It’s May 4th and We know you guys and gals are starved for news…

First Trax

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I was listening to the radio with added interest this morning as John Hoffman of Fred’s Mercantile up on Beech Mountain was sharing the fact that Beech saw some SNOW last night. I was headed over to Winston-Salem for a soccer match but we heard reports that there were several cars in Banner Elk that were sporting snow-cover. Several people shared major surprise at hearing that Beech and Banner Elk had experienced snow. However it should be noted that Beech Mountain has experienced measureable snowfall in every month of the year with the lone exception of August.

Yes, they have seen snow in JULY!


Although we haven’t heard anything other than "We had a very nice season…" from Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski area management peeps…we DO have some numbers to share.

SIA RetailTRAK released some data that shares that the snow sports market in general hit a new record high this past season with a record $3.3 BILLION in sales over the 2010/2011 season. The previous record was set in 2007/2008 when they shared that $3 billion in sales were reported.

This season, American consumers spent $902 million on snow sports equipment. Sales peaked in December and January but fell off in February and March due to scarcity of inventory. Prices remained strong through the end of the season, demonstrating the market power of leaner inventories. Apparel sales set a new record this season with $1.2 billion sold and accessories enjoyed excellent sales this season, bringing in $1.2 billion total.

As we all know – our Southeast and Mid Atlantic markets started strong and lasted well through the first half of the season until Ma Nature decided to focus on the Western resorts. The season long snowy and cold pattern helped to boost the western region’s sales as they finished UP 21% in equipment dollars sold and 14% in apparel…and 20% in accessories.

In the South, equipment sales were up 16% but apparel sales were relatively flat.


A 2011 NSAA National Demographic Study just released some numbers that show that 60% of skiers and snowboarders now wear helmets while on the slopes at U.S. ski areas, up from 56% during the 2010 season. That’s a 140% increase since the 2003 season.

74% of kids 17 and younger wear helmets now – which represents an increase of 131% from the 2003 season.

Protect that noggin…


We had to feel for these guys as they had just put the finishing touches on a campaign to email millions of people nationwide to advertise their outwear and rain gear.

Their campaign read, "Mother Nature hates you. Deal with it".

The problem with the timing was the fact that the email blast came the day after the people of Alabama were dealing with the devastating aftermath of an intensely damaging and life-taking tornado.

Backcountry wrote its customers, saying, “We neglected to put a stop to the distribution of the email and this was an oversight and it was extremely insensitive and offensive, and we are so sorry.”


Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, CA announced the appointment of Davy Ratchford as its new director of marketing. Ratchford will assume responsibility for the development and management of all marketing efforts for the resort, and will report directly to Heidi Kercher-Pratt, vice president of marketing for Vail Resorts Inc. Ratchford will begin his new position on May 18.

Why is that "family news"? Because Northstar’s COO is our old buddy, Bill Rock, formerly of Snowshoe Mountain. We heard from Bill a couple of weeks ago as he was bragging about how they were still skiing out there and about how much snow they had on the season. Everything is about timing. Bill could not have timed that move any better. While Snowshoe struggled for natural snow this past season (they ended up with 150" or 30" under their annual average) NorthStar ended up with a "devilish" 666" of snowfall on the season! They saw 119" in November, 162" in December, 17" in January (huh???), 138" in February, 200" in March, and 30" in April.

If I were Bill I’d have subtracted an inch from that total to make it a bit more "heavenly".


Have you guys been checking out the new LIVE CAMERAS that we’ve been posting? Our guy KenDOG (Kenny Griffin) has been busy not only posting up new camera offerings but doing some in some AWESOME new ways that are bringing our views to an almost television quality!

Check out the new website with tons of new beach and pool cameras along the coast from Morehead City, North Carolina through Myrtle Beach and down into Hilton Head Island.

The most impressive camera is that of

We’re working to make them ALL play this way! Can you guys imagine how cool watching the skiing and snowboarding action will be next season!?!?

Be sure to check out all of the new cams on as well. The newest is that at Cherokee, North Carolina. That cam is pretty fast as well and shows the stream along the roadside as you drive through Cherokee.  

Until next time…drop me an email with any news of your own. [email protected]  

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