First Trax

Forget the Fiscal Cliff, we're now seeing the Thermal Cliff as temps reflect the kind of days that we should not be experiencing except in early summer or fall. Combined with the slow start to winter, that has prompted many emails to my personal INBOX asking us to recommend whether to ski at ABC or XYZ ski areas. I can honestly say that I have rarely received those kinds of emails in my 17 seasons of doing this website. I might receive a request of that nature asking "which resort is best for lodging, newbies, tubing, etc" but not "based on the amount of snow and current conditions, should I go to THIS or THAT resort".

As I compiled the snow report this morning I can tell you that most every resort dropped a trail or two from those that were open on Friday…but not so much that you'd notice it with the possible exception of Canaan Valley which dropped 13 trails from yesterday.  Appalachian and Beech remain the same, as does Winterplace. Conditions will be a little on the wet/soft side of things this weekend as some scattered showers/drizzle might make an appearance here and there. For the most part though it looks like Saturday will be THE DAY to ride this weekend as there's more of a chance of "under-developed snow" (Thanks Joe!) on Sunday into Monday across the region.

The COLD AIR looks to be coming though as we're seeing SNOW LIKELY from Snowshoe Monday night into Tuesday with highs and lows cold enough to make snow Monday night up that way. Wisp may pick up some wet snow Monday and Tuesday as well. Those colder temps won't quite make it down into Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina until later in the week and unfortunately there's more chances for rain Sunday through Tuesday in North Carolina. However things ARE looking good for snowmaking temps to arrive by Wednesday night (POSSIBLY) and without question by Thursday night in time for MLK Weekend conditions. By next weekend, we will probably hear some clamoring for milder temps as it is forecasted to get cold as a well diggers butt.

So enjoy your Saturday…get in the turns you can today and Sunday…and then let's weather the weather until the cold gets back in here next week. Most resorts are reporting some thin coverage here and there.


APPALACHIAN: 55° this morning.
Not sure what's happening, but we've gotten a lot of emails from people saying that App hasn't updated their website snow report since Wednesday. So we called and they have dropped their base 4" since then and now are reporting 10 of 12 slopes open with a base of 18-42". Ice Skating is open and the've got some great fun planned today. Variable and Wet Conditions will prevail on Saturday. App has a great base and will hold up well through the short-lived, January thaw.

On Saturday, January 12, ASM will host the region’s first Burton Riglet Park Tour, which is a mobile product demo and mini-snowboard park geared towards introducing children as young as 2 to the sport of snowboarding. A custom children’s learning terrain area will be provided at the base of ASM and Burton Snowboard experts will be offering a free “introductory terrain park experience” for children ages 2 to 6. The idea is to get children comfortable on the snow, and moving over small changes in terrain – establishing sound fundamentals for park riding.

Registration is FREE for the Burton Riglet Park Tour and will be held in the Alpine Ski Shop throughout the day. There will be 2 main sessions of park orientation in the Riglet Terrain Park – from 10am-12 noon, and from 1pm – 3pm. The overall experience should last around 30-45 minutes for each child. Parents are encouraged to watch the action from the front slope entrance, or from the observation deck on the 2nd level of the lodge. Helmets are required for children to participate.

Beech Mountain is looking really quite nice today with little in the way of thin coverage or bare areas. Have you guys checked out the new SLOPESIDE Streaming Cam at Beech?

Kenny and I put that up on Thursday and I guess you can blame us for all of the FOG and drizzle. I'd bet that nearly everytime we put a new camera up the weather goes to crap for a couple of days. This new cam shows Upper Shawneehaw up towards the quad house as well as down the upper terrain. It will be awesome when next week's cold air hits and Beech can get Southern Star and the middle trails open. It also shows an awesome view of the Beech Mountain Parkway and the valley below. We'll keep this cam LIVE year 'round so we can show you the fireworks, etc.

OH YEA – Beech has 11 of 15 trails open for Saturday and again the snow looks pretty good.

Today the Beech Tree Bar and Grille will have live music from 4pm to 7pm. 

Registration for the banked slalom race will take place in Roots Ride Shop from 9am to 1130am.  The Race Starts at 12:30pm.


They've dropped one trail since Friday and now offer 13 of 17 trails and tubing.
Cat also looks very strong with little in the way of thin coverage.

They will be open today with both trails and tubing open. They have not changed the base depths in days and are still reporting that they made snow. Unless they've figured a way to do it in 50-60° temps will say that's an oversight. Sapphire is fighting the fight to keep snow on both of their slopes and the Frozen Falls Tubing area. They've got plenty to provide their weekend guests with something to ride on, but they'll need some snowmaking p-r-e-t-t-y soon.

