The Winter Of Our Discontent Continues…

FeaturedFirst Trax

Stay up to date by getting notified of new posts!

I have already claimed that as a subtitle earlier in February. I will admit to stealing the title of John Steinbeck’s 1961 novel of the same name. It is fitting. The phrase is defined as describing a “temporary and passing” condition of sadness. I’m usually a very positive, glass-half-full kind of guy, but I’m not seeing a “temporary or passing” pattern with this weather.

“But Mike, Mid-March is Looking Better!”

That sub-title is actually pulled from a few emails that hit my SkiMail inbox over the last couple of days. Brian Dix was emailing and texting me on Friday about holding out some hope for a pattern change that could bring some snowmaking temperatures and snow – to be able to get in a few more turns down ANY mountain, ANYWHERE in the region. I kind of answered him back hinting that we could probably stick a fork in this season.

Of course that was in the midst of a “tropical-like” storm that blew through the area later on Friday. We saw 1.41″ of HARD rain within just an hour or so – after seeing light to moderate rain for much of the last two days. That kind of rain can do a lot of damage to base depths. As bad as that 1.41″ was that was recorded at the base of Sugar Mountain Resort on Friday afternoon, Appalachian Ski Mountain recorded 2.84″ of rainfall and I can believe it because I was driving in that massive storm that dumped buckets of rain, driven by high winds.

Photo Credit: Snowbird. Click to Enlarge.

All of this while Mammoth Mountain, California has seen 675″ of snow this season! Utah resorts have seen 600″ of snow. Snowbird, Utah has seen 545″. (See photo to the right, taken on Thursday!)

All of this – while our Southeastern and mid-Atlantic resorts are seeing, nearly, unprecedented low snow totals.

…again, Our Winter of Discontent.

IS There Hope for a Cold March?

Brian Dix posted a story on Friday advising us, “Don’t Put The Gear Away Just Yet”.

Eight of our Sixteen Ski Areas ARE CLOSED FOR THE SEASON, so as far as those resorts are concerned, no gear is needed. However, the other eight are hinting at SOME positivity.

It is sunny in Blowing Rock this morning, cloudy atop Beech Mountain, SNOWING at Wisp Resort, Canaan Valley Resort, Timberline and Snowshoe. All are only seeing light flurries, but it is SNOW! The top of Snowshoe is in the clouds a bit this morning as well.

Several ski areas are looking ahead at the forecast and hoping that it HOLDS true. Brad Panovich and other weather gurus warn us not to put any stock in forecasts more that three days ahead, but as rough as this winter has been, we’ll look for hope where we can find it!

Meteorologist Brad Panovich will get us another Skier’s Forecast in the days ahead and his will certainly give us the definitive forecast we’re wanting. However, if can be trusted at ALL, there does seem to be some colder air coming in around March 10-11 and snow showers are called for as well. I received a couple of emails from some weather-practitioners on Friday claiming a chance for significant snow at Snowshoe for next weekend.

We can hope…

Last Comment on the Winter of Discontent

I received a few emails after my posts of last weekend and particular many related to my comments about Wolf Ridge. I’ll leave those alone for now. However, one emailer wrote:

“Mike, I have to agree with you that this winter has been the pits, but it has still been a successful one for the resort people you cover, right? Why so negative?” – David Tuchery

David – I’ll work on that. Part of my own, personal winter of discontent has probably filtered over into my writing. About the time the 2022-2023 ski & snowboarding season hit – I “came down” with long covid. I fought that for a couple of weeks and thought THAT was the weakest I’d felt in decades. Oh no, after feeling great for two days, I got sick again. This time I felt much worse. The only place I felt human was in bed, asleep. My brain would not work. I paid my second visit to urgent care within a month only to find out I had gotten Type-A Flu. In my covid-weakened state, that flu bug trashed me for another couple of weeks. When I started feeling better, I still realized that my breathing was horrible. Climbing the short walk from our Christmas lodging at Timberline Mountain was a chore.

Skiing that week was awesome so it did kind of make up for it and I thought I was ready to rock and roll for the rest of the season.

Nope, after just 4-6 weeks of feeling better-ish (still had breathing issues)…I got sick again in mid-February and paid yet another visit to urgent care to hear that I had a bad bronchial VIRUS…and that I had probably never quite gotten well from all the other crap.

…hence MY, PERSONAL, winter of discontent. It has been YEARS since I was really sick and those are short-lived and rare for me. This winter has prompted multiple urgent care visits and more down time that I’ve ever experienced.

