MLK Holiday Weekend Ahead Looks to be a Good One! Of course things are good NOW as well!

First Trax

Story by Mike Doble – [email protected]  

Check the Snow Report link for all of the conditions and slopes open across the region. Things look good right now even though there are some crazy temperature variations depending on where you’re planning on riding today. Here’s the link for the snow reports:


A lot of my personal email INBOX this morning came from people asking me for our take on the Martin Luther King Weekend weather and expected conditions for next weekend. I can hardly believe that MLK Weekend IS next weekend!

The most important ski period of each season is now behind us. The Christmas through New Years week is HUGE in terms of revenue for the resorts and there’s no question that it was way off in terms of skier visits and lodging bookings. Some ski areas certainly fared better than others, but it is safe to say that not one of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas will be calling that period a record setter unless there were some negative records set. Some ski areas were barely open.

The way that the weather patterns have happened so far this season, the northern tier of ski resorts for the Southeast – those resorts in West Virginia and Maryland – simply have had better temperatures and natural snow to work with and they certainly have had things a bit better in terms of slopes open, etc.

That trend continues today but things look GREAT for all of the ski resorts as we look a little bit ahead into next Thursday through Sunday (MLK Weekend is Friday through Monday).

Before we pass on the good news…check out these temperatures across the region this morning:

44° at Appalachian
37.9° at Sugar
39° at Beech
43° at Cataloochee
31° at Wintergreen
28° at Massanutten
28° Winterplace
24° at Snowshoe
24° at Wisp Resort

Can you almost see the frontal boundary where the cold temps are? Typically the overnight lows for the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski resorts are such that Beech Mountain and Wisp Resort are about the same. This morning there is a 20° difference from Appalachian Ski Mountain to Wisp Resort in Maryland.


To relate how things should be looking for next weekend, we should first relate how things are RIGHT NOW!

The best snow can be found at the WV and Maryland ski resorts, but the truth is right now things look darn good at most all of the resorts. The LIVE WEB CAMS these days tell an accurate story of how things look across the ski communities of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic and you can tell that the snow is a little firmer, whiter and a bit deeper the further north you look, but – again – things look pretty good everywhere. There’s plenty of good ski terrain open today.

Things will "go backwards" a bit this week at the Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina resorts as there is some light rain in the forecast Sunday though Thursday. It should be a light rain system except on Thursday when some heavier rain may be coming through.

You can kind of ditto that forecast from Maryland south through Thursday.


So things are in good shape right now. If you’re like a lot of people and have a great NEED for some snow and some skiing and snowboarding and you were hoping for a long, MLK Weekend of skiing and riding…then you’re in luck because ICE-BOX-COLD temps and some snow is in the forecast!

After the "under-developed" variety of snow comes through today through Thursday – we’re looking at a forecast that includes plenty of cold temps for snowmaking and even some possible significant natural snows on Thursday and Friday of this week.

A quick glance at the forecasted temps shows Snowshoe’s low Thursday night expected to dip to 13°. The expected HIGH for Friday is 21° with snow and an overnight low in the 10° arena.

Banner Elk’s forecast shows a Friday high of 28° with snow and lows in the mid teens! Lows in the upper teens through Saturday night are expected!

That should make for some great ski and snowboarding conditions no matter where you’re hoping to head for the long Holiday weekend.

So if you’ve been wavering on what to do or where to head for the four day weekend ahead – make it YOUR favorite ski resort and you’ll have a great time!

For you worrywarts out there, we DO have some borderline snowmaking ops between now and Thursday as well.

Five Day Forecast –

Wisp – 3 nights of snowmaking out of the next five days with snow in the forecast for Thursday.

Snowshoe – 3 nights of snowmaking with some chances for snow Monday and Thursday.

Winterplace – 1 night of snowmaking with some chances of a mixed precip Monday and Thursday.

Virginia – Borderline snowmaking chances tonight and that’s about it for the upcoming 5 days.

North Carolina – The best chance for any snowmaking will be Thursday night when things look to be dropping to 23° with chances of snow.


