The Season Winds Down with Some Good Spring Conditions to Ride

First Trax

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It’s all a numbers game. There’s anywhere from 7-16 days left in the 2008-2009 ski season – depending on which resort you’re interested in playing at. There’s only 9 of 17 ski areas in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic open today with several closing after ski and snowboarding sessions this past Sunday. There’s fewer numbers of slopes to ride on today than there were as several ski areas have dropped a few slopes and trails from their available terrain, etc.

Canaan Valley is CLOSED this week and will reopen this weekend for one last weekend of fun. Snowshoe Mountain is no longer offering the Silver Creek terrain and that makes for less trails open as they ski through their last week of the 2008-2009 ski season.

Other "numbers" that are affecting this last week or so of the ski season are the numbers that reflect the temperatures.

Spring is due to arrive in these parts on Friday, March 20th at around 11:43am – not one minute before or after. We’re not seeing ANY snowmaking kind of temps through the extended forecast. The upside to all of this is that maybe we can have a gorgeous Spring with the pear, apple and dogwood trees all in bloom without the usual 3-4" of snow and freeze that turns it all brown. That would be a nice tradeoff.

On the flip side, there’s a lot of good skiing left at the resorts that remain open and Spring Skiing will be at a premium. Joe Stevens informed me that he was at Winterplace most of the day on Sunday and that Winterplace was exhibiting no bare spots whatsoever. We’d had two previous reports that alluded to only a few…but according to Joe that isn’t the case. Appalachian is another ski area with no bare spots and zero in the way of thin cover. Cataloochee and Sugar are offering a nice product with plenty of good terrain and little in the way of thin cover and bare areas. Sugar definately is providing a bit more terrain with 17 trails open. Massanutten is still at 100% open and looking pretty good with little in the way of thin cover and bare areas.

So the good news is that there are some good conditions still out there waiting for you if you want to get that one last ski trip in before everything closes up.

Additional good news is that the ski areas have all had VERY NICE seasons in terms of skier visits with most all of them sharing that the 2008-2009 season will go in the books as a "top three to top five" kind of season and that is great news. We all need these guys to do well, because that is what affords them the ability to reinvest in the infrastructure and snowmaking, etc.

It will be interesting to watch the skier traffic this week after this rainy stretch exits the region. The sun is forecasted to appear again on Tuesday and we should have nice weather through Saturday. Temps will be very springlike with highs in the 50s and 60s – with a slight cool down on Friday.

Once the sun appears and we have some nice weather, we’ll all get a better look at whether or not there will be some pent up desire to hit the slopes one more time, by enough of you diehards to show up on the cameras.

We’ll see. There’s some good, carvable snow at all of the ski areas right now and we have one thing to say – GO SKI OR RIDE IT.

Here’s some notes:

Snowshoe Mountain – 43° – Base: 47" with some thin cover and bare spots – 35 trails open – Day skiing for the rest of the season and they plan to close ski and snowboarding ops

Timberline Resort – Base: 24-48" with some thin cover and a few bare spots – 27 trails open for day skiing only.

Canaan Valley – They will be CLOSED this week and plan to reopen for Saturday and Sunday and then close for the season.

Wintergreen Resort – 47° – Base: 30-60" (has not changed since December) – 16 trails open. Wintergreen will be day skiing this week and then they have big plans for their closing weekend. Anne Marie Jones writes, "SPRING SKIING AND RIDING & SUPER SAVER LIFT, TUBING AND RENTAL RATES EVERYDAY!!! Our final Slide and Splash Bash the weekend of March 21st, will be our final HOORAH for the winter season. Fun over the weekend will include: the last skiing, riding and tubing, Terrain Park features the length of Dobie, great music, contests, prizes and the very popular Pond Skim Contest! For those of you that get excited about the park and nothing but the park, we will spend all week this week designing and building great features. By Saturday, we will have transformed all of Upper and Lower Dobie into a massive park. Come up for the fun and check it out! All of the cold weather this winter has allowed us to pile up snow on our core trails in anticipation of skiing and riding all the way through to the Slide and Splash Bash on the 21st of March. If you like skiing and riding in March, Wintergreen will have snow for you!"

Massanutten Resort – 38° – Base: 36" – 100% open with good cover and 5 lanes of tubing open – Day skiing only this week.

Bryce Resort has now closed for the season and is promoting the opening of their Zip Line park on May 2nd. There are some rumors that Hawksnest may be going that route this summer. More on that later.

The Homestead Resort is now Closed for the Season (ski and snowboarding ops are closed)

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 50° – Base: 51-80" – 100% open, Day and Night Skiing open – both terrain parks and ice skating

Cataloochee Ski Area – 44° – Base: 27-52" – 50% open with 7 of 14 trails operating from 1pm-10pm today.

Cataloochee and Appalachian Ski Mountain have formed a bit of synergy. Tammy Brown writes, "Don’t forget that season passes are on sale now for the lowest price of this year and next – this pass pricing tier will continue through March 31 and passes will go up again on April 1. And new this year for our unlimited pass holders, Appalachian Ski Mountain, North Carolina’s First Area for Family Fun will give Cataloochee unlimited season pass holders for the 2009/2010 season, $10 off of the purchase of a daily lift ticket when they ski or ride at Appalachian – making having a Cataloochee season pass an even better deal – call the ski area for more information."

Sugar Mountain – 42° – Base: 18-65" with some thin areas and minimal bare spots – They are down to 17 trails open for the first time in quite a while, opting to close "Little Nell", "Sugar Bear" and the Ski School Play Yard. Sugar has their annual Easter egg hunt planned for this weekend.

Ski Beech is now CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. They write, "It is sad to say, but our 2008-2009 ski season is over. Thanks for visiting us this year! We are already looking forward to a great 2009-2010 ski season, and we hope to see you then!" Beech ended their season with a subpar 67.8" of natural snow but they have to feel pretty good about the year they had. They certainly made some huge strides in snow management this season and according to their management will be making even more noticeable moves prior to the 2009-2010 season.

There’s some good snow and resorts still open northward. To see the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski resort news, visit  

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