The Southeast is Covered in TONS of SNOW!

First Trax

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How much and where (among lots of other things) are covered today!

There’s a LOT to read today, so grab your coffee, hot chocolate or in my case a nice glass of tea and chill out for a few minutes! If you’re here looking for the normal resort tour, click over to the SNOW REPORT for the details on trails opened across the region as we’re not going resort by resort in today’s FirsTrax news.

The truth is conditions could not be much better no matter which ski area you head to in the region. The winds have been a bit tough to deal with from time to time and there’s no question that some of the nearly two feet of snow that has fallen in some areas have been blown around to the point that there’s "only" a hard pack of snow base of 5-6" in some locations and four foot snow drifts in others.

As an example, I was driving past the entrance of Sugar Mountain around 4pm Tuesday and it was puking snow and visibility was low. There was 4" or so of snow on the ground despite 8" of snow that had fallen in the last 72 hours. Then just a couple of miles into Banner Elk there was a little less on the ground due to the wind. Up at the foot of Beech where I’ve written many times that snow goes to die, there was 6-8" of base most everywhere and nearly two foot drifts were common. Up on the ridge I saw drifts of snow that were too deep for me to weather in the clothes I was wearing. I’d conservatively estimate 3-4 foot drifts of deep snow along that 200 yard ridgetop.


It’s funny how many times I got that email on Tuesday! John T of Boone emailed, "I’m looking on your webcams and I’m not seeing nearly the kind of snow that we’re getting over here between Boone and Blowing Rock."

Janie B. of Accident, Maryland (I LOVE that town which is located right outside of McHenry – home to Wisp Resort) wrote, "You guys would not believe how hard it is snowing at my home here in Accident, Maryland! We have nearly 6" of snow already today and it’s still snowing!"

No matter HOW MUCH snow was falling at one place, it was snowing HARDER elsewhere. It’s always that way, isn’t it?

Heck I would believe ANYTHING with these snows that we’ve been having lately. One little, not-so-odd thing is that on Tuesday it was bombing snow for portions of the day south and north of our offices here on Highway 105 between Boone and Banner Elk, and yet we only saw perhaps an inch of snow in the last 24 hours! Beech, Sugar and Boone picked up nearly 4". The way the wind has been blowing I don’t know how anyone can get an accurate report on what’s been coming down. All I know is that we’ve seen snow every day of this new year and there are piles of snow everywhere.


Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich just shared his latest Skier’s Forecast video and if you’re tired of all this snow you have TWO major problems. First – you’re on the wrong website because we LOVE snow around here! Second – a LOT more snow is forecasted to fall beginning mid day on Thursday and continuing through the weekend! 

Brad’s forecast as much as 10-16" MORE SNOW Thursday through Sunday for the higher, snow-prone areas of North Carolina up and into Snowshoe, Canaan and Wisp Resorts!

He’s forecasting two distinct systems that will pop some more snow and the second wave of it may leave more significant snowfall amounts. From 2-4" will be common at lower elevations but perhaps nearly a foot or more will fall as this "champagne powder" snows continue!

Can you believe that 60-65% of the United States is covered in snow this morning! Some weather services are already reporting, "The Worst winter since 1985 may be underway."

WHATTTTTT!!!! Don’t they mean BEST Winter!?!?! It’s all about perspective I guess! I love Brad’s Skier’s Forecast video this morning because he reports, "The Best Skiing in the Southeast EVER!"


We reported on Tuesday that so much snow has fallen lately that we’re confused as to how much of it has fallen in the last week, two weeks, or three weeks. We monitor 24, 48 and 72 hours snowfall totals and the seasonal totals as well. However, we’d have to spend some time within our archived articles to break down all of it and tell you accurate information for the last 14 days, etc. There’s been a lot of snow!

