As you would (probably) expect, the theme of today’s post will be sharing our thanks. Let’s start that off with a HUGE thanks to our region’s snowmakers and the ski resort owners and management who employ them to work around-the-clock, most often when we are all sleeping, to blast the slopes with snow. When way too many businesses are suffering from layoffs, all of our ski areas are HIRING, HIRING, HIRING.
If you love winter; you love skiing & snowboarding; or you just plain need or want a job – simply head to ANY of the ski resorts in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic as they ARE ALL looking to hire people just like YOU. The pay is pretty good; and the fringe benefits allow for some time on the slopes.
Since we are thanking snowmakers – just CHECK OUT this massive WHALE at Winterplace Resort!
FirsTrax Coming Your Way…
Let’s get to today’s FirsTrax Report. I have my trusty, NSA Coffee Cup filled and I’m ready to dominate my keyboard and share some news for all of you snow lovers who are spending YOUR time reading this today and (hopefully) every day of the season.
SPEAKING OF THAT – we are thankful for YOU, our readers. Without YOU, I’d be a narcissist…or something similar.
I remember consulting with a client who was a life coach. She shared that she posted lengthy posts every day to her website “readers”. We pulled her Google Analytics to see how we could help her. I had to share the terrible news that she was spending hours daily to write and post content that only 13 people a day were visiting her website and reading.
I expected her to cry, but she said, “Well, Mike, it’s kind of therapeutic for ME and I guess that’s good enough for me.
I remember a time back in or around 1996-1997 when we first had iStats running on our websites for analytics and I was ecstatic when we finally saw a daily reach/readership of (200) visitors! I used to publish local, travel mags and our audience was limited, but we distributed around 5000-6000 copies monthly. So when we hit (200) visitors in a day, I figured that was equivalent to 6000 a month and I was a happy man.
Fast-forward to 2022 and we’re seeing a reach of as many as 80,000-100,000 and more daily on busy/snowy days and with Facebook, Instagram, ResortCams.com and more.
We’re Thankful for Opening Days!
This video shows off the kind of awesome conditions that were available at Snowshoe Mountain on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve. Snowshoe boasted an AVERAGE base of 72″.
Timberline Resort dropped their ropes for their sneak peek day on Wednesday and their fans enjoyed playing on 15 trails. Speaking of thanking a snowmaker – Timberline’s opening was the earliest opening in the mountain’s history, and they noted that they have made nearly half the amount of snow already this season than what was made last year. Incredible.
Thanks to our SkiSoutheast Crew…
I want to thank our SkiSoutheast crew – Brad Panovich, Joe Stevens, Matt Laws, Kenny Griffin, Brian Dix and Rudy Ryback – who all contribute significant time, energy and passion to SkiSoutheast.com, our fans, the sport of riding on the snow here in the region. Thanks for being there for us again this season. Special thanks to TheKenDog (Kenny Griffin) for keeping the website and the video servers to push SkiSoutheast.com and ResortCams.com to tens of thousands of readers and viewers every day.
Also, speaking of Brad Panovich, he debuted his FIRST Skier’s Forecast the other day and provided a glimpse for the longterm, seasonal forecast as well. Check it Out here>
Oh Yea, We Do Snow Reports!
Be sure to check out the SNOW REPORT for all of the slopes open at each resort, base depths and more. There were a couple of notable differences to operating schedules since it IS Thanksgiving Day.
Appalachian Ski Mountain will be closing at 5pm today to allow their staff to spend time with their families. If you’ve never skied at App on Thanksgiving, you should know that in addition to offering most of their mountain open, their cafeteria serves up most of the usual trimming for Thanksgiving.
Cataloochee Ski Area is open for Turkey Day play on the snow with 11 of 18 slopes and trails on a base of 18-45″. Their popular tubing hill called “Tube World” is open as well!
Snowshoe Mountain leads the region with 16 slopes and trails available for Thanksgiving Day play on the snow.
Sugar Mountain Resort is offering 8 trails for Thanksgiving Day. Night Sessions begin Friday, November 25th! Sugar plans a ribbon cutting to celebrate the ceremonial opening of Sugar’s new Oma’s Meadow high-speed, detachable, four passenger chairlift takes place at 10:00 a.m. on December 10th. Join Sugar and Sweetie Bear at the lift’s summit for a Champagne toast.
OTHER RESORT OPENING DAY SCHEDULES:
Beech Mountain Resort plans to open for the season TOMORROW, Friday, November 25th.
