No Shadow for Punxsutawny Phil today…and SNOWMAKING TEMPS Return Tonight!

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Happy Groundhog Day! Hope you’re all doing very well this morning. Well, today is the day you’ve all be waiting for. As much of the northeast continues to get absolutely hammered with ANOTHER winter storm, sweet little Punxsutawney Phil crawled out of his hole in Pennsylvania just around dawn this morning. The world’s most famous groundhog DID NOT see his shadow and thus predicts an early spring. Phil has seen his shadow 98 times since 1887 and hasn’t seen it 16. So, folks, I guess that means we’re in for a quickly approaching spring. I’m not buying it. It’s my personal opinion that we’ve still got plenty of winter weather in the mix and that the wintry season isn’t over just yet. Does anybody remember the Blizzard of ’93? I rest my case. Anything’s possible!

Late last night we received a brand-spankin’-new forecast from Head-Weatherman-in-Charge (HWIC) Brad Panovich for the next couple of days. It’s been a rare occasion this season that there’s no winter weather in the picture for much of the southeast and mid-Atlantic, though there is a chance of snow in the highest elevations in West Virginia, but no more than 1-2 inches of accumulation. Temperatures will turn sharply cold tonight and it will be very WINDY. Good News? With the temperatures overnight dipping into the upper teens snowmaking ops will get fired up and start to lay down some nice new snow. The last two or so days of rain and temperatures in the 40’s have affected bases minimally, but it will be nice to see some snowmaking again. It’s been several days since guns have been blazin’ at any of the ski areas.

Take a quick look at temperatures at 8:00 this morning and the forecast LOWS for tonight…there’s a drastic difference!

Yesterday I reported that several ski areas had seen a base reduction of a few inches. Well today’s a different day but the story is the same. Appalachian Ski Mountain reported an average 8 inch loss of base and Beech Mountain’s base dropped to 44 from 50. Now you all know that these are conservative estimates on the LOW end of average base depths, so don’t let these numbers fool you into thinking that ski areas are in trouble – they aren’t! Sugar Mountain and Cataloochee both reported a loss of about 2 inches.

I’m a bit all over the place today, but that’s because I’ve got several different things to run my mouth about. A few days ago I asked what you all thought about helmets and asked for some input and advice. I got some great responses and I thought I would share a couple of those with you…

Laura Parquette at Snowshoe Mountain wrote,

"At first I bought a mid-priced, cute Smith helmet. I HATED it. I felt like it was heavy, cut off my peripheral, let cold air in and just was annoying. So I stopped wearing it. Then Smith gave me a really nice, expensive one—I LOVE IT! It’s warm, perfectly padded, no venting issues, removable ear pieces, fits my goggles, etc, etc.

So my advice is to spend a little extra to get one that really fits and is super comfortable if you really do intend to wear it, because otherwise it’ll probably be too foreign feeling and you’ll ditch it. Something else to consider; I love the fact that my Smith helmet and Smith goggles “fit” perfectly, so there is no gap or weird draft between helmet and goggle; I think most brands of helmets and goggles have a similar fit system."

Thanks to Laura for the advice. I didn’t even think that goggles would affect the fit of a helmet. I’m such a newbie. It makes perfect sense though. Goggles can be big and bulky on your face, and the last thing you want is a bulky uncomfortable helmet screwing with your goggles and your vision.

I also heard from SkiNC/SkiSoutheast Messageboard member marski yesterday…

"Marz Jr. and I started wearing helmets three seasons ago. That was after someone almost took her out on Shawneehaw in mid-Dec. I was behind her, on purpose, and he took me down instead even though I was aware and trying to get out of his way while also keeping an eye on her.

Now I love having a helmet. Much warmer and more comfortable than a hat. Especially with a jacket hood under the helmet. Same goes for Marz Jr. because she generally hates wearing a hat of any kind. Also helps to make sure no snow goes down my back if skiing in deep powder out west."

Hey, if it’ll help keep me warm, I’m totally in. There’s nothing worse than being cold, and it’s not only terrible for me, it’s even worse for the people I’m with. If I’m uncomfortable or cold, I’m really bad at keeping it to myself. And yes, I’d like cheese with my whine. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll surely have a helmet of my own and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!!!

Trail/Slope and Lift Openings are largely the same as they were yesterday, so there’s honestly not much to report on this morning.

In West Virginia and Maryland…

Wisp Resort is 100% open today and it’s Wednesday which marks another installment of the Bud Light Concert Series as the resort welcomes the Hillbilly Gypsies – a West Virginia band with an Appalachian Old Time Bluegrass feel. It’s also Locals Day…so there’s lots of fun and some great deals going on in McHenry today.

Canaan is 100% open today and offering BOGO lift tickets. Timberline is open on all but one trail.

Snowshoe is nearly 100% open today with 59 trails and they are gearing up for truckloads of fun this weekend between welcoming great musical acts for the Homegrown Music Festival as well as up and coming athletes who will compete in the Red Bull Super Hit Event!

Winterplace is 100% open today and expecting a touch of snow later tonight!

In Virginia…

Bryce, Massanutten and Wintergreen are 100% open and the Homestead is open on 9 of 10 slopes.

In North Carolina and Tennessee…

Appalachian Ski Mountain will be glad snowmaking temps are back in the picture as their Terrain Park Crew gears up for this weekend’s Shred for the Cup BIG AIR event which goes down on Saturday.

Beech and Sugar Mountain are 100% open on all trails as is Cataloochee.

Wolf Ridge is open on 13 of 23 trails today. It’s Ladies Night Out at Wolf Ridge this evening and lift tickets are only $15 for the girls.

At Ober Gatlinburg they are 100% open today with lots of fun features in the Terrain Park.

For specific details be sure to check out the Snow Reports Page!


You can email me directly… [email protected] with questions or comments, and you can also send me photos and videos, too!

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