Punxsutawney Phil Forecasts SIX MORE WEEKS OF WINTER!

First Trax

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As predicted within yesterday’s post, the fat, buck-toothed, furry, little critter (otherwise known as Punxsutawney Phil) has made his annual call and he agrees with us that we will see a prolonged winter. We actually went on record yesterday with the prediction from "Blizzard the SkiSoutheast" rodent that we’d have eight more weeks of winter. (Honestly, I think I might have said nine but I looked at a calendar this morning and eight more weeks of winter might be a better call.)

Pennsylvania was big in the news over the last couple of days.

Congrats to all of you Pittsburgh Steelers fans out their in SkiSoutheast land. I’m not a huge fan of the Steelers, but how can you not like those guys? Steeler’s fans are among the most enthusiast in the NFL and remind me an awful lot of the Southeastern Conference in college football with the way they follow their team. I was once in Foxfire Grill at Snowshoe Mountain and the Steelers were on television. Let’s just say that the inside of the Grill that particular day was black and gold.


Meteorologist Matthew East is talking up some 1-3" of snow for the mountains of North Carolina today and tonight. Then there will be a brief lull between that burst of snow and the second round which he says will kick in on Tuesday afternoon and evening. He forecasts that system to bring a healthier round of snow to the region.

For the mountains of the Virginias, and possibly western Maryland, he anticipates at least 5-6", and some spots will likely see a good amount more than that in the favored west and northwest facing slopes.

For the mountains of North Carolina, he’s thinking a 4-6" snowfall looks likely, but as is the case for the neighbors to the north, he says he would not be surprised to see some spots pick up closer to 8 or 10 inches.

Local weather aficionado, Ray Russell seems to agree.

With some significant snow and cold temps that will allow for some snowmaking this week – conditions will be sensational no matter where you choose to ride. If you have not planned a ski getaway yet this season or you’ve been waiting for the best conditions – THIS COMING WEEKEND MAY BE THE BEST OF THE BEST! After this round of snow through Wednesday, sunny skies are forecasted to dominate the rest of the week and weekend!

Make plans to ride this week and weekend!


It’s funny, but the biggest debate in my SkiMail INBOX this past week didn’t come in the form of which resort had the best conditions or most terrain open or anything else about skiing or snowboarding. The biggest debate was which ski resort had the best TUBING PARK! Okay, let me elaborate. Maybe ski and snowboarding conditions were so great over the last week that everyone was in a great mood. We certainly received a lot more email about skiing at this or that resort – it’s just that there were no disagreements amongst our skiers and snowboarders over the last few days. Woohoo!

However, we DID get a few emails from people making claims to one resort or another having the best tubing park. We always get a lot of questions about tubing and there mostly in the form of "what is the age limit for tubing at xyz resort?" Have you guys ever thought of this strange oddity? Why is it that resorts HAVE an age minimum for TUBING, when there is no age minimum for skiing or snowboarding? Think about it – it is O-K-A-Y for us to click our two year old into skis that their legs have trouble holding together – and send them down a hill. However it is NOT okay to put them in a tube or in some cases even hold them in our laps on a tube and slide down a hill. I’m not certain I see the logic in that.

My youngest daughter, Madison, wasn’t even two years old when I first clicked her into some "big feet" skis. I duck taped the tips together and put her in one of those harnesses where I could ski a few feet behind her. We went top to bottom that way for two seasons and by the time she was four, she was skiing just about any trail I could. She’s a veteran skier now at the age of nine and does about any trail that her mind will allow her to try.

Man I got off point! Back to TUBING.

After receiving so many questions about TUBING, I hopped over to our tubing page and was alarmed that we had not updated that information in years! Yikes! Well NOW it has been updated and you can find which resorts have what kind of tubing park and who allows chain tubing, what ages, heights, etc. Simply go to: Tubing Parks of the Southeast

So what was the debate about? Okay it really wasn’t a debate – debate.  It was more of a soccer mom kind of disagreement.  One lady emailed us that Wintergreen’s tubing park was much larger than Hawksnest’s (who is reporting their’s as the biggest, baddest, etc.).  I alluded to the fact that Hawksnest had probably not gotten everything open and of course I then received numeous other emails about how this website was close to Lenny Cottom (owner of Hawksnest) and that we were favoring their park.  I ended up emailing a few people back.

Let me go on record to say this about tubing – I could care less if they closed them all down! Good grief! I HAVE enjoyed sliding down several – mostly hanging with my kids doing so – but tubing will never replace my passion for clicking into my skis and riding the perfect slope.  Nevertheless, after doing some research (and receiving input from many of you guys) I am going on record to say that the top tubing parks in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic all begin with a "W".

We’re giving the nod to:

1. Wintergreen Resort – 900+ feet and 30 mph speeds

2. Winterplace Resort – 16 lanes of fun and they are a very close second

3. Wisp Resort – 750 feet long and 30 mph speeds!

Honorable mentions go to Massnutten with their 900′ long runs (reports were that they just were not as fast as the others. Bryce’s got a lot of mentions as well – as did Snowshoe’s hill.

Nothing else in North Carolina, Tennesee or West Virginia comes close.  Sorry guys.  Go visit these and see if you don’t agree. I think the thing that evidently most "tubers" appreciiated most in these top hills were that they were consistently well maintained, well groomed and in safe, perfect shape for kids of all ages.

In closing, in my non-tubing-person-kind-of-way, let me say that tubing is fun, it is safe and if you’re looking for an alternative way to enjoy the snow while the rest of your family or friends are on the slopes – then tubing at any of the ski areas that offer it is a great, fun experience.

We’ve attempted to detail height and age requirements on our tubing page now, so click on over!

Some quick notes:

It was 19° overnight but App didn’t make snow. Why should they? They have 85-111" of it on the slopes and are 100% open!

Cataloochee made snow. Remember that they offer day sessions only on Mondays. They are reporting a base of 42-95" and 100% open.

Sugar Mountain is 100% open and reporting a base of 43-82".

Ski Beech is looking WELL GROOMED this morning and they made snow in the last 24 hours but are not making snow now. This will be an awesome day to hit the slopes up there! They are reported a 35-65" base on 11 of 15 trails.

There’s been no updates from Wolf Ridge in three days. It’s been four days for Sapphire Valley. No report. What do WE have to say about THAT? No comment. (I’m in a good mood today bacause there’s snow on the way and another eight weeks of ski season!)

Be sure to click over to www.SkiSoutheast.com  to see what’s happening into the Virginias, Tennessee, and Maryland ski resort areas.

Send your comments, photos, videos and trip reports to: [email protected]


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