First Trax

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Guys and gals – our offices are closed today due to the blizzard and early road conditions, so I’m here holding the fort down by myself. I had to get Meteorologist Brad Panovich’s newest Skier’s Forecast Video running early (it’s online now) and also gather all of the news that you guys want to know about like where and how much snow fell!

I also I had to personally call six ski areas to get snowfall tallies this morning. That boggles my mind that ski areas wouldn’t make the effort to post their snow totals on their own websites!

That further delayed things…so let’s get to it.


If you r-e-a-l-l-y want to get picky to differentiate between 16,18 and 20" then we’ve got that news for you. However you could honestly just pick your favorite resort based simply on which one you like and go there and see a bunch of snow. This has been an awesomely (is that a word?) snowy period and you can’t go wrong no matter where you head.


Since that specific question was asked most in the last 24 hours, here’s your natural snowfall winner since Saturday, February 6th through today.

WISP RESORT in Northwest Maryland!

Here’s the details: After 31" of snow on Saturday, 3" more fell Sunday; another one-half inch on Monday; nothing on Tuesday; then 8" as of Wednesday at 7am and now 18" MORE snow in the last 24 hours!

Get your calculator out and you’ll find that adds up to SIXTY INCHES!!!! FIVE FEET OF SNOW in the last six days!

I don’t think I really need to put that in perspective but I’m going to anyway. The popular Garrett County resort usually receives 100" of snow per FULL SEASON (although they’ve beat that number for each of the last several seasons). IN JUST THE LAST SIX DAYS they’ve seen 60" of snow which would put them at 60% of their normal, full season snowfall.

For the record, they are now at 169" on the season or an obvious 69" over the average and there’s a LOT more season left!

I spoke at length with Marketing Director, Lori Epp this morning after she had emailed me the following, "While most of the Mid-Atlantic is deeming the past 7 days worth of weather as ‘bad’, Wisp Resort has a different mindset on the weather- INCREDIBLY AWESOME! Yes, we are all still non-stop shoveling and bundling up in many layers of warmth but many Garrett Countians are seasoned snow-veterans and many more know how to ENJOY the snow. With an additional 18" of snowfall in the past 24 hours and a whopping 60" in the past 6 days, the slope conditions just keep getting better."

She added, "If only everyone could start their day like this, the world would be a happier place. It’s that good – yup, that good. Keeps getting better – Deep. Deep."

Do you guys get the feeling Lori is stoked! Me too!

During our conversation she expressed that she was pretty preturbed with the news media and Maryland Governor’s office lately for scaring the heck out people and telling them how bad things are. The truth is, the DOT crews have done marvelous work with the roads and if you take it easy, and know how to drive – getting to the slopes is pretty easy.

You guys need to go check out all that snow and make a visit to Wisp really soon.

Lori sent me some great photos that we feature as photos of the day today as well!


I posted a story Wednesday night that alluded to the fact that we saw only perhaps 3-4" of snow at my office but upon driving ten minutes up to Banner Elk I was confronted with 8-10" of snow. Five minutes later at the foot of Beech I saw at least 14" with large areas of 2-3 feet of snow and drifts deeper than that.

This was a crazy storm!


We’re still seeing some light flurries around the NC mountains but there should not be much in the way of accumulations today but more snow and cold temps are in the forecast for the weekend and the week ahead. It just keeps on coming, doesn’t it?

The forecast is for more snow Monday through Wednesday of next week and cold temps will hang around as well, so if you’re one of those people who complained over the last few years about the lack of snow and sweet conditions at the ski resorts – there’s no excuse for you this winter. Get your gear (and rear) in your car and make it a point to hit the mountain of your choice RIGHT NOW because things are awesome and this weekend will be a great one.

We’re looking at average highs in the teens and 20s – with lows in the single digits and teens from today all the way through the middle of next week…so turn that computer off and get up here!

Snow will continue up in the West Virginia mountains and we’ll see some continued snow and snow flurries in the North Carolina mountains today as well.

We’ll see some more snow coming in on Saturday as well and that will set us up for what should be an awesome weekend to ski and ride! Brad’s Skier’s Forecast video is up and you’ll notice that even after the Blizzard moves out on Thursday – we’ll tack on another 1-3" of snow across the North Carolina mountains and 3-6" more snow into Snowshoe, Canaan, Timberline, Winterplace and Wisp Resorts through Friday by 10pm. After that we should see some additional brief snow on Saturday that will lay down a nice, fresh layer of powder for the weekend guests hitting the slopes for this Valentine’s Day weekend ski getaway!


We’ve added a few new cams to our network with two new cameras going live from Asheville, NC and more are on the way as we grow the network of cameras that we own with new partners as well. We’re seeing more traffic than ever before and hope you like what we’re doing. There should be some spectacular views with the sun and snow today. Check out  and we’re debuting a new   that is up and running but with a new format and cameras coming online next week!


