Great Conditions; Snow Fell; Snow was Made; What more do you want? Go Play!

First Trax

Story by Mike Doble – [email protected]

Hi peeps! I've been TOTALLY out of the loop this week for the first time in a lonnnnnggggg time. We've got so much going on at the office that after Sunday's report (last weekend) I simply turned the reins of the site over to Kenny and Tonette this week. With lots of snow, rain, snow, wind, snow and sunshine going on all week long I think they did a nice job with the controls.

However, I'm your weekend guy and I spent a lot of time looking at this past week's numbers and I did a little "auto-correcting" of snow totals that are being reported at a resort or two. Tonette mentioned on Friday morning that Sugar had reported 5" of snow from the late Thursday-Friday AM snow "storm". It was more of a rain/sleet/snow storm around the High Country as I was in Boone late on Thursday and personally witnessed an inch of heavy, wet snow that was GONE by 2am in the morning as rain came in. Our meteorologist Brad Panovich called that one dead-on way early in the week while several weather gurus were forecasting much of nothing for our NC Mountains (including Boone, Banner Elk and Beech Mountain). Of course he forecasted some heavy snow totals for Canaan, Timberline, Snowshoe and Wisp that played out as well. Very early on Brad was saying that some areas would/could get up to 20-30" but those numbers stayed further north into Maine and Connecticut where Millford, CT has so far seen 38" of snow from Nemo. Kudos to Brad for calling this Nor-easter WAY before any others that we hear from around the region.

Later in the week a few local weather peeps joined in the forecast perhaps an inch or so of snow for Beech and Sugar and that's about what happened as 2-3" of snow fell across the high elevations of Sugar and Beech.

I'm not going to dwell on this (as I have done in the past from time to time) but Sugar is reporting 5" of snow from that Thursday-Friday snow and although there WAS a quick 3" of snow, followed by some wet mix…5" of snow did not fall at Sugar, Beech or any other NC ski area or community for that matter.

That's now TWICE this season that we've seen Sugar report MUCH MORE snow than actually fell this season. I'm thinking it was a bit of an oversight or overzealous reporting…as they've typically been accurate over the last few years.  The strangest part of the mix is that the usually dependable Dr. Ray Russell has fallen to reporting what Sugar reports on their Snow Archives status page.

…Sugar this morning after supposedly 5" of snow fell YESTERDAY?

For example, while Sugar reported 5" – Beech, Seven Devils and every EQUAL high elevation ridge within one mile reported 1-2" of new snow. On Ray's Weather page while Beech's Gil Adams reported 2" of new snow, Ray reported 1/2" on that status page. Even more interesting is that although Beech has seen (and claimed) 67.3" of natural snowfall this season, Ray is only reporting 59.6" while Sugar has claimed 64" of snowfall and Ray's reported…you guessed it – 64". Sugar has ACTUALLY seen 62.6" of snow which is within our expert, acceptable error range ;-).  So KUDOS on the seasonal tally, but not when you compare it to that which is being reported at Beech.

To clear up the numbers:

Beech has seen 67.3" of snow on the season.
Sugar has seen 62.6" which is supported by mountaintop spotters as well.

Not a big deal unless you're getting your news from Sugar's front page or Ray's snow almanac.


Capture from the Beech Slopeside Cam this morning shows plenty of snow still on the ground (3-4")….

February has INDEED been a snowy month as was forecasted early on. There's snow on the ground up at Beech and Sugar and you'll be able to play in natural snow at Appalachian (Blowing Rock) where there is still perhaps 3-4" on the ground in spots. Lots of ground is also showing where some of that reported 5" fell yesterday 😉

As you look further north into West Virginia and Maryland you'll find more than a FOOT of natural snow still on the ground as more than 18" of snow has fallen up that way in the last week and change. In fact, Canaan and Timberline are reporting about 7" of snow from this latest snow storm and thanks to David Lesher's weather data we can tell you that there is 14" of snow on the ground right now for cross country skiing, sledding or snowman building. Canaan and Timberline have see 38.4" of snow thus far in February alone with snowfall on all but ONE day in the month thus far. 126.1" of snow has fallen on the season in Davis, West Virginia. So if you're looking for snow….


