be able to enjoy some NEW terrain which is always cool. Be among the first to ski a new slope in NC! Ski a SKI TUNNEL!

The point of these resort notes is not to upset marketing staffers or General Managers. Heck, we want to keep them happy. However, we need to keep our enthusiasm over the return of Winter in check and not start throwing out overzealous numbers for any reason. A few emailed us this morning questioning how a resort can add 12-16” of base in one day. Our quick answer is that IT CAN BE DONE on one trail, but not likely on numerous trails within one 24 hour period. The more logical answer is that we’re headed into an all-important MLK weekend and sometimes GMs and Marketing people feel the need to exaggerate to gain an edge on attracting visitors.

‘Nuff said. This is the first GREAT ski conditions in the new year so let’s just say that conditions will be very nice no matter where you choose to ski or ride today. Have fun, enjoy and get us some photos!

Weather For the MLK Extended Weekend

That is the question of the morning. The forecast HAS changed somewhat in the last 24 hours and you can check out the details that Meteorologist, Marcus Lynch provides in the weather update in the middle column of our front page. However the short summary is this:

The snowguns will turn off sometime mid morning as temps will get in the 40s for the first since since Monday morning. There is a chance for more snowmaking Thursday night. Friday will cloud up some and mild up a bit into the upper 40s. Ski conditions on Friday will be sweet!

Saturday does now appear to be a cloudy, drizzly kind of day with a 50% chance of light rain. It does look to be more on the hit and miss, drizzly side, rather than a day-killing kind of rain. Sunday now appears to be more of a cloudy day with only a slight chance of scattered, light rain. So Sunday looks much better than the forecast showed yesterday. Monday now looks to be a rain-to-mix-to-SNOW kind of a day. The forecasted highs will be near 50, so the 50% chance of rain will be under-developed snow ļ However, as the day goes on, look for falling temps, changing things over to snow and sleet.

As previously forecasted, winter looks to be returning with consistent temps and snowy weather beginning Tuesday of next week. Highs Tuesday and Wednesday will be in the 20s and 30s, and lows will be in the teens. Ski season is FINALLY – AND REALLY here!

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Until Next Time…


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