Only Appalachian and Ski Beech Resort are Open Today of our SkiNC network of Resorts!

First Trax

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This has been a funny winter!  As we wind down for these last few days to weeks of ski season 2005-2006 it is safe to say that it has been one for the history/record books.  By all accounts it has been a GREAT one in terms of skier traffic!  Several, if not all of the ski areas will have set single season attendance records by the time they pull the ropes across the slopes for the last time this season.  Some of the ski areas have received close to normal snow totals for the season and Wisp Resort in Maryland has exceeded their normal yearly snowfall total of 100” by NINE INCHES already.  Snowshoe still has a few weeks to get to there normal of 180”…but they are at 146” so they are within striking distance.  Some of you will email us that the North Carolina resorts haven’t received as much snow as usual…but that isn’t the case either.  Cataloochee Ski Area, which was THE FIRST ski area in the entire Southeast to open for the season, has exceeded their normal seasonal snow totals with 56” of snow this season.  Ski Beech is a little under their normal, but they too have season decent snows this season with 61” on the season.  Massanutten Resort in Virginia IS about 10” below their season snow average of 35” but that IS within striking distance if we get a good snow in mid month; and Wintergreen Resort (also in Virginia) is right ON their normal of 34” on the season.

I bring these figures up because we have seen several emails in the last few days from people writing us that this has not been that great of a winter.  Actually it HAS been rather good in terms of snow totals, and it has been GREAT in terms of skier visits.  I’ll bet that every ski area management team is quite happy with the accounting numbers for the season.

What this Winter HAS been is one of perfectly timed temperatures and snows that have come just after small-to-medium stretches of mild temps.  Just when the slopes would begin to look a little worn at some ski areas, we’d get a blast of cold air or some well timed snow.  The North Carolina ski areas probably had the toughest times keeping good conditions all season…but they HAVE done so with only a brief few days (maybe 7-10) of conditions that might be labeled “spotty”.  The rest of the season has been quite good.

Wisp Resort in Maryland and the West Virginia resorts have had things a bit better.  There have only been 3-5 days where they may have seen thin coverage or bare spots.  In fact, right now while the North Carolina resorts are fighting Old Man Winter with light rain and some spotty conditions already beginning to show at all but Cataloochee and Appalachian Ski Areas… Snowshoe Mountain and Wisp in Maryland are looking quite nice with colder temps and snow today.  This recent weather pattern that we’ve been in has kept the colder air up that way and those ski areas are reaping the benefits of those conditions.

So all in all…this has been a VERY NICE ski season thus far!

Is it Over??? 

Not so fast…say several ski areas.  Others are not revealing their cards just yet.  All are keeping a watchful eye on the weather and their base depths.  The forecast for the next 7-10 days isn’t looking very good for some of the ski areas that are already showing conditions that resemble “just-before-closing-Spring-like conditions”. The best in North Carolina in terms of surface conditions and base depth snow is Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock.  Daily grooming will keep them looking good for the next several days, even though we’re in for some mild weather this week.

The weather is expected to “mild up” with each passing day through the long range forecast.  Tuesday should be variably cloudy with a high around 44°.  Tuesday night COULD be a snowmaking night for the resorts that want to as temps will dip to 25°.  That MAY be the last night we will see snowmaking ops for the next several days.  Wednesday should be mild and sunny with a high of 53°.  Thursday 58°.  Friday 62° and Saturday and Sunday should be sunny with highs in the mid 60s.  There’s even a 20-30% chance of some additional rain on Friday.

If we get some colder air in here early next week, App will be able to make a little snow if they want and potentially make their target closing date of March 26th.  Without some colder air into next week…even App will have a hard time making their “Meltdown Games” weekend.  They have at least two feet of snow across all nine trails and they have perfect, late season snow right now.

Cataloochee, which is now into their late season scheduling is CLOSED TODAY, but will reopen tomorrow and probably has the next best snow in the state right now.  They too are planning to ski right to their target date of March 26th…and the operative phrase here is WEATHER PERMITTING.

Hawksnest is CLOSED til Friday.  They too are into their late season schedule.  They typically close after one or two weekends of “weekend only” skiing.  They have decent snow right now…but they didn’t make snow Saturday night when they could have so they may be ready to right what they have until it’s time to close up.  They will reopen – weather permitting Friday.

Ski Beech is looking pretty nice this morning with 1.5” of snow.  They also made snow this weekend that covered up some thin coverage areas of late last week and things are looking quite GREAT for today.  Expect good conditions for the next day or two and then those areas will begin to reappear as temps mild up into the 60s by the end of the week.  We called Beech this morning because they tend to close up with only a day or two of notice and they are holding tight to their cards.  As Rachel up there told us this morning, “Our general rule is to close when we either run out of snow or skiers.”  Don’t be surprised if they close up shop in this very successful season after their day session on Sunday. We COULD be wrong…but that’s an educated guess based on their normal procedures.  We have messages in to their mountain managers and we’ll let you know if there’s any further news.

Wolf Laurel has CLOSED despite some reporting websites still claiming them as open.  THEY ARE CLOSED for this week, and are planning to reopen Friday – WEATHER PERMITTING.  Don’t be surprised to see them announce later in the week that they too have a called it quits until next November-December.

Last season by this point we had NOT had a very good season and it took a fast finishing kick by Old Man Winter that brought some mid and late season snows that made for a nice finish.  Last week at this very time…we saw lows in the 20s and highs in the 30s with more than a foot of snow during the week.  That isn’t happening THIS week ahead and who knows what the weather will bring past this coming Sunday.  Long range forecasters are not talking of any cold outbreaks just yet so this week could spell the end of the 2005-2006 ski season for North Carolina ski areas.

For more on the rest of the Southeast’s conditions and statements…check out later today.

Until Next Time!

Be sure to check out  for more news and stories for all of the Southeast’s ski areas.

Be sure to email photos, snow reports and comments to: [email protected]

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From left to right; Michael (Appalachian), Sam (Cataloochee), Buddy (Sugar), John (Cataloochee), Michael (Wolf Laurel), Ryan (Appalachian), Christine
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