Sunday Offers Another Mix of Conditions at Southeastern Ski Resorts

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Check the SNOW REPORT as Sundays are my day to ramble. Some might call it “word soup” as I’m just going to share what comes to mind as I look around the area this morning.

Today’s photo of the day comes from Ron Kent at Sugar Mountain Resort with Elena Mann and Heather Cloy

One thing I will begin with today is that most resorts are operating at or close to 100% open today, despite the warmer temps and wet conditions – which is indicative of the fact that they all had (and still have) a lot of base depths built up.

However, we have seen base depths take a hit over the last week. While we are still seeing maximum base depths in the 50″-90″ ranges, the foggy conditions that we’ve seen a lot of lately DO eat snow.

How is that you ask? (Okay you didn’t ask, but I thought you might want to know, especially if you are sitting in your room at the Highland House at Snowshoe, looking out your window at all of the wet and foggy weather.

When the temperatures mild up a bit and start melting snow, we get a lot of moisture on the ground and damp soil. That melting snow and damp soil evaporates and creates low level clouds or fog.

Fog is like a cloud on the ground. In the spring, snow cover can melt rapidly if warm, humid air pushes in above the snow and lowers the temperature of this humid air to the point that fog forms. The fog droplets forming at the snow surface release the latent heat of condensation, which helps to melt the snow.

Another Factoid here: Fog actually eats at snow more so than a light rain might.

Speaking of Melting Snow…

I told you guys Saturday morning that the Davis, West Virginia area STILL has a ton of natural snow everywhere. David Lesher’s Canaan Valley Weather reporting service reported 19″ of snow still on the ground up there. This morning? 16″.

David also shared:

The snow water equivalent of the snow pack this morning is 5.2 inches.

There were 23 days this month with 18 inches or more of snow on the ground, far more than average and equal to the infamous Feb 2010 when more than 100 inches of snow fell that month alone.

While February HAS been a snowy month for the West Virginia mountains, they are still below average for natural snowfall on the season.

Here’s another factoid – and a strange one at that. The North Carolina mountains are AHEAD on the average, natural snowfall totals on the season – even though there has not been any significant snowfall since February 7th! (Now the NC mountains DID get 14″ of snow during the first week of February after getting a foot of snow the last three days of January.

Talk about wild & wonderful.

Kind of LOVED Snowshoe’s Morning Post this morning – while I was cringing a little. They posted,

“Somebody tell Mother Nature we’ve got another month until we’re ready to break out the kayaks around here. We’ve got some heavy “underdeveloped snow” moving through the area…

As I shared earlier, Snowshoe and the WV mountains are looking at 1″-2″ of rain coming in.

I’ve had the Perception Kayak for a few years and purchase the one on the left a month ago. Spring is coming soon. Click to Enlarge.

Since Snowshoe mentioned “kayaks”, I seriously THOUGHT of heading over to Watauga Lake and enjoying a sunny day in the 60s, on the water, Saturday. Here are my kayaks, sitting on the back of my boat – just teasing me via a Nest Cam to come play!

When you start your morning off looking at temperatures from around the region and they are all in the mid-40s and low 50s at 7am…you KNOW the images you’re going to see via the LIVE CAMS are going to be fogged in.

At 7am this morning I saw 47.9° at Beech Mountain; I saw 54° at Seven Devils; what I did not see were any good images to snap up to share this morning due to the fogged in conditions.

February is ending with the warmest weather we’ve seen since November 10th.

Its Not Over Til We SAY Its Over!

That DOES NOT mean that you guys should start putting away your cold weather gear and ski coats! We should see snowmaking temperatures come back in Tuesday evening – with a light wintry mix and again Thursday evening and pretty seasonal temperatures and a nice weekend ahead.

Dealing with Today…

As I looked around at the LIVE SKI CAMS this morning, the cameras were considerably wetter into West Virginia and up to 1″ of rain is expected up there today. The forecast at Snowshoe Mountain for Sunday night looks pretty raw with as much as 1″-2″ of rain expected. However, snow and cold returns to the forecast up there Tuesday and Wednesday as lows are expected to reach down to 15° Monday night and into the 20s both Tuesday & Wednesday nights.

So things could be soupy TODAY in the “Wild & Wonderful” state. Things look like it will be drier further south, which should make for a good Sunday/Funday skiing & snowboarding into Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina as we should see a mix of sun and clouds after the morning fog burns off.

You Guys DO Pay Attention! …and Some of You Like to Use my OWN words against me…

On Saturday I mentioned that more people than ever may be considering a season pass for next season just to ensure that you’ll get a place on the snow next year. So many weekends were SOLD OUT this season, and one way to guarantee that you will be among those enjoying the slopes is to have a season pass. One of the byproducts of the covid virus this season was the fact that tens of thousands of you decided to head to the mountains and work remotely while vacationing and that caused many SOLD OUT scenarios. That may not change for NEXT SEASON as we don’t KNOW whether covid may hang around or whether there will be another covid-like scenario. Prayerfully this is all behind us, however, so many NEW people have now been introduced to the mountains of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic and many will be back. One way to guarantee your place on the snow is with a season pass.

