Great On-Snow Reports from Saturday!

On Snow

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Cameron McQueen reports from Snowshoe:

Some buddies and I took the 5 hour trip to Snow Shoe from Upper East Tennessee.  The conditions were great and there were no crowds.  The temperature was warm and you could tell that it was dropping the trail depth, but SnowShoe had such huge piles of snow built up everywhere that after they groomed the trails at night, the conditions were great again.  Cupp Run was awesome as always.

Jake Parrish – Saturday January 14th –  Sugar Mountain:

Snow, ice, fog, wind, and lots of people are the story of the day. We got an early start on things today, and it is a good thing we did. It snowed from Marion all the way to the mountain. The snow was coming down pretty hard, and the wind was blowing it all over the place.  The temp was around 20 degrees on the mountain when we got there. It didn’t warm up to much, but maybe a couple of degrees. The slopes were covered with ice on the sides, and there was some ice in the middle of the slopes. Tom Terrific and Whoopdedoo both had good snow, with some ice. Compared to normally they were in great shape. Around 10:00 the crowds began to arrive, and the lift line was getting to be a good size. They had both lifts running to the top yellow and grey, but the grey lift was having some problems. I got on it thinking it would be a lot quicker because it didn’t have a line, but oh was I wrong. I’m not sure what, but I think the wind was shutting it down.  It took me at least 35 minutes to reach the top, because it was stopping so much. The fog was also causing some problems, when the wind would blow and the snow would be blown off the slope it would create a huge cloud and you would just have to stop, because you couldn’t see anything around you. The snow was getting better and better as the day went on, and I would expect the rest of the long weekend to be great.

Mike Edwards reports from Sugar on Saturday:

I was at Sugar during the day. It was cold, windy and snowing. Sugar also had all of their snowmaking equipment churning out the white stuff, It stayed in the 20’s all day long and it snowed continuously. Did I mention is was windy? The morning wasn’t too crowded but the afternoon brought LOTS of people. LONG lift lines. The slopes were covered and so was the lodge. When I went to eat I had to stand up and eat as there were no available seats. I didn’t make it up to Switchback or any of the black diamonds so I cannot give an accurate report of them. I did make it to Big Red, Big Birch, Lower Flying mile and Easy Street. Big Red was very icy and it was the kind of ice you find on an ice cube except it had groomer tracks and also had rocks sticking to it. Big Red is one of my favorite trails, bur not today. Did I mention it was windy? Sugar was blowing snow hard so hopefully it will be in good shape tomorrow. The other trails I was on were pretty good. Easy Street was in the best condition. Lots of powder, natural and man made. Birch and Lower flying mile had some icy spots but they weren’t too bad. The magic carpet area was as good as easy street. It was nice fluffy powder. The downside was that the magic carpet was covered with snow and the lift (or carpet) operators had everyone to remove their skis and ride up. Then the skiers had to put their skis back on at the top which made for a congested area (as it wasn’t already congested, MLK weekend). I have noticed that the magic carpet has a lot of trouble with snow, ice and stopping continuously. Maybe they should have kept the rope. The magic carpet doesn’t appear to have much magic. Sunday and Monday should be great at any of the resorts but I would suggest going early, ski hard, take an afternoon siesta and return for the night session.

Mark McKelvy Cataloochee 1-14-06

I woke up at 4:30 AM to head out to Cat with Tommy and Snowbird for the Pre-Utah SkiNC mini Summit and we still weren’t the first there.  The snow started somewhere along I 40 coming from Greensboro and we only fishtailed once.  Upon arrival we were greeted by Mr. Stinky, Teledave, Cbkoontz, Drmnofpow and his friend, and GaTom and his son.  The snow continued all day and that combined with their snowmaking and the gusty winds made for some very blizzard like conditions.  The snow was a little icy underneath from the rain the night before, but we still had a blast.  I never waited in a lift line for more than about 3 minutes.  The most crowded area was the bottom portion of the slopes and the base area, but we had our own crowd.  We all went out for Mexican afterwards for lunch.  What a time.  Everyone better watch out for the SkiNC Utah Summit and you better bring your safety goggles!

David Long reports from Ober Gatlinburg from Saturday:

I didn’t have to go into work today till a little bit later but with the new snow falling I couldn’t help but drive up a few hours earlier to actually see REAL snow at Ober Gatlinburg.  The report said that as of 8:00 am Ober had recieved 1" of the real stuff, plus some man made snow.  Driving up I was blessed with a few beautiful areas of lightly covered snowy fields and then as I started up the mountain the snow disappeared and I was fearful that, yet again the snow magically jumped over Ober and landed at Cataloochee or somewhere else.  Well I figured the roads would be fine and I could easily get to the top. 

The main road up the mountain was fine but the road to the employee lot was completely snow covered with about 2" of snow on it.  So after looking at it I decided my little Altima just couldn’t even pretend to handle the pitch of the road so I went back to the base for the tram.  The snow was rather nice.  The blowers were terrible, BUT that means the resort can stay open longer so I’m all for them.  The snow was amazing and insanely different than just the day before when we had slush to ski on.  I know the "official" Ober report as of 5 pm was only reporting 2" total of natural snow but the parking lots at the resort were showing about 3-4" of snow in them.

Combine that with the full day of snowmaking and the really cold temps tonight…well Sunday looks to be a great day.  For someone who never gets to leave Ober during the winter I would term it near epic…for anyone else it’s just a great day with some good snow.  So for a couple of days Ober Gatlinburg is actually looking like a ski resort with snow on the sides of the trials and the roofs of the buildings.  The crowds are of course insane and you can’t take one step in the mall without stepping on someone, but it’s MLK weekend and Ober has new snow so it’s a great time to be on the hill…why is that you might ask…well because Ober has REAL snow and good conditions!!!!!  Yeah I’m a little excited about it.

On-Snow Reporters:

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 01/15/2006 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. Kent Jackson
2. Lorrie Tomlinson
3. Mark McKelvy

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MLK Crowds hit Sugar Mountain early and caused some good lift lines despite good snow and high winds – Photo by Jake Parrish
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