…and WHAT could have made me feel better? Lots and Lots of SNOW. Glorious SNOW, and we’ve only had 4″ of it here at my home in Sleepy Hollow! Beech and Sugar have only seen 29″ and 25″ respectively. (They average 80″ per season.) Usually snowy (dependable snowy) Snowshoe, Canaan and Timberline have only seen 39″ to 42″ of snowfall this season, which is 84″ off the pace at this (March 4th) date on the calendar.

I’ll try to do better…

Here is a Quick Glance at the Eight Superstar Ski Areas that are open and playing on snow today:

Appalachian Ski Mountain –
34° and sunny. No snowmaking. Great, side-to-side coverage on 9 slopes and trails. Open for day and night sessions.

Click to Enlarge View of Appalachian Ski Mountain this morning

The view above of Appalachian Ski Mountain this morning show plenty of lily-white snow! Note the bare are atop “Big Appal” which is closed.

Beech Mountain Resort
32° and a bit in the clouds early. Those clouds should clear off. Open for Day sessions only. Tubing closed. They have 7 slopes open and look pretty good actually. The area at the base of the mountain is narrow but better than expected.

Click to Enlarge Beech Mountain capture from 10am.

The summit of Beech is still in the clouds, but the base doesn’t look bad really. I’m shocked after all of that rain.

Bryce Resort
41° They only have 2 slopes open for today, but I love their positivity and hope. They posted:

We are still planning on having Winterfest on March 11 and we will do everything possible to make it happen. We will be issuing refunds through this weekend for those who have already booked. LESSONS are still available but will be restricted to the beginner areas. While we still have snow on the ground we need to do our best to manage what we have. Give us the rest of the week and we’ll be back to snowmaking so we can close out the season on a good note!

Canaan Valley Resort
35° They are hosting their “Hometown Brewfest” from 11am-8pm today. The ski area had not posted their report this morning so I called up there and was told that they are on a wind delay this morning and don’t yet know how many trails we be open.

Canaan Valley Resort was getting snow this morning. Click to Enlarge!

Seems that David Lesher of Canaan Weather follows SkiSoutheast as he’s using our “Winter of Discontent” comments today. He posted:

In reviewing snowfall data for the Canaan Valley weather station where records commenced in 1944, this was the least February snowfall total from 1944 until now with the exception of Feb 1959 when 3.0 inches was recorded!

Mar 1 update: The winter of our snowless discontent continues. Since the beginning of December the shortfall has now reached an unthinkable 84 inches.

Can you guys imagine a February where only 3″ of snow fell back in 1959. Crazy!

Massanutten Resort
They are temporarily closed this weekend, but they still want to ski some more. They posted:

“We will not be reopening as anticipated this weekend. Snow Moon will go on with non-ski related activities. There are forecasts showing some snowmaking opportunities later next week and we will evaluate reopening for the following weekend. We want to ski some more!”

Snowshoe Mountain
25º and making snow this morning! Snowshoe is open for day sessions only but with a region-leading 28 slopes and trails. Some of my favorites like “Sawmill” and “Skip Jack” are open.

They posted:

Temperatures dropped overnight and our team didn’t waste a second cranking up the snowmaking system to start beefing things back up in the Basin. We will be making snow on open terrain today so be sure to grab your goggles. We are under a High Wind Warning this morning which could impact our high-speed lift operations. Conditions are variable with some thin spots and bare patches to be expected.

Timberline Mountain
35° and lightly snowing this morning. Due to this week’s warm temps, rain, and winds, they have seen a significant loss of coverage of snow on the mountain. Mountain Operations has worked overnight and this morning to restore as much terrain as possible. All of their open terrain has been groomed, and you’ll find a hard packed surface that may soften up throughout the day as temperatures rise. The mountain saw a dusting of natural snow this morning. Due to high winds at the top of the mountain, there will be a delayed opening of the 6-person high-speed lift. The mid-mountain quad lift will open on time at 9am.

Sugar Mountain Resort
32° and no snowmaking that we could tell. They only have 4 slopes open for today and tonight. They are not open to the top of the mountain. Just Big Birch, Lower Flying Mile, Easy Street and Tiny Tim. While the slopes are narrowing, Sugar lower mountain and down to the base looks decent. We have seen it where there was only a narrow strip of snow at the base. This looks “playable”.

Sugar Mountain Resort’s base not looking bad. Click to Enlarge!

Wisp Resort
33° Wisp has really upped their game over the last couple of seasons. They are back open with 7 slopes and trails, snow tubing and mountain coastering as well.

Squirrel Cage at Wisp Resort looks pretty playable as well! Click to Enlarge!

Feel free to email me: [email protected] Also follow us on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook.


Previous Post
Don’t Put The Gear Away Yet
Next Post
“Big News?” Wolf Ridge Resort “Transfers Ownership” to Johnson City, Tn Couple
Related Posts