Significant “Under Developed Snow” on tap for Friday –

First Trax

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We’ll get to the yucky details in a moment, but have you guys noticed that when the weather forecast five days out calls for RAIN, that it happens way more times than not? However, when the forecast just two or three days out forecasts SNOW…it kicks us in the rear – more times than not. What’s up with that?

Okay let’s get to the sorry details of what’s happening today, because most every other reporting services around (the SSAA, OntheSnow, SkiCentral) all have it wrong.

We’ll start from the north since we covered the North Carolina resorts earlier this morning via

Wisp Resort in Maryland is being reported as having up to 14 trails open today. They have advised us that it is “up to 13” and they have done limited grooming. Their conditions are pretty decent, with decent side to side coverage. Their live cams are showing evidence of that, even though there is some thin coverage and bare areas. (Definitely worth a trip!)

Canaan Valley’s is okay shape with some thin coverage on the same seven trails they had open yesterday.

Timberline Resort is being reported as having 11 trails open. They actually have 9 open, but conditions there look quite nice. Check out there live camera at  

Snowshoe Mountain gets our pick as THE PLACE to ski or ride in the entire southeast and mid Atlantic right now. (Timberline would be another nice choice. The only reason we will favor Snowshoe with our pick is that it is hard to beat 34 open trails.) Snowshoe does have some thin coverage areas and bare spots.

Winterplace is holding on with the seven trails that they operated with yesterday.

The Virginia Resorts are faring poorly compared to the West Virginia and North Carolina resorts. Elevations are lower and they simply have been fighting (valiantly I might add) to keep terrain covered. Wintergreen Resort is the pick of the state with three trails and thin coverage and bare spots.

Gatlinburg Tennessee’s Ober Gatlinburg ski area has three trails with thin coverage and bare spots.

Appalachian is being reported by numerous services to have 6 trails open. They only have Appaltizer, Strudel and Lower Big Appal open (that’s THREE). Their popular terrain park is not open today.

Hawksnest is being reported as having three trail open. They only have ONE. The main trail off the right side (Goshawk) is open today and the main lift is service that trail.

Sapphire Valley is being reported as having their tubing hill going but no skiing. Actually they are closed altogether until snowmaking resumes.

Ski Beech is being reported with one trail open and while that is correct, it should be noted that the one trail is the Youth Learning Slope only with NO LIFTS in operation. No night skiing either.

As mentioned before Sugar Mountain is skiing on three trails. Upper and Lower Flying Mile and Easy Street are open.

Wolf Ridge actually looks pretty decent compared to those mentioned above. They too are skiing on three trails with thin coverage, but their webcam is showing decent snow coverage. Thin – but decent.

The pick of the North Carolina resorts today would have to be Cataloochee Resort in Maggie Valley. They are skiing on 6 trails and their live camera is showing decent coverage. They certainly have some think coverage and perhaps a bare spot here and there, but pretty decent coverage from side to side.

This is when you need us most –

It is within times like these where we at and earn our stripes. We’re a bit late this morning posting this detailed update because yours truly was being interviewed on the WTAR, Cathy Lewis Show out of Norfolk, Virginia this morning. One of Cathy’s staffers had contacted us a couple of times leading up to this morning’s show and even so I was introduced as “Mike Doble with Wintergreen Resort!” Funny! After beginning the on-air interview with a correction, that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the show as I spent most of it correcting misconceptions that Cathy had about what’s happening at the resorts.

The first was that resorts were losing money. Not so. As we mentioned yesterday, skier visits thus far on the season (which dictate the financial success of a mountain) are not that far off normal. In addition to those that we mentioned yesterday, Brad Moretz of Appalachian Ski Mountain responded to a Mountain Times interview by stating that some days during the Holidays were near record skiers. All in all it was an amazing week, especially considering the lack of cold and snow.

Another misconception that she led another question with was, “Well, Mike that is surprising that the visits were near normal; I guess the HARD CORE skiers will ski anytime or on anything.” Again, I had to correct her. Actually, the majority of the people on the mountains of the Southeast right now are NOT hard core skiers, but relative newbies or beginners that had planned trips and just wanted to see snow. The hard core guys and gals are waiting for the conditions to get better.

After a couple more corrections, she was pretty much ready to get the hook around my neck and get me off the air! I’m exaggerating a bit, because she was nice and she handled the flow of the interview well, but you could tell that she didn’t like being wrong with her questioning.

Since we’re on the subject of broadcast media, one of our people was listening to the Ace & TJ Radio show out of Charlotte, North Carolina this morning and they provided an Alpine Ski Report that had all sorts of inaccuracies, including one in which it claimed that Sugar Mountain has 5 trails open and that they were making snow this morning! Huh??? Its 53° and raining! By the way, the SSAA is reporting that Sugar has 6 trails open. Again, wrong! Sugar has 3 trails open and there’s definitely been no snowmaking going on in the last 24+ hours.

We have GOT to get everyone using our content! ‘Nuff said.

One Correction Update on Skier Visit Totals, etc.

You guys really pay attention to our stories and you help us get the correct information out in more ways than you may know. We’d previously reported that Snowshoe Mountain had reported record or near record skier visits during the Holidays. We used the figures that Snowshoe’s team provided. After posting those stories, we got a flood of email questioning how that could be when no other resort on the East coast (including Vermont) had record or near record numbers.

We spoke with Ed Galford of Snowshoe’s Mountain Ops and he said that the figures that were reported previously were a bit enthusiastic and based on a quick glance and the knowledge that traffic during the Holidays was amazing all of Snowshoe’s management. However, according to Ed, the number of skier visits at Snowshoe during the Holiday week were more in the 7,000 per day range, with six days in a row over 7300 skier visits, which IS amazing. Nevertheless, those numbers would constitute some 20-25% off of near record numbers for the Holiday season. According to Galford, Snowshoe would typically see closer to 8500-9000 people per day during the Holiday week. He also shared that their best-ever day was 10,400 during a President’s Day weekend.

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Until Next Time…


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