Oh the Weather Outside is – not so frightful – When Will it Change?

First Trax

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I’ve had the opportunity to be on the snow three times thus far this season and last night I and several friends and members of my family took in a bit of night session skiing at Ski Beech. I have been telling you guys that there was PLENTY of snow on the slopes, despite the mild trend of weather that we’ve experienced. Even so, I have to admit I was surprised at how firm the conditions were on Beech last night. There was no loose snow, and actually at times I was more concerned with blocky or choppy ice conditions. There was plenty of good, side-to-side coverage and no thin coverage or bare areas at all. Beech had the main trail (Upper and Lower Shawneehaw) open from the top and although the grooming job could have been better (actually much better) the surface was quite nice and surprising good. If you have an opportunity to hit the slopes this weekend…don’t let the recent mild weather mislead you. Conditions are pretty nice.

Be sure to check out the slope conditions page for all of the details, but suffice to say that conditions are good enough to see Sugar open another trail or slope. That’s two new openings in the last two days…and that’s without snowmaking! Sugar has nine slopes and trails open for today.

Snowshoe Mountain leads the way by opening 12 more trails (Silver Creek opens today) and that gives Snowshoe 26 trails to play on this weekend!

We’re obviously keeping an eye on the weather. We’re getting quite a lot of emails asking not so much about today or this weekend’s weather…but the weather for the Holidays. The concern on the minds of many is whether or not the resorts will be able to maintain decent conditions as we approach the all-important Holiday ski period. Winter officially starts in about a week and all of us are doing all of the “THINKING SNOW” that we can muster. A couple of our meteorologist buddies are advising us to be patient and it seems as though they agree that cold air and more normal winter weather will be returning to the region as we near Christmas Day. We should see some sporadic overnight cold temps that might even allow a bit of snowmaking here and there…but no brutally cold or sustained cold temps in our immediate future. However the consensus is that things should be getting back to normal by Christmas weekend and continue into Christmas week and into the first of the year.

We all know that a couple of days of COLD temperatures will mean sweet snowmaking and nice conditions for that time period. So the call right now is: Don’t fret the weather too much – things will be fine. Look for some timely return to normal temps and a decent Holiday ski week. Many of you probably remember the last couple of winters when Mother Nature’s good timing saved what was looking like a rough Holiday Ski Week. The snow is in good shape now. It WILL probably deteriorate some with the mild temps of the next few days, but night time temps should allow for some firming and pushing around / grooming of the snow to make it such that we will weather this one…and have pretty nice Holiday Skiing!

Ask and Ye Shall Receive –

Yesterday we wrote about the fact that only two resorts had shown any drop in base depth with the mild temps of the last few days. This morning? Seven more reported drops. Thanks for reading guys and gals!

Out of the Mouth of Babes!

My twelve year old daughter, Carrigan was given an assignment at school yesterday to use each of the following vocabulary words in a “story”. The story had to make sense and find a way to work them all in. You guys should try it.


I would have probably come up with a thousand different variations without ever writing what my 12 year old did, and you guys are probably wondering WHAT THE HECK THIS HAS TO DO WITH MORNING SKI UPDATES!

After she finished, she wanted to share it with me…and here it is:

“I went snow skiing tonight and I found myself studying about how truly wonderful it would be if the snow groomers at our ski resorts would be more conscientious and make a more conscious effort to make the snow more condensed. That would be more advantageous to the skiers and snowboarders who pay to go there.

I don’t mean to condemn the resorts or cause a controversy by saying this, but the consequence could be that people could really get hurt by skiing in choppy or icy conditions.

I conceive that if all resorts made their snow groomer drivers have a license and train them to use more diligence in their work then skiers would be more immune to accidents.

I know that this would mean that resorts would have to concede to this idea, but if they have a conscience they would understand why this is so important to skiers everywhere.”

(I was impressed. You guys know who should be reading this right? Pass the word.)


Actually yes. Last week we had a rockslide 1/2 mile south of Blowing Rock on US-321. That is limiting traffic to one lane. Expected backup is more than 2 miles with some potential closings this coming weekend. If you’re planning on coming through that area on your way into the High Country area around Blowing Rock or Boone…we’d suggest checking your map for alternative routes such as I-40 to Hwy 181 or 221. You could also look at coming in via I-77 to hwy 421. The drive over from Wilkesboro is not only scenic these days – its actually a pretty quick drive. (One hint though: Do the speed limit!)

Couple of Resort Notes:

Hawksnest is open this weekend til Midnight Friday and Saturday nights. Snowtubing will be open 1 pm to 9 pm. On Saturday, Dec 16th we will be open at 9 am with the slopes open until midnight. Snowtubing will be open 9 am to 9 pm. Holiday rates and schedule will apply for the rest of December.
Lenny Cottom reports, “We have 5 terrain park features located in Raven’s Run. The features are 2 flat boxes, 20 foot A-frame box, 20 foot rainbow box, 28 foot battleship rail. We also have a big spine located on Goshawk. More features will be added when snowmaking resumes.”

Some have asked us about Sapphire Valley. They were hoping to open this weekend. We called and got no answer…and their phone update – isn’t telling us anything. We say, CALL AHEAD.

As mentioned Sugar Mountain has opened two more trails in the last two days to give them 9 trails open for their SugarFest activities. SugarFest ’06 goes down December 16th and 17th. Look for Free equipment demos, railslide competition, live entertainment, fireworks, giveaways, ice sculpting, lodging specials and more. Check Sugar’s website for all of the details. We do know that they will have the latest ski & snowboard equipment from just about every manufacturer displayed in store showrooms. Salomon, Volkl, Nordica, Burton, Head, Never Summer, K2, Atomic, Dynastar, Rossignol, Ride, Line, and Nidecker are just some of the brands available each day to demo. You must have a valid driver’s license or credit card in order to test the equipment.

Sugar will also light up the skies a bit with a fireworks display presented by The Village of Sugar. Be sure to check that all out.

Snowshoe Mountain – Andrea Smith reports, “The Silver Creek Ski Area along with tubing and night skiing are open today! This gives us a total of 26 trails to ski and ride this weekend–and more to come! All open trails were groomed overnight. The Skidder, Powder Monkey, Ballhooter and Powderidge lifts will be running today from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Snowshoe Area. The Cascade and Magic Carpet Lift will be running today at the Silver Creek Ski Area. The Spruce Glades terrain park is open with seven features and the Powder Monkey Terrain Garden is open with three. Stay tuned to snowshoemtn.com as we expect the new Soaring Eagle Express lift to begin flying in the next week or so. The first 100 people to ride the lift that morning will enter a raffle to win several gifts including ipods!”

We’ll be updating more of your photos of the day, trail reports and videos throughout the day today…so keep checking back throughout the day today.

That’s it for today…in the meantime…THINK COLD – THINK SNOW!

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For more information about the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic visit www.SkiSoutheast.com  


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