Over the last couple of weeks I've gotten a lot of emails from you guys writing about the cameras going off and on. They aren't going off and on. They are simply displaying the LIVE FEED for three minutes at a time, before timing out. To prevent people from simply camping on the LIVE STREAMS as wallpapers for their desktops we programmed them to prompt viewers to restart the stream to continue viewing. Most visitors click around looking at dozens of camera locations…and if you're doing that you will see all of the camera feeds working as they should be. However if you're bringing up one cam and stepping away from you computer and simply leaving the camera page running for hours at a time, the programming will prevent that and simply prompt you to restart the stream every three minutes. is without question offering the most LIVE STREAMS of any independent or privately owned network nationwide. We now have resort cams running in Costa Rica; on Lake Superior and of course most of the Mid Atlantic's ski resorts.

We SHOULD have even more running but for some reason two of the three cameras we shipped and installed back in December are STILL not configured. Can't figure how management isn't raising hell about that!?!?! We also have a new LIVE STREAM at Canaan Valley…but we're thinking that somehow Kenny programmed that one with a screwy password and even though it's running, it isn't aimed properly so the peeps at Canaan are working with us early this week to reprogram it. That should happen by Wednesday. Also we should have new cams going at Wisp soon. Lori Epp has expressed interest and we've all been swamped…but we expect to have more running at more locations soon…including Acapulco…yes Acapulco.


February has been awesome so far and things look pretty seasonal for high and low temps for the coming week with plenty of snowmaking temps for resort to make snow when they want with the exception of a night or two this week. SNOW reenters the forecast by mid week and Brad Panovich is hinting at some additional big snows ahead. So Valentine's Weekend and President's Weekend look to be awesome with lots of open trails, lots of base depths, lots of great conditions.

While this has been one crazy ride this season in terms of resorts getting a late start and having to fight harder than usual to keep snow on the slopes…this season has ALSO been well-timed in terms of Holiday periods. While we're not seeing any records dropping in terms of skier visits, it will be a very strong season financially for most ski resorts thanks to the well timed, important ski holiday weekends.

I still am on record to say that we'll see one MASSIVE snowstorm here in the NC Mountains before this season is over. We'll see.


APPALACHIAN: 20°; 50-78" BASE; MADE SNOW (Snowguns are off during sessions)
100% OPEN with all 12 Trails, 3 Terrain Parks and Ice Skating with the rink-side fire pit.

BEECH MTN: 19°; 24-64" BASE; MADE SNOW and MAKING SNOW as long as temps allow on some selected trails. 100% open with 15 of 15 Trails and their Ice Skating rink. OZ is open as well.

Beech's website is showing 34° but there is a malfunction there. It is actually 19° according to our mountaintop weather pull.

The much anticipated opening of the OZ run is here! The conditions are great, so grab your skis and head over to Beech Mountain Resort! This is College Week. Through Sunday, February 10th, college students receive the group rate on tickets by showing their college ID in the Group Sales office. In order to redeem the college discount, you must have an additional form of identification. Join us for live music and competitions on both weekends! The Beech Tree Bar and Grille will have live music on Saturday night. Please call group sales at 1800 438 2093 x 205 to ensure availability.

Beech Mountain Banked Slalom

Beech Mountain Resort’s Banked Slalom returns on February 9, 2013. The course will feature berms, hips, slash walls, and doubles. The entry fee is $15 and discounted lift tickets are available to competitors. Registration is in Roots Ride shop from 9am-11:30am. The race will begin at noon. Cash and Prizes will be awarded. A portion of the entry fee goes towards Open Division Winners. Ski and Snowboard Divisions include: GROM 13 and under, Youth 14-17, Mens and Womens Open. Sponsors of this event include: Edge of the World, Smith, DaKine, Flux, and One Ball Jay.

16 of 17 Trails open with TUBING OPEN and awesome conditions.

SAPPHIRE: 24.3°; 25-45" BASE
2 of 2 Trails open with TUBING OPEN as well.

SAPPHIRE VALLEY: 7th Annual Great Sapphire OUTHOUSE RACE!!


