First Trax

Story by Mike Doble – [email protected]

What a season it has been…

What a week it has been with SNOW smack dab in the middle of it. 2-3" inches fell on Wednesday morning across the High Country and it was gone about as quickly as it fell when later in the day the sun came out. Friday's warm sun had me and about everyone else in the office suffering from MAJOR SPRING FEVER. I'll admit it – I've been suffering from it for a few days now and I'm ready for some lake time. So much so that when I saw the forecast for cloudy/rainy skies for the NC Mountains I threw some stuff together and headed for our lake house…which is not so much a house as it is a boat. (That's an inside joke.)

I drove by Sugar Mountain on the way to the lake and I have to tell you that it looked as sweet as any peak winter day you'd choose to ride within. Even from the road you could tell that every trail was groomed with some of the sweetest corduroy you'd ever wish to find. Good for them…

I'm doing report from the dock on the bay… Watauga Lakeshore Resort bay that is. The sun is shining this morning and the temps feel pretty mild as I'm typing up this SNOW REPORT from the boat. NOW can you see why I'm having a touch of Spring Fever.

This is the most challenging time of each season. It can be a tough sale to tell you guys who live down in the flatlands that there is SNOW up here in the mountains. That is WHY some ski areas have already called it quits, and others are closing after tomorrow.

There's PLENTY of ski season left if you want to check out our snow report. While Wolf Ridge Resort and Sapphire are already closed for the season, others have one more weekend, some two more weeks left and who knows – perhaps a resort or two will show that damn groundhog who's boss.

For the record, I plan to ski another day or so during this season. So it's not over until we say it's over…or until the last resort standing says it's over. However I'll admit that I'm in the market for a couple of new jet skis.  From all indications, it will be cold through the end of the month so check out the conditions for today from around the region!

100% OPEN with all 12 slopes and all terrain parks and ice skating. Don't tell Brad Moretz that there's only nine more days left of their ski season. App plans to cease ski ops on the 24th of March.

App is hosting a St. Patty’s Day Jam Session on Sunday. Join them St Patrick’s Day for a fun filled day of park shredding and a shot at winning some great prizes from Grenade and their Alpine Ski Shop!

All ages and abilities are encouraged to sign up for this Jam Session, which will be held in the Appaljack Terrain Park on 4 select features. A short jam session (10-15 minutes) will take place on each feature. The Alpine Ski Shop crew will be on site to award prizes for best trick on each individual feature for both skiers and snowboarders.

Registration is FREE and will be held in the Alpine Ski Shop from 10-Noon. The event will begin around 1pm. The only prerequisite is that all participants must wear green!

See you in the park this St. Patricks Day for this special jam session!

BEECH MOUNTAIN RESORT: Open with 14 of 15 Trails and terrain park and ice skating and night sessions and very nice conditions and with no official word yet as to when they plan to call it a season.

We're kind of thinking that Beech could make the announcement as early as today or tomorrow that St. Paddy's Day Sunday will be their last day of the season. Then again things look SO DARN NICE that they may opt to play on for another week and weekend. We'll keep you informed.

My guys missed this awesome celebration of "Pi Day" on Wednesday, 3.14. Beech showed their sense of humor and snow celebration by creating this little snow creature. Way to go Talia or whoever thought of that.

CATALOOCHEE SKI AREA: Open for DAY SESSIONS ONLY now with 15 of 17 trails and a base of 63-81". Their tubing park is now closed for the season. I haven't done the snow report since last weekend (because Tonette and Kenny handle it during the week) but it was COOL to see that Cat actually updated their snow report this morning at 7:30am instead of 9pm the evening before. Way to go Tammy!

SUGAR MOUNTAIN RESORT: Sugar (as mentioned above) is looking awesome with all 20 of 20 trails open. Ice skating and snow tubing (with five lanes) are also open. Sugar is the only ski area actually showing more than a 2" drop in base depth in the last 24 hours. Have to give them kudos there as they showed a 5" drop in snow from Friday AM and that is probably more accurate. They are still boasting of 32-80" of snow and perfectly groomed conditions for the start of their weekend.

Sugar has their Easter Egg Hunt tomorrow on the slopes. Kids 12 and under are welcome to participate. The event is free with a valid lift/slope pass. 9 am start. Lots of prizes, even a 2013-14 Sugar Mountain Resort season pass.

There's NEVER any word on Sugar's last day of the season, but if tradition is any indicator, I think they'll ski and ride AT LEAST through March 24th, with a more likely last day for the season being Sunday March 31st. Of course we'll let you know if there's anything different.

BRYCE RESORT: Horst and Ryan and the guys have got it going on as they are 100% OPEN with all 8 trails for day sessions today. Things are looking a little spring like on the slopes there although there IS great side-to-side coverage.

Bryce is running an End Of Season Ski Special saying, "Bryce Resort will be open for skiing sn snowboarding during the week of March 18-22, 2013. We will be open from 10-3 daily with a special lift ticket offer of only $20 per day and $20 rentals available."

Not certain but that might mean that their last day is Friday? We'll update you when we can.

