Great Skiing – Trip Report Issues – Contest Entrant from Hell – Read All of Today’s Column!

First Trax

We’re sharing a humorous, contest-related story this morning, so be sure to read on past this quick morning update and check out the SLOPE CONDITIONS page for more details.

Some Quick Notes This Morning…

There are FIVE more trails open at the various NC Ski Resorts today than on Friday. Most notable are those of Upper Omigosh at Cataloochee, The Oz Run at Ski Beech and Tom Terrific at Sugar Mountain! Look for even more terrain to open with each passing day as ski resorts are making snow to beat the band.

We don’t think we’ve ever seen a season that The Oz Run was open before Robbins Run or White Lightning, but that does show the snowmaking improvements that Beech made during the off season. That gives Beech seven slopes open today, but with The Oz Run being on the back side of the mountain, that does make for quite the acreage open!

Scaly Mountain Still Playing the Waiting Game…

We spoke with Scaly Mountain tubing area’s Gene Head this morning to inquire as to whether or not they would be open for this weekend. He replied, “No Mike, we made some snow last night (19th) but the wind was blowing so hard with 50mph winds that the snow ended up all over the mountain around us.” He added, “It’s been so hard down here in the southwestern part of the state to make snow this season, we’ll ride it out one or two more weekends and see what happens.” He did say that Scaly would attempt to make snow this week to open the weekend of January 26th.

There was some talk a year or so ago about re-opening the small snow sports area for skiing again. They HAVE done some interesting things with the area for non-Winter activities and we’ll share those with you on our new and improved website coming this Spring!

Another New Webcam!

We’ll be talking a lot more about webcams in the days to come as we’re adding more as well as adding some new features that we’ll share soon. We installed a new camera up on Beech Mountain on Friday. The new cam is at Charlie’s Beech Mountain Rentals and Real Estate and it allows for a partial view of the sled hill that operates beside the Town Hall, as well as some nice views of Beech Mountain Parkway and Grandfather Mountain.

Now To Our Main Story…

We experienced a first in our Contest Giveaways!

Martin Chance of Charleston, West Virginia is/was the winner of Trip Seven which was to be used this weekend for skiing at Ski Beech and Lodging at the beautiful log cabins of Eagle Ridge Log Cabins in Banner Elk, NC. As we have done so many times over the last few years, we made a few random calls from the thousands of entries. For this particular contest, we made the call to Martin Chance on January 5th and announced that he was our lucky winner! Here’s where the harsh conditions up until this week put an unusual twist to our “normal gameplan”!

Typically when we call and announce winners we hear responses such as, “Oh Snap! Hurray!” or “I don’t believe it I WON???!!!” and even an occasional, “ALRIGHT! Thanks!”

However, when we called Martin, the response that we received was a first. He replied, “You’re kidding, right? Dude, I just came from the golf course!”

Typically, we’d reply for him to “have a good life”, bow out gracefully and call someone else. When I suggested that, he said, “Whoa, partner. I’m all for it, as long as there’s going to be some snow on the slopes that weekend.”

THAT is the kind of winter we’d all seen this season until this week. I’m certain that reservationists all across the east coast from Sapphire Valley, NC to Jay Peak Resort (the northernmost ski area in Vermont) have had a frustrating time of it maintaining strong booking percentages. Speaking of Jay Peak, Bart Maroney emailed us yesterday that they normally see more than 355” of season up there and thus far they have “only” seen 86” of snow with 10” of that coming in the last 48 hours! He said that they had only 55 of 76 trails open yesterday.

Sorry, I got off track – back to Martin Chance. With conditions being what they were and with a forecast that wasn’t kind for those next several days ahead I could not assure him of good conditions. Of course, I DID assure him that NORMALLY we have great conditions in the midst of January. He replied, “Well heck NORMALLY I don’t eat onions, but if you wrap a burger around it, I’m all for it.”

I knew I was in for a ride! I’m pretty good at dealing with the public (I do it for a living) but as I “went in for the kill” Martin interrupted me, “Mike, if you can guarantee me that there will be good snow on January 18th, then I’m your man. Me and my young lady friend will hop in our Winnebago and head to the mountains of South Carolina.”

NOW, I HAD HIM. I said, “Uh, Martin, you got it dude. We’ll have your snow ready and just to make sure that you know how to get here, your trip is for four people to ski FREE at Ski B-E-A-C-H (not Ski Beech) and we’re located at the high elevations about one hour EAST of Florence, South Carolina.”

I could hear Martin clicking away on his keyboard. He mumbled while he typed, “Let’s see, Florence, South Carolina – ahhh – DUDE THE LONG RANGE FORECAST IS CALLING FOR 70 &%#$ degrees there. What do ya’ll ride on over there – shaving cream!?!?”