(I’m taking it north to south today…with a couple of exceptions)

Wisp Resort – 14° – 18" of snow in the last 24 hours, 26" in the last 30 hours and 60" since Sunday! That is now 169" on the season! Wisp is open today with 22 of 32 trails due to the wind and snow, but they will no doubt be 100% open on Friday!

Canaan Valley – 13° – 7.8" of new snow, 20" in the last 48 hours and 175" on the season! They are 100% open with all 39 trails and snow tubing. They’ve got a 36" natural snow depth up there right now and that means awesome cross country ski conditions as well!

Timberline Resort – 16° – 7" of new snow and now 175" on the season. They are at or nearly 100% open. They haven’t updated their report to us yet today but they had 35 trails open on Wednesday.

Snowshoe Mountain – 10° – 5" of new snow and now 154" on the season. Snowshoe is 100% open with all 60 trails, snow tubing and what HAS to be some awesome snowmobiling and back country fun! Laura Parquette writes, "We’ve now had 35" of new snowfall in less than a week. The powder stashes should be deep this morning, and we have left a variety of trails ungroomed for you powder hounds! There is quite a bit of wind still blowing this morning, so visibility is reduced in many areas. Please use caution and be sure to grab your goggles before you hit the slopes."

Winterplace Resort – 16° – Reporting 8" of new snow and 16" in the last 48 hours and now 125" on the season. They are 100% open with all 28 trails, terrain park and snow tubing!

Bryce Resort – 26° – 2.5" of new snow, 6.8" in the last 48 hours and now 60" on the season. They are 100% open with all 8 trails and snow tubing. Bryce was reporting NO SNOW for the last 24 hours and I called up and spoke with Anna and she said, "Oh no I saw the snow falling and we got a couple of inches."

The Homestead – 16° – 4" of new snow and 54" on the season. They are open with all ten trails, snow tubing and ice skating.

Massanutten Resort – 16° – 4.3" of new snow, 6.8" in the last 48 hours and 68" on the season! Mass is 100% open with all 14 trails and 7 lanes of snow tubing in groomed conditions.

Wintergreen Resort – 20° – TRACE of new snow and 4-5" from the last 48 hours and 84" on the season. They are 100% open with all 26 trails, terrain park, snow tubing and great conditions. Anne Marie writes, "HUGE WEEKEND COMING UP WITH GREAT WEATHER, DEMO DAYS, MUSIC AND MORE. COME UP AND ENJOY THE INCREDIBLE CONDITIONS."

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 13° – 3" of new snow – 61" on the season now and they are 100% with all 11 trails and ice skating as well as all three terrain parks in pristine shape!

Beech Mountain Resort – 7° – 13" of new snow, 14.5" in the last 48 hours and 78" on the season! Beech is 100% open but tubing is closed. Expect a bunch of packed powder conditions for today. Wendy with the Beech Police Department said that roads are snow covered and slick but easily traveled with chains or 4WD.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 6° – 2" of new snow – 51" on the season and they are 100% open with all 16 trails and tubing as well as air-boarding!

Wolf Ridge Resort – 19° – 6.2" of new snow and 7.7 in the last 48 hours and now 60" on the season. Wolf is open with 15 trails today, terrain park and snow tubing.

Sugar Mountain Resort – 7° – 10" of new snow – 12" in the last 48 hours and 72" on the season! They are 100% open with tubing and skating as well! I spoke with Joe White, one of Sugar’s seasoned groomers and ski patrol, last night and he said there was two feet of powder on some slope edges on Wednesday. That had to be pretty sweet!

If you’re into the latest ski fashions, Sugar will be hosting a 2011 Spyder samples are on sale beginning Thursday, February 18th only at Sugar Mountain Resort . Quantities and sizes are limited, so come early. Prices (30% off retail) you won’t find anywhere else! Spyder is the World’s leading winter apparel line.

Sapphire Valley – these days they aren’t talking about THEMSELVES…so neither are we. The last update that they’ve posted to their own website(s) or to the national or regional reporting services was back in January.

Ober Gatlinburg – 2" of new snow, 4" in the last 24 hours and now 29" on the season. Ober is 100% open and in perfect shape!


I spoke with Sugar’s longtime top snow groomer, Joe White on Wednesday evening as I ran into him at Banner Elk Cafe and he said that there was some amazing powder on the edges of some trails but due to the wind there were wind-blown areas where things were pretty icy.

That’s when these guys do their most important work. Joe and all the groomers of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic push and maintain all that snow around to make things safe and uniform across the slopes. They work that snow so that they can pack it and keep it on the mountain.

Thanks to the snow groomers of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic for a great job performed guys! You are appreciated!

We’re on day 75 and there are 62 more days of opportunities to enjoy the snow for the 2009-2010 ski and snowboarding season!

You can email me at [email protected]  with your comments, questions, videos, photos and more! See you on the slopes!

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Powder Snowboarding at Wisp Resort after 60 inches has Fallen since Saturday! Photo sent by Lori Epp!
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