My Soap Box Rambling of the Season…

First Trax

Stay up to date by getting notified of new posts!

It’s funny but I think I’ve had more people emailing and calling me this past week than most of the busier weeks of the season in response to some of my comments about how this or that ski area rep have been talking down on whether or not competitor resorts have had a great season this past season. I’m not going to rehash it but remember that all of our articles are archived so that you can revisit them anytime at your convenience. If you miss a day or two, simply click on any of the articles on the front page under "Firstrax" and when that story pops up you’ll see all previously posted stories on the right side of the page.

All of your comments were positive (for a change 😉 ) but to be fair I suppose I need to state that truthfully most of the ski area reps and management teams don’t take part in that kind of negative, dirt throwing commentaries. I’ve been to media weekends at Snowshoe and they’ve gone out of their way to promote the other resorts in West Virginia. I’ve spoken numerous times with Tammy Brown, Cataloochee’s Marketing Director when she’s said wonderful things about competitive ski areas. Appalachian’s Brad Moretz talks often of how when one ski area is having trouble it can hurt the entire industry and therefore he has often spoken to me about how everyone should lift each other up. When one ski area like Cataloochee opens up before Halloween like they did a while back it promotes ALL of the ski areas. So there’s a benefit when they ALL "talk nice" about each other.

I’ve listened to people within the industry SAY that we should all be doing that, but unfortunately for a few that’s just talking the party line. Some either take every opportunity to apply little anti-promotional "digs" when possible or either neglect to come to a ski area’s defense when someone else does so. So this is more like one of those scenarios wherein one or two people kind of give a bad name for everybody else – kind of things. 

<Beech Mountain Base Cam view from this morning

It happened again on Friday! I was talking with TWO unnamed ski area employees on Friday – each worked at separate ski areas – and I was sharing the fact that another contact of mine who manages a THIRD ski area had shared the fact that he and his marketing director had taken the opportunity to travel to Sugar Mountain this past week and made some turns. I shared the fact that they told me that they had a great time and that they reported nice conditions at Sugar.

Beech Mountain slopeside view this AM>

I  then made the comment that they had intended on riding up to Beech for a few turns but found them to be closed. (They didn’t know that Beech had closed for night sessions this past Sunday.) When I related that story to the guys I was talking with on Friday one of them said, "Well it’s a good thing that the other two didn’t make it to Beech because they would have messed up their skis" – hinting that Beech had poor conditions or rocks showing, etc. The second person added, "They really have trouble keeping snow on their slopes."

Both of these people are people that I actually respect as industry insiders and longtime employees at their respective ski areas.


I guarantee you if the GM and Marketing Director had made it to Beech this past week, they would have shared with me that the conditions there were quite nice. (They’re always complimentary people!)

<Full on camera shot taken this morning! Looks pretty nice huh?

I captured THREE LIVE CAMERA VIEWS from webcams this morning showing pretty much every angle that you can look at Beech Mountain and they are in VERY VERY nice shape for their last day of skiing and riding.

Joe Stevens, who has written a weekly column for for several years now and who was Snowshoe’s spokesperson for many years prior to going out on his own a few years back has always supported this "let’s lift each other up" mentality. Even while at Snowshoe, Joe would be speaking to a group of representatives with a dozen television stations and while the weekend would be all about promoting Snowshoe – he’d always take some time to promote the region as a whole and it’s ski area choices.  I’ve heard him mention numerous other ski areas positively during these gatherings.

Even now that he’s being paid to be the official spokesperson for the West Virginia Ski Areas Association, he still finds time speak with his longtime contacts at various resorts from around the region…and he promotes them whenever possible.

Laura Parquette, Communications Spokesperson for Snowshoe these days, applies the same practice of talking up all of our ski areas…as does Bill Rock and Ed Galford of Snowshoe.

