The National Weather Service has forecasted 2"-3" of snow for the mountains of North Carolina today. We’re experiencing "invisible snow" this morning. I have lived here since 1990 and have never experienced it before. I went out at 6:00am to let my dog out and felt nothing more than a light misty feeling in the air. An hour later the ground is covered in white and yet you still can’t see anything falling from the sky! Crazy stuff!
The real snow is supposed to pick up around mid morning with an inch or two (or three) forecasted for the day and evening before ceasing around 6pm or so. That is what the ski area owners and operators call "perfect snow". It is the kind that creates excitement and invites people to the mountains for the weekend, yet keeps the roads perfectly clear. It also adds a bit of quality to the snow as well!
Winds will be gusty atop the higher elevations today and some ski areas will be making snow, so check the individual slope conditions page to see if your goggles are necessary.
The weekend should be perfect with Sunny Skies and highs in the 20s to 30° and lows in the teens and low 20s for Friday, Friday night, Saturday and Sunday should be a degree or two milder, but PERFECT ski conditions.
Meteorologist Brad Panovich sent us his latest Skier’s Forecast for the weekend, but we haven’t had a chance to view it yet, but we’ll get that posted by mid morning. Be sure to check that out on the front page.
GROOMING IS THE NAME OF THE GAME…
When a resort takes their time in grooming a resort, either prior to the day sessions or between day and evening sessions – the result can be THE difference maker in your experience on the snow. If a resort is not that good at it, people will pass the word. One such resort actually has prompted some of their crew to half-jokingly send us comments that they have threatened to saw the second or third gear off of their groomer. Going too fast leaves a lot of chunky conditions.
When a resort is good at it…THAT word gets passed around as well. Appalachian Ski Mountain and Sugar Mountain’s crews have long received a lot of praise by our readers. "Snow Quality" are two words that are mentioned often in emails that we receive about those two resorts.
If yesterday was any indication of how Hawksnest Resort grooms every day, they should start getting more comments from you guys. I watched between sessions yesterday and two of their groomers made very slow, methodical passes up and down all of their open trails and I can tell you that the difference in conditions from the close of the day session to last night was – well, the difference between DAY and NIGHT.
Several of our office staff made it up to Hawksnest around 3:15 or so and got in five or six runs top to bottom and while the edges of thier trails were nice, the middle sections of every trail were very icy. That happens a lot up on trails like "The Right Stuff" and "Top Gun" where skiers scrape off the quality snow. We all commented about how icy things were during our break in The Nest, Hawksnest’s Lounge.
However, after they did their grooming between sessions, ALL of their trails were absolutely phenomenal. Top Gun still had a few chunky spots towards the bottom but all of the rest of their open terrain was in fabulous conditions with some SWEET CORDUROY! You guys should really check Hawksnest out for one of your next trips as they are doing things right up there!
I want to thank Lenny Cottom and his brother Vance for a sweet ride on the groomer between sessions. We got to ride straight up Top Gun and around to The Right Stuff during one of their many passes and that is an awesome experience. It’s pretty boring for the guys that are out there every morning and between every session making the same passes over and over, and I’m certain that it’s no fun going at a snails pace either…but when those guys go slow — it makes for a great day on the slopes for all us.
When you guys get a chance, check out the groomers at YOUR favorite resort and pay attention to how slow they groom. If they are flying – tell ’em to slow down! You’ll thank me!
NC SKI AREA NEWS
<App doing some grooming this morning!
Appalachain – 24° – App is reporting that they did not make snow, but appears to be making some at the top of Upper Big Appal. They are 100% open with a GREAT base, terrain parks and ice skating. UPDATE: As of 7:55am they are making snow. I spoke with Amy over at App and she said that they were making snow and would do so until about 11am or shortly after.
Cataloochee made snow overnight and still is as of this report. They have a groomed surface on a GREAT base and have 10 of 14 trails open today.
Tammy Brown, Cataloochee’s personable Marketing Babe (that is her OFFICIAL title – just kidding) writes, "Don’t forget to join the Cat Crew on Thursday nights here for the Cataloochee Challenge Cup Race Series. Individuals race against the clock for the best of two runs. Top three challengers in both men’s and womens’ age divisions win cool stuff. You must be 21 years of age or older to participate. Racing begins at 8pm with a post awards party at 10pm, so dust off those racing skills and test your luck. The Cat is where it’s at on Thursday night’s Challenge Cup Race Night. Call the ski area for more information."
