For those who weren’t around or don’t remember TODAY is the day that thirteen years ago dumped a official record of 22” of snow on the mountains of the Southeast. However, storm totals across many areas saw much more than that. I was living up on Seven Devils that winter and we had one of those decorative wooden snowmen measurement thingies (that’s the official terminology) and it only measured up to 36” and the snow was some 8” above it. Several reports told of 42”-44” of snow around the High Country and drifts well over 8 feet. Now THAT was some snow. They still call it “The Blizzard of ‘93”. About A WEEK after the storm I took a picture of my wife standing on the side of the road with her hands over her head and the snowbank was above her. I have stories about that storm that will last a lifetime.
This time last year we were in the midst of a snowy pattern that had just dumped more than a foot of snow across most of the region. Some locations received much more. Even so, we were to get another 3-5” during the week ahead and things were about as good as it gets at the resorts. Of course by this time LAST season the resorts had fought through a mild stretch of weather that had robbed them of good traffic during the Christmas Holiday period; knocked more than 70% off of their normal MLK Weekend crowds and held down the President’s Day Weekend traffic. That snowy ending seemed to at least put a good “feel” on the season.
THIS season has been a great one in terms of traffic. I still maintain that several if not all of the Southeast’s ski areas will break single season attendance records. As we have written numerous times this season…it has been one of perfect timing. We got a perfectly timed GREAT start; we got cold and snow just in time for a great Christmas / New Year break; we saw a HUGE MLK weekend and President’s Day weekend brought huge crowds as well. Each time that conditions would look borderline across much of the Southeast…Old Man Winter would deliver a well-timed home run and either the snowmaking crews would crank out another blanket of snow…or God would send a well timed burst of cold and snow – or both!
Every person that I’ve told of how great this season has been (traffic-wise) responds with disbelief…but it’s a fact and we’ll try to get you some official word from some of the resorts when we wrap up the season. So while its been slightly sub-par in terms of cold and snow…it has been a great one overall.
…and it’s over for some –
TIMING was the key in forcing some resorts to pull the plug on this season. Ski Beech had begun to look pretty worn and with temperatures hitting near 70° today and with only two nights of snowmaking in the forecast…they decided not to dump a bunch of money into snowmaking that would probably not be recouped. That’s a decision that we can all understand. Highs are forecasted to be near 50° for the next week in the
After 94 straight days of skiing this winter, Ober Gatlinburg also called it quits on the season.
We had also speculated that Hawksnest might decide to call it quits for the season but they have not thrown in the towel just yet. They ARE closed at least until Friday but they are at the very least PLANNING / HOPING to open Friday at 12:30pm til midnight. The slopes actually look pretty decent this morning on the live camera but it’s a toss up as to whether they will be reopening on Friday. If the snowguns crank up on Tuesday night that will be a good sign. We’ll keep you posted (and our fingers crossed!)
Cataloochee is closed today but will reopen Tuesday.
Appalachian is OPEN in
Wintergreen Resort is reporting Loose Granular conditions on 15 groomed trails this morning. Some services are reporting 19 trails open and that is incorrect. The snowtubing hill – The Plunge is open today for the 2:00pm-4:00pm session only. NO NIGHT SKIING THIS WEEK. Wintergreen plans on remaining open through March and celebrating their 2005-2006 Season on April 1st-2nd with our Annual Wicked Huge Park Party ! ! Mark your calendars now for this spectacular event.
Wisp Resort in
There’s still a lot of slopes and trails open and a fair bit of COOL events and probably some good snow left to fall from the skies…so don’t give up on winter just yet! Snowshoe and Wintergreen have some great fun planned (as do others) and we’ll be sharing those plans with you on Tuesday so check back and GET OUT AND SKI!!!
Until Next Time! Be sure to check out www.SkiSoutheast.com 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]