Photo of the Day is From Massanutten Resort. Hats off to them for extending the Toy Drive. Bring a toy, receive half off at Massanutten Indoor WaterPark! Guests who bring in an unwrapped toy ($10 minimum value) will receive 50% off the general admission rate.
This morning I was up early and saw every ski area in the region making snow and grooming in the dark – with the exception of Ober Gatlinburg and Sapphire Valley – which were experiencing temperature inversions that prevented them from making snow overnight. It should be noted, however, that EVERY ski area made a ton of snow over the last 48-72 hours.
The snowmaking equipment was blasting away at all the rest of the resort this morning and I watched as groomers were prepping the slopes for perfect corduroy. The LIVE CAMS were displaying some awesome, pristine looking views of the slopes and without question this weekend will be THE BEST weekend of the season to date.
…But Will More Slopes Open for the Christmas-To-New-Year Holiday Week?
That IS the most asked question in my email INBOX over the last few days and some of you guys have posted that question on our Facebook Page as well. In fact, as I type up this FirsTrax report I am seeing Facebook LIVE comments from you guys and that question was just asked – again.
The best answer I can provide you guys is that the way the weather forecast is looking right now, we MAY see one more night of snowmaking tonight across much of the region and you can bet that every ski area that CAN make snow (where the temps allow) WILL make snow. I think it is safe to say that many of the resorts are stockpiling some whales here and there and as we get to mid-week next week…there WILL be a few additional slopes opening at various resorts.
Conditions are perfect right now after focused snowmaking over the last 48-72 hours and after tonight’s round of snowmaking, that may be it for a few days as things are expected to mild-up a bit. There will be borderline snowmaking opportunities at ski areas into West Virginia from Sunday night into Christmas Day, so that could be great for those headed to Canaan Valley, Winterplace and Snowshoe – as well as Wisp Resort in Maryland.
Looking a bit further south into the Virginia and North Carolina mountains, last night might have been the last snowmaking temperatures we’ll see until New Year’s Eve. (There is an outside chance for some snowmaking Saturday night (tonight) at Beech and Sugar Mountain.
So in terms of opening more slopes and trails – I think we will see an additional trail open here and there over the next couple of days, however, what you see open right NOW, might be about what we will see during the Christmas to New Year’s Holiday week.
Again, the only exceptions to that might be up at Canaan Valley Resort, Snowshoe Mountain and Wisp Resort. (Winterplace might add a trail or two as well.)
How About the Weather?
We have also received a lot of queries about “will it be snowing or raining?” and every meteorologist out there (including our own Brad Panovich) is calling for a mild-up Monday-Sunday, December 29th. So the likelihood of seeing natural snowfall while on your Holiday ski-getaway is a bit of a long-shot. (Let’s just say, be happy with lots of snow on the slopes…)
Again, the lone exceptions to that might be as we get to Sunday, December 29th as some snow is expected at Snowshoe and Davis, West Virginia. There’s a rain-to-snow mix forecasted for Beech Mountain.
However, we have to do our obligatory reminder that long-range forecasts for our ski mountains are rarely accurate. So we have a decent chance at seeing slightly colder and some snow along the way….or some light showers as we get closer to next weekend.
So, we’d highly recommend staying “tuned” to SkiSoutheast, ResortCams and our FirsTrax news as Matt Laws, Kenny Griffin and myself will keep you updated right up to the minute with what’s in the forecast for the week ahead as we get that intel.
What we CAN promise is that there will be plenty of snow on the slopes as ALL of the resorts have created really strong bases and there will be plenty of fun terrain to ski and ride on.
* There are NO concerns over there not being PLENTY of slopes and trails open at every ski area.
NOT REAL POWDER….
Admittedly I have a new pet-peeve. I’m not sure why or if it was discussed at a group setting among all of the ski area management or marketing people…or if one ski area started it and others followed – but around a year or so ago I started seeing ski areas calling the Primary and Secondary Surface conditions as “Packed Powder” several days after a natural snowfall of even 1-2″. In fact some have reported “packed powder” conditions when NO natural snowfall occurred.
I will agree that snowmaking technologies have advanced so much that what some of those fan guns can create IS “powder” and very similar to the kind of powder that falls from the skies naturally. However, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of skiing real powder, blessed from God Himself – there IS a difference.
Also a couple of ski areas have actually reported their manmade snow as “NEW SNOW” which is what prospective visitors would assume is meant to be reserved for NATURAL SNOWFALL. (See: https://skisapphirevalley.com/snow-report-ski-sapphire-nc.html) (At least recently they began to add the words “machine made” behind the “New Snow Last 24 hours”.
I’d love to see ski areas call it “Packed Manmade Powder”. That stuff IS vastly better snow than we used to see coming from snowmaking equipment from a decade or so ago.
The more accurate assessment would be “Manmade & Packed” or “Manmade & Frozen Granular”…but regardless of the semantics, the conditions will be groomed corduroy and awesome for your Saturday sessions.
Here are some of the details for today…
NORTH CAROLINA RESORTS
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 9 slopes, 2 terrain parks, ice rink, and day & night sessions.
Beech Mountain Resort – 10 slopes, terrain park open, ice skating and day & night sessions.
Cataloochee Ski Area – 10 trails open including the Alley Cat Racing trail. They have TUBING OPEN as well. They are open for day and night sessions.
Sugar Mountain Resort – Open for day & night sessions with 9 slopes, ice skating and tubing open as well.
Sapphire Valley – has both slopes open and the tubing park til 8pm Saturday.
Wolf Ridge Resort – no update yet, but we assume they will play on 4 slopes again for Saturday.
Massanutten Resort – CHECK BACK – but 5 slopes open for day & night sessions as well as SNOW TUBING OPEN.
Bryce Resort – They are nearly 100% open with all except “Hangover” open for day sessions this weekend and then they will go to day and night sessions for the Holiday week. Tubing open as well.
Wintergreen Resort – 6 slopes and terrain park open as well as tubing park.
Omni Homestead – 3 slopes open for day sessions and a base of 12-20″
WEST VIRGINIA RESORTS
Canaan Valley – reopens Timber Trail today and The Mountain Ops team has now re-focused their efforts on Ramble in the hopes of opening it for the holiday season. They are also making snow on Upper Valley Vista and Lower Valley Drop. Canaan Valley is open today for DAY SESSIONS ONLY with (12) slopes and trails and snow tubing as well.
Snowshoe Mountain – 143 acres open now. That is 33 of 61 trails, tubing and lots of terrain parks open with tons of features. Night sessions on the Silver Creek side. Snowmobiling and more.
Winterplace Resort – man they DOUBLED their open terrain with 17 slopes open now and snow tubing as well. Great conditions.
Ober Gatlinburg – Open for day and night sessions with 6 of 10 slopes, snow tubing, ice skating, mountain coastering and more.
Wisp Resort more than doubled their open terrain for Saturday with 12 trails and snow tubing, ice skating, mountain coastering and more!
Want Your Snow Report Read to You…click below!
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That will do it for today.
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