The Southeast and Mid Atlantic Ski Resorts are All Under the Weather Right Now…

First Trax

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What looked like a promising, prolonged blast of colder air a week ago now looks like perhaps only a couple of nights of snowmaking ops. What was being forecasted as snow on Friday is now perhaps a rain to flurries before ending kind of thing.  So the weather or the lack of cold temperatures has us a little on the bummed side of things today. It probably doesn’t help that there are more than a couple of us feeling a bit under the weather as well.

I’ve spoken with SEVERAL of the management teams at resorts in the region and they could reply almost in unison that they are ready and waiting for some cold temps to make snow. Making snow for one night or even a night or two when temps and rain may follow is not the ideal forecast that resorts need to really get things going.

For example, Snowshoe Mountain made snow last night and the guns were still running as of 7am this morning, but in her morning communication Laura Parquette summed things up perfectly by saying, "Snowmaking, snowmaking, snowmaking!!! With some marginal temperatures last night, we continued to be aggressive and did turn select guns on for a number of hours. As of 7am they were still humming away, doing their best to get a base going. The next two nights will continue to offer marginal temperatures and there’s just an outside chance that we’ll be able to make snow again. But on Friday some very good weather moves in, with overnight lows in the teens. That should allow us to make TONS of snow."

Then she adds, "But that good news is a little short lived, as we move right back into another mild spell. Our snowmaking team is one of the best in the business, but they can’t work their magic without some cooperation from Mother Nature. We need about 120 hours of GOOD snowmaking conditions in order to open what we think is an acceptable amount of terrain—and to ensure that we can open and STAY open."

Laura and I are obviously kindred spirits in the sense that she communicates in much the same way that we do around here. We want to let you know what’s going on and obviously we’re going to do it with a "glass-half-full" mentality, but the bottom line is that we’re waiting on God to provide some cold temps around here. I was reading recently where Kind David used to play his Timbral and danced with great abandon before God. I had to chuckle a bit as I could not help myself as my thoughts immediately turned to snow dancing. I know, I know – we’ve got the Joneses for some cold and snow!

However maybe He DOES like these snow dances. Perhaps we’ll get through the Turkey Day weekend and prompt you guys yet again for some "dance crazinesss". A few of you did some marvelous snow dance videos last season and what the heck we might give away a season pass or two for the best one. Stay tuned!

By the way remember that last year was also a delayed opening at most resorts and we ended up with a phenomenal winter that turned out being one of the best seasons in recent memory. Laura reminded us, "It’s a La Nina year, so the mild fall wasn’t unexpected. We just have to wait it out until we can flip the calendar to what is supposed to be a cold and snowy December!"

There you go my snow-loving-sister!

Here’s the immediate forecast for the region using Snowshoe for the northern tier and Banner Elk for the southern tier of ski areas. Bear in mind that you’ll have to tweak things a degree or two if you’re looking at locations "in between".

Banner Elk / Beech Mountain Forecast:

Thursday: Hi 58° Lo 46° – Cloudy, drizzly

Friday: Hi 47° Lo 22° – Rain to Flurries (snowmaking ops)

Saturday: Hi 43° Lo 24° – Sunny (snowmaking ops at night)

Sunday: Hi 50° Lo 29° – Sunny (borderline snowmaking at night)

Monday and Tuesday look too mild to make snow and there’s some showers in that forecast. Things look to be turning colder Wednesday night (December 1st) and then Thursday and Friday of next week are looking like lows in the mid to upper 20s.

Snowshoe Mountain Forecast:

Thursday: Hi 53° Lo 42° – Cloudy, drizzly

Friday: Hi 43° Lo 21° – Rain to Flurries (snowmaking ops)

Saturday: Hi 38° Lo 24° – Sunny (snowmaking ops at night)

Sunday: Hi 43° Lo 26° – Sunny (should do some snowmaking at night)

Monday and Tuesday look too mild to make snow and there’s some showers in that forecast. Things look to be turning colder Wednesday night (December 1st) and then Thursday and Friday of next week are looking like lows in the mid to upper 20s.


We’ve seen a huge upswing in how some of the ski areas are including and even embedding Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites into their own front pages, etc. There’s obviously some great benefits to the rise of social media as it provides a forum for communication.

The Canyons delayed their opening recently and it caused a HUGE Flap on Facebook!

Apparently The Canyons issued a press release announcing a delayed opening with the following statement, "…we’re pleased to announce the opening date of Dec. 10 as the first chance for the general public to get a glimpse of phase one of a multi-year, improvement plan."

Shortly after that press release things went crazy on Facebook. Hundreds of passholders weren’t pleased – particularly in light of all the snow the West is getting right now – and many took to Facebook to vent.

One person commented, “I’m pissed beyond belief. My first year to actually invest in a season pass and I feel I totally got screwed. DECEMBER 10TH??? What kind of garbage is that?” Another wrote, “If they knew that their construction activities were going to bleed into the opening day arena, they should have let people know 4-6 months in advance. Not 4 days ago. This is so &%$#@ that it is not even funny.”

The Canyons handled things pretty darn well and admitted that they weren’t shocked by the outcry. Todd Burnette who serves as Vice President of Marketing for the resort was quoted as saying, "You can’t throw a December date out there and not expect to hear about it."

Well they certainly DID hear about it through their Facebook page. The resort has offered ALL season pass holders that their money would be refunded if they were that bummed. Burnette quickly added that he hoped that guests would hold out for a final product unlike anything that they’d ever experienced at The Canyons.

Managing Director, Mike Gore issued an official apology on their Facebook page and informed vacationers who arrive before their opening day that they will find increased shuttle service to Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley. He also stuck with their promise that prior reservations could reschedule or cancel their trip with a FULL REFUND! Any season passholder could also ask for and receive a refund!

The question is – would The Canyons have made as much of an effort if Facebook didn’t exist? Burnette stated, "We’re thankful that [fans] can tell us how they feel. That’s the beauty of Facebook. People can be honest. It’s their prerogative."

Good answer obviously, but all we know is that the "power of the pen" is a mighty thing. When we first started our own little "social media" content via the messageboard, it was perceived as a bit of a "thorn in the side" of some ski area teams. Now, several years later it is not only accepted, it is appreciated as a means of promotion.

I have to be honest in saying that I’m not so certain if I were a ski area management guru if I would be allowing Facebook posts and entries that were seen ON my website. Right, wrong or indifferent – not everyone HAS a Facebook page and in fact Facebook has seen a decline in user interest in the last year. However everyone CAN access a ski resort’s website. No matter how hard a resort may try, they are going to occasionally offend a guest. When that guest can go and rant, whether deserved or not, and have their comments seen on the front page of my website — I’m thinking that’s probably not a smart way to go.

I have to also wonder if most ski areas would respond as admirably as The Canyons has done in this case.

Feel free to email us your thoughts…

Until tomorrow…THINK COLD! THINK SNOW!

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