Here’s what we CAN report accurately:

Here’s some 72 hours snow totals:

Appalachian – 9"
Beech Mountain Resort – 9"
Wolf Ridge – 7"
Sugar Mountain – 8"
Canaan Valley – 17"
Timberline Resort – 17"
Snowshoe Mountain – 18"
Winterplace Resort – 16"
Wisp Resort – 19"

Snowshoe Mountain has reported 24" of snow since January 1st!

…and 10-16" MORE may be on the way!!!


87.9" – Canaan Valley Resort
87.9" – Timberline Resort
84" – Snowshoe Mountain Resort
71.2" – Wisp Resort
56" – Winterplace Resort
40.4" – Beech Mountain Resort
38.2" – Sugar Mountain Resort
38" – Wintergreen Resort
32.7" – Wolf Ridge Resort
32.5" – Appalachian Ski Mountain
26" – Cataloochee Ski Area
25" – Bryce Resort
24.3" – Massanutten Resort
23" – The Homestead
18" – Ober Gatlinburg
9" – Sapphire Valley

All this snow reminded me of a funny snow story that I thought would be timely to share with you guys since we have so many new viewers this season. The author is unknown as it was written a few years ago and I’ve cleaned up some of the language. The writer had shared the fact that he’d previously lived off the mountain and yet LOVED snow and now that he’d relocated to a snow-prone area he and his wife were REALLY looking forward to a winter like they’d always dreamed of.
(This kind of reminds me of a couple of our newer staff members who had not experienced winters like we have around here!)

Anyway, here’s his diary…

December 8: 6:00 PM. It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!

December 9: We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more lovely place in the Whole World? Moving here was the best idea I’ve ever had. Shoveled snow for the first time in my life and felt like a boy again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life!

December 12: The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My neighbor tells me not to worry, we’ll definitely have a white Christmas. No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we’ll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I’ll never want to see snow again. l don’t think that’s possible. Bob is such a nice man I’m glad he’s our neighbor.

December 14: Snow lovely snow! 8" last night. The temperature dropped to 0°. The cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. l didn’t realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I’ll certainly get back in shape this way. I wish l wouldn’t huff and puff so.

December 15: 20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4×4 Blazer. Bought snow tires for the wife’s car and 2 extra shovels. Stocked the freezer. The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think that’s silly. We aren’t in Alaska, after all.

December 16: Ice storm this morning. Fell on my ass on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, which I think was very cruel.

December 17: Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere. Electricity was off for 5 hours. I had to pile the blankets on to stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate her. Guess I should’ve bought a wood stove, but won’t admit it to her. God I hate it when she’s right. I can’t believe I’m freezing to death in my own living room!

December 20: Electricity’s back on, but had another 14" of damn snow last night. More shoveling. Took all day. The damn snowplow came by twice. Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they’re too busy playing hockey. I think they’re lying. Called the only hardware store around to see about buying a snow blower and they’re out. Might have another shipment in March. I think they’re lying. Bob says I have to shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he’s lying.

December 22: Bob was right about a white Christmas because 13 more inches of the white CRAP fell today, and it’s so cold it probably won’t melt till August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel and then I had to go to the bathroom. By the time I got undressed, did my thing and dressed again I was too tired to shovel. Tried to hire Bob who has a plow on his truck for the rest of the winter; but he says he’s too busy. I think the jerk is lying.

December 23: Only 2" of snow today. And it warmed up to 5°. The wife wanted me to decorate the front of the house this morning. What is she nuts!!! Why didn’t she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did but I think she’s lying.

December 24: 6". Snow packed so hard by snowplow, l broke the shovel. Thought I was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son of a jerk who drives that snowplow, I’ll drag him through the snow by his frozen nose. I know he hides around the corner and waits for me to finish shoveling and then he comes down the street at a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over where I’ve just been! Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open our presents, but I was busy watching for that damned snowplow.

December 25: Merry Christmas. 20 more inches of the !=3D@x@!x!x1 slop tonight. Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God I hate the snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude. I think she’s an idiot. If I have to watch "It’s a Wonderful Life" one more time, I’m going to kill her.

