Thin Coverage and Bare Spots at NC Ski Resorts

First Trax

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Notes around the region:

Appalachian didn’t budge an inch on their base depth even though we’re seeing the sides creeping in as with all ski areas.  Let’s see, it rained on and off for the last few days AND we’ve had mild temps and they’re staying status quo. O-k-a-y.

While App probably has the best snow in the state right now (Cataloochee might equal) they have seen a base drop.

We were watching their grooming going on this morning and they are maintaining good coverage side to side…but they don’t have an average of 48” max across all nine trails.  Sorry.

Good job Cataloochee.  They showed a 2” drop and 100% of their mountain is open.  Some of the Cat Crew emailed us saying that the snow there was looking a little brown and thin in some areas.  Like all the rest of the NC resorts, they will be in great shape later in the week as snowmaking temps return Tuesday night.  Cataloochee will not be open for night skiing tonight.

Hawksnest Resort is telling it like it is this morning. They are calling their base as “wet granular” and they mentioned thin coverage areas in their report…and showed a drop in base as well.  Way to go guys!  Reward these guys with your business!  They are working their snow very good this year and they have plenty of good terrain to ski.  Conditions will be vastly improved with snowmaking temps Tuesday night through Thursday night.

We’re just not going to comment on Sapphire Valley anymore until they get with reporting.  Our advice – call ahead.  No reports since the 19th.  Probably doesn’t look too good down there.

Ski Beech is another resort wanting your business by telling it right.  They are reporting a drop in base and reporting some bare spots and thin coverage.  Today is Ladies Day at Ski Beech.  They have plenty of decent skiable terrain on 13 trails.

We’ve been bragging on Sugar of late, so we should be able to call a spade a spade and mention that while Sugar DID show a base drop since yesterday, they are STILL not showing any bare spots or thin coverage in their reports.  Some of our On-Snow reporters reported yesterday that some slopes have more grass than snow.  Sugar did close two trails since yesterday, but they still have some thin and bare spots that should be reported.

Ditto our comments about Sugar toward Wolf Laurel. There are thin coverage and bare spots at Wolf Laurel as well.

If you have a need to ski some nice conditions…just hold on a little longer and you will be rewarded for your patience.  Conditions should be nice by Thursday with snowmaking temps coming in Tuesday Night, Wednesday Night and Thursday Night.  That will make for some VERY NICE conditions by late this week. and has the answer to the problems with base reporting!  After long deliberation, we have come up with an idea that we think will work!

I have had the opportunity on several occasions to meet and speak with ski area operators, mountain managers, marketing staff and general managers and as much as I love meeting all of these guys and gals…it sticks in my craw to hear them, without exception, chuckle when statements are made about ski resorts lying about base reporting.  They ALL admit that they are doing it, but you can’t get one to budge off the status quo.  Why? Because their competition won’t.  Don’t these guys meet a couple times a year?  Can’t THEY come to some sort of agreement?  They’ve met for years and come up with nothing except to keep doing what they’re doing.

Here is our entry into this realm of snow reporting.  We think it is probably too logical to get consideration…but here it is:

I’d love to see the resorts of the Southeast set a precedent for all other ski areas and simply do away with the numbers game.  Report base reports like this:

“Groomed / Manmade” or “New Natural and Manmade Snow” and then add in a short descriptive statement like, “Great side to side coverage with ample snow”, or “Good conditions with some minor thin coverage areas” etc.

We’re thinking of doing it ourselves regardless whether they do it or not.  We think it would be cool to simply come up with a rating system that makes it easy to be honest AND yet make sure than visitors know that there is plenty of snow.

We’ll be working on it and we’ll announce it when we can get the kinks out.

Until then…see you on the slopes…around Thursday.

Until Next Time!

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