Toward the end of each ski season we all get a little restless and look for a bit of excitement, so we decided to do what comes naturally…race outhouses on ski’s down a hill! Crazy? Maybe. Dangerous? Perhaps. Fun? Without a doubt! For a good cause? Definitely! This is an event to raise funds for the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society. If you are interested in racing, building or sponsoring an outhouse please call  828.743.1163  for details. This years race will be held on
February 16, 2013.

SUGAR MTN: 21°; 42-86" BASE; MADE SNOW and making snow as long as temps allow.
They are reporting 5" of snow from Friday morning on their website. Me thinks that 5" on Friday would still be on the ground don't you think? It was 2".

WOLF RIDGE: 29.7°; 35-44" BASE; MADE SNOW and will as long as temps allow.
9 of 22 Trails open. It seems that they've made a decision to keep the largest portion of their mountain closed this season as 9 of 22 represents the most they've had open outside of a day or so with heavy natural snow.

BRYCE: 30.6°; 36-62" BASE;
100% OPEN with all 8 Trails and 3 Lanes of Tubing

MASSANUTTEN: 22°; 38" BASE; Made Snow and will as long as temps allow.
100% OPEN with all 14 Trails; terrain parks and TEN LANES of Snow Tubing.

THE HOMESTEAD: 20°; 34" BASE; MADE SNOW and Making Snow as long as temps allow.
They have 6 of 10 Trails Open and Tubing open as well. Ice Skating and Snowmobiles open as well.

…Wintergreen looking SWEET yesterday! Photo thanks to Wintergreen.

WINTERGREEN: 16.9°; 25-55" BASE; MADE SNOW and making snow whenever possible.

They are OPEN with 25 of 26 Trails, Terrain Parks and Snow Tubing. Big weekend planned with music and the second Freestyle DoubleCross on Sunday.

CANAAN VALLEY: 16°; 12-24" BASE; 7.3" of snow from the storm and thanks to David Lesher's weather data we can tell you that there is 14" of snow on the ground right now for cross country skiing, sledding or snowman building. Canaan and Timberline have see 38.4" of snow thus far in February alone with snowfall on all but ONE day in the month thus far. 126.1" of snow has fallen on the season.

SNOWSHOE MTN: 12.5°; 20-46" BASE; 3" of new snow and 11" in the last 7 days; 22" of snow in the last 8 days and 110" on the season! Can you say packed powder!?!? They have a "league leading" 52 of 60 Trails open with 1124 Terrain Parks (you get the drift), snow tubing, snowmobiling, snow cat tours, backcountry dining and about anything else you can think of doing in the snow!

Snowshoe wrote, "There is a fresh 3" blanket of snow waiting for you at the mountain today with a chance of snow in the morning and skies clearing for the afternoon. We've expanded our terrain to 213 acres including the infamous Shay's Revenge top to bottom on the Western Territory. All the trails are groomed today with the exception of Knot Bumper on the basin side if you're looking for some bump runs. Groomer's Choice is Grabhammer.

Cascade, at Silver Creek, will be closed today and tomorrow for racing, and Choker will open today, at the Snowshoe Basin, as an advanced trail. There will be snowmaking on Upper Cup Run, Log Slide and Greenway today. Please be aware of variable conditions across the mountain.

TIMBERLINE: 16°; 12-55" BASE; 6-8" of snow from the storm and 126.1" on the season with 14" of snow on the ground right now! They are 100% OPEN with all 40 Trails, Snow Tubing and tons of great fun on the mountain this weekend.

Thanks to Travis Roberts for this great shot of the Winterplace Snowtubing hill…

WINTERPLACE: 18°; 30-56" BASE; Trace of new snow and made snow as well. They are 100% OPEN with all 27 Trails, both the Hickory Terrain Park and the Panorama Terrain Park open with Snow Tubing OPEN as well. Awesome conditions are in store for you at the Ghent, WV resort.

WISP: 13°; 20" BASE; 3" of New Snow and 18" this week alone and 124" on the season. Wisp did not make snow but do you think they needed to with all that snow?!?!  They are 100% OPEN with all 32 Trails, snow tubing, ice skating and lots of music and fun on the mountain this weekend.

OBER: 28°; 16-25" BASE; MADE SNOW! 7 of 9 Trails Open as well as Snow Tubing and the biggest, baddest, best ice rink in the region.


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