Snow is Falling at Some of the West Virginia Ski Areas – and Ski Beech; Good Conditions Await You for President’s Day Weekend

First Trax

It is snowing up at Ski Beech right now (7:32am) as I was watching that LIVE on the new SkiNC / Beech Alpen webcam. We zoomed it in a bit to show all of Upper Shawneehaw and you can see the flakes flying!  We’re also hearing of reports of some light snow at Canaan, Snowshoe and around the region.

We looked around the live cams at several other locations and we could see a few flakes up at the top of Sugar Mountain as well. None of the North Carolina ski areas were able to make snow last night as temperatures were slightly above freezing.  Several of the West Virginia and Maryland ski areas were cold enough with temps in the 20s, but only Timberline reported that they made snow last night and this morning.  Massanutten and Wintergreen Resort in Virginia had temperatures overnight in the upper 20s and THEY DID MAKE SNOW.

Ski conditions will be pretty darn nice no matter where you go as Beech was able to make some snow Thursday night and Friday morning – so that helped them a bit and they – and all of the ski areas have groomed up some nice surfaces to play on and things should look pretty good no matter which ski area you’re at this weekend.

Additional good news is the fact that we are only about 3° milder than normal for today and then we’re looking at a week of slightly colder than normal temperatures – with the possible exception of Tuesday of next week. Even BETTER news is that all of the ski areas should be able to make more snow four out of the next five nights and THEN it gets even colder with some chances of natural snow as well. So skiing and snowboarding gets even better as we move through the next few days at all of the mid Atlantic and Southeast ski areas.

Since we are about through with this latest mild stretch of days it is great to report that all of the ski areas made it through with pretty good conditions and most of the slopes still open.

Let’s take a tour this morning:

Wisp Resort is reporting 21° at their summit and yet they reported no snowmaking. ???? – Anyway they have 29 trails open (of 32) and they are reporting a base of 20-58" and groomed and granular conditions. They offer their terrain parks, Bear Claw Snow Tubing Park and their Mountain Coaster. Wisp is getting some light snow right now as well. They are not expecting much in the way of accumulation but snow is snow and it adds to the ambience! Snow is in the forecast at Wisp for several of the next few days as well.

Canaan Valley is also reporting a temperature in the 20s (24°) and yet they are not making snow either. I admit, I’m confused. We’ll have to ask them about that. They offer 24 of 39 slopes open and they too are getting some light snow today. They are reporting a base of 20-40" and Frozen Granular conditions.

Canaan Valley reports, "Presidents’ Weekend Feb 13-16 – all cabins and cottages are full. Space still available for lodge rooms. Valentines Day Dinner Special available Feb 14. Make your reservation now. Great deals during the week. Stay and Ski Free Package starting at $54.50 per person double occupancy. Call 800-622-4121 or Visit us at our website for more details."

Canaan also has some Terrain Park Features for your enjoyment today. They report a C-Box,Rainbow rail,Flat rail, C Bow, Battleship Rail, Flatdown box, Stepdown, Flat Box, Car Rail, 3-designed jumps, and 3 Whales on Valley Vista.

Timberline Resort – They are also at 24° but they ARE making some snow here and there on selected trails. Cross Roads is getting some attention and they have closed their terrain parks right now for reshaping. They will have them back open soon. Timberline is reporting 29 of 37 trails open and groomed / loose granular conditions.

Snowshoe Mountain is reporting 28° and still no snowmaking yet. They DO have 59 of 60 trails open with the lone "absentee" trail being "Sawmill Glades" over on the Soaring Eagle side of the mountain. Literally EVERYTHING else is open including Shays Revenge (upper and lower), their terrain parks, the halfpipe, snow tubing, snowmobiling and more! Snowshoe is reporting a 54" average base.

Winterplace Resort is reporting a base of 40-80" of groomed and granular conditions with 100% of their mountain open with nice conditions. They did not make snow as the temps held at around 35° overnight. They have the terrain park and snow tubing parks open as well.

Wintergreen Resort in Virginia reported 29° overnight and DID MAKE SNOW! They have 100% of their slopes open! (All 26) and they have snow tubing open as well. They are reporting a base of 30-50" of groomed conditions. Anne Marie Jones writes, "MAKING SNOW VALENTINE! Cold air returned overnight allowing us to resurface all of our trails. Thanks to 100% snowmaking automation, our guests will slide on lots of great new snow today! Our Presidents Weekend Celebration is packed full of activities for the whole family. Fun activities include: Today – ski and ride equipment demo, Sunday – Freestyle Double Cross Race, an evening Rail Jam, LATE NIGHT THRILLS (ski and ride until midnight), teen dance party in The Dome and finally Monday – USSA Slalom race."