HEY WE NEED SOME PHOTOS OF THOSE RACES…SOMEBODY!
Hawksnest – 31° this morning, snowing and they made snow overnight. It does not appear that they are this morning though. Hawksnest has 9 trails open with a GREAT base and tubing as well. Duggan and Lenny have done some sweet grooming for your pleasure today. Bruno and several of the other crew up at Hawksnest passed me the word that they would be opening Sock Em Dog for this weekend. The Upper portion is open, but the main run (the fun part) is not open as yet.
Sapphire Valley – Contrary to some other reporting services such as the Southeastern Ski Areas Association and others that IT feeds info to – Sapphire is NOT open today…and they did not get 4" of snow yesterday, etc. They are closed Wednesdays and Thursdays and will reopen on Friday.
Ski Beech – It’s 19° atop their 5,506′ elevations this morning with light snow and snow in the forecast. Beech has 12 trails open for today and more importantly they are OPENING THE RED BARON TERRAIN PARK (something new for Ski Beech) THIS EVENING. Gil Adams writes, "RED BARON PARK TO OPEN FOR THE SEASON THURSDAY NIGHT!!! We are excited to open the new Red Baron Terrain Park for the 07/08 season. We will be hosting a FREE rail jam on our signature Lift Tower. On top of the rail jam we will have 12 new features highlighted in one of the smoothest layouts in the southeast. To celebrate this inaugural event, we will have $10 night lift tickets (1/24/07 only, available at Group Sales Office) and a raffle in the Beech Tree Restaurant. With some great prizes up for grabs, this is the perfect time to come check out all the hard work that has been going into our new terrain park!"
Go check it out and get us SOME PHOTOS OF THE FUN!
Adams also writes, "Mike, we plan to open Oz on Friday if all goes well."
(Just in time for a great weekend up at Beech.)
Sugar Mountain – It’s 18.6° up there this morning and they are making snow but only in selected areas. Sugar has a great base, topped by Machine Made Powder and Frozen Granular conditions on 19 of 20 trails for today. They also offer their terrain park and ice skating.
Wolf Ridge is OPEN TO THE TOP with what their crew says is the best conditions of the season on 13 trails, serviced by 5 lifts. They are not making snow this AM, but will as temps allow.
Wolf is also hosting a SLOPE-STYLE COMPETITION THIS WEEKEND. Justin Blythe writes, "This Saturday 01-26-08, Wolf Ridge Resort will be hosting our first park competition of the season. The Comp will feature both ski and snowboard classes. Riders will register as advanced, intermediate, and Women’s within their class. Registration will be from 9am to 11am inside the Upper Lodge. Practice from 9am-12noon in the park. Competition is set to start at 12:30. The format will be Slopestyle with riders scored best two of three runs. Entry fee for the comp is $15.00 with special discount $20.00 lift tickets. The special ticket price will be for competitors only as an extended day ticket. We will continue to be the only WNC Mountain to present cash prizes. We are also featuring a Wolf Ridge Rider Points series accumulating over all planned competitions. Any questions can be emailed to [email protected] Get out and enjoy the fun! Spectators welcome!"
PHOTOS PEOPLE! WE NEED PHOTOS OF THIS EVENT AS WELL!!!
NEW BASE DEPTH REPORTING RECEIVES NO COMMENTS. HMMMM!
We debuted a new system for reporting base depths at our Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski resorts yesterday and I wrote and/or spoke with a few ski area staffers about it. I won’t name names just yet, because I am hoping to still hear from them, but I asked, "Do me a favor and take a look at what we have implemented regarding a new way to report base depth coverage and let me know what you think."
I asked that of one longtime industry leader, Joe Stevens, and three other resort management people. One that I asked replied, "I won’t like it will I?" I answered, "No I think YOU will because you’re one of the ones that reports pretty straight-up numbers."
I haven’t heard from him yet!
However, marketing guru and co-owner of The Media Center in Charleston, West Virginia – Joe Stevens, wrote, "Let it roll as it makes all the sense in the world, good for you!"
Go enjoy some great conditions and a bit of snow for today…and GET US SOME PHOTOS OF THE TERRAIN PARK COMPS!
Go enjoy the day and…THINK COLD AND SNOW!!!
Until Next Time…Send your comments, photos and videos to: [email protected]
For resort news, photos and videos from ALL of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas, visit www.SkiSoutheast.com
See You On The Slopes!