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Lorrie Tomlinson reports from App on Monday:

Monday morning was cold and windy when I arrived at Appalachian Ski Mountain. I had a great conversation with the parking attendant before other cars arrived. That guy has worked at App for over 10 years and still loves his job. I forgot his name though. That is why I referred to him as ‘that guy’. Anyway, it is always great to receive such a warm, friendly greeting. For the first time this season, I did not see any tour buses or vans when I pulled into the parking lot. Crowds were minimal most of the day. Ski patrol did not need to rope off for lift lines until way after lunch. The trees on Thin Slice were coated with a thick, frozen layer from the snow making last night. App, of course, did not run the guns during the ski session. They have plenty of snow so their consideration for the customer was greatly appreciated. The sun struggled to make an appearance from behind the clouds. The day did warm up considerably and several people were skiing or boarding without jackets. Speaking of jackets, I like the fact that the lift ops all have matching coats and that helps distinguish the employees from the visitors. Today, I noticed that the park crew has their own App Terrain Park jackets, too. Several cameras and camcorders were in the park, so skinc should receive lots of pics from Monday at App. The groomed powder conditions were really good and I had an incredible time. After 4 days in a row at App, I plan to visit another resort tomorrow, for a little change of scenery. I will let you know how tomorrow’s choice compares to ASM.

David Long reports from Ober Gatlinburg on Monday:

A few things to report from Ober Gatlinburg from Monday.  As I walked up I saw a very interesting sight.  I can only think of two things that could have caused this.  Either Ober wanted to try to have a larger minimum base than sugar’s 80" or the snow crew forgot to turn the blowers Sunday night.  The ski school building was almost fully covered in snow.  Apparently the blower was pointed almost at the front door building the base in that one spot to over 8 feet!  The staff literally had to dig a trench around the building and make steps to reach the top of the mound for classes to get to the snow.  I think the crew actually fell asleep or something because in many spots large rollers loomed over the terrain.  On Mogul Ridge a very large roller has been blown where the bottom simply drops out from below you.  Hitting it with moderate speed will launch a rider at least 20 feet into the air.  Careful on the landing…remember it’s called Mogul Ridge for a reason.  Lower Bear was basically roller after roller till the bottom curve when the run levels out leaving a great place for speed.  The night session was a lot of fun.  Sadly for me it was all I was able to ride.

I was hoping to have a lazy day where I could ride all day and not have to work but the resort was insanely crowded for a weekday.  It truly felt like a holiday for the staff.  The resort was not at full staff today because the weekend just ended and a lot of people take Monday off.  The people from the Gulf Coast escaping Mardi Gras apparently didn’t get the memo because they overran the area.  The crowd was the size of a busy weekend.  Almost holiday size.  This was not expected by anyone at the resort.  From talking to a lot of the customers (all of whom are from the Gulf Coast ) the general reason why more people than usual came this year was to escape the destruction.  With all the FEMA money in the hands of the people but the insurance and construction so backed up these people, sadly, have nothing to rebuild with.  So to escape the destruction and the Mardi Gras crowd large groups came to the other Southeast resort destinations.  A lot of the schools in the area even give mid winter breaks or early spring breaks so the kids can leave the crowds.  So if your favorite resort is dealing with larger than normal crowds it is because these people are taking the much needed break that they deserve.  I asked many of the customers today if anything is improving and one kid, whose family lost everything, replied "There’s nothing left to improve."  He was about 13 years old.  I’m thankful, and so are they, that these families are able to get this little break and get away from the tragedy they live every day.

Dan Morgan reports from Cataloochee on Saturday:

I had a ball skiing at Cataloochee today.  This was my first time skiing here and for the record we only came here because you guys kept talking the place up.  I am glad we listened!  This place rocks.  The snow was good and while it was a bit crowded the lift lines were tolerable.  I skied a little Saturday night and they could have used some grooming because things were a bit bumpy and challenging but still good. I’ll be back as I loved the terrain.

Sonia Martin skied at Winterplace on Sunday:

Conditions were nice out today with lots of sunshine and plenty of good snow. I only made a few turns cause it was pretty busy.  Word going around was that someone died going into the woods.  I don’t know if you guys can confirm that but we’d love to know.

( Note: We have received a couple of emails about this.  We called and spoke with our contacts at the mountain and right now we can neither confirm nor deny that. We are expecting a call from the resort president and we’ll post info as we have it.)

Delbert Nadeau reports from Timberline Resort:

I have only gotten on the slopes a half dozen times this season and this is my first time skiing at Timberline.  I wished that ALL my turns would have been here!  I loved the terrain and the day was great.  Timberline has a different cliché about it and it’s one that I will be back for again and again. I’ll be here for a few days and file a better, more in-depth report later in the week, but suffice to say there’s good snow, lots of it and a lot of open terrain!

On-Snow Reporters:

We will keep a log of the best reporter’s submission, photos and reports. Trust us it is way to time consuming to post every pic…but send them…because we are tallying the scores.  The winner of the Best On Snow Reporter for 2005-2006 will win $1000 in cash, a FREE Getaway Vacation and more.  The contest will run from now through March 1st and we will choose the winner.  Our choice will be based on the following and IN THE ORDER of importance.

Quality of Photos

Quality of Reports (well written, informative, unbiased)

Number of Photo Submissions

Number of Reports

Extra points will be given for getting smiling faces in the photos and including names and cities where you can.

Extra points will be awarded for creative ideas.

We will choose the winner based on how helpful and informative the reports have been.

As of 03/01/2006 here are the top vote getters. (We will only document the top three to five here throughout the season…and we may begin posting the top ten, depending on how close results are.)
1. Lorrie Tomlinson
2. Mark McKelvy
3. David Long
4. Kent Jackson

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Enlarge for best shot – More people sitting than riding the terrain park at Appalachian on Monday – Photo by Lorrie Tomlinson
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Chris, one of the ski patrol at Appalachian Ski Mountain poses for photographer, Lorrie Tomlinson on Monday
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