Sunday, November 21st Offers Two Ski Areas Open with a Total of Eight Slopes – Again.

FeaturedFirst Trax

Sunday’s are my day to ramble. As Merriam-Webster defines it, “It is to talk or write at length in a confused or inconsequential way.” I personally choose to think our Sunday rambles are to simply allow me to cover a plethora of subjects as they come to mind – maybe disorganized, but not confusing.

However, perhaps my Saturday post was more on the confusing side as today’s post title is for those few who don’t take the time to read an entire post or FirsTrax news.

We are only days into the 2021-2022 ski & snowboarding season for the Southeast and mid-Atlantic ski areas and already we are seeing a 524% increase in traffic to the website. More than a quarter of a million visitors have hit us up via the website and social media since the last autumn leaves began to fall off the trees in the mountains.

Of the 25K or so who hit us up on Saturday, more than a few seemed to think that we don’t know the difference in Beech & Sugar mountains. A couple emailed me that we didn’t share that Sugar was open and one claimed that we errantly reported Cataloochee Ski Area as being open, when they were not.

…and some doubt that our education system is failing us.

Let me set the record straight. Nothing in yesterday’s FirsTrax post was in error. Check out the story here.

The first sentence read:

Sugar Mountain Resort was the first and only ski area to open in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic this past Monday. Today Cataloochee Ski Area in wonderful, Maggie Valley, North Carolina will make it TWO ski areas open for the season as they will open for day skiing at 8:30am this morning, Saturday, November 20th.

“Steven” of Waynesville wrote: “Sugar is open too. I guess they dont count tho…..”

“Dan” from Black Mountain added: “Ski Southeast catalochee did not open today.”

Since I not only mentioned that Sugar was open AND included them in the SNOW REPORT, I’m pretty sure they count. Perhaps the confusion for some may have come from the fact that the best photo to be shared as Saturday’s photo of the day was from the LIVE summit cam atop Beech Mountain Resort (who has not opened yet).

Per the claim that Cataloochee Ski Area was not open on Saturday, I submit as “exhibit A”:

Feel free to CLICK and ENLARGE

As you can (hopefully) read, Cataloochee was indeed open on Saturday. I actually took the time to call President, Chris Bates myself and confirmed it. Perhaps some of you trusted news from another source. Shame on you 😉

The photo of today is a shot I took from across the highway yesterday. I hope that helps you Sugar fans.

Saturday was an awesome day. I and some friends shopped at Alpine Ski Center for a bit. My friends brought their skis up from Lexington, SC to drop off for some repairs on bindings; to tune and wax them AND to purchase a new pair of Rossi boots. The only negative thing about that visit is that my wife seemed a little TOO interested in a package that Alpine is offering that includes new skis, boots and poles. I think she and I will be visiting the shop again in the coming days. Happy wife, happy life, right?

Some Snowmaking; Some Moderating Temperatures and Cold Weather on the Way.

It was COLD yesterday morning and some of the ski areas were able to run their snowmaking systems for a bit. Temps climbed back into the 40s later in the day, which made things nice for those of you who DID trek to Sugar Mountain and Cataloochee on Saturday.

I ran into Sugar’s Len Bauer, who is the Ski & Snowboard School Director, and he shared that Saturday was a GREAT day to be on the snow. He also shared that skier visits were surprisingly brisk. I also heard from my buddy, Ron Kent who skis Sugar seemingly 3-4 times a week and Ron shared that HE went down one time and left, preferring to wait for better conditions that WILL come later this week.

Perception, right? Frankly, to have ANY snow on the slopes this early is a bonus.

Let’s get to the weather….

Sunday will be a milder day with highs in the low 50s to perhaps close to 60° at some mountain locations. Some rain is in the forecast for tonight and Monday and that won’t be great for the shallow base depths that are at Cataloochee and Sugar right now. (Remember, it is early.)

However, VERY COLD air is on the way and it looks like LOTS of SNOWMAKING temperatures for Monday night, Tuesday and Tuesday night. Temperatures return to near average and slightly above for Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day and we remain dry. Light rain may develop Thursday night and end as snow showers Friday morning as temperatures drop and winds kick up. Saturday looks chilly and sunny with some around-the-clock chances at snowmaking.

So conditions will be pretty sweet as other ski resorts look to open this week. Again, check out the SNOW REPORT for those opening days.

Some Notables…

Ober Gatlinburg seemed to host a well-attended, 12th Annual “Back in Blue Rail Jam”. It is the East Tennessee Ski Area’s signature season-opening event. Held outdoors in the company’s spacious Tubing Park, Back in Blue is the earliest on-snow freestyle event in the Southeast and regularly features regional up-and-coming skiing and snowboarding talent from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

By the way, Ober has a magical, snowmaking system that allows them to make plenty enough snow to open their tubing park (which is already open) AND make snow for things like the rail jam.