Of course I set the record straight, brought him back to Earth and shared the fact that Ski B-E-E-C-H was the HIGHEST elevated ski resort in the Eastern United States at 5506’ in elevation. At this he hung up on me. I dialed his number again and he answered, “Dude WHO ARE YOU? First you’re pulling my leg about a ski resort in South Carolina and NOW you’re jerking my chain about Beech Mountain’s height!”

Since I had overhead the keyboard clicking earlier, I guided him to and had him click on the Ski Beech page that we have there, and then to the mountain stats, which includes the elevation, vertical, etc. He replied, “Hell, that’s taller than over here at Snowshoe!”

“That’s correct Martin. Now that we’ve settled that and assured you that will make sure that we have snow nice and ready for your trip, you ready to do it? I DID mention this was all free right?”

“Yep, I just don’t know what to believe!”

(I tried to bow out a second time and get myself a different winner. I was now past the point of having fun with the call and ready to call someone else. My brain was hurting.) Martin wouldn’t have it.

“Okay, Okay”, he started, “I’ll take the trip, as long as when it gits (that’s the way he pronounced it) close, AH (that’s the way he pronounced the word “I”) can move my trip to another date.”

Now I was really hurting. “Uh Martin, I don’t know if you checked the rules, but the trips are not transferable, nor can they be taken on any other date, other than that which you entered for.”

“Well then, count me in and I’ll see how it goes”, he said.

You got it, I replied. I sent him his vouchers for (4) free lift passes and ski rentals from Ski Country Sports in Banner Elk and he received those on January 14th. I know this because he called me on January 14th.

“Is DIS Mahhhk?” he queried. (That IS the way he said ‘Is this Mike’. I’ll quit the phonetic translations, because I am certain by now you KNOW what I was dealing with!) I replied, “Yes it is. Can I help you?”

“Yep, I want to use these tickets and move my trip to mid February. You know you told me that’d be okay.”

My brain instantly began to hurt. Martin has that effect on me! I replied, “No Martin, I’ve done this for 12 seasons and I have my replies down to a science. I distinctly remember telling you that the trip could not be switched to another date. However, tell you what. You can use the lift tickets anytime this season (before mid March) and the ski rentals as well; but the log cabin vacation is not transferable. I can’t help you there, my man.”

He was silent for what seemed to be an eternity. Martin was a slow talker anyway, but this one went for a record term of silence. He finally broke his silence when he became aware that I wasn’t going to “blink” first. “Well, then can I take that trip to the Florence resort, instead?”

I hung up.  (I know what you’re thinking!  I should have never hung up!)

We haven’t heard from Martin again. Not by phone anyway. He DID email me within ten minutes of our conversation and I asked permission to share this story with you guys. Martin wrote:

“Mike, I won, I won! I knew I had you flustered and had a ball with your wit and demeanor. Your website rocks and I now know why. You’re daily articles are sharp, to the point and of great service to all ski enthusiasts. You are to be congratulated for what has to be the nicest ski web presence of any region of the country. I really appreciate you sending the free tickets and rental voucher and I will take advantage of them prior to the end of the season. I am originally from Winston-Salem and have enjoyed many trips to Ski Beech and I look forward to visiting there again prior to March. I regret however, that I will not be able to take advantage of the lodging on January 18th as I have a last minute engagement that I must attend to.”

Editor’s Note: In case some of you missed the “joke” – the joke was on me. Martin was jerking MY chain the whole time. He knew where Ski Beech was; he was obviously a gentleman of class and was putting on an act at my expense.

Needless to say, I’ve given a few past contest entrants a tough time and Martin turned the tables (rather well I might add) on me. Congrats Martin. I am not usually so easily fooled!


Now that conditions are GREAT, we’re going to go ahead an choose ALL of the TRIP WINNERS NEXT WEEK for the REST of the TRIP GIVEAWAYS! We’ll also be awarded ALL of the FREEBIE LIFT PASSES and we have a ton to give away. We also have some freebies to Canaan Valley to add to the fun. So here’s your “warning” – if you haven’t entered to win free lift passes or free vacations CLICK HERE TO ENTER TODAY!  Don’t be left out!


Check the Slope Conditions Page and just know that WHEREEVER you choose to ski or ride today – You’re going to LOVE IT!

PHOTOS – PHOTOS – (and emails)

If any of you have sent us an email, trip report of photos of late and NOT received a reply from us, we MAY not have received your email! We just found out that due to a strange issue with our email server, we may have had numerous emails over the last couple of days be inaccurately filed away to a blackhole! If you have trip reports, emails, comments or photos to share that did not get a response from us, PLEASE RESEND THEM to [email protected]

We have temporarily resolved the issue and we have a new, MASSIVE email server going online at 10am EST on Monday to better handle the massive transfer of emails that we receive all season long. Sorry for the inconvenience if we missed your contact!

Enjoy your day on the slopes and drop us and email!

Email your comments and photos to [email protected]

Until Next Time…


Send comments and emails to: [email protected]

For more information about the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic visit

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