Massanutten Resort reported 25° at the summit and they made snow as well. They report 100% of their mountain as open (all 14 trails) and 8 lanes of snow tubing as well. Mass reports an average base of 40". They will make snow as temps allow and made snow on Southern Comfort. Upper Rebel Yell, Lower Dixie Dare, and Diamond Jim.

Bryce Resort did not make snow but still has all 8 trails open and a base of 34-59"

Ober Gatlinburg is reporting 42° this morning and no snowmaking obviously. They have 6 of 8 trails open and groomed/wet granular conditions on a reported base of 38-66". They also report that Mogul Ridge has not been groomed which is a POSITIVE!

Appalachian Ski Mountain is still 100% open and with perfect conditions (soft but perfect) with both terrain parks open and ice skating and perfectly groomed conditions to begin the day. (10 trails open and reporting a base of 71-96")

Cataloochee Ski Area is 100% open as well with all 14 trails and snow tubing open. They are reporting a base of 34-84" and groomed conditions. They look really quite nice via their live cam this morning.

Ski Beech – These guys really did an almost miraculous job of snow maintenance to make for a great weekend of skiing at Beech. On Wednesday and Thursday they were beginning to really look rough and after one evening of snowmaking Thursday night and Friday morning – and after some talented grooming…they really look quite nice for today. They are reporting a base of 30-60" and a "groomed and granular" surface with 11 trails open today. The entire front of the mountain is open except for Upper Southern Star. Great job Beech.

Sugar Mountain is looking quite nice today with 100% of their mountain open (all 20 trails) and snow tubing, skating and this evening from 4:00-6:00pm, you can enjoy the acoustic sounds of North Carolina High Country bluegrass by BOSS HAWG in the main cafeteria of the base lodge. Sugar is reporting a base of 36-72".

Wolf Ridge Resort is reporting 12 trails open for today with what they are still calling "Wet Granular" conditions today. I’d expect that conditions there are much the same as you’ll find elsewhere where we’re calling it Groomed and Granular. We watched them grooming a bit so expect a nice day at Wolf. They are reporting a base of 50-70".

We’ve noticed a trend this season that more and more ski areas have seemed to implement more than we’ve seen in past seasons. Some ski areas have been closing up a trail or two during the week that might have minimal base coverage on and then reopening it as they get into the all-important weekend ski sessions. We’ve seen this often in the past after snowmaking took place, but in this case we are alluding to trails that are reopening after no snowmaking took place. It is a smart move, we’ve just not seen as much of this practice in the past – as we’re seeing this season.

Obviously most of the ski areas want to give mid week guests as much terrain as possible to ride, but it really makes sense to save marginal covered slopes for the more important weekend traffic. We’ve seen this practiced a bit more at some of the larger resorts into West Virginia and Maryland – but the principle works when needed at any resort.

Sapphire Valley finally filed a report after being quiet all week. That’s probably the fifth or sixth time they updated their own website all season. They report a base of 40-85" on the bunny hill and one other trail they have. Tubing is open as well. Sapphire has some fun planned and they posted, "Sapphire Valley Ski Area’s second annual Outhouse Race is on Saturday, February 28th, 2009. Proceeds from this event will provide ski program scholarships for the Tamassee DAR School Children. There is still time for individuals, businesses and companies that wish to support this project to build an outhouse (there are specifications for entries). The entry fee is $100.00 or you may sponsor an entry and have your name placed on one of the outhouses. An entry parade will begin at noon, followed by elimination races down Sapphire Valley’s Beginners Slope ski run. Prizes will be given out at an awards ceremony along with food, beverages, live music, even a “play by play” sports announcer and “lots of fun for all ages.” All are invited to join in the festivities, and enjoy an afternoon filled with excitement. Please come and join us and support these precious children, admission is free, and there is ample parking."

For entry forms, sponsorships or more information call Mary Beth Gillies, Event Chairperson at (828) 421 7448 or Steve Martell, Assistant Chairperson at (828) 507- 8455.

Just a thought here, but I think that a lot of fans of this little resort that happens to have a ski hill would appreciate it if they reported their conditions regularly. They’ve posted three sentences all season long about their conditions and now devote six paragraphs (we didn’t post it all) to some "outhouse races". Hmmmm. Oh well, it’s for a good cause so we’re down with it.

Yes…we’re raggin’ on them a little.


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