Rainy Weekend Incoming; Massanutten’s Kenny Hess Honored

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The weekend is within our reach, but instead of the promise of fresh snowfall, the southeast has rain incoming and temperatures rising.

Most ski areas in the region will get its fair share of raindrops between now and Monday. In a few places – like North Carolina’s High Country and Ober Mountain– that’s projected to turn into snow on Sunday and Monday, but we’ll keep an eye out for that.

If you missed it, Massanutten’s Kenny Hess is getting ready to retire in July, after a career that has given him 40-plus years at the resort.

The Daily News Record had a wonderful write-up about him on Monday. Give that a read here. Basically, his time at The ‘Nutt started at the age of 19, when he was a student at nearby James Madison University.

“I was a JMU student, and I was looking for a part-time job,” he told Lisa Landram. “I found a part time job offer in the JMU student newspaper… it said come work here part time and get a free season’s pass.”

What started off as a part-time job as a lift operator and ski patroller blossomed over the years, but it left him with the title of Director of Sports and Risk Management.

“Something that my father instilled in me, many years ago, was … find something that you’d like to do [and] you’ll be much happier in life for it,” Hess said to Landram. “I’ve been fortunate and lucky to have been able to do that.”

 The Living Legend

While I myself was not on the slopes yesterday (saving my turns for this weekend, of course), my brother and my dad took advantage of some midweek powder up at Cannon Mountain yesterday. Fresh snow was flying, and there were some stashes of the good stuff to take advantage of. But as is typical for a day at Cannon, visibility was low and the number of ice patches were high.

FirsTrax reporter Josh Sullivan’s father Steve.

If you’re ever thinking about taking a trip up north for some skiing and riding, I cannot recommend Cannon enough. It’s one of the most beautiful ski areas I’ve ever been to, and somehow rarely busy. It sits in the heart of Franconia Notch State Park and the White Mountains, and is home to the New England Ski Museum. You can visit that free of charge from Memorial Day through April. Cannon’s the only ski area in the country with a museum on its property.

The New England Ski Museum at Cannon Mountain.

I was 28 years old before I rode at Cannon for the first time. It was on my bucket list for a while, but seeing as it sits in between several great ski areas, I often neglected it. Don’t make the same mistake that I did. Plan a stop if you’re headed up to New Hampshire!

Here’s what you need to know about the southeast today:


It’s going to be rainy at Ober for the next few days, much like everywhere else in the region. But college students, you can ski and ride on the cheap tonight, as it costs just a $10 donation for a lift ticket from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. A portion of the proceeds go to Sevier Co. Food Ministries. Students will need a valid college ID, and If you can’t make it today, the same deal is set for Sunday.

February 3 is Diva Day at Ober. The first 15 women who register will receive a free lift ticket, a meet and greet with coffee and donuts, lunch, and other goodies.

“Come for a day of fun to slide on the snow with other women and learn about ski patrol and ski school,” the advertisement says.

The event is open to intermediate skiers and snowboarders with their own equipment. Register by emailing [email protected] or calling 865-661-0685.


On a day in which most ski areas are battling spring-like temperatures, Snowshoe might be the coldest resort in the region today. The temperature is still 42 degrees this morning, and it’s expected to hit a high of 51.

There are 59 open trails and 11 spinning lifts today. Eleven of 12 night trails are open, and there are two open terrain parks.

From the snow reporting team:

We’re just interpreting this underdeveloped snow in the forecast as nature’s playful way of keeping things interesting. Don the waterproof attire because we’re suiting up for a day of good times, rain or shine! To help preserve our snowpack through this mild stretch, we’ll be leaving several of our blue and black trails ungroomed. Looking for some inside fun? Head to The Bear’s Den, located upstairs in the Silver Creek Lodge. Fun for the whole crew!”

Beech Mountain

Tonight is ladies night at Beech! Tickets are $15 from 5 p.m. to close.

Check out this gorgeous sunset the Beech social media team posted:

Canaan Valley Resort

It’s a warm up, so you might as well try something you’ve never tried before.

Head to Canaan today, and get a free Snogo bike demo with the purchase of a lift ticket from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

Photo courtesy of Snogo

I’ve never ridden a Snogo bike before in my life, but they look crazy fun. And with a significant number of trails closed for today due to the weather, why not try something new?

There are three lifts spinning and 23 of 47 trails open today. No snowmaking is in progress.

Omni Homestead

From Lynn Swann:

We took advantage of the conditions earlier in the week so we could add to our base before the warmer temps and rain came. Today’s forecast calls for rain (or as a friend once told me, underdeveloped snow) with a high of 57. We have 7 trails and a base of 32 inches. Tomorrow’s forecast is more favorable and we’ll have night skiing and snowboarding until 8 p.m.. Plus, free rentals again this weekend with the purchase of our ski package.”


Discord user Filardito was there yesterday. Here’s their report:

Sugar didn’t disappoint. Excellent midweek visit, 100% open, though the entrance to Sugar Bear is about to melt through and Cake Walk was sketch. The snow is in great shape and not even icy, for some insane unknown reason. Kids did their first black and double black diamonds (my first double as well), and the wife did her first summit run (3 times actually) Stoke level high.”

Video Of The Day

He’s 16-years-old, and absolutely shreds. Kai Jones, everyone.

The Rest

Don’t forget: Clear your calendar from February 9-11. That’s when Massanutten and SkiSoutheast will host team up to host our summit. It’s a great way to meet like-minded, snow-loving people, and possibly make some lifelong friends in the process.

Thanks to everyone that has already joined us on Discord.

Think snow!

Think cold!

Click here to join us on our new SkiSoutheast Discord channel. It is a great way to meet new snow loving friends and shares experiences, ask questions, and more!

And as always, email me at [email protected] with your thoughts and photos.

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