Southeast Ski Resorts in GREAT shape today and going into this Weekend!

First Trax

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We have to begin today’s stories with the obvious… SNOW has been falling this week across the ski resorts of the Southeast!  While a few resorts had planned to close this past weekend, others like Sugar Mountain looked at the forecast for this week and decided to close up earlier than expected.  General Manager, Gunther Jochl was seen being interviewed on the local MTN TV network saying that they saw that the forecast that this week was going to be rainy and with borderline temps, so they were confident that they made a good decision to close this past Sunday. That is unfortunate for Sugar fans because this week has been anything but bad weather-wise.  All of the Southeast’s high elevations have seen overnight temps that have been cold enough to make snow and we’ve even had 2-4” of snow thrown into the mix.

In North Carolina , Appalachian and Cataloochee have made snow on 4 of the last 5 nights and Appalachian also saw 3” of natural snow this week.  Conditions right now are as good as they’ve been in weeks! More on North Carolina in a moment.

Touring from North to South today…we’ll begin at Wisp Resort in Maryland where they are skiing and riding on 18 trails today.  They didn’t make snow last night, but they did make a good bit this past weekend and conditions are looking quite nice today.  They are at 18° this morning as we’re filing this report and you can expect groomed conditions on many trails and a nice day today.

Canaan Valley is CLOSED today, despite some reporting services saying that they are open.  They will reopen on Friday.

Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia is at 18° this morning and they didn’t make snow either.  Why?  Well they have all the snow they need!  Conditions have been very nice since last Friday and Snowshoe made some snow and they also received 3” of snow this week.  They are open today with 36 sweet trails. All open trails were groomed overnight except for Choker. Start making your plans to join SS this weekend for their annual Mountaintop Beach Party Music Festival. For this weekend we are offering a special 2 day/2 night lodging package for only $109. Call 877-441-4FUN for reservations and more information. Enjoy fun and games on the slopes, live entertainment, fireworks and more.

Timberline Resort in West Virginia picked up another 1” of snow in the last 24 hours and Pam Long up there tells us that they have very nice conditions on their 26 open trails with about 70% of the trails groomed corduroy!

Winterplace Resort got a trace of snow over the last 24 hours and conditions are pretty nice as they have groomed their 24 trails. They do have some thin coverage and bare areas…but conditions are very nice headed into this last weekend for the West Virginia resort. They are reporting 19° this morning and good, firm groomed conditions.

Wintergreen Resort in Virginia is gearing down to close this Sunday.  They have 15 trails operating today and 4 lifts.  Wintergreen is planning to reopen for the April 1st-2nd weekend for a fun party.  Visit for more information.


Appalachian Ski Mountain continues to make snow, which admittedly had ME wondering if those guys may be pulling a surprise marketing move of their own – maybe staying open longer than their announced date of Sunday, March 26th. I could see them making snow maybe Monday and Tuesday nights…but when they made snow again last night I had to wonder whether or not they may be thinking about prolonging their season.

I spoke with App General Manager, Brad Moretz and while he DID say that one should never say never, he also said, “No Mike, we’re closing Sunday, March 26th as planned and we’re just making snow to give our visitors the very best of possible conditions right up to the end.”  He added, “We’ve been fortunate that eight of the last nine seasons we’ve been able to ski into the fourth weekend of March and this year will be no different…and we have also made snow numerous times on the Saturday morning before closing on Sunday.”

There is no question that Appalachian has what may be the best snow conditions in the Southeast with a base of 27-67” and that base has GROWN in the last week, while base depths have been receding at other resorts.

Brad did say, “Yea, Mike we’ve heard a couple of people complaining about your reports questioning resort’s base depths, but you know it’s not a bad thing to have someone out there questioning things.”

You don’t know how good that is to hear.  Of course that’s coming from a resort that has probably been under-reporting at times this season. The bottom line is that Appalachian has been making snow…and made snow again last night and conditions RIGHT NOW on March 23rd are probably just about as good as they have been all season…at Appalachian Ski Mountain.  You won’t find any thin coverage, no bare spots and nice manmade powder to play on 100% of their terrain.  So App is set for a great Meltdown Games Weekend.

Moretz summed up our conversation by saying, “This year has been a good one.  We made more snow in December than in ANY ONE MONTH in our existence.  We made more than 350” of snow in December and we’ve kept very good conditions all season long.”  He also added, “While March has been milder than we’d like, it has been one that has not included much in the way of rain, and any March without rain in it…is good for slope conditions.”

So get out and enjoy the super conditions at Appalachian today and this weekend!

Cataloochee Ski Area ALSO made snow last night and they are in great shape on 8 of their 10 trails with a base of 18-42”.  They are self-reporting a few thin coverage and bare areas…but conditions are pretty sweet for March 23rd!  In case you missed it yesterday, Cat IS closing on Sunday…but WILL REOPEN for one day only on April Fool’s Day, April 1st and that is NO April Fool’s joke!

Honoring the Fallen Firemen –

We’ve had HUNDREDS of people email since yesterday afternoon about the fact that we turned the Banner Elk Highway 184 camera to point to the fire station. Yesterday a special memorial ceremony was provided to honor the four firemen who died tragically in a boating mishap off the coast of North Carolina last week. Kevin Bell, Griff Lyerly, Arch McFaden and Michael Shope died when their boat capsized more than a mile from shore and they couldn’t make it back before hyperthermia took them.

Fire departments from all over the state and beyond came to pay their respects to their four fallen brothers. A Coast Guard Helicopter, a second chopper and numerous fire trucks and hundreds of people came to pay tribute to these young men and their families.  A memorial service was held at Lees McCrae College and the auditorium was packed to capacity.

William Klinger, the son of the Chaplain for the Banner Elk Fire Department took control of our live cam from his home in Pinellas Park, Florida and he kept repositioning the camera and provided thousands of visitors with a touching view of the lone bag-piper and Honor Guard as they led a procession from the volunteer fire department…to Lees McCrae.  The fire truck behind the Honor Guard carried the helmets of all four fallen firemen on its bumper. Upon arriving at Lees McCrae the procession was led between two ladder trucks and a huge American flag that had been erected between them.

Like many we were saddened to hear of this tragedy and we know that it will be some time before their families find relief from their grieving. May God Bless with them.

Until Next Time!

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Great Conditions at Appalachian and Cataloochee today!
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Mark McKelvy took this great photo of conditions at Appalachian Ski Mountain on Monday – App has made snow three of the last four nights!
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