MLK Weekend is Here – Enjoy More Open Terrain!

First Trax

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Things are not looking too bad weather-wise for the weekend. We compiled weather forecasts from three local forecasters and came up with a relative consensus that Saturday and Sunday won’t be too bad as far as the under developed snow and even though Monday looks rainy – it’s mainly after 1pm where the biggest chances of rain exists…and many of the weekend visitors will be headed back home by that time. So it appears there won’t be in day-killing rain – which is what we’ve been telling you guys for a few days.

Some forecasts earlier in the week were saying that the rains would be more widespread, and a tour around the area last night revealed a lot of “VACANCY” signs on area motels and lodging signs. The MLK weekend is here, so we’ll soon know how the numbers play in terms of holiday visitation. As we all know the Christmas to New Years period saw about 75-80% of normal skier visits across most of the Southeast’s ski areas (and really the entire east coast as Vermont’s numbers were some 25% down from normal.)

From what we’re seeing and hearing from our accommodations clients (we work with more than 90 different vacation lodging owners and manager) vacation bookings look good most everywhere, BUT many are not 100% booked which is unusual for this weekend. The uncertainty of the first month of the season and less than 100% open terrain (as well as the less than pristine weather forecast) may hold things back just a bit. However, all in all most resorts will take what it appears that we’ll get from today through Monday in terms of skier visits as the crowds should be pretty good and that should mean good, financial success for the weekend – even if not quite up to normal standards.

That even better news is that so far the forecast is holding pretty good for the coming weeks. Forecasters have been pointing to mid-January for some time now – for a return to more seasonable temps and weather. After we get through this weekend’s milder couple of days (as was forecasted) we see COLD air funneling into the region in a huge way and even some snow on Tuesday of next week. For those of you who are vacationing in the mountains through the week, you will be rewarded with some super winter weather and more and more open terrain at ski resorts everywhere in the region.

We’ve been leaving the weather duties up to our buddy, Meteorologist, Marcus Lynch this season. Many people are not aware of this fact but Marcus provides us with the ONLY weather and ski website that has a meteorologist providing forecasts for the High Country and most of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic. We have really enjoyed his experience of knowledge this season.

Today and Sunday are looking at 20-30% chances of mostly scattered, light rain for the North Carolina Mountains and highs in the 50s and lows in the mid 40s. Monday looks like a 60% chance of rain, but mostly after 1pm and highs near 60°. Then the cold invades and on the back side of the front things should change over to snow Monday night and Tuesday. Tuesday’s highs should stay in the mid 30s and Tuesday night’s low should bottom out at 20°. Wednesday’s high may stay in the mid 20s with lows in the teens. Thursday and Friday look like highs in the low to mid 30s and lows in the teens.

The forecast for resort areas further north into Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland is only slightly different with a bit more in the way of rain chances (though still scattered) and slightly colder at night through next week. That means PLENTY of snowmaking temps and more open slopes at all of the resorts.

We received a lot of questions about slope openings after the guns fired all week. Many of our visitors asked “why aren’t more expert trails open?” Well SOME are, but the resorts had to first restore the trails that they knew they needed to be ready for this heavy weekend traffic. Now they will do with what they have until Tuesday return of snow making temps. If you witnessed the transformation that took place from this past Monday through this morning – it was nothing short of amazing! We can only imagine that with a very similar stretch of cold in the forecast for next week, what the resorts will be able to offer by next Thursday or so. We’re going only slightly out on the limb here to predict that some resorts may be 100% open by mid to late next week, and all will have substantially more terrain open!

We’ve received a ton of photos and video over the last few days and many from some new resorts and sources that we don’t normally get a lot of input from. We really want to thank Pam Long of Timberline, Rob Story who will be providing more reports from resorts in West Virginia and Virginia, and we also want to welcome Canaan Valley’s marketing staffers to coming onboard with in a more direct way.

Check back throughout the morning, today and this weekend as we do some “catching up” with photo submissions and Trip reports. Also, PLEASE send us your photos and reports from TODAY and this weekend. Share your experience with others! Email us at [email protected]  

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Until Next Time…


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For more information about the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic visit [email protected]


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This snowboarder was enjoying the conditions on a Candied Appal rail at Appalachian Ski Mountain on January 3rd – Photo by Lorrie Tomlinson
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