SNOW IS FALLING! POWDER AWAITS! GO PLAY! (and send us some Photos!)

First Trax

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It is 8:31am and I have just finished updating all of the 17 ski areas’ reports that we feature on the and websites. There’s anywhere from 1-4" new snow being reported around the state (check out to see where 7" of snow has fallen this morning (and it isn’t Snowshoe).

Snow totals will be GOING UP as it has been snowing steadily since I crawled out of bed to begin these updates. In fact, this is perhaps the prettiest snowfall that I have seen this season as there is no wind and temps are perfectly in the 20s for much of the region (with slightly colder temps into WV).

Additional, significant snows are expected as Winter Storm Warnings have been posted across the region. Snow picked up early this morning and another 1-3" of forecasted for today; another 1-3" tonight and another 1-3" by Tuesday night. That will make for around 4-7" across much of the area with perhaps as much as 10" at Beech and other favored areas around the state.

Can anyone say P-O-W-D-E-R!?!?! That has to excite the heck out of the crowds still around for the long MLK weekend. Of course there will be many nervously packing their vehicles and heading home!


Be sure to check out his "Joe Knows Snow" column. He basically reminds ski area owners and marketing peeps to get on a chair lift occasionally and listen to what guests are saying. I agree with my buddy Joe about 99.9% of time, and I do think that ski area management staffers should not only sample their product and listen to guests, but I also think that they should venture out to other ski areas and see what the other guys are offering as much as possible. However, I can of disagree with some of the points that Joe makes in today’s column. Joe seems to be saying that ski area operators are continuing to raise their prices and turn a deaf ear to visitor’s needs for discounts during these "tough economic times". I tend to think that lodging discounts have always been available every season and that the MAJORITY of ski and snowboard enthusiasts have and always will find the money to spend on ski getaways. Stats show that we will always find money to spend on entertainment and on ourselves. The ski industry is kind of "economy proof" in my opinion. Yes, we might not make as many trips to the mountain, and there are certainly those that will not make it to the resorts this season. However, the majority will and when you add in the newbie skiers and snowboarders…I think that skier visits will be substantially UP this season across the entire region. (Of course this is contingent on good weather the rest of the way.)

In summary, I think that the ski industy is one of those things that people will simply find money to spend on. While many industries may take a hit, people are always going to spend money on entertainment, food, and on themselves.  It should also be said that most ski areas are not raking in money to the point that they are living like fat cats.  Their costs to operate have not been discounted and they have to turn certain skier numbers just to make a profit.  The past two seasons have been "less than stellar" particularly around the Holiday weeks and weekends, so they have to be careful about offering discounts as they all have "bottom lines" that are sometimes tough to meet.  I personally am privy to some numbers and I can tell you that while the ski industry in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic is healthy – and while some ski resorts are THRIVING – not all are well into the black areas of their accounting books.

Just my two cents. However, Joe does make some great points and we invite you to check out his column.


Here’s the tour…go ski or ride!

We’re giving Sugar Mountain top billing for under-reporting their natural snow total for a third time this season!

Sugar Mountain – 18° and 3.2" of new snow. They have opened Whoopdedoo! The only trail not open is Sugar Bear and that gives Sugar 19 of 20 trails open with Natural and Manmade Powder! They also offer three lanes of tubing and ice skating. Whoopdedoo is Sugar’s double black and it offers adrenaline junkies a fast start down Sugar’s 1200′ vertical!

We don’t know what’s gotten into Sugar or who is doing the snow reporting over there or if it has changed hands, but we want to congratulate them on being DEAD ON – or even slightly under-reporting their snow, etc – all season long. They are reporting only TWO INCHES of snow from Sunday and according to three reports and the official station up there, Sugar has 3.2" of snow and that takes them to 33" on the season. That is at least the third time we’ve seen Sugar under-report a natural snowfall this season.

Way to go up there Sugar!

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 29° – Did not make snow, but report 1" of natural snow and 100% open with 10 of 10 trails, both terrain parks and ice skating. App will not be making snow during day or night sessions and only as needed overnight.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 23° – They made snow and are 100% open for DAY SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING ONLY TODAY. They also have some terrain park features and snow tubing open as well.

Ski Beech – 20° and according to Baker Perry’s CocoRahs, official stationa data Beech picked up 3.3" of new snow. We received another unofficial report of 4" of snow and that takes Beech to 35" on the season. To show you how dry the air is, the water-to-snow ratio was pretty high with the 4" of snow coming from only .23" of precip.

Ryan Costin contacted us and shared that they had opened "Meadows" and with that and Crossway, Beech now has 9 of 15 trails open for day and night skiing tonight. Conditions will be sweet as more snow is expected and snowmaking continues. Costin said that they would turn their attention on White Lightning to get it open ASAP.

Beech is reporting 5" of new snow and that is a little on the high side according to the police station and the official snow measuring station up on Beech. More snow is falling as we speak and they’ll have that total (and probably more) in a bit!

Editor’s Hint: If you’re looking to make some turns and want a little less crowd with your skiing and snowboarding, we’d suggest popping up to Beech after lunch and the crowds will be heading home and the slopes will be less crowded.

Tubing is also open at Ski Beech and they have the terrain features set up for on Powder Bowl.

Wolf Ridge Resort – has not reported in as yet, nor updated their website. We suspect they got some of this natural snowfall and will have at least 11 trails open today.

Ski Sapphire – Has not reported in three days, but will have 2 slopes and tubing for today.

As always, be sure to click over to for more news about ALL of the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic including more photos of the day, more snow news, more videos…and just MORE!

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

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