Sugar's dropped the base by 6" from Friday and they've dropped one trail offering as well and now show 13 of 20 trails, snow tubing and ice skating. They are also the only ski area in the state to report "thin coverage". FYI, they've all got thin coverage and some "wearing/bear areas" as the day goes along, but hats off to Sugar for reporting them.

Actually I was up at Sugar a little on Thursday evening and Friday during the day and "yes" there are some thin coverage areas and a few bare spots but they are really minimal on the main trails. Big Red is closed as it was one of the last trails to open and needs a lot of TLC and snowmaking to open back up.

3 Days and change until is back… (Just reporting…) The other (real) website is reporting 8 trails open and two lanes of snow tubing. There's a good base on the main trails.

I've got to work with Kenny and Tonette on the "little details" of our snow report because I caught "GREAT CONDITIONS" in the remarks field this morning. Okay there are not GREAT CONDITIONS anywhere right now. Bryce and all of the Virginia resorts are fighting the fight to keep good snow quality right now. Bryce reported on Friday, "Due to upcoming warm conditions, there will be no grooming on the upper slopes.  Please be careful when accessing these trails."

Bryce is open with 5 of 8 trails and tubing as well. The main trails have plenty of coverage and Bryce is doing a great job of keeping things "pretty" on the snow. The edges of the slopes are creaping in a bit which is expected with the mild temps. However, again – things look good at Bryce today.

Mass dropped one trail from Friday and now show 8 of 14 open along with 10 lanes of tubing. Remember that Massanutten has two great, streaming cameras these days and it's really remarkable how good the mountain looks despite the mild temps. Check out BOTH cams but look at this one right now:

Thanks to Matt Fussell and the staff up at the Hot Springs resort for keeping us up to date this season. The Homestead dropped two trails from Friday and now are showing 4 of 10 open. Snowmobiles will also not run tonight. Tubing IS open.

They've dropped three trails from those that were open on Friday. However, on the slopes they have open, they look pretty darn good. Today they will have 14 of 26 and snow tubing to boot.

Wintergreen wrote, "Temperatures will climb into the 50's today, with lots of sun. Temperatures will remain mild through the weekend with a return of colder weather during the middle part of next week. The cold air will arrive before MLK weekend, allowing us to make snow, increase trail count and provide great conditions.

Terrain Park features- propane spine, box jam, big propane tank, 20ft box, 2 – 16ft boxes, 15 ft flat rail, rainbow box, urban style handrail, double kink down flat down, small step down jump, medium to large table top jump."

David Vance posted this morning, "Think Snow!" as Canaan Valley dropped 13 trails from those that were open on Friday. They now show 24 trails open, snow tubing and ice skating. A lot of people have asked us about the new cam up at Canaan we've been promising. Lenora Testerman was lighting a fire under everyone on Friday to make that happen and we'd expect that thing to go operational on Monday or so.

This is the coldest spot in the region on Saturday morning but still no snowmaking. Snowshoe dropped 2 trails from Friday and now offer the region's most open terrain (STILL) with 45 of 60 trails, snow tubing, snowmobiling and more. I've received nearly 100 emails recently about those three mysterious webcams that were delivered back in early December. I don't know what to tell you guys as Snowshoe has gone AWOL on the subject. I'll get re-involved on Monday and see what we can do.

Tom Blanzy and his crew decided to close 7 trails since Friday to maintain the coverage on those that they can until cold air returns next week. They still have 22 of 40 trails open as well as snow tubing for today and tonight. My peeps at Timberline have done a great job with the internet connectivity up there as the LIVE STREAM is showing great conditions down at the base area. It's always fun to watch the crowd down there!

Terry, Missy and crew are the only ski area in West Virginia today to operate with the same terrain they had open on Friday. Winterplace will ski and ride on 22 of 27 trails and snow tubing today. The snow will be soft, but there's plenty of it as you can see for yourself on the LIVE CAM. (This is still one of the best slope views: )

Tim Prather and his crew always do a great job with the weather they're provided. McHenry, Maryland got quite a lot of rain in the last day or so, but the snow looks good this morning via all the cams they have. Wisp only dropped 1 trail from Friday's offerings and they now ride on 25 of 32 trails, snow tubing, ice skating and mountain coastering. Expect a few thin coverage areas as the day goes along but really only at some trail merges, etc. The main part of the trail system looks great! Lori, I haven't forgotten about you! I'll be in touch Monday about getting a streaming camera up there!

Ober looks remarkably well despite the mild temps. They drop one trail from Friday and now are offering 4 of 9 open along with snow tubing and ice skating. I'm going to have to call and learn more about that snow product they are using this season because that snow tubing park has look good all season despite less than desired weather conditions. They are understandably reporting thin coverage in some areas but you'll be surprised if you'll look at the LIVE CAM at:


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