Here were a couple of replies to that message on Saturday:

Mike, I read your comments about getting a season pass now for this and next year. While they are expensive if you only plan to ski one week or weekend, you are correct in that we would have paid about anything to be able to ski this season. My family traveled up at the last second this season and we never could get on the snow. We were texting, calling and hitting up social media in an effort to find passes. We would have gladly paid $500 each for four passes just to get on the snow all week with our family of four. – Tammy Stills

An insider emailed me:

You were probably spot on with your comments on Saturday about guaranteeing your place on the snow by getting a lift pass ahead of time. We were discussing that in one of our strategy meetings the other day. Of course, we also know that a lot of people stayed closer to home this season due to travel restrictions and covid. Also we were so crowded at times this season that we know that was a bit of a turn-off and many will now get back to heading out west. However, we think you are correct in that tens of thousands found a new home or place to play here in the mountains and they will be back again. Thanks for the mention on your website. You guys are great.

The bottom line is that getting a season pass might not make fiscal sense to many readers who are only planning to come for a weekend. However, if you can make it a few times…it could get closer to making sense – and especially to ensure your place on the snow.

Coincidently, I found this video from Railey Vacations at Wisp Resort and it sums up what we saw a ton of this season.

Working from home…and your home away from home.

 

A couple of our readers complained a bit about the costs associated with skiing, and about my comments, but to me it is a lot like playing golf. I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to play golf at Sugar Mountain or Boone Golf Club only to call ahead an hear that there were no tee times available. Golf courses are SOLD OUT all the time. Heck, over at Mountain Glen Country Club in Newland, they overbook the hell out of that place and often you still can’t get a tee time. Oh yea, and when you can, you’d better expect to take 5-6 hours to play a full round. I’ve left many times after 12 holes or so.

Sound familiar? During the busiest days of a ski season, we have all paid a full day lift ticket price only to get in a couple of hours of open slopes before the masses hit the mountain.

…and a few of you enjoyed throwing some of my words back in my face yesterday.

About a week or so ago, I had bragged about predicting “record skier visits” in several posts – prior to the ski season. However, in that same post last week, I did mention the fact that we had not experienced an extended mild or warm period this season. Several of you emailed and there were a couple of social media comments telling me that my “word soup” had jinxed us now that we HAVE seen 5-6 days of mild temps and way more wet weather than any of us care to think about.

All I can say is that I don’t believe in jinxes, unless it has anything to do with my beloved Gamecocks football team against Clemson. (I’m certain I will hear from some of you who are Tiger fans! …and rightfully so.)

Shares today

Awesome, right?!?!

I always LOVE seeing baby competitors who are loving the sport. This shot was shared by Massanutten Resort. Sorry I do not know the name of this little sweetheart.

She reminds me a lot of Lindsea Lumpkin of Georgia who went from a little snowboarder like this one to one of the top 45 snowboarders nationally a few years ago. Lindsea won the USASA Nationals in 2011.

Lindsea was also seven when she was competing with SkiSoutheast being her first sponsor!

Deep Creek Lake…

We have shared a lot of snowy and frozen, Deep Creek Lake shots this season. It has been colder and snowier up there and those conditions have made for some nice photo shares.

The photo of the day (shared above and below) is from Matt Krency who snapped this sweet aerial shot.

Click to Enlarge

Here is another from Railey Vacations:

Railey Vacations has tons of sweet mountain vacation homes for rent on Wisp Resort. Click to Enlarge!

Here is a drone flyover from the other day. (Compliments of Railey Vacations.)

Deep Creek Lake looks gorgeous from skiing down Main Street trail on Wisp Resort. I have been there when ice fisherman setup cabins out on the lake. Snowmobiles are often seen crossing the frozen lake.

Sharing More of Your Submissions

Click to Enlarge!

Hi Mike,

Cool picture of Sugar @ 30,000 feet from a plane window as my family and I flew over on the way to Park City this year. Sorry we couldn’t have the Summit this year, so we headed west. Record year out there as well.

Rob McCuiston

The word, “Record” Appears Again…

We’re two for two so far in terms of hearing ski areas mentioning “record attendance”. Even if the last few weeks is a wash out – and it won’t be – we will see most every resort reporting record skier visits this season. The latest one?

Bryce Resort in Virginia. Ski Patroller, Bill Nabers emailed me this:

We are definitely, already, at record levels for attendance and income. I know GM’s won’t release exact information, but a roundup from them in March would be interesting. There should be an announcement from Bryce in the off season and I don’t think we will be the only ones with improvements on the way. I can’t speak officially, but exciting days are ahead for Bryce.

That’s it for me today. Be sure to stay tuned for Joe Stevens’ Snow News is Good News and feel free to email me anytime, for any reason, at [email protected]

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