This Weekend Should offer Wonderful Conditions and the Season Still offers Another 4-6 weekends of Skiing!

First Trax

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The season is FAR from over people! Over the last few days I have been doing some catching up and had not gotten to all of the many emails that pour in. We make an effort to answer every email that comes in and that is sometimes a daunting task. The most often asked question in the last few days is something like this, “With the weather warming, how long will XYZ Resort be open?” The most asked question was “How long will Ski Beech stay open?” We’ll try to answer these questions this morning.

(The Photo here shows snowmaking going on this morning at Hawksnest.  Beech, Sugar and Appalachian were all making snow as of 8am and many others including Snowshoe made snow overnight.)

First, the weather isn’t exactly “warming”. Yes, Wednesday was milder than normal and the little bit of rain that fell in some parts of the region certainly dropped bases across the region by an inch or two. However, with base depth averages ranging from two FEET to over SEVEN FEET there’s plenty of snow to last all throughout March and into April.

We’ve said it so many times before in our twelve years of reporting, but it bears repeating for our new readers; ski resorts most often close NOT from a lack of snow but a lack of skiers and snowboarders. I was speaking with John Costin of Ski Beech a few weeks back and when I addressed the fact that one of our most often asked questions was inquiring as to why Ski Beech was one of the few ski areas in the state, Southeast and Mid Atlantic that didn’t give any warning as to when they were closing – he responded with, “When the number of skiers in a day drops below the temperature, we’re going to close.”

So how much longer will the 2006-2007 ski season last? Personally I can’t believe we’re already into THAT part of the ski season wherein people start asking me those kinds of questions.

The BIG NEWS of this weekend SHOULD be the fact that several of the ski areas within our region have seen anywhere from 15” to 31” of snow in the last week alone! Timberline Resort up in West Virginia got another 8” of snow in the last 24 hours and Canaan Valley saw 6”! Snowshoe and Winterplace saw anywhere from a dusting to 1” of new snow…and here I am answering questions about shutting down for the winter???!!!

Temperatures overnight last night and this morning are COLDER than normal for this time of year. The low temp is at Snowshoe Mountain with 11°, however Canaan, Timberline, Wisp, Wintergreen, Beech and Sugar Mountains are ALL reporting lows in the TEENS as of 8am this morning! …and I’m answering questions about closing!?!

The forecast for today is for snow showers in the northern ski areas into West Virginia and Maryland…and sunny skies into the Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina mountains. The highs forecasted for the High Country of Western North Carolina is for temps to top out at 37° and the low tonight should be in the teens. The NORMAL high for this date is 48° and the normal low is 27°.

With that in mind, the forecast for the next few days will be within a degree or so of normal. THAT means that ski areas will be able to make snow (if they desire to) tonight, Sunday night and Tuesday night. I added the parenthetic “if they desire to” because some ski areas have told us that they won’t be making anymore snow because they have plenty to make it through their announced closings.

We are still at least 4-6 weeks away from announced closings for most all of the resorts, so we’ll save those for another day.


Webster says the definition of the word per•cep•tion is:

1 a : a result of perceiving : OBSERVATION b : a mental image : CONCEPT

The “mental image” that many people have of how this season has gone is “not so good”. That is inaccurate. Prior to six weeks ago, that would have been on target. The Christmas to New Year period was somewhat sub par to any kind of record seasons…but overall decent. Now all of the Holiday weekends are gone and we are at the point in time where there are only some 4-6 weekends of skiing and riding left in the 2006-2007 season. By all accounts, and contrary to the perception that some newspapers and even some ski area managers have allowed to be reported, the season has been a very good one in terms of skier visits.

Yes, you read that correctly – it has been a very good season. None of the ski resorts will set single season records, however if things finish out the way that normal seasons do, the 2006-2007 season will be one of the top 5-10 seasons on record. There was a lot of obvious pent up frustrations from the slow start and by ALL accounts the last six weekends have been record setting attendance numbers. The three weekends prior to President’s Day weekend were all normally good skier visit weekends, but the kind of crowds that have been coming were well above normal. President’s Day weekend was HUGE!

Perceptions are hard to compete against sometimes. I was listening to a Charlotte television meteorologist last night and he was speaking about the little bit of mild up that we are seeing and actually made the following statement, “The warmer weather that we’re seeing will mean that our ski resorts will be fighting to keep snow on the slopes.”

I love the reporter so I won’t mention his name here or he’d get hundreds of hate emails! Contrary to his statement, unless there is a meltdown of EPIC proportions, some of the ski areas of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic will close with plenty of snow to spare. March usually offers some of the BEST ski conditions of the season and with little or no lift lines. So don’t start throwing in the towel just yet. We’ve still got some winter and turns to make.


