Happy Groundhog Day Eve! A Snowy Weekend is Here…

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The BEST CONDITIONS of the season are here, right now as we have the most slopes open (226 across the region) that we’ve seen thus far during the 2019-2020 season.

Photo of the Day by Fain Henderson at Beech Mountain

I just posted the VIDEO version of today’s Snow Report if you guys want to listen to that.

Someone emailed me last weekend that the video snow reports that we are featuring this season remind them a bit of the old ‘Southeastern Ski Areas Report” that used to be broadcast to hundreds of radio stations across the region. I know I used to hear those when I lived in Columbia, South Carolina. I guess there are some similarities as we are reading right down the list of available ski areas. However, we’ve added the component of LIVE webcams so I hope our reports are more informative.

We had a ton of excitement on Friday as some of the nicest natural snowfall was occurring in the NC mountains – at least so far this season. I was receiving texts and emails from all over and I had the impression that it was snowing everywhere. As it turns out 24 hours later, it seems that really the only significant snow was falling in the High Country of Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Boone and Blowing Rock.

SNOW is in the forecast around the entire Southeast and mid-Atlantic today with anywhere from an inch or so here in the North Carolina mountains to 4-5″ or so into West Virginia and Maryland. We’ll watch as that system develops and report as we see it appropriate to do so.

Another reader emailed me on Friday, asking me about how hard we have to work when it snows, because there’s more to keep up with in terms of each area reporting (and in some cases NOT reporting snow). There are more trails open and everyone is excited, so we hear from more of our mountain ops. My response was, “Yes we do have to scramble a little bit more when it snows across the entire region, but there’s as much work to do when conditions aren’t so nice as well – and at least when it’s snowing, everyone’s in a great mood.”

…and everyone’s in a great mood on this Saturday morning.

If You Prefer to READ the Snow Report…

We have MORE terrain on which to ski or ride today than at any point in the 2019-2020 season to date.

By the way – man have we been getting some beautiful photos from around the region lately!

HERE’S THE TEXT VERSION! (Scroll down for additional notes and comments)

Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee – Reporting a base of 23″-43″ and wet granular conditions with 6 of 10 slopes open, ice skating and their great tubing park. Mountain coastering and more is open at the Smoky Mountain resort. Reported no natural snow.

Wisp Resort in Maryland – Reporting a 27″ base with 24 of 34 slopes and trails open as well as mountain coastering, ice skating, snow tubing and more until 9pm tonight.

NC RESORTS

Appalachian Ski Mountain – Reporting a 42″-60″ base and is 100% Open (all 12 trails and terrain parks and ice skating). They didn’t report any snowfall, but we had two independent reports of just under 1″.

Beech Mountain Resort – Reporting a 44″-80″ base and they have 15 of 17 slopes open and only MEADOWS and OZ RUN are not open today. That means White Lightning and Southern Star are…as well as ice skating and tubing.

Cataloochee Ski Area – Reporting a 50-78″ base and they are 100% open with all 18 slopes and trails, and snow tubing. They were making snow overnight and this morning and the slopes are perfectly groomed. Snow is expected later today and there was a TRACE of snow over the last 24 hours.

Sugar Mountain Resort – Reporting a 46″-87″ base and 2″ of snow in the last 24 hours. They have 13 of 21 slopes and trails open as well as ice skating and snow tubing. (Editor’s note: I received two emails and texts from people up top at Sugar Ski & Country Club who reported close to 4″ of natural snowfall. Official input seems to support the 2″ being reported, but good on Sugar for going with the official numbers.)

Wolf Ridge Resort – Reporting 16″-36″ groomed base with 7 of 15 slopes open and tubing as well.

Sapphire Valley – Reporting a base of 27″-67″ and both slopes and Frozen Falls Tubing open as well. No natural snow.

VA RESORTS

Massanutten Resort – Reporting a corduroy groomed base of 34″ and 9 of 14 slopes open today. They also have their Pacesetter Terrain Park open with 8 features and 12 lanes of snow tubing AND ice skating open. There was a TRACE of new natural snow.

Omni Homestead Resort – Reporting a base of 24″-36″ and 3 of 9 slopes open til 5pm today. Snow tubing and mini-snowmobiles are available today.

Wintergreen Resort – Reporting a 32″ base and 17 of 25 slopes and trails open with terrain park and snow tubing open. It’s a big, big, big day at Wintergreen – Big Acorn opens today!

