Let’s rewind a bit . . . I was at Cat for closing day of 2019-2020. The mood was somber. There weren’t any High-Five goodbyes. It felt like the rug got pulled-out from underneath you.
Yesterday was the POLAR opposite. A fresh season . . . Everyone at the ski area was brimming with excitement and enthusiasm. It was good to be in good company.
On Friday, Cataloochee opened with 5 runs served by 3 lifts on an 8-20″ base. Conditions were solid, considering snowmaking ops had just a couple of early morning windows, this week, to make snow. You gotta love the aggressive snowmaking departments of Sugar and Cat. Year after year, they never fail to deliver a good snow product from Day 1.
Cat has very good signage indicating the seamless process when you arrive at the resort. Ticketing was a breeze. The resort is utilizing their outdoor ticket windows for safe lift ticket sales. New this year – Cataloochee is going towards 4 and 6 hour lift tickets (vs. Half Day and Full Day). This seems like a good adaptation for the year. It will help avoid everyone from infiltrating the resort, all at once.
I hit the lifts, and the lines were nill. When there was a line, everyone seemed to give plenty of room to each other.
There was great edge-to-edge coverage on the slopes, and I spent the first couple of runs from mid-way down getting my legs underneath me. I always feel like Bambi on the first day of the season, trying to stand up again.
The day progressed and the base held very consistent, despite the temps creeping up. It turned into t-shirt weather by the afternoon, and the snow got a little more “playful”.
As I was walking back to my truck at the end of the day, I met a couple of new snowboarders from Orlando, Florida. They were hiking up Beginners Luck . . . sometimes that just what ya need, on Day 1.
Check out Kenny’s Sick Opening Day at Sugar . . . SkiSoutheast is 2/2 on Opening Days this Year!