When Wisp or Cataloochee or Wintergreen has a great bit of news to share, it is beneficial to all of the ski areas. Great news for one ski area is great news for all of them. It’s kind of like when the US Open Tennis Tournament is ongoing – more people who haven’t seen a tennis court in months or years – hit the courts. Tammy Brown of Cataloochee Ski Area shared that kind of scenario this morning when she emailed me:

"Hey Mikie! (Only my family and Tammy call me Mikie…)

We have had a good season, despite the slower than normal start (where we all were getting a little excited to say the least)! The natural snowfall has added to folks experience here and of course the Olympic thrill has also increased visibility and excitement to winter snowsports overall.

We are excited about skiing into April and from the looks of participation, the interest in spring skiing is there. We are also looking forward to a busy summer and have some exciting things we will be working on to enhance the skiing and riding experience here. As soon as I have something more concrete, I promise you will be the first to know.

Thanks again as always for the great job you and your staff do in promoting skiing in North Carolina and all over the Southeast.

We appreciate you and we love you!


We love you too Tammy!

So I say to ALL ski area marketing peeps, management crews and all employees…TRASHCAN THE NEGATIVITY! For the most part everyone’s on board. However, contrary to Michael Jackson’s "One Bad Apple" song …one or two bad apples CAN spoil the whole bunch…

I know I’ll get a comment or perhaps two about how I’m acting like a know it all; "holier than thou" and that we mistakenly think we run a little something-something within the region…or that we think that we have an affect on things when we don’t – yada, yada, yada.

To that I say that I know we’ve helped to educate a lot of our newbie visitors to the region; I know we’ve had a positive affect on some ski areas reporting and non reporting of thin coverage and bare areas over our 14 years; and we’ve seen ski areas get a lot more consistent in reporting natural snowfall, etc – so maybe – just maybe we can be a positive catalyst for improving the support and lifting up of all ski areas in the region instead of taking any opportunity to share little "digs" at each other.

That’s my soap box speech for this season on this beautiful Saturday. Thanks for allowing me to blabber on. Now go ride on this last day of the season (at many ski areas). But whatever you do – man don’t go ski or ride over there where the conditions are soooooo bad today. You know over at….

Just kidding!

Here are some notables:

Appalachian Ski Mountain – As they had previously scheduled and announced they will now offer day sessions only for the rest of the season after tonight. Saturday night, March 20th will be their last night for night skiing and snowboarding and they will remain open daily through April 11th from 9am-4pm every day of the week. App will also close down their ice rink at 4:30pm on Sunday. 

Cataloochee is 100% open for day sessions only now. They will be open for day skiing today and Sunday and then closed weekdays, but reopen for day skiing and snowboarding Saturdays and Sunday through April 4th. As you can see, Cataloochee is in GREAT shape for this weekend.

Ski Beech / Beech Mountain Resort is looking VERY, VERY NICE for their last day of skiing and snowboarding which takes place today with the entire mountain open with the lone exception of the Oz Run. Beech has some real fun planned for today with pond skimming and a cookout.

Sugar Mountain has announced that they will end their season on March 28th. I don’t know where one of close buddies gets their inside information but I got a call around 11:15am on Friday and was told that Gunther had shared that they would be closing on Sunday, March 28th for their 40th season. I never post anything about Sugar til I see it with my own two eyes, but then I saw Len Bauer Friday evening at a soccer match and he too shared that Sugar will be closing. Now I’ve seen it for myself as they are announcing it on their website. Sugar’s been seeing some thinning coverage at the bottom of their hill lately so that’s a good date to pull the plug. They’ll be open today with all 20 trails and remember that Sugar has a cool, Easter egg hunt happening on Sunday on the slopes. They will have sweet, Spring conditions with great conditions early within each session as they do a fabulous job of grooming before and between sessions. As skier traffic hits it, expect a few thin areas surfacing.

Wolf Ridge Resort will ski and ride for day sessions today and they will be closing for the season this afternoon. They are offering 1/2 price tickets today. Wolf was sounding happy as they posted, "We thank you for making this one of the BEST YEARS ever and we look forward to seeing you on the SLOPES!!!!"

Kind of supports my, "More than just ONE ski area in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic had a great season this season" theory!

