Merry Christmas Everyone…from

First Trax
lindsea lumpkin

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I was up very early on this sleepy, Christmas morning and I’m glad I was because at around 5-6am it was snowing! As I wrapped up this morning’s post, the skies have cleared and it’s very windy and cold (30° here).

snowshoe mountain(It’s already looking crowded at the ski school area at Snowshoe at 9:30am)

The temps across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic are ALL OVER THE PLACE this morning with 23° at Beech Mountain, 34° at Snowshoe and 40-42° elsewhere around the region. Snowmaking was happening at a few locations. The only measurable snowfall was up at Snowshoe where their official NWS station reported 1″ of new snow. A TRACE was reported at Canaan & Timberline, Beech and Sugar.

Bear in mind that some of the ski areas are opening around noon today, while Appalachian is closed for skiing and snowboarding today to allow their staff to celebrate Christmas with their families.

I’m going to let you guys check the snow report for all the deets today, but here’s a quick glance at some temperatures around the region as of 7am:

Beech Mountain – 23° with snowmaking (Southern Star is open!)
Sugar Mountain – 24.7° with snowmaking
Wintergreen – 30° – no snowmaking
Snowshoe – 34° Light Snow – no snowmaking
Wisp – 32° – no snowmaking
Cataloochee – 27° with snowmaking (They are open 1pm-10pm today.)
Wolf Ridge – 27° – no snowmaking
Appalachian – 28° – no snowmaking
Sapphire Valley – 32° – no snowmaking (They are grooming their tubing hill.)
Bryce – 40° – no snowmaking
Massanutten – 40° – no snowmaking
Winterplace – 32° – no snowmaking

Appalachian’s website is showing that they are OPEN. They are NOT open for skiing and snowboarding today. Ice skating IS open.

Sugar Mountain is making snow and opens at NOON probably with the same 11 trails they offered on Wednesday.

Wolf Ridge is CLOSED today. They normally do close for Christmas Day. They are not making snow though at 27° so things are looking doubtful for reopening without some snowmaking, but we’ll continue to monitor that.

Ober is operating from NOON til 7pm but with only Lower Castle Run and the Ski School open and they posted, “Due to the unfavorable snowmaking weather, we will be operating the handle tow today, and offering special pricing for area access tickets.”

Massanutten is operating from NOON til 8pm today.


On Christmas Eve I was doing a little cleanup work on the website as I noticed that some of the content on a few resort pages were “dated”. For example, we were still showing 20 slopes and trails on our snow report for Sugar Mountain and yet they’ve added one. We had some content on Wolf Ridge Resort that doesn’t apply to this season as Wolf’s owners have decided to only operate the main portion of the mountain after the off-season troubles that they experienced with the fire, etc.  Things like that.

However as I was tweaking things I had to do a little research on a few of the resorts and as I was Googling numerous searches it amazed me how often I kept running into our own website right at the top of every search. That made me realize how important it is for us to provide only the most accurate information available for “all things skiing in the Southeast”. When you rank number one for more than a 1000 search terms and in the top ten for more than 2300 other terms – I suppose it demands that we “get it right” in terms of providing any and all the information possible that you need to determine where you want to go ski and ride.

It’s nuts but you guys Googled more than 6,699 DIFFERENT SEARCH TERMS in the last 30 days for which ranked in the top ten for more than 3000 of those searches!

According to Google, we’ve been looked at 738,123 times in the last 30 days and that doesn’t count or our weather content. Impressions are up 37% and visits to is up 23%.

I’m not certain if that can be attributed to a pent up readiness on your part to visit one of our ski areas or if it’s a testament to the great job that our design and content team did within implementing the new website a few months back.  The “dust” from that redesign is still settling but I think perhaps the most impressive part to me is the fact that our IT guys were able to “protect” more than 164,515 pages of content that we had archived over the years and actually made the site MORE searchable FOR THAT CONTENT than ever before.

lindsea lumpkinI remember a few years back searching for something about the now 17 year old, SkiNC sponsored snowboarder, Lindsea Lumpkin and though we popped up on Google…when you clicked it you just ended up on the front page of the website. NOW, due to the fine work that was performed on the new design what you search for is what you get.

By the way – as usually happens – as I was letting my mind just “go” with this story…I searched Lindsea and found these two images that popped up on other websites about her and it was cool to see that “out little girl” is growing up. It was also cool to see the stickers prominently displayed on her board.


She’s attending University of Colorado at Denver. After riding for a few teams and competing on the national stage since she was nine years old, Lindsea is now competing at the college level and USASA and USSA events. Lindsea has had 36 chances to medal at National championships since she began competing in 2005 and has metaled 20 of those times, receiving 6 National titles.

Lindsea suffered a serious concussion a while back and missed a good part of the next season and as things sometimes happen with young people…the time away has her focus on other things in life.

She still wants to be a pro snowboarder and skateboarder, yet she’s smart enough to have an alternative life plan. If the snowboarding and skating thing doesn’t work out, she’d like to pursue something in quantitative physics or teaching. She loves The Hunger Games, skating, and mountain biking in the off season.


I’ll admit that this morning’s FirsTrax report is a little “all over the place” but that’s sometimes how it goes. I just sit down and start looking around the area and “stuff” just gets typed up.

In closing, I want to extend my own, personal Merry Christmas to each of you and thank you for spending a little bit of your day with us on this website. I’d also like to ask you to share our little piece of internet real estate with your friends. Simply drop an email to a friend to tell them about or We’d appreciate it.

Kenny Griffin will take over the reporting and Mountain Blog in the morning as I’m flying out to Vail for the Holiday week. Kenny’s been great enough to handle it for me tomorrow and then if my internet is sufficient, I’ll be back with you guys on Saturday.

I’ll try to send some of the heavy snows and cold temps this way.

skise-summit2015(3)If you haven’t done so yet – CHECK OUT the / Snowshoe Summit SPECIAL to get 20% OFF LODGING and a FREE Sunday lift pass (with the purchase of Saturday’s liftie). We’re planning a BIG time. Visit the SUMMIT PAGE at  and plan on JOINING US for a great time on and off the slopes!

Check out the FULL SNOW REPORT HERE and feel free to drop me an email with your thoughts and reactions at: [email protected]

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