More COLD and Snow is on the way!

First Trax

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It’s Saturday morning and I’m off the mountain for much of the day. It is always alien to me to be updating a report when I’m not "right there". However today is even more awkward because somehow for the first time in 15 seasons I am updating the report from something other than either MY computer or MY ski-laptop. It’s my ski laptop because it has everything I need on it to be able to check all of the weather links, CoCoRaHs links, my SkiMail, etc. etc. Somehow when I was packing up to head down the mountain for the night, I left it behind. I’m actually freaking a little bit this morning because I’m not really sure where the heck it is. That in itself is a testament to how technology has ingrained itself into our everyday lives.


There’s more resort openings to talk about and even though I’ll have to fumble my way through an awkward keyboard and minus the tools of my trade (I feel all nakie) here goes.

Oh – before I do get going – I want to tip my hat to our new Communications Gal (yes "gal" is capitalized because I think that’s her title. I like it better than "director"), Sarah Davis as she did a great job of FirsTrax morning updates Thursday and Friday. I’ve been demoted to "the weekend guy" and hopefully you guys caught on to the fact that I have a new spot on the front page called "Open Mike" where I’ll do my babbling. If you guys don’t have anything better to do you can read my irregular posts down on the front page under the SkiSE Announcements. Here’s a link to the last post: 

(Shameless plug huh? I just don’t want to "go away" – you know?)


Okay, not quite yet. As I said I can’t log into my system back home from the alien system I’m on (thanks Pop) so I can’t access Brad Panovich’s promised Friday night update to see what if any changes are in his forecast. I’ll be back home this evening so if there’s anything hugely different in there, I’ll update it. However as of this morning NONE of the "normal" weather services are forecasting anything crazy like 8-12" that Brad was forecasting for the North Carolina Mountains as I left town on Friday. He was claiming that the WV ski areas could see another Snowhammy of 10-20" this evening, Sunday through perhaps Tuesday. With the NWS only calling for "new snow accumulation of less than one inch" for tonight and Sunday in the NC mountains I have to wonder if things have changed. The NWS forecast for Snowshoe Mountain isn’t any different other than they seem to be calling for a "mostly cloudy" day for Snowshoe and then Rain, showers and sleet becoming all snow after 1pm for them. The forecast adds "less than one inch of snow" to the Sunday forecast.


I virtually hopped over to the Charleston, West Virginia NWS Center and they are forecasting a Winter Storm Watch for what they expect should be "TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS TO 6 TO 8 INCHES ACROSS THE LOWER TERRAIN. A FOOT OR MORE OF SNOW MAY FALL OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN.

The Spartanburg Office is forecasting only a "Hazardous Weather Outlook" for the North Carolina mountains and 1" of snow.

As I said earlier – I’m feeling detached this morning. I’ll update you as soon as possible once I get back to my "tool bag".

Ray’s Weather is still forecasting the same thing he was talking up on Friday. He’s calling for a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain with 2-4" by early Sunday morning for most of the High Country with less than that at lower elevations. He’s saying we’ll have several inches of snow into Monday but nobody will be able to measure it because of the 50 mph winds that all weather gurus seem to be reporting.

So I say – GO ENJOY YOUR DAY TODAY and check back later after all the "whatever’s going to fall from the sky" begins.

NOW – here’s the report. (I’m combining the report this morning and the tour will be focusing first on the newest opening day news and we’ll skip all around for fun.)

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 21° low this morning – They are 100% open with all 12 trails that includes the new beginning slope and ALL THREE terrain parks. I like this comment posted by General Manager, Brad Moretz, "After one of the best snowmaking starts in modern history, all slopes and lifts are now open with a substantial base in excess of 50 inches. All 3 terrain parks are open along with various freestyle features on Candied Appal. This weekend we will have mid-season conditions and temperatures."

You heard him – go get ’em.

Winterplace Resort – They are scheduled to OPEN TODAY, however their snow report that was updated at 6am this morning shows no slopes open, no lifts. They’re also reporting 12" of new snow, which nobody else in the region is reporting. I HAVE to believe there’s a major hiccup somewhere, but I’ll get to the bottom of it later in the day. Our understanding is that Missy and team planned to be open today with 14 trails so go check it out and send us some photos!

Canaan Valley – 18° – They Open for the season TODAY. They’ll have ONE Black Diamond trail (Face) open for today as well as one intermediate and a couple of beginner slopes. That’s FIVE of 39 trails for opening day. They’ll get more open quickly we’re sure.

Timberline Resort – 27° (weird that they are reporting 27° when one ridge away is Canaan with 18°. Canaan is also reporting NO NEW SNOW and Timberline is reporting 7" so we’ll get some official reports ASAP later today. Timberline is open with 4 trails today.

