On the Road to Snowshoe Mountain for Suburu Demo Days

First Trax

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So I’m on the road, enjoying a weekend at Snowshoe Mountain for their Media Weekend and Suburu Demo Days. We took our time driving up and upon getting settled into our condo at Expedition Station I hooked up my laptop and BAM! there were more photos and trail reports in my SkiMail inbox than I’ve seen thus far in this early season. So bear with me and I’ll get them all posted ASAP.

You’ll notice that I am skipping around today. Not for any special reason…just having some fun and mixing things up. We’ll start with where I’m at today.

SNOWSHOE MOUNTAIN – It’s 30° this morning and we’re experiencing a mixed precip of light snow, sleet and even a drop or two of what my pal Joe Stevens calls "under-developed snow". Snowshoe Village is nearly a white out right now, but mostly from a mixed fog. They have opened up a ton of new terrain for today (17 trails) and the Governor of WV will be here to cut the ribbon on their three new trails. We’ll get some pics and video.

Snowshoe writes, "The top steep of Gandy Dancer will NOT be groomed. The lower portion will be. After receiving more than a foot and a half of natural powder this week, and with the continued efforts of our expert snowmaking crew, we’ve expanded our open terrain to 16 trails and 4 lifts. This weekend is going to be epic, with great conditions and amazing events. Subaru Demo Days returns to the mountain with the latest and greatest ski and snowboard equipment available for free demos Saturday and Sunday. Also this weekend, check out the King of the Mountain event, with cash, prizes and bragging rights up for grabs!"

WISP RESORT – They opened 4 more trails from yesterday and now have 12 going with Groomed, Packed Powder conditions. Wisp’s 52nd Birthday Celebration will be ongoing December 9 & 10 with $7 1-day Lift Tickets, 1/2 Price Rentals & Lessons, Entertainment and Birthday Cake, while the cake lasts!

Wisp is enjoying snowshoe treks and cross country skiing today…and some snowmobile trips as well.

WINTERPLACE – We had previously received word that they were opening today, but it looks like they are moving that to Saturday. Their reports shows that they received 6" of snow in the last 24 hours and as of 6am this morning "WHITE CONDITIONS". They made snow as well so their opening weekend (this weekend) should be great.

TIMBERLINE – They too had previously reported that today was opening day, but not according to their website and not according to the Southeastern Ski Areas report either. They made snow, and if you’re thinking of skiing there today…call ahead. We’ll update you as soon as we get word.

CANAAN VALLEY – The Alpine Ski Terrain won’t be open for another couple of weeks, but according to Joe Stevens’, spokesperson for the West Virgnia Ski Areas Association, "Canaan
Valley Resort is planning to open its cross-country and snowshoeing trails on Saturday and drop the ropes on its ski terrain on December 22."

YES, VIRGINIA, THERE ARE SKI RESORTS… (Tis the season to steal and use remarks like that!)

WINTERGREEN RESORT – They report, "We will open TOMORROW Saturday December 8th at 9am and are ready for a great 07/08 winter season! We will operate for day session only and anticipate starting our night sessions next Friday December 14th. Like you we are really pumped to get on the snow and plan to be on the SNOW Saturday morning. You should come and join us!

We plan to continue to make snow in the Plunge Tubing Park and start laying down a great product on Eagles Swoop. We will open these areas as soon as the weather permits. The best way to stay informed about what is happening up here is on the web." (We agree!)

BRYCE and MASSANUTTEN will also open on Saturday. Each has been making snow at nearly every opportunity and that will give Virginia three ski areas operating on December 8th.

OBER GATLINBURG – They made snow last night and are preparing to open as soon as they get a good starting base down. That should happen soon!

SKI BEECH – It’s 26° up on the highest ski resort in the Eastern United States. They are opening today for their 40th season of skiing. Beech will offer 4 trails from Upper Shawneehaw down for skiing for day and night skiing. Beech has a base of 6-16" and packed powder conditions for their first day. (SOMEBODY GET ME SOME PHOTOS AND VIDEO!)

WOLF RIDGE – It’s opening day at THE WOLF as well. They are offering 3 trails serviced by 2 lifts. Justin Blythe at Wolf Ridge reports, "Hey Mike, We will be opening on Friday at 1:00 pm for our afternoon and twilight sessions. Skiing on Upper/Lower Boardwalk and Wolf Ridge slopes serviced by the Breakaway and Ridge Runner lifts. There will be some park features!"