Joe Stevens and I reported earlier in the week about how quickly snow base depths rocket upwards when the resorts are in their heavy, snowmaking mode and how they just don’t come down when things thaw. A couple of weeks ago when some slopes had NO snow on them, the cold hit and resorts blasted away – adding as much as SIX INCHES of snow in one night. After three days of snowmaking some resorts rocketed their base depth reporting up to 50 to 60"!

Then we’ve had some warmer-than-freezing temps and we just noticed that some were not adjusting downward.

I can now report that the North Carolina ski areas (for the most part) paid attention as in the last 24 hours I have witnessed a 3-7" drop across the board – in terms of what the ski areas are reporting. Sugar’s maximum base depth dipped 13" since Saturday morning.

We’ll call those "course adjustments".

I was about to gripe about the Virginia, WV and Maryland ski areas not reflecting drops, but then I’ve already reported that the temps are simply colder up there this morning. But then the highs yesterday were mild, so perhaps we’ll see some drops in base up that way as we get through the early part of the week ahead.

David Lesher’s Canaan Valley Weather shows that NATURAL SNOWS certainly melt. On January 4th, there was 10" of natural snow on the ground everywhere in the Davis, West Virginia community. On January 5th there was 8". January 7th it dropped to 3" and this morning david is reporting only a TRACE of natural snowpack still on the ground.


As I was formulating the news of today, I ran across a bunch of race events to report on. Here are those"


It takes speed, precision, and good looks to win this race. We’re not talking about the pilot; we’re talking about the cardboard box! Racers will man their boxes and maneuver down the course in pursuit of victory.

There will be three prize divisions; Originality, Appearance, and Speed. First, second and third place prizes will be awarded in each division. Registration will take place on the day of the event from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Administration Building.

The registration fee is $25. Racers must be 18 years of age or older and MUST wear a helmet in order to compete in the race. A complete set of rules is listed below. For more information, please contact the Beech Mountain Resort team, 828-387-2011 (ext. 204).


The High Country Junior Race Series will have its first race of the 2012 season at Appalachian Ski Mtn. on January 8th. Registration will be from 8:00 AM to 9:15 AM in the Restaurant Annex. Course Inspection will be from 9:00 AM to 9:45 AM. The race starts at 10:00 AM. Awards ceremony will be held in the Restaurant Annex after the race, and will begin approximately between 1:30 PM and 2:00 PM.

The race fee is $7.00. Racer Lift Tickets will be $22 and parent/sibling lift tickets will be $32.

Please come out and cheer our racers on, either from the slopes or from the deck!

2012 High Country Junior Race Schedule
Sunday, January 8th Appalachian Ski Mtn.
Sunday, January 22nd Sugar Mtn. Resort
Sunday, January 29th Beech Mtn. Resort
Sunday, February 5th Appalachian Ski Mtn.
Sunday, February 12th Beech Mtn. Resort
Sunday, February 19th Sugar Mtn. Resort – Championship Race!

For more information go to:


Our racing trail, Alley Cat, will be closed for NASTAR racing from 11am until 2pm on Sunday. NASTAR registration will begin at 11am in the Group Sales office and cost is $7 for two runs for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under.


Squirrel Cage will Be closed Saturday & Sunday due to Race event!


Our new tube run, located right off exit 3, will be open today from 9am-10pm. It features a longer, faster run and a magic carpet lift to take you back to the top of the hill. With skiing, two tube run locations and a weather prediction of sunny and highs near 50, it will be a great day of family fun for everyone. We look forward to seeing you on the slopes!


I really like the new streaming webcams. My favorite is actually not even at one of the ski resorts, but at Ocean Drive Pavilion in North Myrtle Beach. It is showing the dunes and playing beach music for us! Check it out at our sister webcam website that we operate on the Grand Strand –

My next favorite would have to be at Sugar Mountain where Sugar Ski and country Club is showing various shots from atop Big Red. See it at:  

Right now Sugar is only offering a small strip of snow to ride down on that particular trail, but the views are great.

Massanutten’s camera was looking gorgeous last night and still looks sweet this AM. See it at:  

My favorite this morning is probably the view at Winterplace Resort. Look at those great conditions via:  

That’s enough for today peeps! Have a great Sunday and TheKenDog will be back with you on Monday. Have a great week and if you’re at the cardboard box races at Beech today, send us some pics!

Email me your comments, thoughts, photos, vids or anything else you like at [email protected]  

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