MASSANUTTEN RESORT: They are going out in style with 100% of their 14 trails open and TEN tubing lanes open til 9pm tonight and then tomorrow will be their last day of the season.

We HAVE to give one more plug to that AWESOME slopeside camera that was new this season. Check it at:

With 8 of 10 Trails open for day sessions, we have to mention really quick how nice it was to have Lynn Swann and Matt Fussell providing awesome daily snow reports for us up their every day this season. The LIVE CAM has been a favorite and The Homestead will call it quits for ski ops after Sunday, however the famous, historic, awesome, humongus four season resort will carry on with other year-round activities. We highly recommend you guys check out:

Also check out this sweet shot after all that snow hit a couple weeks ago!

WINTERGREEN RESORT: They are 100% open with 26 of 26 trails, EXPANDED terrain park and tubing. Wintergreen's new owners have not had a ton to work with this season but they made the most of it and really have had a great season all around. Hats off to them!

Wintergreen is playing on as if it's mid-season with this post from this morning, "Skiing, riding and tubing today with 3 expanded terrain parks, 30% discount on lift tickets, midweek tubing rates and 100% of our terrain open!  Don't let the March date fool you, we are 100% open with tons of snow!  With all of this snow, we plan to ski and ride into late March!"

Well there you go. That will certainly make THEIR season pass holders smile. See that Wolf?


What more do you need to know…to understand what conditions are like witin the "northern tier" of ski resorts for the Southeast and Mid Atlantic? Try this on for size:

6.9" of snow this week
40.2" of snow in the last 15 days!!! (March 1-15th)

11" of snow still on the ground

192.9" of snow on the season at Canaan Valley and Timberline Resorts.

Even with all of that Canaan Valley, which is a state park resort will call it quits on St Paddy's Day. Here are the deets…

CANAAN VALLEY RESORT: OPEN for day sessions with 42 of 43 trails and a base of 22-36". Conditions could not be much sweeter for Lisa, Lenora, David and their entire crew. It's been a great season for the Davis, WV ski resort. Be sure to check out their website for tons to do even after ski season is over up there.  Visit:

You REALLY need to head that way from time to time. That area is good for the soul.

SNOWSHOE MOUNTAIN: They are playing on through March 31st and looking in near, mid-season form despite the fact that with all of the snow that has fallen at the Pocahontas County resort since late December…they are still two feet short on their usual, normal, average of 180" of natural snow per season. Regardless Snowshoe HAS enjoyed a VERY SNOWY March with 5" of snow even in the last few days and they are playing on 57 of 60 trails and looking really sweet on the LIVE CAM. Check it at:

That's been my favorite ski cam this season. They're all great, but that one has a great vantage point and we'll be adding two more this summer!

TIMBERLINE RESORT: Tom Blanzy has the resort running with 40 of 40 trails. That is 100% open for those not-so-good in math. They are looking at near mid season form despite some rainy conditions today.

WINTERPLACE RESORT: They too are 100% open with awesome conditions on all 27 trails. Did you guys see Travis Robert's "This week at Winterplace" video this week? Check it out at and you'll be heading that way soon! Winterplace plans to ride til March 24th.

WISP RESORT: They are open with 27 of 32 trails open. Terrain parks, ice skating, snow tubing and their mountain coaster are all open as well.  Wisp has enjoyed a "better-than-average" 163" of snow on the season and 5" this past week. We have not heard word about a closing date, and Wisp has skied on through mid APRIL before. We're kind of thinking that March 31st is a more than likely date this season but we'll update you with any news as soon as we have it. Lori???

OBER GATLINBURG: They have had a great season despite challenging temps again this season. At times I'd swear that Ober was making "magic snow" but give them tons of kudos as they've kept really nice conditions for the entire season and this will be their last two days of THIS season as they will ride on 7 of 9 trails for today and Sunday before closing for ski season. Of course Ober plays on with ice skating year round and lots of outdoor fun including their Alpine Slide and more.



Sapphire Valley

Wolf Ridge Resort: They had previously stated that they would be OPEN this weekend, but in a not-so-surprising move, they changed their minds and closed…making their OFFICIAL last day of the season March 10th, which is not endearing them to their season pass holders.

One of those disgruntled pass holders emailed me this copy/paste from their website:

"Guys, here is a direct quote from, 'The NEW Wolf Ridge is not just a ski resort anymore and will now be open year round.' Here is their closing comments from yesterday, 'Closed For The Season – The resort has closed for the 2012/2013 ski season. We would like to thank all of you who visited us this year. We hope you have a great summer and look forward to seeing you again next season.'"

Tyler Brank wrote, "Last to open, first to close. What's new about that?"

Tyler Melton wrote, "Need a better effort next season."

Others weren't so nice…


That's going to do it for me today. Have a sweet one on or off the slopes. There's still little pockets of snow on the ground around the highest elevations of North Carolina and of course more snow on the ground up in West Virginia. Go play in it or on it while you can.

Email me if you have any beefs, photos, kudos or images and what not: [email protected]

Previous Post
Final Weekend for FOUR
Next Post
Related Posts