December 26: Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER idea. She’s really getting on my nerves.

December 27: Temperature dropped to 0 again and the pipes froze.

December 28: Warmed up to above 10°. Still snowed in. THE WITCH is driving me crazy!!!!!

December 29: 10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave in. That’s the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I am?

December 30: Roof caved in. The snow plow driver is suing me for a million dollars. The wife went home to her mother. 9" predicted.

December 31: Set fire to what’s left of the house. No more shoveling.

January 8: I feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving me. Why am I tied to the bed?


Here are a couple of notables:

Appalachian Ski Mountain – Drew Stanley posted, "In continuing our tradition of not making snow on open slopes during skiing hours, Appalachian plans to make a substantial amount of snow on Hard Core, Thin Slice, Appaljack, and AppalTop, and these 4 slopes will be closed day and night on Thursday, January 7. The Appal Jam Terrain Park will remain open for the day and night session."

Beech has open Upper and Lower White Lightning today! Now the only trails not open are Oz and the dedicated Terrain Park. We should see Oz reopened any day.

Wolf Ridge’s Rick Bussey reports, "Its Wednesday morning and still snowing on the mountain. We will have 14 runs open today plus the terrain park. We are working on opening Breakaway today (the ski through tunnel slope) and by the end the week should have almost the entire mountain open. With the tremendous amount of both natural and machine made snow, we have one of the best snow bases we have had in years. The skiing is great so come out and enjoy another fun day at the Wolf. See you on the slopes!!!"

Bryce Resort is now 100% open after holding at 7 trails for a while they now have all 8 trails open.

Great conditions with awesome snowmaking ops in the Virginia ski areas despite only a TRACE of snow in the last week.

Canaan Valley saw ANOTHER 9.4" of snow officially recorded by Davis’ David Lesher. That is 15" in the last 48 hours and 17" in the last 72! That part of WV has seen nearly three feet of snow in the last two weeks and change! How about 28.5" in the last SIX DAYS! David is reporting the snow depth on the ground right now at 24"!

Ditto the snow for Davis’ second ski area – Timberline Resort!

Snowshoe is reporting 5" more snow and 18" in the last 72 hours and TWO FEET since January 1st.

Wisp Resort – 19" of snow in the last 72 hours! If you’re a local around McHenry, Maryland – today is YOUR lucky day to ride the Wisp POWDER for a $21 lift ticket!

Ober Gatlinburg picked up 2" of snow in the last 24 hours and they added another open trail and only have Grizzly to get open to at 100%!

Deer Photo part two, three, four or WHATEVER…

Good gravy! I posted a photo the other day of a bunch of deer blowing a snowmobile trail and you’d have thought I committed Sacrilege!

Another few emailers felt the need to vent! That’s fine. One, more aggressive viewer wrote, "You have probably already been told this dozens of times but that picture you posted has been circulating the Internet for several years and has been listed as occurring in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan as well. Before posting pictures you may want to check the source, just good journalism."

Thanks for that bit of advice, Chris, but who the heck said that we practice good journalism around here? I don’t know, maybe we do. We try anyway!

Funny thing is that we noticed that since we posted the pics, we’re now ranked second on Google for "Snowmobile trails In Maine closed due to TRAFFIC JAM" for whatever that’s worth! We see that several messageboards have now shared OUR capture of the image on their sites.

Chris is right though, it looks like the image began circulating the net back in January of 2008! Oh well! It was still worth sharing. A bunch of deer hunters and Bambi protectors have commented about the photos.

That’s it for today! I have to go and work at my real job and prepare for all that snow coming in!

You can check the snow reports for all of the ski resorts of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and North Carolina via  as well as videos, photos and more.

Send your comments, videos, photos, trip reports and questions to: [email protected]  

SSAA: 0 for 39/saph closed///self 38/39
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