It’s November 8th but Looks Like Winter Already

First Trax
beech mountain at Fred's in Snow

Good Morning my fellow, snow-loving peeps. If you’re reading this FirsTrax blog you’re most probably a “one percenter” and I’m not talking about the wealthiest people on the planet. I’m alluding to those of you who simply COULD NOT WAIT until the ski and snowboarding season got cranked up.

As the title of this article hints – it looks a lot like Winter around the higher elevations this morning. Here’s a photo taken from our drone on Friday afternoon while up at Beech Mountain.

freds003This one was of Fred’s Mercantile on Friday.

We’re now talking about ski season now – Thanks to Cataloochee Ski Area and Sugar Mountain Resort which opened last weekend after a cold snap and 4-8″ of snow fell across our part of the fruited plain. In case you are geographically, ski resort challenged it should be pointed out that BOTH of the resorts that made snow and opened are BOTH North Carolina ski areas. These two resorts are always the first two to open and provide diehard skiers and snowboarders with snow to play on.

The rest of the resorts across the state and the Southeast and mid-Atlantic will always choose to sit back just a bit longer and open up around Thanksgiving week, weekend or just a bit later.  ALL of the rest of the resort operators across the region have huge smiles on their faces though because they don’t have to spend a penny to make snow quite this early and yet the entire ski community (resort owners, managers and marketing departments) gets a nice “bump” from all of the publicity that Cat and Sugar creates by opening.

So kudos to Chris Bates and his crew at Cataloochee – and Gunther Jochl and his team at Sugar for giving all of us something to be excited about while we sit back and await “the real season” when they all get open.


You can check out the NEW snow reports page at

Kenny Griffin, Sean Blankenship and the design team did a really nice job on the website and I really like the functionality. The new snow report page has all of the information for the entire region at a glance and it looks nice.


Cataloochee Ski Area was reporting 37.2° at 7am with a base of 12-16″ and they are operating for day skiing until 4:30pm on three slopes service by two lifts. Those slopes are:

Lower Omigosh 1800′
Rabbit Hill 600
Easy Way 600′

So they are offering 3000′ of fun!

Cat is pretty cool about offering their “One Run Refund” for guests unhappy with conditions and they will refund your lift ticket after 1 run within 45 minutes of your purchase.

Also, don’t forget if you have a current season pass to any other area, you can take your pass to Cataloochee and receive $10 off your day’s lift ticket.

THAT is a sweetheart of a deal.

Sugar Mountain Resort was reporting 28° at 7am with a base of 8-26″ and they are operating for day skiing until 4:30pm on two slopes service by one lift.

Those slopes are: Upper and Lower Flying Mile

Sugar IS reporting some THIN AREAS


Since we’re still in a kind of “PHASE I” of ski season mode and I’ve now posted the snow report for the 12% of the ski areas that are currently open (that’s 2 of 17 resorts)…I thought I’d share a couple of features that I kind of like about the new website.

ONE is the fact that we’re always being asked about HOW MUCH SNOW has fallen at this or that resort during the season. is the ONLY resource where you can see that information for EVERY ski resort in the region on this page:

You can also see how much snow has fallen at each resort for SEVERAL YEARS by going to each ski resort page and then click on MOUNTAIN STATS. For example, check out Beech Mountain Resorts snowfall totals for EACH of the last TEN YEARS. You can’t get that information from ANY other website on the “interwebs”.


Another pretty cool feature of the new website is the fact that you can find TONS of archived content from past seasons. We’ve ALWAYS kept and archived older posts, which has always allowed us to go back and look at comparative conditions year over year.

However, in the past if you actually searched Google for that kind of content, you’d see Google results that showed that the content was ON our website – HOWEVER when you clicked the link you’d simply be taken to our current BLOG or FirsTrax posts. NOW if you’re looking for old news, you’ll find that information on the website.

There are LOTS of cool, new features on the site and we’re looking forward to sharing lots of new features with you guys soon.


We’ve been featuring some of our drone videos with you guys (SO FAR MOSTLY on and we’re really looking forward to offering some views of the resorts that you haven’t seen before.

To that end, we went up to Beech on Friday to fly a couple of trails and the village area. However 40 mph winds kept that from happening 😉

I also quickly figured out that operating that thing out on the slopes will be a challenge simply from a “keeping-your-hands-warm” situation.

However it should be fun to show you guys some top-to-bottom views of what each trail looks like without all of the bumping that you get from on-ground-GoPro captures.

That’s going to do it for me this morning.  If you’re out on the slopes ANYTIME this weekend – snap a photo or two (or video) and share it with us. You can do so via InstaGram or by simply emailing me at [email protected]

Until next time…(Sunday)

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Everything’s WHITE atop Beech Mountain on Friday, November 7th
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