First Trax

This is IT! If you’ve been waiting the perfect time to come to the mountain when there’s plenty of natural snow and great conditions – NOW IS THE TIME TO BOOK for next week!

Good LORD have the live cameras and our ski network sites been bombed this morning! It seems that everyone has some pent up desire to hit some excellent conditions and the fact that the ski areas have all been BOMBING the slopes with manmade "powder" has the slopes looking DARN nice and you guys stoked about seeing them via the live cams. That should translate into a huge weekend this weekend at the ski areas.

The heavy, 24-30 hours of snowmaking that has been going on HAS to take the top news story of this morning, because we don’t usually post a top news story about an event that hasn’t happened yet, but the next big news story of today is the potential of a HUGE SNOW event that appears to be setting up perfectly with all of the needed variables in place!

<Accuweather’s forecast map show perfect jet stream setup!

Click here to see more forecast maps showing up to 16" of snow forecasted!

On Tuesday evening Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich sent us his latest Skier’s Weather Forecast Video. That was at 10:30pm (Brad never sleeps!). We posted it on Wednesday morning and while he was forecasting great chances of a band of heavy snow across our ski areas, nobody else was mentioning it. Even as late as Wednesday afternoon most of the local forecasters were calling for a chance of light snow mixed with rain across a fair portion of the region with perhaps some 2-4" around Snowshoe and the WV resorts. I was listening to the local radio station on my way home on Wednesday and they too reported cloudy and a chance of rain or a mix but NO ACCUMULATION.

Fast forward to this morning and now everyone is on board with the ski areas from North Carolina up through Maryland getting a HUGE SNOW EVENT! Some forecast models are predicting 12-16" of snow across some of the more snow prone higher elevations with 10-12" possible at most of the ski areas. With all of the ingredients perfectly in place only 24 hours out as of right now – it is a great bet that we’ll see some significant snows out of this system.

This system is setting up perfectly to be a Gulf Low to Nor’easter that will begin as early as FRIDAY MORNING and according to most forecasters (now) we’ll see several days of snowy and cold weather. We have a call into Brad Panovich and we’ll get you his latest input as soon as we can but Dr. Ray Russell is now even saying things like "today (Thursday) will be a relatively pleasant day to get ready for this memorable event". According to Russell, 10" snowfall totals will be common by Saturday afternoon. He also warned visitors and locals to make certain that you have your 4WD and good tires ready because we are going to need them!

Even sweeter news is that we should see FOUR DISTINCT snow events between TODAY and Christmas Day so we’re probably going to have a SWEET, WHITE CHRISTMAS in the mountains! There’s great chances of snow Christmas Eve as well!

(All of those snow prayers have been working people!)


With all of the snowmaking that has been going on in the last 24-30 hours, we’ve seen more snow being focused on unopen terrain. That will continue to be the focus as ski resorts are all informing us that they are opening more slopes every day over the next week.

High temperatures are forecasted to be in the 20s for much of the area with lows in the TEENS through next week and that means 24 hour, around the clock snowmaking ops for most resorts and that means AWESOME – I repeat – AWESOME conditions for our Christmas to New Year skiing and snowboarding trips! It has been a while since we’ve had a perfect Christmas week forecast. It looks like it’s here. Get your reservations made! Use our extensive list of recommended lodging and dining links via the website. Pick the ski area you wish to play at and then look on the right side column for recommended clients. We also have Trip Planners in place to assist you in planning the perfect getaway!

We’re excited! HOW ABOUT YOU GUYS!!!

Let’s get to a tour and we’ll update you with any news as we hear it!

Snowshoe Mountain is showing a 14° temperature this morning and they are making snow across all of their terrain. They increased their slope offerings for today with 17 of 60 trails open and they are open for day sessions only today. Remember that they will offer night skiing and more terrain on Friday and this weekend.

Laura Parquette writes, "You have to love a forecast that calls for snow for the next 4 days in a row! Mother Nature has definitely been kind lately, providing plenty of great snowmaking weather, and now we have several days of natural snow ahead. Today will be a great day to enjoy Snowshoe’s 17 open slopes, as we’ll have sunny skies and temperatures should rise to just above freezing. That may mean we shut down snowmaking for just a short period today, but we’ll be right back at it as soon as conditions allow. We’ve been making snow around the clock for more than 24 hours, and conditions are absolutely fantastic! We’ll continue to add terrain as we head into the weekend, and Silver Creek will open tomorrow with a 7-day-a-week operating schedule from 9am-9pm for the remainder of its season. Tubing and adventure activities–including snowmobile tours and horse-drawn sleigh rides–will also open tomorrow. We’ll be building in both the Spruce Glades and Timberjack terrain park areas tomorrow, with a variety of features set to open for Saturday. The Powdermonkey terrain garden will be open for tomorrow. Conditions will only get better with the natural snow in the forecast, so if you don’t have plans for the weekend, get in your car and get up here and enjoy our 100+ acres of open terrain! And if you’re looking for the perfect family escape for the Holidays, why not spend one of the most festive times of the year making turns on the region’s best conditions? Some Holiday availability remains, and your family will be treated to Holiday parties, kids craft sessions, a teen dance, comedy shows and of course, a visit from the big man himself, SANTA! Call 877-441-4FUN today!"

Canaan Valley Resort is COLD THIS MORNING with an 11° reported reading! They are open for day sessions today with the same 4 of 39 trails open. David Vance writes, "We are expecting to open Cutback and Lower Timber Run for the weekend. Expecting to open Upper Canaan Curve and the Chute by Monday. Tube Park to open before Christmas. Snowmaking has begun and will continue as conditons allow."