Bryce Resort – 25° – You HAVE to love their "no nonsense" reporting. They’re open, 6 of 8 trails, come. Okay, I’m sure they’re more excited than THAT but their post is so simple. 6 of 8 trails open, nope to night skiing. Visitor BEWARE of their webcam page as there seems to be a virus attached to it. If you’re thinking of checking out their live cam, I wouldn’t unless you’re VERY certain that your anti-virus is up to date! I hit the site last week from another computer and thought perhaps it was that system, but from this alien machine I’m on today – the virus jumped up again from their webcam page. Beware. We’ll try to get with Horst and those guys to make the aware later today.

Massanutten Resort – 25° – They are OPEN for the season and start off things with 10 of 14 trails open for day sessions this weekend. Their two terrain parks are BOTH open which is cool as heck! Kenny Hess and their guys wanted us to tell you that ParaDice opens today! Night sessions start NEXT weekend, December 17th.

Speaking of webcams, Kenny I know I owe you a phone call and we’ll hopefully be able to make a live webcam a reality there soon.

Snowshoe Mountain – 24° – They are kicking butt and taking no prisoners as they have 24 trails open for today. I’m lovin’ their single digit base report of 30" average base and they posted, " Camp 99 opens today and our on-snow team says it is looking SWEET! So for you expert skiers and riders, get your legs under you and then head to Camp 99! With some warmer temperatures today the snow should soften up perfectly for great carvability, and it should be a fun one out there!"

I’d say so! Snowshoe will open the Silvercreek side of the mountain next Friday and that means night skiing as well!

Wintergreen Resort – 30° – They have half their mountain open with 13 of 26 trails for day sessions. Anne Marie posted, "As promised, today we will ski and ride on all 3 sections of our mountain. Opening HIGHLANDS this early is a real treat. In addition to having THE HIGHLANDS, our snowmaking and grooming crews finished up Sunrise and Tequila overnight! These guys are the best! Pack up your gear and start heading this way! We plan to open additional slopes during the next week. Our goal for next weekend includes adding: Tyro, Devil’s Elbow, The Gap, Lower Diamond Hill, The Upper Diamond Hill Progression Park and more if the weather cooperates. Keep checking this report for progress updates. We plan to open a lot more skiing and riding terrain by next weekend."

Wisp Resort is open for day and night sessions with 16 of 32 trails operating and they’re popular mountain coaster.

Beech Mountain Ski Resort – 27° – They are opening for NIGHT SESSIONS for the first time this season and they have 12 of 14 trails open. That’s everything except The Oz Run, Upper Southern Star and "Upper White Lightning" that is open.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 33° – They are still operating day sessions only for today and with 11 of 16 trails and tubing for Saturday. Tammy Brown posted, "On Saturday, we will be skiing on eleven out of 16 trails with two aerial lifts and one conveyor lift operating, Advanced Upper Omigosh, Intermediate Rock Island Run, Advanced Alley Cat, Intermediate Lower Snowbird Trail, and Intermediate Lower Omigosh, serviced by the Omigosh Double Chairlift, Beginners Over Easy, Beginners Easy Way and Beginners Rabbit Hill serviced by the Easy Way Triple Chairlift, Beginner’s Luck Learning Area serviced by the Moving Carpet Conveyor lift and the Wolf Creek Hollow Teaching area on a base of 26”-80” and a machine made surface. Please note that some of our terrain features will be available for you to ride on Upper Over Easy, right down from the Snack Shack, accessed by the Easy Way Triple Chairlift.

On Saturday, we will offer one session of skiing, day skiing only from 8:30am-4:30pm with an afternoon half day rate also available. Remember midweek season passes are valid this weekend as well. Regular operating hours will begin on Monday, December 13."

Sugar Mountain Resort – 19° – They are making snow and open for day and night sessions. They had 14 trails open on Friday so we’re thinking they’ll have more than that today, however as of 8:42am there’s been no report update. Seems to be a glitch this morning. We DID notice that they are still reporting 20" of new snow on another report. Ummm, no. There’s lots of snow around and just a bit less than Beech Mountain is "wearing" this morning. Beech still has a foot or so of snow everywhere. So you be the judge.

Remember that Sugarfest is today and Sunday, December 11th and 12th at Sugar Ski Mountain Resort. Lots of fun. Watch 1992 Olympic Figure Skating Silver Medalist, Paul Wylie dazzle us with his amazing talent followed by an on ice skating clinic and a meet and greet session Sunday at 3 pm. No fee is required to watch Paul’s inspiring on-ice performance.

Wolf Ridge Resort – 31° – They are open with 8 of 20 trails for day and night sessions and tubing for Saturday. Conditions are great at Wolf today. Orville’s goal is to have the entire mountain open by December 20th. The Holiday bookings will certainly love hearing that!

The Homestead Resort in Virginia is OPEN or so they say. There’s no report to tell us (or anyone) how many trails are open, but they’re open. The SSAA website is dead in the water so we’ll have to wait til Sunday AM when I’m back on my machine to get more details. That’s a gorgeous, high-dollar resort and website but no snow reporting. What are they thinking?

Sapphire Valley – Opens December 17th, weather permitting.

Check back later for more details and feel free to email your photos, videos, reports, comments and more to: [email protected]

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