First Trax


As we reported on Thursday, Brad shared his heavy snow forecast with us at 10:30pm Tuesday night and NOBODY else was talking about ANY accumulation of snow in the North Carolina or Virginia mountains. Only the West Virginia mountains were being mentioned with the possibility of receiving a couple of inches of snow.

Panovich was forecasting strong chances of a band of heavy snow for all of our ski areas as early as Tuesday night. Everyone else, including the NWS jumped on the snow wagon on Thursday and now BLIZZARD CONDITIONS are being forecasted for us.

The Snow Report was posted early this AM, so if you want to see what trails are open and who has what going on this weekend in terms of night skiing, tubing, ice skating, etc, be sure to check that out via the SNOW REPORTS link on the front page or you can click here> Snow Reports

We are skipping the resort tour today because all you guys really want to know is that SNOW (and lots of it) is headed our way. Brad Panovich shared his latest Skier’s Forecast Video with us overnight and we’ll have that posted on the front page, but I’ve watched it and I can tell you that Brad said that this may just big the BIGGEST SNOW we’ve seen in these parts in the last ten years.

12-18" is forecasted for areas from Cataloochee Ski Area, Wolf Ridge and up through Sugar, App and Beech Mountain resorts! Some areas into Virginia will share in that kind of snowfall and other portions of the Virginia mountains should see 8-12" of snow according to Panovich.

The West Virginia ski areas could see snow totals closer to 30" by Saturday afternoon and Brad is saying that things could be EPIC by Sunday! He’s forecasting 15-20" of snow for the WV resorts and said that we should not be surprised to see that total rocket upwards as this storm builds power.

So the word "BOMBER" comes to mind as that is the kind of ski and snowboarding conditions that we should see into Saturday and Sunday.



The question of the day on Thursday was about the snows coming. However the impending blizzard boosted a LOT of other questions in the form of questions like:

"We’re heading to Beech for Christmas and wondered what the chances are that they will be fully open by then?"

"We have a ski getaway planned for Christmas at Snowshoe and wonder if you could help us by telling us how many trails they’ll have open by then?"

"Will Snowshoe have Cupp Run open next week?"

"Will Snowshoe have Soaring Eagle side open for the Holidays?"

"Will Winterplace be 100% open for Christmas?"

"How many trail might Wolf Laurel (Wolf Ridge now) have open by Christmas?"

You can see where this is going, right?

Well, we spoke with numerous of the ski area management people on Thursday and we’ll provide you guys with some specific answers to all your questions but the general answer is that all of the ski areas have had to fight Ma Nature to make snow whenever possible on the MAIN trails of the mountains – the slopes that the majority of their beginner-type visitors will hit most. With the weather being so fickle for the latter part of November through early December it was a fight to build a consistent base until recently. Now most of the ski areas have those main trails blanketed and they really JUST began working to build bases on the other trails.

With the forecast for big snows, and VERY COLD temps through the next week and change…we WILL see resorts approaching near 100% open by the New Year. Several ski resorts have told us that they WILL be 100% by Christmas and that is great news.


I spoke with Talia Freeman of Beech Mountain Resort on Thursday and she informed me that Gil Adams told her that Beech should have Powder Bowl, Robbins Run, Southern Star and Crossway open this weekend. That will make for NINE of their 15 trails open as of this weekend. There could be MORE with the heavy snows and great snowmaking ops happening! They are also making snow on White Lightning and once they get the entire front side of the mountain open they will work on OZ RUN with its new Quad lift system, etc. Beech may be approaching 100% open by the end of next week!

I had the pleasure of speaking with one of Wolf Ridge Resort’s owners this morning (Rick Bussey) who is also wearing the hat of Marketing Director this season -(I kind of like that by the way.) The question on the minds of a lot of our visitors has been "HOW MUCH OF WOLF’S TERRAIN WILL OPEN THIS SEASON?"

The quick answer is – ALL OF IT. 100%. The whole enchilada!

Many Wolf fans know that once Wolf expanded to the 20 trails and had their huge growth a couple of years ago with the Breakaway part of their mountain they had some growing pains (financially and otherwise) and they never were able to play on that side of the mountain last season.

"Those issues have been resolved", says Bussey, "Orville and I were able to work things out and we’ll have 100% of the mountain open by Christmas!”

He added that they were focusing on the top to bottom portions of the mountain today and the small connector trail and then they’d get Breakaway open next.

That is GREAT NEWS for those headed to Wolf for the Holidays. Merry Christmas to you guys.

Laura Parquette of Snowshoe Mountain answered several of the other questions posed to us on Thursday.

1. How many trails are you anticipating being open with THIS WEEKEND? We should have at LEAST 33 trails open between the Silver Creek and Basin areas this weekend (with slope openings Friday and Saturday).

2. With the perfect forecast of snow and around the clock snowmaking how many trails does Ed (you guys) anticipate having open for the Christmas Holiday period? We’re TRYING, HOPING, WORKING TO have Cupp open for Christmas. We’d also like to get the Soaring Eagle trail system in there. We’ll probably have 50ish slopes open for Christmas.

IN CLOSING… I like what Laura and Snowshoe were forecasting for today – A WINTER FUN WARNING!!!

She added, "If you live in the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic, you know the "storm of the century" is headed our way, with snow totaling more than a foot expected across the region. Snowshoe’s forecast is calling for up to 20 INCHES in the next two days. That means you should get in your car and get up here NOW, because there’s no better place to be snowed-in than Snowshoe Mountain. Today the Silver Creek area opens for the season, with 11 trails and two lifts. That brings our open trail total to 27 today, and we’ll continue to add to that tomorrow, with POWDER conditions expected across the mountain. The tubing hill opens today at 1pm, and our adventure activities, including our new horse-drawn sleigh rides, are also open today. We’ll be building in the Spruce Glades Terrain Park and the Timberjack Terrain Garden today. Both slopes will be CLOSED for the day, with machines at work, so please stay OFF this terrain for safety. Five features will be available in the Powdermonkey Terrain Garden and both Spruce Glades and Timberjack will open tomorrow. The heavy snow should begin late this evening and into tonight, so if you are lucky enough to be heading up the mountain, use caution; our local team does do a great job clearing the roads. More importantly, if you don’t have plans to be here this weekend, this storm and the sustained cold weather that is in the forecast will ensure we have great conditions as we head towards the New Year. We plan to continue to open terrain as quickly as possible, offering the most terrain with the best conditions in the region. So if you haven’t made plans, call 877-441-4FUN and plan your Snowshoe Escape Today! AND JUST IN CASE YOU DIDN’T NOTICE, WE WILL START MAKING SNOW ON CUPP RUN TODAY, WITH A PLANNED OPENING FOR THE SLOPE OVER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND NEXT WEEK. "

Cataloochee plans on being 100% of the mountain by Saturday morning, in time for your holiday skiing and riding!

Wintergreen may not open for night skiing TONIGHT due to BLIZZARD CONDITIONS!  Call ahead.  You know that probably isn’t a bad idea for any ski area for this evening!

That’s it for today. Make those reservations today for the Holidays cause you don’t want to miss out on all the great snow and conditions!

You can check the snow reports for all of the ski resorts of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and North Carolina via  as well as videos, photos and more.

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

SSAA: 0 for 21 app8not7//self 20/21

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