The LAST RITES of Spring!!??!

First Trax

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Ahhhhh… The rites of Spring. Cardinals and other birds return; rabbits and ducks find multiple mates with which to overpopulate the area; and skiers & snowboarders “molt” into kayakers and golfers (or the other way around). I just can’t see a wealth of golfers talking like, “Fo shizzle I kan sho nuff’ sink that putt, dude.”

Welcome to the first day of Spring 2007. Be sure to read Joe Stevens’ column today as he also talks a bit about Spring. He and I often think alike and today is no different.

Supposedly at precisely 8:07pm this evening the Vernal equinox will occur. It is at that exact moment that the Sun will cross directly over the Earth’s equator. The Northern Hemisphere will begin enjoying the rites of Spring and those south of the border will move into Autumn.

Since we’re in this “lesson mode” you should know that equinox means “equal night”. Because the sun is positioned above the equator, day and night are about equal in length all over the world during the equinoxes.


I’m sure I lost some of you. You came here to read about the slope conditions, happenings, and weather. You can see the latest details by visiting the SLOPE CONDITIONS page. It is interesting that numerous people emailed us yesterday amazed at the near mid season conditions that were enjoyed this past weekend. Numerous people sent us some nice shots from Cataloochee, Appalachian and Sugar Mountains. Rob Story sent us some amazing shots from powder conditions up at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia (Rob we will post those today!) and many wrote us about how sweet skiing and riding was this past weekend.

Yesterday morning we awoke to frigid temperatures like 16° at Snowshoe and Wisp Resort in Maryland…and 22° at Sugar Mountain in North Carolina. Here we are 24 hours later seeing temps that are literally 24° warmer! Snowshoe is reporting 40°, as is Canaan Valley and Sugar Mountain. Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock is showing 46° this morning. The coldest reading in the region is at Wisp at Deep Creek with a 30° reading this morning…but even that is 14° milder than Monday morning.

Most of the resorts are reporting groomed, granular, loose granular base conditions and that translates to “Spring Conditions” across the region. That is certainly fitting for today. There’s plenty of snow, little or no bare spots or even thin coverage – depending on where you head today. Perhaps the best surface conditions in the region would be at Appalachian Ski Mountain with more than 36 hours of new snowmaking in the last three-plus days. Truth is, conditions are pretty darn nice, no matter WHERE you go today.


Unfortunately this time of year offers another, less enjoyed rite of Spring and that is the migration of people away from our ski slopes…and away from visiting this and other websites like it. We took a moment to glance at our Urchin Statistics yesterday and we’ll share some of our more impressive numbers with you on another day; however one of the more telling stats is the fact that our daily traffic is down nearly 75% from mid season numbers. Over the last couple of days we’ve “only” seen about 15,000 unique visitors each day. I remember about 10-12 years ago when we’d have been amazed to know that we HAD 15,000 people reading our material. However, these days that’s about 25% of what we see on a normal mid-January day…and nearly 10-12% of peak days during some of the better snowfalls.

In no time at all, those numbers will no doubt plummet even further. That decline is also being reflected at the ski resorts as well. With all of this snow, it sure would be cool as heck if we could find a way to get the word out to enough people to keep the flow of traffic coming such that we could keep a few ski areas open late into April. It COULD HAPPEN! There’s certainly enough snow for Appalachian, Cataloochee, Snowshoe, Timberline and Wisp to make it! Appalachian has a good portion of their base that is as deep as FIVE FEET! Snowshoe has nearly 3-4 feet most everywhere! Heck, Wisp at Deep Creek is showing nearly 3-6 FEET of base. I know that traditionally there are some ridges of DEEP snow along the side of Squirrel Cage and other trails.

That’s plenty of snow to push around and keep decent snow conditions late into April. There’s no question that resorts could easily ski and ride into April 15th. That would surely cheer up those who tend to be a bit depressed on America’s Tax Day!

Some wrote us yesterday, noting that Snowshoe had moved their closing date from a previously posted April 8th date, back to April 1st. They asked why, when Snowshoe just enjoyed 10” of new snowfall over the weekend. I can answer that question with two words – skier visits. Maybe one of these days, we can get enough people educated as to just how much snow is traditionally around this late in the season and work to keep the resorts open.

Maybe we should BEGIN the season with some late season specials and festivities that serve to make more people aware sooner. Maybe we can invent some sort of festival. Of course, if you look at the calendar of events at each of the resorts, you’ll already see huge discounts, “March Madness”, Meltdown Games, “Beachin’ Weekends” and the like…that are all designed to promote more traffic.

Oh well.

Get it while you can! It’s looking like we have one to two weekends of the season left and conditions that are very, very, very nice no matter where you choose to ski or ride. Psst! Pass the word!

Until Next Time…

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