On Snow Reports for February 16th, 2006

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Dana Bolden reports from Cataloochee – February 15, 2006

We skied the night session at Cataloochee tonight.  My son and a couple of other boys from his Boy Scout Troop are participating in the Snow Sports Merit Badge sessions offered on Wednesday nights at Cataloochee, so we’ve become Wednesday night regulars.  Tonight was a typical Wednesday – very light crowd and no wait for any of the three lifts.  Conditions were very nice, but a little soft from the warm day today and pretty chopped up by the day’s traffic.  It was great to be able to ski right on to lifts.  I pretty much did laps on Rock Island Run until my legs gave out!  The terrain park was the busiest area on the mountain, but even it wasn’t too busy – no waiting for any of the features, just steady traffic through the park.  All slopes had excellent coverage and have been groomed to provide steep drops generally in the middle of the slope and less steep paths to either or both sides.  The snow seemed pretty fast tonight and was a pleasure to ski even after the day’s traffic.  It was a fun night under the lights.

Rusty Hawkins of Charlotte reports from Ski Beech:

I wanted to just drop you guy’s a quick note and tell ya that conditions were the best I have seen and ridden in a while.  I was up at Beech today and the snow was great, the weather was great, and there was just a good vibe on the mountain today.  I was able to board in just a t-shirt and my boarding pants halfway thru the day…I actually got sunburn on my neck and face!!  Simply a gorgeous day on the mountain and I wanted say thanks to you all for keeping the vibe.

David Long reports from Ober Gatlinburg:

The day at Ober Gatlinburg today was about what was to be expected for any southern resort having warm temps a few days after a major snowstorm…melt off.  Everything was turning wet through the day. Especially the snow.

Luckily more cooler weather is in the forecast but this weekend we are fearing the under-developed snow during the day times and light snow at night.  Personally I hope things get much colder than forecasted but I’m not holding my breath.

The really good thing about the conditions today was that the place was not crowded at all.  Aside from a middle school that took a field trip to the area not many people were there.  Now why couldn’t my middle school ever take field trips to the snow instead of a boring science place or something?  Any way you look at it the snow is in good condition, the resort has all but one slope open, and there is tons of snow covering every inch of every run.

Lorrie Tomlinson reports from Ski Beech:

Ski Beech was completely open on Wednesday. Oz had opened on Tuesday, for the first time in years. Conditions were packed powder and frozen granular. No snow guns were operating. The temperature was warm and jackets were not needed. A lot of snow in the nearby yards had melted. Scattered clouds kept the day from being described as a perfectly, clear day. The fog, that often exists at the high altitude, was absent, and the distant mountains were easily visible. The scenic view was enhanced as the day ended. The sky changed from blue to shades of purple. Then, a transformation to different hues of red colored the sky, creating a beautiful sunset.  (One is photo of the day on SkiNC!)

Tommy Miller reports from Ski Beech TODAY!!!

I got up early this morning and headed up to Beech for men’s day.  I like getting there when the lifts open to avoid the crowd.  I have to say, after Monday’s great conditions, today was a HUGE let down.  I knew it wouldn’t be as good, but I didn’t expect it to be so bad.  They had done no grooming at all after last night’s skiing.  Yesterday’s spring snow had turned to ice.  Things did start to soften some as the temps warmed up, but after and hour and a half I’ll called it quits.  I did hit OZ Run for the first time this year, it was just ok.  I was disappointed with the snow due to lack of grooming, but hey I got my money’s worth. 🙂

Mark McKelvy reports from Hawksnest on Wednesday:

What a day and night!  I had a slow morning and couldn’t get up, so I didn’t get to Hawksnest until shortly after 10 AM.  At most mountains, this would cause you to miss having the slopes to yourself for a while, but not here.  I had a front row parking spot and the mountain to myself.  I found out today was "Ladies Ski Free Day" and I guess all the ladies were somewhere else (although I did spy a few of the elusive ski and board bunnies).  Even though I am not a lady, it is only $20 for a full day student ticket here and that deal is hard to beat.  It was a beautiful sunshiny day with a forecasted high of 51 degrees, and it was a welcome change.  The snow was great in the morning too.  I spent the first part of the day racing myself down Top Gun over and over, which is now open and in great shape.  Narrow Gauge, another black diamond run, is now open as well.  Sometime after lunch there were a few more people out and I met up with a group of employees who were out working on a new terrain feature while off the clock.  One of the employees I met was Paris from the famous messageboard member "parisandrewsdaddy".  I must say the Hawksnest employees are really great.  They work when they are on the clock, and when they are off the clock, they are still out there working on stuff and riding it.  I helped them dig for a while and we spent the rest of the day "testing out" the new feature.  It was a lot of fun, and I really like the fact that I can go up to the mountain by myself and just meet some cool people to ride with.  I was originally planning on leaving after the day session but since everyone else was riding the night session I decided to stay.  What do you do to kill 2 hours while the slopes are closed?  Go to the bar!  This year I have learned that the Hawksnest bar is where it’s at, and its best customers are the employees (when they are not working of course).  The bar was full even on a Wednesday night, they served good food and drinks, and they know how to have a good time.  Well the night session didn’t last long after that for most, but I stayed out a little longer than the rest of them.  The snow got faster in the cooler temps and I again raced myself down Top Gun.  I called it a night sometime before they closed and then had to make the long, tired drive back to Greensboro .  I had a great time at the nest today after being away far too long and hope to return soon.

Douglas Burnett Reports from Sugar:

Skied Sugar Monday Night and all day Tuesday.  Awesome riding!   Monday night was loose with piles here and there.  Cold as all get out!  Guns galore!   But the ride was fun.  Tuesday morning found me on the lift at 8:10 and the sky was blue.  No guns, no people, beautiful slopes to tear up.  It was so quiet compared to the night before. All I can say is 1st tracks on Whoopdedoo were sweet with a fresh groom.  Much improved over Monday night. The groomers were out 4 fold, so the race for the powder was on.  The harvesters were gleaning the powder faster than the lift could move.   After my second run, the yellow lift stopped for 15 min, so I rode the green and laughed b/c everyone else on the hill was on the yellow lift except me!  Hot dog. The entire mountain was in pristine condition.  You could not ask for a better day.   Top to bottom smooth groves of powder that rode like butter!   Get out and Ski, or you’ll regret it.  Happy trails  2slikstix 

On-Snow Reporters:

We will keep a log of the best reporter’s submission, photos and reports. Trust us it is way to time consuming to post every pic…but send them…because we are tallying the scores.  The winner of the Best On Snow Reporter for 2005-2006 will win $1000 in cash, a FREE Getaway Vacation and more.  The contest will run from now through March 1st and we will choose the winner.  Our choice will be based on the following and IN THE ORDER of importance.

Quality of Photos

Quality of Reports (well written, informative, unbiased)

Number of Photo Submissions

Number of Reports

Extra points will be given for getting smiling faces in the photos and including names and cities where you can.

Extra points will be awarded for creative ideas.

We will choose the winner based on how helpful and informative the reports have been.

As of 02/16/2006 here are the top vote getters. (We will only document the top three to five here throughout the season…and we may begin posting the top ten, depending on how close results are.)

We have a very close race going right now with only a few points (a day or two of posts) separately the top three.
1. Lorrie Tomlinson
2. Kent Jackson
3. Mark McKelvy
4. Christian Davies
5. David Long

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One of Hawksnest’s employees is captured in the middle of a front flip on Wednesday – Enlarge for great shot – Photo by Mark Mckelvy
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