Ober Gatlinburg’s Tubing hill IS OPEN. Click to Enlarge!

 

Loved Snowshoe’s Marketing Comment this Morning.
Snowshoe is still “farming snow” in preparation for this week’s rope drop. Click to Enlarge!

Snowshoe
Looks like we’ll be carving up more than just turkey this Thanksgiving! 

Snowshoe also shared, “Opening Day is officially locked in for Thursday, Nov. 25. Our season passholders will have exclusive first dibs during our Passholder Preview Day on Wednesday, Nov. 24. See you out there!”

Is there a more beautiful resort than Omni Homestead?

This shot from Omni shows off the resort ready for the Holidays!

By the way, Omni Homestead will host their “North Pole Artisan Fair and Children’s Craft Corner” on Friday, November 26th.

Wintergreen’s Mission: Four’dable gets a nice video promo

It’s the perfect time to get your holiday shopping out of the way and done with. Mission: Four’dable quad packs only $239 through November 29th. Enjoy freedom and fun on the slopes while creating memories with family and friends to last
a lifetime.

Boy, Howdy, Did I Take Home Some Prizes Last Night!

So on Saturday I shared that Lees McRae College was hosting the “Stoke, the Fire” movie at the town park in Banner Elk. It was a fund raiser for the Lees McCrae Ski & Snowboard team. Lily Bauer is a senior on the team, the daughter of Len Bauer of Sugar Mountain and a great young lady who I happened to coach in soccer for several years – alongside her dad. She came by the office last week and grabbed some Snow News is Good News hoodies, and our banner, as well as some tees, etc. to auction off.

The event was at 6pm last night and even though the temperatures were hovering in the low 30s, the event (which was held outdoors) was well attended. We sponsor the Lees-McRae Ski & Snowboard team and so I figured we’d check it out. The raffle table was full of great items from numerous sponsors and the top giveaways were a pair of skis and a new snowboard from Recess.

I am my crew donated more funds at the event and bought a fair number of raffle tickets – again, all the proceeds went to the team which as small as the school is, they compete with the likes of Virginia Tech, etc.

I was a little surprised NOT to see that ANY of our SkiSoutheast, “Snow News” hoodies were on the table. However, I DID noticed a lot of team members walking around wearing them! Haha.

So we had some good grub from Beech Mountain’s Famous Brick Oven Pizza (his food truck was there) AND we enjoyed some great brews from Beech Mountain Brewery. After an hour there, our bodies were beginning to freeze up as it was the first, real cold snap of the season. However, we learned that Teton Gravity Research’s Stoke the Fire movie would come next – with the raffle prizes being awarded afterwards!

By the way, the movie was awesome. We’ll have to share it at some point.

So an hour later, the crowd had dwindled some AND we had considered leaving early – again it was COLD. However, we stuck it out and I’m glad we did.

Click to Enlarge our “haul”.

As the first ticket numbers were called, one hit. “That’s ME, I said.” That first winning number got me a bag from Beech Mountain Resort with a beanie, tshirt and some other goodies.

I walked back to the spot we were hanging out and before I could get reset, BOOM another raffle number hit just two prizes later. This time it was a large bag of gifts that included some $50 gift certs from various sponsors and more clothing – some  socks, tshirts, etc.

A few numbers were called and – yep – BAM, another winning. This time I got a copy of the movie, some more swag and another $50 gift cert to Fred’s up on Beech.

I was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable, but THANKFULLY my number was not called again…until there were only two raffle prizes left to award.

The SNOWBOARD from Recess was up next. They called the number and – you guessed it – we won the damn snowboard.

The last prize was a new set of skis…and THANKFULLY I didn’t win that because there might have been a fight! Haha.

Check out the Snowboard. Click to Enlarge!

I will probably get up with Recess and arrange for bindings and then give it away. So be sure to stay tuned for that announcement.

By the way, right now we are working on some additional giveaways like a FULL WEEK vacation condo at Snowshoe Mountain for the December 26th through January 1st holiday ski period.

Again, stay tuned for more information. Our team is busy with a LOT of moving parts right now and we will try our best to kick things into high gear asap.

I DO want to thank all of the sponsors at last night’s event. It looked like it went well and hopefully Lees-McRae’s team made out like the bandit I felt like last night!

 

Here are some more photos from yesterday:

The big screen displayed our sponsorship last night. Way cool.

The photo below was posted by Cataloochee Ski Area…which “which wasn’t open on Saturday”…but was!

Cat was INDEED open on Saturday and will operate today as well

Email me anytime you like at [email protected]

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