Snowshoe Mountain Resort is in great shape as they move forward through April 5th. Laura did such as nice job of on mountain promotion this morning we’ll just share her entire promotion today. She wrote, "Lower Shay’s Revenge will have a delayed opening this morning to allow the sun to soften the snow slightly* It’s going to be another beautiful day on the mountain. You can’t ask for more than mild temperatures and sunny skies and some GREAT March conditions. Once again last night our groomers were able to get out and work their magic. Mother Nature continues to cooperate with cold overnight temperatures which allow the snow to set up nicely and help provide a beautiful corduroy surface for the start of another fantastic day on the hill. Our grooming team really has done a phenomenal job all season, and it’s definitely paying off as we look towards the end of the year. All 42 of our open slopes are in great shape with plenty of snow. March conditions can be variable across open terrain, but for the most part we’re providing great hard pack in the morning, followed by softened spring conditions in the afternoon. You’ll certainly get a leg workout out there, and if you’re not enjoying yourself, you’re doing something wrong! For our expert skiers and riders we have some great bumps on Lower Shay’s Revenge and Widowmaker, so if you’re looking for an added challenge, head in that direction! Be sure to take advantage of the sunshine today and stop by one of our slopeside eateries. Whether you’re grabbing the world-famous waffles at the Boathouse, or a cold beverage in the afternoon at Arbuckles Cabin, these are great spots to give your legs a break and catch a few rays. The Junction is also providing patio seating, perfect for a mid-day lunch break. And don’t forget that Snowshoe has 2 weeks left of these perfect spring days. We’ll be skiing and riding until April 5th with great deals available. And while other mountains begin closing this weekend, we’re allowing season pass holders to get a little extra mileage out of their investment; from March 28th to April 5th, bring your season pass from any other mountain and you’ll ski or ride for just $20. And it gets better than that! If you stay two or more nights, you’ll ski for FREE! Call 877-441-4386 TODAY! "

Bryce Resort is calling their last weekend of snow conditions "Spring Conditions" and they will operate for day sessions today and Sunday with six of eight slopes available.

Massanutten will be open 9am-10pm today and from 9am-7pm on Sunday with all 14 trails and tubing open! They are making some noise about potentially being open NEXT weekend, but they may pull the plug after Sunday’s sessions.

Wintergreen Resort just isn’t ready to call it quits after Sunday sessions like they had previously planned so they will operate for day sessions today and Sunday and then reopen Saturday, March 27th for one more day. Anne Marie Jones posted, "50% DISCOUNTS ON LIFT TICKETS, RENTALS AND TUBING, RAIL JAM, GREAT MUSIC, GREAT FOOD, NEW TERRAIN PARK FEATURES IN THE PARK AND ON UPPER DOBIE, POND SKIMMING ON SUNDAY AND MORE. THIS WEEKEND IS ALWAYS A HUGE HIT WITH OUR GUESTS, COME UP AND GET IN ON THE FUN!. ONE LAST HOORAH – AFTER THIS WEEKEND, WE PLAN TO RE-OPEN FOR A FINAL DAY OF SKIING ON SATURDAY MARCH 27th."

Canaan Valley is open with 38 of 39 trails for today and Sunday before calling it a season. Tubing and terrain parks are open as well with great conditions as overnight temps allowed for firming up of the surface. Today should be great.

Winterplace is open with all but one trail for day sessions today and they will ride through March 28th. Tubing and terrain parks are open as well.

Wisp Resort is open with 30 of 32 trails, snow tubing, ice skating, mountain coastering and day and night sessions as well.

Ober Gatlinburg is open with 6 of 8 trails, tubing and ice skating and for day and night sessions as well. Ober is offering $20 lifties today!

We’re on day 113 and there are 24 more days of opportunities to enjoy the snow for the 2009-2010 ski and snowboarding season!

Go enjoy the snow! Check out the Snow Report at  and please send us your favorite ski photos, ski videos, trip reports and comments to [email protected]  

Previous Post
Check out the great deals at Cannan Valley this weekend!
Next Post
Beech & Wolf are now CLOSED for the Season; other resorts carry onward!
Related Posts