There’s a BUNCH of fun happening this weekend and some great conditions to boot.

Hawksnest will host the "High Country King of the Hill" this Sunday! It is a skier and boardercross event and Registration is from 9:00-11:00am. The entry fee is $20 and discounted lift tickets are $30. The race begins at noon on Sock Em Dog. There are 4 divisions: men’s boardercross, women’s boardercross, men’s skiercross, and women’s skiercross. The winner of each division will receive a cash prize. The after party begins at 4:30pm in the Nest Lounge. Bands from Boone and Hilton Head will provide music.

Wolf Ridge Resort over in Mars Hill is hosting an event of their own. The 2nd Slope-Style Competition of the Season! It will be held at Park Place Terrain Park just off Upper Boardwalk on the Breakaway side of Wolf Ridge. This event will be held on Saturday, February 24th, 2007. The competition begins at 12 Noon and will include skiers and snowboarders. There will be two levels of competition – Advanced and Intermediate. Each competitor will be given 2 runs judged by a panel of 3 judges. The score will be based on style, amplitude and technicality. The top 5 competitors for each level will move on to a final 3rd run. The resort is offering cash prizes for the Advanced Competition and the Intermediate winners will receive gift card or equipment prizes.

Registration for the competition will be from 9 AM to 11 AM at the Upper Wolf Ridge Lodge. There will be a $15 registration fee and a 25% discount on lift tickets for competitors. Prizes will be given to top 3 competitors in each level of competition.

The event is co-sponsored by Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, Scenic Wolf Resort, Breakaway Village, Zero Gravity Skate Park of Brevard, Flipside Skateboards, Red Bull and Ski Country Sports.

Wintergreen Resort has another big weekend planned! Olympian Jonny Moseley will be with us all weekend; skiing on the latest Head equipment at our demo Saturday and Sunday, emceeing the blueridge doublecross on Saturday, pulling tricks in our park, and signing posters and meeting guests. This weekend is packed full with fun activities.

Today, they will be skiing and riding on 25 trails with a machine groomed surface and there will be 4 lifts running.

They plan to make snow tonight and lay down a fresh layer of great snow for the weekend. Come up and experience the great product fully computerized snowmaking puts out.

Timberline Resort (which got 8” of new snow in the last 24 hours) is planning a Mardi Gras Weekend for Saturday and Sunday. Two bands will be presenting music from 4pm until 2 am Friday and Saturday. There is No cover. They are offering a Full menu at Fireside Grill and Timbers Pub in addition to the New Orleans Creole style Creole/Cajun specials at the Fireside Grill.

Cataloochee Ski Area is hosting some fun of their own on Sunday. They will host the very first HotMonoski Demo Day – Thierry Tailhardat and company with HotMonoski are committed to bringing the new sliding sensation, monoskiing to the southeast and he will be here on Sunday, February 25 from 10am-4:30pm with a variety of Duret monoski products to demo.

Cataloochee also wants us to remind you that NEXT Sunday is the biggest and best season pass sale of this year and next beginning on Sunday, March 4. Pass prices will be the lowest of the year from March 4 through March 31 and if you are a new pass holder, you can ski for the rest of this year and next on this pass! Pass pricing will go up on April 1. Also our one day blowout $99 Midweek Season Pass sale will be on one day only, Sunday March 4 from 8:30am – 4:30pm. This special pass price is limited to the first 500 sold. You can purchase here at the area or call in between the hours of 8:30am-4:30pm on that Sunday only. And when they’re gone, they’re GONE!
Canaan Valley has seen 6” of new snow in the last 24 hours, 31” in the last 7 days and conditions are simple to report – P-O-W-D-E-R! on 36 trails!

Sugar Mountain is the cold spot this morning at they bottomed out at 16° this morning at the summit of their 1200’ vertical. They are open with 20 trails and 3 lanes of tubing today. We want to make you aware that “Boss Hawg” will be taking place Saturday from 4-6pm and Sugar Bear is having a birthday celebration on Sunday. There will be racing, clowns, cake and ice cream and even Nastar at 1pm! Sugar says they will continue to make snow as long as temps allow. So that means great conditions for Saturday as well!

Ski Beech’s Website is down…

They are 100% open and they made snow last night and will be as long as temps allow. A few people have written to us about their website being down for the last couple of days. They appear to be doing something with their website and have not updated it for a couple of days now…so we’ll keep you informed. They are showing 18° and conditions look pretty sweet for today. The snowmaking came at a good time because they were already showing some “wear” at the beginning portion of “The Play Yard”. They are looking very nice today with all 15 trails on an average base of 25-45” and Groomed and Frozen Granular conditions.

Until Next Time…


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