Mid March Skiing Can Turn On a Dime!

First Trax

Over the years we’ve seen SO many different kinds of St. Patrick’s Days on the slopes of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.  Last season at this time ALL of the resorts were experiencing some amazing conditions. A few seasons ago there was almost no snow on the slopes on March 17th. Seems like March can be a month of “feast or famine” when it comes to snow conditions.

Appalachian has plenty of snow, although even there it is beginning to show some wear on the sides of the trails. At 4pm as I write this update, it is 43° and the snow is soft and heavy says Tommy Barnhardt who just got in from App and emailed us. There’s some light snow in the forecast for tonight but MOST importantly the temps are expected to drop in the mid 20s and Appalachian appears poised to make snow tonight.  That will make Saturday’s conditions very nice.  The snow will do a 180° turnaround from the harder to ski, inconsistent soft and heavy snow to a more firm, groomed snow…at least for the first part of the day as temps in Blowing Rock are forecasted into the mid 40s for Saturday.

That’s what you get with skiing in mid March sometimes.  One part of the day things can be GREAT and another part might be heavy corn conditions.

I arrived at Snowshoe at about lunchtime on Friday so after feeding my crew, we hit the slopes.  It was foggy as heck.  By the way, THAT happens a lot this time of year as well.  You get the combination of cold snow, warm air, followed by cold air and humidity…and that can make things as thick as pea soup.  That’s what it was like on the hill this afternoon at Snowshoe.  I HAVE to say that after seeing some awesome Snowshoe photos by Bill McEntire and Kent Jackson over the last couple of days…I was READY for some pretty sweet conditions. After all they had a couple inches of snow on Wednesday and there was a forecast for 2-4” of snow last night. W-e-l-l-l-l not so fast said Old Man Winter or his evil brother “ Young Buck Spring ”.  The snow didn’t happen and the temps warmed to a milder than anticipated high into the 40s.  With that setup and some underdeveloped snow last night…and skier traffic today – things got pretty heavy here as well. There is TONS of snow here at Snowshoe, but there are quite a few thin areas and bare spots…although nothing to prohibit a great time. I always love skiing here.  The temps are forecasted to drop into the teens and 20s tonight.  There will be more snowmaking and with some grooming and highs in the 30s that are forecasted…conditions should be firm and groomed on Saturday.

THAT IN A NUTSHELL is sometime the way it is this time of year.  I’ve seen plenty of years where there was near mid-season conditions when the resorts closed down in late March and early April.  …and I’ve seen most all of the resorts closed this time of year as well.  THIS season we have a little of both.

WISP Resort in Maryland DID get three inches of snow overnight last night and yet they closed a couple of slopes from Thursday’s offering so even with good snow, the conditions are showing more Spring like conditions.  As Lori Epp of Wisp Resort said, “Most residents of Garrett County know March weather can change as fast as Superman in a phone booth.  That is exactly what we saw this week.  On Monday, March 13 the temperatures topped off at 70 degrees then the snow began to fall around 11:30pm on Thursday, March 16.  The storm moved out later this morning leaving 3 inches of snow on the slopes of Wisp Resort and the rest of Garrett County .  Blue skies prevailed and the robins are out once again.”  She added, “Looks as if this weekend’s forecast will allow Spring Season skiers, boarders and tubers to enjoy the 3rd Annual Beachin’ Weekend festivities.  Swimsuit slalom, Cardboard Box Derby, the final Stage Wisp Concert and much more!  Surf’s Up!!”

Conditions are due to be COLD and much nicer on Saturday.

We’ll give you guys a resort by resort tour AM Saturday morning and we’ll also post a TON of photos that have come our way over the last couple of days.  Til then…be glad for what we have and also know that Saturday’s conditions will be pretty nice considering!

FYI – Hawksnest DID make the decision NOT to open today…as we had predicted.  They had a great season and passed on “THANKS TO ALL who made turns there this season!”

Until Next Time

Be sure to email photos, snow reports and comments to: [email protected]

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Kent Jackson sent this great shot of snow falling and powder conditions at Snowshoe Mountain on Wednesday – 3-5" more snow was expected overnight
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This is a shot JUST TAKEN at 4pm at Appalachian Ski Mountain – Plenty of snow left, but it IS soft and heavy today!
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