Lorrie Tomlinson reported from Beech on Friday:
Picturesque mountain views served as a backdrop for the holiday vacationers at Ski Beech. Underneath a blue, sunny sky, the temperature was in the 40s. The surface conditions were pretty good despite all the skier traffic, although as the day progressed lots of icy areas developed. The high speed quad provided fast transportation to the top of the mountain and minimized wait in the lift lines.
Early in the day, the snowboard park was a hidden gem, unoccupied by the swarm of boarders and skiers. Gradually, the thrill seekers encroached the Meadows terrain area, like an army of ants invading a picnic lunch. The three jumps challenged snow riders of all ages. The adventurous crew enjoyed speeding into the half pipe, riding one side and then the other, before catching some air to exit onto the trail again. Bryson, age 3, from Dallas, NC, judged the abilities of the tricksters today. He was observed standing by the first jump expressing his disappointment in failed attempts. For the successful jumps, Bryson would cheer with excitement and congratulate the rider with "You did good". Maybe you had to be there to appreciate Bryson’s enthusiasm, but his contributions were enjoyed by many park participants today.
Cataloochee 12-30-05 David McConnell
I put the family in tow and we headed out bright and early Friday morning to Cataloochee. I was expecting a crowd but I figured if we got there before 8:30 or so we should be ahead of most of it. Well, we arrived at 8:20 and the lower lot was already full. Still there were only 20 or so cars in the upper lot so parking wasn’t really an issue. I herded everyone down to the lodge and ran into a whopping line at the ticket window. I sent everyone else inside to get their boots and such on and I surveyed the situation.
First, there is no lift ticket only line. I have to wait behind everyone else purchasing rentals, ski school, etc. Secondly, the line was moving VERY slowly; taking approximately 8-10 minutes per party.
I did notice that everyone was having to fill out a rental form for the people in their party AT the ticket window. Now being the assertive and impatient person that I am, I decided that I should go up to the ticket window and get a stack of rental forms and some pens and distribute them to the folks waiting in line in order to expedite the process. Nope, can’t do that. Why, because the form itself acts as your receipt for payment so you do not get one until you are ready to pay. I do not claim to be an expert in ski area operations but come on, this creates a huge bottleneck in the process. I don’t have the answer but I can for sure spot a problem in that process. So, 55 minutes later I have my 3 lift tickets in hand and we are able to hit the slopes.
Once out the lift lines are not really too bad; 4-5 minutes for Easy Way, and pretty much nonexistent for the Rock Island quad and Omigosh double. The snow was a sugary, loose granular consistency over a hard, icy base; coverage was excellent but I would still call the conditions variable. However, given the rain and warm temperatures of the previous days I was pleasantly surprised that they were as good as they were.
It was a beautiful sunny day, which became rather hot as noon started to approach. A heavy layer of clouds lay down in the valley with the areas mountains poking through looking like islands in a sea of white snow. As the day worn on through noon the slopes got considerably more crowded, although there were really never more than 3-5 people on Upper Omigosh at any one time that slope was the exception. Sometime after 1, it was just too crowded to bear anymore and fearing for my family’s safety we called it a day. By then, the line for Easy Way had grown to near 20 minutes but the line for the other 2 lifts were still only having a 5 or so minute wait time.
With the exception of the ticketing process I think that Cataloochee’s staff handled the crowds very well. I had prepared myself for the crowds beforehand, and they were what I had expected. The ski early/leave early principle was fairly effective in getting us out on the slopes for 4-5 hours and really not be too inconvenienced with the crowds until we were just about ready to leave.
Davey Thompson reported from Snowshoe – Friday:
Two more inches of snow made for PERFECT conditions here at Snowshoe. I got out early and skied Shays and Cupp and they were a little on the crusty side with some icy spots. However after a few runs, I moved over to the main terrain and the conditions on that side of the mountain were some of the best I have skied. The 5" of snow that the resort has received in the last three days, and the addition of more snowmaking Thursday night, made for near-perfect conditions. Also one of the things that I like to see when I’m skiing is lots of snow everywhere and that was definately the case here. The trees were all white and snow covered and the woods are almost knee deep in natural snow. Conditions can not be better anywhere else in the east! The lift lines didn’t start happening until around noon and even then were no more than maybe 10 minutes Having 14 lifts going make for great crowd dispersement. Hope you like my report as I’ll be picking up a lot from up this way in an attempt to win that On-Snow prize now!
Dana Dimmery reports from Winterplace:
I skied at Snowshoe the other day and will have to say that snow conditions here at Winterplace are as good, but the ambience was a little letdown. This area of WV has not seen quite as much snow so the surroundings were less snowy if you know what I mean. Of course it should be pointed out that we only ski on the slopes and not on the surrounding hillsides, so my critique is a bit stupid. The slopes were busy and the skiing was great so all in all a nice day. We left at lunch to beat the rush!
311man from the messageboard reports from Wolf Laurel:
Me, my brother, and my dad left at 5am on thursday morning to head up to wolf laurel to make our first turns of the season. The weather is nasty almost the whole way up with a light drizzle and overall nasty weather. We finally arrive at the wolf around 8:30 and find that the visibility is about 50 ft due to the clouds. The rain turned into a very fine sleet that was on and off throughout the day but I didn’t mind it that much at all. The conditions were pretty bad to start off with ice everywhere which eventually went away as the trails were ridden more and more. Towards the night it got really cold, foggier, windy, and icey with ice on everything; even my board began to ice over. Conditions remained decent at night. We finally went to our hotel around 10:00 after 13 hours of boarding. The next morning we woke up at 8:30am and headed to the slopes around 9:30. The weather had completely turned around as it was sunny and in the 50’s without fog. The sun melted some of the ice so conditions were pretty nice. The lift lines got horrible around 12 and we eventually couldn’t take it anymore. We boarded until about 3:30 and by then we had simply had enough of the lift lines and were extremely sore and tired (and still am).
We will keep a log of the best reporter’s submission, photos and reports. Trust us it is way to time consuming to post every pic…but send them…because we are tallying the scores. The winner of the Best On Snow Reporter for 2005-2006 will win $1000 in cash, a FREE Getaway Vacation and more. The contest will run from now through March 1st and we will choose the winner. Our choice will be based on the following and IN THE ORDER of importance.
Quality of Photos
Quality of Reports (well written, informative, unbiased)
Number of Photo Submissions
Number of Reports
Extra points will be given for getting smiling faces in the photos and including names and cities where you can.
Extra points will be awarded for creative ideas.
We will choose the winner based on how helpful and informative the reports have been.
As of 12/31/2005 here are the top vote getters. (We will only document the top three to five here throughout the season…and we may begin posting the top ten, depending on how close results are.)
1. Lorrie Tomlinson
2. Mark McKelvy
3. Joe Harmon
4. Dave McConnell
5. Kent Jackson
6. Heidi Hatcher