HAWKSNEST – I wished that I could do sound effects with text. I’d start this report by saying something like, "It’s opening day at…" and then put in some sound effect like the screeching of brakes and then finish up. Hmmmm, maybe I JUST accomplished that effect in your minds anyway! The bottom line is that WE THINK it’s opening day at Hawksnest today, but the Southeastern Ski Association is reporting them as CLOSED today and opening SATURDAY. The North Carolina Association is showing them opening today but with no report. Worse still is that SkiHawk.com’s NEW WEBSITE has NO REPORT this morning. Unfortunately, I have no cell service up here and will have to wait and see with the rest of you guys. We’d suggest calling ahead…although we THINK they are open. (Hey Lenny, nudge Justin and see if he’s awake! Post a report!) (Hopefully you guys know I’m just having some pre-first-tracks fun.)

CATALOOCHEE – Tammy Brown is always awake up there in beautiful Maggie Valley. (Hey, no WAKE UP MAGGIE song here!) Anyway, Ms Brown reports, "On Friday, we will be skiing on six slopes with 2 aerial lifts and 2 surface lifts, Intermediate Lower Omigosh, serviced by the Omigosh Double Chairlift, Beginners Easy Way, Beginner Over Easy, and Beginners Rabbit Hill serviced by the Easy Way Triple Chairlift, the Wolf Creek Hollow Ski School Area serviced by the Moving Carpet Conveyor Lift and Beginner’s Luck Learning Area serviced by the Moving Carpet Conveyor lift on a base of 24-40 inches and a machine worked surface.

On Friday, we will offer two sessions of skiing, twilight skiing from 1pm until 10pm and night skiing from 6pm until 10pm with an afternoon half day rate also available. Weekday and student rates will be in effect."

APPALACHIAN SKI MOUNTAIN – It’s currently 43 degrees at 8:25am after a low last night of 23. Appalachian really upped the heck out of their base this morning showing 12" more base than yesterday so they must have r-e-a-l-l-y layed some machine made snow down! They are reporting "peak season conditions" on 8 trails serviced by 4 lifts for today and night skiing too!

Drew Stanley writes, "Peak Season Conditions are here… Night Skiing to begin Friday! Peak season conditions are here and its only December 6th. In our September 7th news release about our record snowmaking expansion, GM Brad Moretz stated that he expected the pumping and snowmaking system improvements to potentially provide peak season conditions during our early season, as well as an earlier opening for our Terrain Parks. After two good nights and one good day of snowmaking, we now have excellent coverage and numerous deep whales of snow.

The Appaljack Terrain Park will be open for the first time this season on Friday – the earliest opening ever for one of our parks. A five man terrain park crew will be working after hours today to setup all the features for tomorrow. App Terrain Park’s first event of its inaugural Fresh Fridays series will be held tomorrow night, Friday, December 7th.

Strudel and all of the chairlifts will be ready to open Friday. There is a good chance that Orchard Run, Appal Jam, and Candied Appal will also be open Friday. With the outstanding conditions, early season rates are a great value.

Tomorrow night, Friday, December 7th night skiing will commence, hopefully with 8 of 10 slopes open. Night skiing will continue through Saturday night, March 22nd, weather permitting.

Ice Skating has been in full operation since Saturday, November 24th."


SUGAR MOUNTAIN – The low last night was 21° and Sugar mad snow. They have 7 trails available for today and night skiing tonight. You have to hand it to their crew over the last few years as they have done a great job of telling it like it is in terms of conditions, etc. Sugar is reporting Machine Made and Loose Granular for today and that is probably more accurate than some of the other reports this morning.

THAT’s IT FOR NOW. I’m out to do some product evaluation, to meet the Governor of West Virginia, to hand with some pals from up here and when I get back in I’ll post a ton of photos and trail reports.

Until Then…

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Ski Beech, Wolf Ridge and (we think) Hawksnest Open Today for the 2007-2008 Season!
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Michael Cooney sent this nice photo of conditions at Sugar Mountain from last week – Ski Season is in full swing!
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