Bryce Resort – Reporting a base of 48″ and 100% open (all 8 slopes) as well as ice skating and tubing open. They didn’t report any snowfall, but we received a few emails reporting about one-half inch.

WV RESORTS

Canaan Valley Resort – Reporting a 15-30″ base and 20 trails open today. Snow tubing and ice skating are open as well. They will play until 6pm at Canaan on Saturday. There was a trace of snow over the last 24 hours, but they are making snow and grooming this morning. Looks AWESOME!

Snowshoe Mountain – 45″ of groomed, corduroy perfection with 49 of 61 slopes and trails open. Reported no new, natural snow but snow is expected today and it often over-delivers at Snowshoe. Snow tubing, terrain parks and snowmobiling all open.

Winterplace Resort – Reporting a base of 28″-44″ on 23 of 27 slopes and trails and snow tubing is open as well. Snow is expected today.

Here Are Some Image Shares…

Canaan Valley Resort from this morning, grooming. Click to Enlarge

Snowshoe Mountain last night with some snow and snowmobiles headed out for adventure.

Fain Henderson posted this great shot of Beech Mountain yesterday.,

Si Has Already Thrown Down the Gauntlet to Punxsutawney Phil and Predicted Six More Weeks of Winter.

You can watch that video from last Sunday, but you don’t want to miss tomorrow’s Groundhog Day Sequel as Southeast Si has some plans for Sunday, Groundhog Day comments.

By the Way…Have You Guys Seen the PETA Release From a Couple of Days Ago?

According to PETA, “Punxsutawney Phil undergoes “great stress” every year on Groundhog Day and should be replaced by a robot”…this from the leader of PETA.

We have had fun poking barbs at Punxsutawney Phil and his handlers, and now I’m concerned that we might have had something to do with PETA going after them. Southeast Si’s video has been viewed over 20,000 times in the last week.

On Friday, Groundhog Club President Bill Deely and co-handlers A.J. Dereume and John Griffiths can be seen in the video holding the groundhog who plays Punxsutawney Phil — a weather-forecasting marmot whose fear of his own shadow supposedly leads to dubious predictions. Mr. Griffiths said despite PETA’s request, “excitement is mounting” for this weekend’s Groundhog Day occasion at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa.

Watch that video.

Phil’s handlers also shared that Phil is treated better than many people’s children and that PETA should not pick on them – and go elsewhere with their agenda.

 

SNOW NEWS CAN BE BOGUS NEWS

Okay, this is a little play on Joe Stevens’ column, Snow News is Good News, but for the rest of this season, we’re going to have to include a block here at the end of our FirsTrax to provide our readers with a “No Bull Report of Sugar Mountain’s Natural Snowfall Totals”

While all other ski resorts in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic are reporting accurate seasonal snow totals – Sugar is not.

So far on the season – through Feb 1st, Sugar is reporting 34.2″ and they have actually only seen 21″ and that is allowing for rounding up from 0.7″ to an inch several times this season. So in actuality, we are reporting that Sugar has not even had 21″ of snow (officially) this season. If Beech Mountain did the same, their snow totals would certainly be more than the 23″ being reported so far atop their 5506′ elevations.

On the other hand, Sugar has rounded up 1.2″ of snow to 2″ and 3″ a few times and recently reported 4″ of snow over a 4 day period as 9″. ..and while it doesn’t look like much on a singular snow day, when you fast forward through all of the 22 days of snow so far this winter – the accumulations grow to vastly inaccurate tallies.

…and again, no other ski resort in the region is doing that. Translation: Sugar is over-reporting natural snowfall so far this season by 13″-16″. That is wrong in about every way. Soooooo, we’ll keep sharing this information with our readers so at least you guys are basing your decisions as to where to go and see snow on accurate numbers.

In just the last six days (from January 25-February 1st), Sugar is claiming 13″ of natural snow compared to Beech’s official 8.5″ and I can promise you that Beech Mountain has seen MORE (not less) snow than Sugar in the last week.

We had some fun with that in a story we posted last week (READ IT HERE) and we’re hopeful that they get that straightened out. When they do, we’ll discontinue this BLOCK of content on our daily news. If they don’t or if they continue to post inaccurate numbers, we’ll share the “no bull deets” right here.

Sugar Mountain Snowfall 2019-2020
Reported Snow thru 2/1/2020 34.2″
Actual Snowfall thru 2/1/2020 21″

 

Sharing Some Numbers…Some Real and Some…Not So Much

That will do it for today.

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