Happy Thanksgiving Day Everyone – Eat Up and Go Ski!

First Trax

We’ve received a bunch of emails asking us about reactivating some of the inactive cams on www.HighCountryWebCams.com . We will get around to moving a few, reactivating a couple and actually ADDING a couple more! As some of you know, we moved the ski websites onto a new server a few weeks back and we just haven’t gotten around to the cam server. We’ll try to move the cam server over this coming weekend and then they will update more actively (without glitches).

We’re also planning to activate a few cams to go LIVE (television live) and that should be cool. (A few cams in the area appear live, but they only update to about 30 visitors at a time. With more than 5,000 visitors on the site at any given time during the day (and more than 70,000 visitors a day) we have to jump through some hoops to make that happen for you guys. But we’re on it and should have those tweaks handled within the next week.

We had planned to have them all tweaked up a couple of weeks ago, but like a lot of people – we didn’t see all of this snow and consistently, frigid cold coming!

Here’s some notables for today:

Wisp Resort is closed for Thanksgiving Day, but will open for the season tomorrow, Friday!

Snowshoe Mountain cranked up a bunch more trails as they are now offering 20 for your Thanksgiving Day fun! Laura Parquette writes, "Happy Turkey Day from everyone here at Snowshoe Mountain! There is so much to be thankful for today including the great early season conditions and the 16” of fresh snow that we received on Tuesday, which has allowed us to open several new slopes today, bringing us to 20 slopes and 4 lifts open, as well as the Wonder Carpet. Open trails are: Skidder, Crosscut, Heisler Way, Whistle punk, Whiffletree, Spruce Glades, Tail tree, Gandy, Log slide, Cut off, Powder monkey, Powder ridge, Gangway, Grab hammer, all of Ball Hooter, Lower Flume, Grab Hook, Skipjack and Skid way."

She adds, "Snowshoe plans to open even more slopes that will allow skiing from the South Mountain to the North Mountain, bringing our weekend total to more than 80 acres of open terrain. Probable openings for Saturday, November 29th are: Upper and Lower Hootenanny, Upper Flume, Mid Flume, and the Soaring Eagle lift. Today’s open lifts are: Ballhooter, Skidder, Powdermonkey and Powderridge as well as the Wonder Carpet. There are also 5 features open in the Powder Monkey Terrain Garden. They are: Flat Box, Down Rail, Flat Down Box, Triangle Box and a Wall Ride. Today’s weather will be a gorgeous sunny day, and it looks like we will receive some more natural snowfall by the end of the weekend. Snowshoe’s having a historic start to the season, so don’t miss out on these amazing conditions. There is still time to take advantage of our Smart Ski Escapes. Check out the Hot Deals section of the website, or call 877-441-4FUN Today!"  Visit www.SnowshoeMtn.com

Moving on down to the other open ski areas…

Appalachian Ski Mountain made snow last night and is open today for day skiing only and they have 80% of the mountain open with both terrain parks and ice skating. No night skiing tonight, but that starts on Friday.

Cataloochee is CLOSED for today and will reopen Friday!

Ski Beech is at 30° this morning and they have opened to the top with Upper Shawneehaw debuting for the season today! That means the quad is rushing people to the top today. Day skiing only today.

Has anyone else checked out their interactive conditions page on their website? It’s pretty cool! Click over to: http://www.skibeech.com/conditions.html  to view it.

VP, Ryan Costin dropped me a note on Wednesday saying, "We plan to open the Quad and be skiing on Upper Shawneehaw tomorrow! That means we will have five lifts: #1, #3, #4, the Quad and the J-bar open on Thanksgiving. The Beech Tree Restaurant will open tomorrow and serve Thanksgiving Dinner, the restaurant will operate Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then close for the following week, reopening next Thursday with live music next Saturday Night, Dec. 6th. Tubing and Ice Skating will be opening Saturday for the day session. No plans for Night Skiing this weekend, but it should not be long before we do."

That is too cool. You can get some skiing in AND still has some Thanksgiving Day feasting! Thanks Ryan!

Sugar Mountain is also serving up some TDay eatin’. They write, "Happy Thanksgiving skiiers and boarders! Today will be a beautiful day on Sugar Mountain with sunny skies, milder temperatures, and great conditions. Our cafeteria staff will even be dishing out all the Thanksgiving dinner favorites for your enjoyment. We look forward to seeing you and your family on this special day!"

They also opened up Tom Terriffic, their first black diamond of the season for today. The outdoor ice rink will also be in operation this morning, beginning with the 10 am session.

Wolf Ridge is NOT open today as some resources are saying. They are closed for Turkey Day and will reopen on Friday!


I was able to knock off work a little early on Wednesday and six of us headed up to Sugar Mountain for a little Twightlight skiing and snowboarding. (Two boarded and four skied.) We didn’t make it onto the slopes til about 2:30pm and by that time the skier traffic made for some variable conditions, particularly at the top of Switchback. There were some slick spots and the usual, late-day, heavier manmade. We cruised down five or six trips in the two hours before the break between sessions. There was a brisk crowd with lift lines at about 10 minutes at the bottom. Sugar was running all three lifts at the bottom of the mountain and that moved the pre-Holiday crowd pretty well.

It was quite amazing to see the kind of base that Sugar (and all of the ski areas) have been able to amass at this early stage of the season. There was quite a lot of the 9" of snow left on the surrounding woodline…and that made for a great bit of ambience.

…and then came the night session. Gunther and his crew always do a great job of grooming and it’s pretty impressive how they can hit the entire open terrain between sessions the way they do. The temps were still hovering in the low 20s, the snowguns were cranking out some massive clouds of snow, but the conditions were SIMPLY OUTSTANDING! I’m a huge fan of Atomic skis and I’ve been skiing on some SX-11s for the last two seasons, but thanks to Kim and Tom over at Extreme Snowboard and Skis (across for the entrance to Sugar) I was able to click into some Salomon SCREAM Pilot 10s for the last two trips to the mountain and I have to tell you that they sure live up to their name!

I am certain that it had a lot to do with the perfectly groomed trails, top-to-bottom – but I was firing down the mountain in cycles that had me making three trips down Sugar’s mile-plus hill in 50 minutes. That’s saying a lot since the lift up takes about 12-15 minutes a trip. I skied SCREAMS a few years ago and I guess its a safe bet I’ll be on them the rest of this season!

If you guys are looking for new skis, snowboards or any ski accessories for this season, be sure to give Extreme Snowboards and Skis a visit! You can visit their website at www.ExtremeNC.com . Jim Shannon’s entire crew does a great job over there and their computerized rental system can get you out of their shop and on the mountain a lot quicker than most shops. Give them a shout and tell them skiNC.com sent ya.

We compiled a bunch of video of the day at Sugar and if you have a moment, view that video as it shows just how nice the conditions are right now. Sugar Mountain Video 

Send your photos, videos, trip reports and comments to: [email protected]  

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