Happy New Year’s Eve From SkiSoutheast. Oh yea, it’s Snowing!

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A quick “thank you” to FirsTrax reporter, Josh Sullivan for handling the report this morning. Sunday’s are typically my day to ramble, however, to be honest, after fighting a cough and cold for most of the last two weeks, I’ve only had energy enough to get up early, make some first tracks of my own while here at Timberline Mountain in West Virginia and then crash for extended periods on the couch watching football games.

Every ski getaway seems to have a “feel of their own” and this one has been awesome in that we’ve had about 3″ of natural snow, and the conditions have been nothing but great. I have nine of us on this particular ski trip and the rains on Wednesday kept us all off the slopes and inside our vacation rental home. Many of us would normally have braved some rain drops, but with several of us coughing and hacking through severe colds, we took a day off.

Thursday through Saturday saw all of his up early and hitting the slopes for anywhere from four-ten runs down the mountain. As I already shared, the conditions were really, really good despite the fact that at least here at Timberline Mountain there has been no snow making happening. I was rather surprised as snowmaking was going on all across the North Carolina mountains, as well Winterplace, Canaan Valley and Snowshoe Mountain here in West Virginia.

...and for the fifth morning in a row here at Timberline Mountain, there was no snowmaking overnight or this morning. In fact, we have not seen the snowmakers run for even a minute during the entire week.

As I was riding up the lift this morning, I found myself kind of complaining, saying, “I just don’t get it. I wonder why they are not making snow?”

Then it hit me. They didn’t have to. They have had 17 or 18 of their 20 trails open with plenty of good coverage with grooming. The conditions this morning (Sunday) were the best of the entire week, with the 2-3″ natural snowfall and grooming. I did Dew Drop In, Thunder Struck and Twister a few times and the surface would “grade out” as a strong “A”.

…and now I’m back in, sitting here at the laptop compiling this version of my Sunday ramble.


For most of the last decade or more, pretty much anyone familiar with skiing and snowboarding here in the Southeast would tell you that on busy, Holiday weeks and weekends, you’ll want to “stay away” from most every ski resort, due to the crowds. Of course, that only applies to those of us who have the OPTION to ski or ride on weekdays and off hours…other than weekends and Holidays.

However, one of the long-time “secrets” of the region was if you wanted to avoid lift lines, just head over to Timberline or Canaan Valley Resort – both located in Tucker County, West Virginia. Much has been written about Chip Perfect and the Perfect North team’s reinvention of Timberline Mountain. Since they reopened a couple of seasons ago I have spent the last couple of Christmas-to-New-Year’s weeks here…making turns at both Timberline and Canaan Valley. During the previous two Holiday, Ski Getaways I have enjoyed lift line waits that averaged 0-1 minute at Canaan Valley Resort and anywhere from 2-5 minute lift lines at Timberline.

Fast forward to this year. I was over having some awesome barbeque at Matt Haverty’s Canaan Valley BBQ on Tuesday evening. While chilling with Matt, one of his local guests at the bar leaned over and shared, “Hey dude, I love your website and all the cameras, but if you could kind of hold down all the praise about how great it is here. We kind of like having the place to ourselves!”

A Great Product Speaks Loudly

While SkiSoutheast.com, ResortCams.com and other websites like us have certainly been spreading the message since Timberline’s reopening, what is really speaking very loudly is the product itself. This morning, at 8:45am, as my group walked out onto the Winterset trail to skip over to the lift at the base of the mountain, we all gasped and groaned about how LONG the lift line already was! Just looking at it, I quickly estimated that we’d be in line 20-30 to hit the slopes for the FIRST run of the day! At precisely 9am, Timberline opened their RFID gates and astonishingly 4:15 seconds later, we were on the lift and on the way to an enjoyable morning. (The average wait for the next 6-7 runs was all of 2-4 minutes each.)

They’ve definitely got it figured out in a huge way.

Over at Canaan Valley Resort, the conditions could not be better after 3″ of natural snow and two days and nights of snowmaking. After taking in a few runs at Timberline, four of us headed over to Canaan Valley hoping for more fun. Canaan didn’t disappoint.

Canaan’s location within the state park system creates a vibe all its own and a visit here will make this place a favorite for every skier and snowboarder. The product at Canaan Valley Resort on this particular Sunday (today) was simply awesome and if you enjoy lift lines of more than 30 seconds long, this place will leave you disappointed! (I hope you guys all caught the sarcasm there – as there simply ARE NO lift lines at Canaan.)

About the only complaint – if you really want to search hard for one – is that they could have used a few more trail openings. Upper Canaan Curve, Chute, Upper & Lower Valley Vista, Face, Cutback & Lower Timber. However, more educated visitors will know that the weather just has not allowed for the consistent and prolonged snowmaking to open more of the traditional early, open trails like Timber, Gravity and others.

A lot of visitors are probably not aware that the Christmas-to-New-Year’s week hits really, quite early in the season. Thanksgiving weekend is a traditional (hoped for) opening weekend, but most of our resorts don’t get their core trails going until mid-to-late December and with any kind of hiccup in weather patterns…they can be hard pressed to get enough terrain open to handle the crowds.

As I was riding up the lift earlier today at Timberline, I overheard someone complaining that there were two trails closed on the mountain. Another responded with, “Well Snowshoe doesn’t have Cupp Run open yet.”

I’ve always found that it is better to be grateful for what you have than it is to complain about what you don’t. It is early in the season and lots and lots of time for ski areas to build base depth on their core trails and open up more and more.

Closing thoughts for today:

Any ski area that is not yet running RFID lift stations is missing out and p-r-o-b-a-b-l-y losing some of their audience to those that are already running them. With RFID chip cards, even the heaviest lift line moves appreciably faster than those that are still having lift attendants walking around and scanning, and double scanning and more.

If you are management or marketing peeps at Snowshoe Mountain, Timberline Mountain and/or Canaan Valley Resort – I want to extend a BIG THANK YOU for the great setup this week and weekend. In addition to being awesome hosts, you guys and gals are just awesome people. Ordering up four straight days of natural snowfall was delivering more than we asked for. I don’t know how it always happens when you mix in a little “SkiSoutheast” with West Virginia ski resorts, but we always seem to get good, natural snow as well.

Thanks again.


Massanutten is ALSO Hosting Their FIRST EVER SkiSOUTHEAST SUMMIT FEBRUARY 9-11th and YOU are INVITED!

It is early and my quick count of registerees says we already have 77+/- coming. Come JOIN US! We will be giving away t-shirt, stickers, beanies, hoodies, plus there will be a Saturday Apres Ski Party and Sunday morning First Tracks! Did I mention 10% discount on lodging and lift ticket discounts and more!?!?

2024 Ski Southeast / Massanutten Resort Summit

Also click here to Join Us on our New, SkiSoutheast Discord Channel. It is a GREAT way to meet new snow loving friends and shares experiences, ask questions and more!



Email me at [email protected]

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