Let’s Not Look a Gift Horse In the Mouth

FeaturedFirst Trax

Photo posted is from Winterplace Resort this morning as they enjoy Opening Day!

The title for today’s FirsTrax report could apply to numerous things pertaining to the 2020-2021 ski & snowboarding season. I know there are those of you out there who may not be familiar with the phrase related to ‘looking a gift horse in the mouth’. It has origins in print way back in 1546, but simply stated, it means ‘don’t question the value of a gift’. Okay in 1546 it referred to the practice of evaluating the age of a horse, as in, if someone is kind enough to give you a horse, don’t look into its mouth to see its age…but somewhere along the line it picked up the meaning that is appropriate for this story.

I guess the most obvious place to start would be the very fact that we are ABLE to see our ski resorts open and operating amidst this covid-19 pandemic. However, I’m going to first talk about the gift of how great the weather has been in December, thus far, allowing for TWELVE of the SIXTEEN ski areas in our region to be open today. We’ve seen up to 14″ of natural snow at the North Carolina ski resorts; up to 17.5″ of snow into the West Virginia mountains, and plenty of cold temperatures to allow for massive snowmaking opportunities across the region to provide for the really great, early season conditions that we’re seeing today.

Check the SNOW REPORT for all the specifics.

Cold temps and more snow is in the forecast for the coming week and we should see all of the ski resorts getting open by this time next weekend, just in time for an awesome Christmas-to-New-Year period. That week can account for as much as 35% of the skier visits and revenue generated for each ski resort in the region. We’ve had some challenging Christmas weeks in the last five years, and we’ll be thankful for the gift of a successful one for skiers, snowboarders, snow lovers and the ski resort owners and managers as well.

Not Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth – Part II

Okay, we HAVE to talk about the elephant in the room – covid-19, the protocols in place and the fact that we even HAVE the pleasure (and gift) of skiing & snowboarding this season.

In college football, there were many experts who felt we’d never even HAVE a college football season and even more who predicted we’d not get to the point where we are now talking about conference championships, bowl games and perhaps crowning a national champion. (Really kind of pulling for Florida here. Anybody but ClemTech or Alabama, right?)

While it isn’t entirely up to those of us who are visiting ski resorts this winter to keep them open, we do have a role in it. Earlier this week, North Carolina’s Governor, Roy Cooper dropped another bomb of a restriction, actually telling all North Carolinians to stay home from 10pm until 5am daily.

Under this Order:

All individuals in North Carolina must stay at home or the place they will remain for the night between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. (the “Stay at Home Period”), unless an exception applies.

The sale and service of alcoholic beverages is prohibited for on-site consumption between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Events or convenings outside of the home must end by 10:00 p.m. and guests must leave the establishment and travel home or to the place where they will stay for the night.

The gathering limits remain at ten (10) individuals for indoor settings and fifty (50) individuals for outdoor settings.

If you’re a logical person, and read those portions of the order, you have to wonder how we’re even able to have skiing & snowboarding happening.

But let us INDEED not look that particular horse in the mouth! I did notice that Chris Bates and Cataloochee Ski Area announced that they will close at 9:45pm nightly to allow for some time for people to get home.

Brad Moretz of Appalachian Ski Mountain at the podium. Photo Compliments of Watauga Democrat

I was speaking with Brad Moretz of Appalachian Ski Mountain on Friday and really talking more about the extraordinary measures that he and his crew are doing to make their guests comfortable and safe. His comment was, “Mike, I think we always go the extra mile and leave no stone unturned to do everything possible to protect our guests on the mountain.”

They certainly have done that. You can check out their covid-19 protocols here

While all ski areas in our region have taken great measures to ensure that guests mask-up and apply the Ski Well, Be Well protocols that were suggested by the NSAA earlier in the year, Appalachian Ski Mountain has certainly raised that bar.

Snowshoe Mountain Doing What Snowshoe Does…

Snowshoe took the opportunity to share their covid-19 comments via video the other day and we shared that via our Facebook page and for those of you who don’t do Facebook…check it out.


Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth – Part III

Yep, we can’t share this message enough

We don’t have a clue how long resorts will be able to operate this season. We know that each resort is doing their part to be able to stay open all season long, but much like I mentioned about college football this season, there have been cancellations of games. Might we see some periodic cancellations or ceasing of operations for a few days here and there at the ski areas of the region? I can tell you that nobody wants to see that, so DO YOUR PART and obey all of the signs at the ski resorts. Obey the patrollers who may remind you nicely (the first time) to #mask-up.

Let’s Finish With Some Content Shares

This was a nice video produced by Wintergreen Resort pertaining to this weekend’s Preview Weekend for Club Members and Season Pass Holders.



In case you missed it, our own theKenDog, Kenny Griffin put together this awesome video sharing his great time last weekend at Snowshoe. Definitely worth a view.

Shout Outs…

A quick shout out to Harlan Trammel from Big Pine Key, in the Florida Keys who sent me this:

“…down in the 60’s here on big pine key, so we turned on the big pine snow blower, ripped it hard and had apré ski w/ hurricane hunter eer beer!”

Can’t Apologize Enough, I Guess

Lou Sanus, who is evidently a local to the Canaan Valley area, commented about our post on Thursday pertaining to how great Timberline Mountain will be this season. We launched the Live Cam share compliments of Timberline and I had an awesome conversation with Timberline’s Jonathan Davis and we’re excited about our campaign with them this season. However, Lou posted, “All of the locals in Canaan Valley are still waiting for your apology.”

Lou – short of crawling on my knees and begging for forgiveness, I have already stated many times that I was sooooooo happy to have been wrong in my comments after Timberline closed in 2018-2019. I did say that I thought they would never again open as a snow sports resort. I had them ready to toss to the heap of other Lost Ski Areas in the region.

I shared those sentiments the other day with Jonathan Davis of Perfect North Slopes and he chuckled and said that they had heard that a bunch. So I certainly wasn’t the only one. Hey, misery loves company! However, I am so very happy that Chip Perfect and their talented (and well-funded) crew and family had Timberline in their sights.

Video Snow Report

Been getting a lot of “thank yous” about our frequent video news reports and we share them via Facebook and YouTube…as well as right here, right now…check it out.

That’s it for me today. Go play and enjoy your day.

Email me as you like: [email protected]

Previous Post
Friday, December 11, 2020 SkiSoutheast News
Next Post
SkiSoutheast Snow Report for December 12, 2020
Related Posts