Bryce Resort – They had a soft opening of the slopes with 7 of 8 slopes open. They are closed today but reopening Friday.
Canaan Valley Resort – No Word Quite Yet on opening for skiing & snowboarding, however they ARE open for Ice Skating noon-6pm.
While sharing Canaan news, you may not be aware that Sam England retired after his short stint as Canaan’s General Manager on July 1st. Matthew Baker, a seventeen-year veteran of the West Virginia State Parks system and a Davis & Elkins College graduate, was appointed general manager of Canaan Valley Resort. Same England shared this about his replacement, “He brings the perfect blend of experience in hospitality and administration and possesses an unmatched enthusiasm for the tourism opportunities our region holds.”
Massanutten Resort has their opening day set for Friday, Nov. 25
Ober Mountain – in Gatlinburg, Tennessee is open for TUBING, Ice Skating, Mountain Coastering and more. They typically hold off until mid December to open for skiing & snowboarding, but with new ownership you could see that change. We will keep you posted.
Ober posted this sweet video share of all the fun atop Ober.
Omni Homestead Resort – no word yet on The Homestead Resort, but they typically look to open just before Christmas.
Timberline Mountain opened YESTERDAY for a peek preview with 15 slopes and trails. That was THE earliest opening day in the mountain’s history. They are closed today for Thanksgiving, but will reopen Friday through Sunday. The resort’s marketing department is noticeably excited as you can feel it through their social shares.
Wintergreen Resort – Planning to Open December 10th. They DO have a good bit of terrain covered.
Winterplace Resort – As we shared before, they have made a TON of snow. Opening day announcement coming SOON!
Wisp Resort – 2022-2023 Season Opening Date on Friday, Nov. 25th!
Wolf Ridge Resort is opening Friday.
Thankful for Improvements in Technologies….
Man it wasn’t too many years ago that the only real way to get decent information on slope conditions and/or photos, etc. was to call the ski areas and get updates. Fifteen years ago we enlisted “on-snow-reporters” to submit photos and while we received a LOT of them daily, it took forever to download, crop, upload and post due to broadband speeds. Videos were almost nonexistent and when we got them or shot them ourselves they were blurry and would take forever to load and once they did – there was constant buffering.
Webcams were scarce and the ones we had (which were better than most) were the variety that snapped a photo every 1-3 seconds, providing a somewhat LIVE look. Most resorts only allowed the camera to refresh once every minute.
Fast-forward to NOW and we have so much content available at our fingertips. Images and videos are shared throughout the day and often LIVE. We can broadcast while riding up the chairlifts and while skiing down the slopes and webcams are 4k and are almost like watching LIVE television.
I remember skiing down the slopes with one of those old RCA Camcorders on my shoulder. Once I finished shooting some film, it would take an hour or longer to pull that content; perhaps another hour to get it into some software and yet another hour to get it posted on the website. Even THEN, it was grainy. NOW, the cameras are GoPros which are handheld or clicked onto your helmet. We can also dub in additional audio tracks with precision to do voiceovers and drowned out background noise AND we can broadcast THAT LIVE in many cases and share to all sorts of social media in mere minutes.
The first couple of drones I had would take about 15 minutes to setup and although the image and video captures WERE great – they were NOTHING like the DJI Mavic 3 Drone that we have now. That bad boy takes 2 minutes to open, turn on and launch. It flies MILES away and captures 4K video and closeup zooms that are amazing. I can dub in video voiceovers in seconds and get it posted on the website in MINUTES.
Even posting this FirsTrax post would have taken me most of the first half of a day to post and now I COULD post a short post and supporting photo in a matter of minutes. Even an article like THIS one with all the length and all of the content in it…takes an hour or so.
Can you guys IMAGINE what kind of tech improvements are headed our way?
Kenny Griffin setup a number of our webcams to do TIMELAPSE videos and I clipped a couple for your pleasure today. These each compile 24 hours into 14 seconds!
This one is of Beech Mountain’s Sledding Hill
This next one shows some cool night/light views of Beech Mountain’s Summit Cam:
This LAST one shows Cataloochee Ski Area from Wednesday. You can see a nice, brisk crowd and great conditions.
In closing – today we are thankful for all of our staff, ski resorts, community, readers and… Mother Nature! Thanks for all the earlier than expected cold weather and natural snow to jump start the season. Get your gear, gather your friends/family, and head to the mountain.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving.
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