Timberline Resort – They are making ton of snow right now and they will reopen on Friday. They write, "We are now making snow on White Lightning, Salamander, Flag Spruce, Ceiling, Upper Dew Drop, Top of the Wall, White Out, Timberline, and Winterset Spur!" They anticipate adding Winterset and Lower Almost Heaven as open for this weekend. They will have a lot more terrain open before Christmas!

Winterplace Resort will open for the season TOMORROW Friday! They write, "Open trails will include: Panorama, Wanderer, Easy Street, Highland, No Problem, Glades, Cascade, Compromise, Look At Me, Meadows, Rendezvous Too, Drop Off and possibly more! Please check back for information of the Tubing."

Wisp Resort is open for day sessions again today with the same 7 trails available

Massanutten Resort is reporting the same 18-30" base that they reported yesterday but they are focusing the snowmaking on open AND unopened terrain. They added one trail today to now offer 6 trails for skiing and snowboarding for day skiing only today. Night sessions begin tomorrow night! Also Mass shares, "Paradice will open Saturday or Sunday and the CMB terrain park opens Friday!" Tubing is open today with 5 lanes of sliding fun!

Bryce Resort is reporting 22° and they are making snow this morning and they are open for day skiing sessions today with 50% of the mountain open (4 trails). No tubing today.

Wintergreen Resort’s, Anne Marie Jones is getting excited this AM. She writes, "21 degrees at 7am, WE ARE MAKING GREAT SNOW!! Weather forecasts this morning are in agreement that we could see 6-12” of natural snow overnight Friday into Saturday. Bring it on! Our snowmaking plan includes – increasing base depths on slopes that opened this past weekend and pounding new terrain in anticipation of adding more fun for this coming weekend. We are making great progress on Upper Cliffhanger, Lower Wild Turkey, Hydraulic, Tequila, The Plunge, Ridgely’s Fun Park, Potato Patch, Upper and Lower Sunrise. Additional slopes will open over the weekend, check the web later today for our best guess at what slopes will open and when…. The weather forecast looks great for this week and next!"

They will be open on Friday!

The Homestead is making snow this AM and plans to open Saturday, December 19th.

Wolf Ridge Resort – They are reporting a base of 36-60" this morning and the same 5 trails open for day and night skiing. However you can tell some major moves are getting ready to go down over at Wolf as they write, "It’s thursday morning and the snow making for the last two days should allow us to get 90% of the slopes open by Friday. We are working on the "Bowl", North Carolina’s most thrilling black diamond run and and hope to have it ready to ski by Saturday. There is snow in the forecast for the next few days, the holidays are officially here Friday, and it couldn’t be a more perfct time to ski the Wolf. Join us over this Christmas Break for a blast on the slopes. See you there !!!"

We put in a call to see how many trails that 90% would be offering since they were not able to open the other half of the mountain last year. Orville wasn’t available as he is still heavily involved in making snow there and had headed home for some shut eye. We’ll attempt to get that word for you a little later from Marketing Director, Rick Bussey.

Appalachian Ski Mountain – grew minimum base by 3" to 41" today. App has 7 trails open for day and night skiing and their great ice rink is open as well. (Some reports have been reporting App with 8 trails open but we spoke with Ali at App this morning and they indeed are operating with 7 of 11 trails open for today and the last several days. They look to open more terrain – VERY SOON!

Beech Mountain Resort is reporting the same 14-30" base they’ve reported for a few days now and they’ll ride the same 5 of 15 trails for day and night sessions today. They’ve been blasting the slopes for the last 24-30 hours straight and look to open more terrain VERY SOON! The Ice Skating rink is open as well!

Cataloochee Ski Area – grew minimum base by 4" and operate today from 9am until 10pm with 14 of 16 trails and terrain park as well. Tammy Brown wants us to remind you guys, "NEW this season is our FREE Intro to Skiing or Riding lesson with any Cataloochee ski or snowboard rental, any non-holiday Monday through Thursday. Remember Cataloochee Ski Area goes one step further to make sure your first on-snow experience is a great one and this season offers all guests renting equipment at the area a free one hour introduction to skiing or snowboarding lesson when you rent your equipment any non-holiday Monday through Thursday. Lesson times are offered every hour and a half from 9am until 7pm."

(Consider yourselves reminded!)

Sapphire Valley fans will have to wait one more day to enjoy the ski hill and Frozen Falls Tubing Park. We spoke with Justin in the rec department this morning and they are making snow now but had to push their opening day back one day to Saturday, December 19th.

Sugar Mountain – grew their minimum base by 6" to 34" today and they now have 10 of 20 trails operating for day & night sessions. We’ve received some calls asking about Sugar’s terrain park. They do not have it open quite yet, but look for more terrain opening very soon. They do have their popular ice skating rink open today!

Hawksnest Tubing and Zip Lining has not made snow the past two days and there’s no mention on their website of being open, but via their webcam they look pretty good this AM. We’ve gotten a couple of emails asking about tubing and we’ve been recommending them, but you guys might want to call ahead to make sure they are open.

That’s it for today. Make those reservations today for the Holidays cause you don’t want to miss out on all the great snow and conditions!

You can check the snow reports for all of the ski resorts of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and North Carolina via  as well as videos, photos and more.

Send your comments, videos, photos, trip reports and questions to: [email protected]  

SSAA: 0 for 21 app8not7//self 20/21

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