Today is the Shortest Day of the Year

First Trax

Contrary to what it looks and feels like outside, today is the first day of winter. I say that with less enthusiasm than I had imagined. I sighed when I walked out of my house this morning in Foscoe to find wet, foggy conditions. The other night when I left the gym and headed to the grocery store, I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt at 8:30 at night and I wasn’t even the least bit cold. It’s almost Christmas. That just isn’t right!

Regardless of how it actually feels outside, the winter solstice did occur at 12:30am this morning. The sun will shine directly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere today. Today will also be our shortest day of the year and our longest night. From here until the spring equinox in March, our days will slowly be getting longer and longer by minutes each day.

Hopefully, those days will also be getting colder and colder soon! We definitely need it. The ski areas here in North Carolina are really starting to look rough. In some spots on the cams, it looks like there is only a 6-8 foot wide area of snow to ski or ride on. Yikes. Quite frankly, I will be surprised if a few of them are able to make it to Saturday. We are expecting some underdeveloped snow here in NC today, so I’m cringing at the thought of what I will see tomorrow morning. I really hate typing that, but I’m just telling it like it is.

<<< The Sugar Extreme cam this morning is showing some uhhhh, less than ideal conditions I guess you could say.

While things aren’t spectacularly better up into Virginia and West Virginia, they most certainly are an improvement over conditions here. Temperatures at the Virginia ski areas (Bryce, Massanutten, Wintergreen) are slightly colder than the NC resorts this morning and based on what I see on the cams, the coverage is maybe a little better too.  Well, maybe not the coverage so much but I don’t see any brown snow at either of the three like I do here in NC. 

The West Virginia resorts are looking pretty decent this morning as well. Canaan Valley actually begins their season today. They will be riding on 5 trails serviced by 2 lifts. The cam up there this morning is showing good coverage on the trails that are open.

Our brand new Timberline cam has been up and running since yesterday afternoon! When I was setting everything up yesterday and saw the live image for the first time, I was really surprised at how much snow they have up there. It’s pretty impressive to say the least, especially considering the weather. We still have some things to tweak with the camera. It needs to be angled up so we can zoom in and get better views. That should be done today. I also need to talk to them about their internet connection. Right now I’ve had to turn down the resolution a good bit as the connection is kind of slow, so hopefully we can get that fixed and get HD resolution soon. Regardless, this is an awesome view! I’ve never been to Timberline before and this is really my first view of the place (minus pics and what not), but it looks pretty awesome.

The new Timberline cam is awesome!  As you can see, there is a lot of snow up there right now. >>>

Winterplace has still got Saturday pegged as their opening date. Based on what I see on the cam, I am guessing that is still going to happen. They too have a good amount of snow right now. We haven’t taken that cam live just yet, but it should be up on Friday afternoon. They wanted us to wait until we got closer to their opening until we took it public.

<<< The cam at Winterplace is showing piles of snow in some spots!  Look for this cam to go live on Friday.

Then, we have the Shoe. Somehow, once again they have managed to add another trail to their list of open terrain. They are now at 28 trails and 11 lifts. That’s almost half of the mountain. Here is what they are saying this morning…

"We have 78 acres of terrain available, making Snowshoe home to the most terrain south of Vermont! The Mountaineer Park crew opened the new Progression Session Park yesterday, perfect for those wanting to get started with freestyle riding. Spruce Glades is open as an intermediate trail and Robertson’s Run, at Silver Creek, is open as a beginner trail. There are lots of holiday activities going on around the mountain including a magic show in the Big Top at 7pm. Looking for some adventure? Check out our snowmobile and snowcat tours or take a trip out to our Backcountry Hut for one of the best meals on the mountain!"

Finally, up in Maryland Wisp Resort continues to be open too. The cam there is showing some pretty decent coverage on the open trails as well.

That’s it for now. Stay positive if you can. Think cold. Think snow.

Email me your comments, thoughts, photos, vids or anything else you like at [email protected].

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