Up to 7 inches of SNOW has Fallen and MORE is on the way!

First Trax

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It is 8:31am and I have just finished updating all of the 17 ski areas’ reports that we feature on SkiSoutheast.com. There’s anywhere from 1-7" new snow being reported around the region with the top snowfall being reported at Wisp Resort.

Snow totals will be GOING UP as it has been snowing steadily since I crawled out of bed to begin these updates. In fact, this is perhaps the prettiest snowfall that I have seen this season as there is no wind and temps are perfectly in the 20s for much of the region (with slightly colder temps into WV).

Additional, significant snows are expected as Winter Storm Warnings have been posted across the region. Snow picked up early this morning and another 1-3" of forecasted for today; another 1-3" tonight and another 1-3" by Tuesday night. That will make for around 4-7" across much of the area with perhaps as much as 10" at the favored areas around the Mid Atlantic and Southeast.

Can anyone say P-O-W-D-E-R!?!?! That has to excite the heck out of the crowds still around for the long MLK weekend. Of course there will be many nervously packing their vehicles and heading home!


Be sure to check out his "Joe Knows Snow" column. He basically reminds ski area owners and marketing peeps to get on a chair lift occasionally and listen to what guests are saying. I agree with my buddy Joe about 99.9% of time, and I do think that ski area management staffers should not only sample their product and listen to guests, but I also think that they should venture out to other ski areas and see what the other guys are offering as much as possible. However, I can of disagree with some of the points that Joe makes in today’s column. Joe seems to be saying that ski area operators are continuing to raise their prices and turn a deaf ear to visitor’s needs for discounts during these "tough economic times". I tend to think that lodging discounts have always been available every season and that the MAJORITY of ski and snowboard enthusiasts have and always will find the money to spend on ski getaways. Stats show that we will always find money to spend on entertainment and on ourselves. The ski industry is kind of "economy proof" in my opinion. Yes, we might not make as many trips to the mountain, and there are certainly those that will not make it to the resorts this season. However, the majority will and when you add in the newbie skiers and snowboarders…I think that skier visits will be substantially UP this season across the entire region. (Of course this is contingent on good weather the rest of the way.)

In summary, I think that the ski industy is one of those things that people will simply find money to spend on. While many industries may take a hit, people are always going to spend money on entertainment, food, and on themselves. It should also be said that most ski areas are not raking in money to the point that they are living like fat cats. Their costs to operate have not been discounted and they have to turn certain skier numbers just to make a profit. The past two seasons have been "less than stellar" particularly around the Holiday weeks and weekends, so they have to be careful about offering discounts as they all have "bottom lines" that are sometimes tough to meet. I personally am privy to some numbers and I can tell you that while the ski industry in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic is healthy – and while some ski resorts are THRIVING – not all are well into the black areas of their accounting books.

Just my two cents. However, Joe does make some great points and we invite you to check out his column.

Here’s the tour…go ski or ride!

We’re giving Sugar Mountain top billing for under-reporting their natural snow total for a third time this season!

Sugar Mountain – 18° and 3.2" of new snow. They have opened Whoopdedoo! The only trail not open is Sugar Bear and that gives Sugar 19 of 20 trails open with Natural and Manmade Powder! They also offer three lanes of tubing and ice skating. Whoopdedoo is Sugar’s double black and it offers adrenaline junkies a fast start down Sugar’s 1200′ vertical!

We don’t know what’s gotten into Sugar or who is doing the snow reporting over there or if it has changed hands, but we want to congratulate them on being DEAD ON – or even slightly under-reporting their snow, etc – all season long. They are reporting only TWO INCHES of snow from Sunday and according to three reports and the official station up there, Sugar has 3.2" of snow and that takes them to 33" on the season. That is at least the third time we’ve seen Sugar under-report a natural snowfall this season.

Way to go up there Sugar!

Wisp Resort – 29° and 7" of new snow! – That takes them to 77" on the season! That’s a lot of SEVENS and if you’re lucky enough to be skiing or riding at Wisp and we know of at least three friends who are…you’re in for a great day today. They will have 30 trails open for day skiing only today. The views should be awesome looking down at Deep Creek Lake today and we’ve skied that powder at Wisp on days like this and it will be simply BOMBER!

Canaan Valley – 18° and 5" of new snow! – I have said it before but it bears repeating that they have one of the best, official snow reporting stations up there that is similar to the Community Snow Reporting Stations that Baker Perry told us about the runs nationally. Canaan’s is local but they do a fabulous job of reporting every morning early. They are reporting another 5" of natural pow, pow; 41.9" on the month (that is only 18 days old) and 112.2" on the season!

Canaan’s 5" of snow came on .48" of precip which shows a nice dry powder with a high water-to-snow ratio! You can enjoy that today on 31 trails for day skiing only today. Canaan is expecting another 1-3" of snow today!

Timberline Resort is showing a degree higher right now but the same 18° overnight low and they are only reporting 2" of new snow. They actually OFFICIALLY received 5" of snow and have seen 112.2" on the season instead of the 91" they are reporting! We have to get them to correct that! They will have sweet, powder conditions on 29 trails for today and will offer night skiing tonight was well.

Snowshoe Mountain – 15° – They are our cold-spot this morning and they are reporting another 4" of new snow and 127" on the season. They are only Lower Shays Revenge shy of being 100% open with 59 of 60 trails. I kind of half expected that trail to be open today but look for it soon.

Snowshoe is expecting 1-3" more snow today and conditions will be near EPIC for the debut of their new Halfpipe. Laura Parquette writes, "Today marks the debut of the Silver Creek Half Pipe! Be sure to head over to the Mountaineer trail to check it out. The crew has also added a new feature in Spruce Glades Terrain Park at Snowshoe. It now has the Coffin Box next to the lower race shack on Skipjack. We’re just days away from the richest rail jam in the region! The West Virginia Open will throw down on January 24th."

Check out www.SnowshoeMtn.com  for more details!

Winterplace Resort – 19° and 1" of new snow! – "Conditions keep getting better and better" says Winterplace’s marketing peeps, who rarely say anything to promote themselves. These are great people and right now things are about as sweet as they get at the ski area best know for being so conveniently located right off I-77. They should be known for a lot more than that as they have some great terrain and one of the best and biggest snow tubing parks found anywhere! They have 24 of 28 trails open today and excellent conditions!

Wintergreen Resort – 23° – They are reporting no natural snowfall but that they did make snow and they will have 23 of 26 trails open again today and they are night skiing tonight. They pushed back the opening of Lower Cliffhanger and will look to open it and Outer Limits on Tuesday and Wednesday. Anne Marie Jones writes, "24 degrees at 7AM, WOW what a great snowmaking week! We have opened 14 trails over the last week and plan to be 100% OPEN before next weekend. Conditions are awesome, come up and get in on the fun. Today we have 23 slopes and trails open and 5 lifts. We will be open for day and night sessions, skiing and riding from 9AM-10PM. The average snow base depth throughout the resort is 30”- 50”. The Plunge will be open today from 10am-9PM."

Nice update Anne Marie.

Bryce Resort – They report no snowmaking, nor natural snowfall and the same 8 of 8 trails open and snow tubing for Monday.

Massanutten Resort – Ditto Bryce Resort in that they report no natural snowfall. Mass did make snow and they are 100% open with 14 trails and snowtubing – as well as terrain park fun! They are reporting a one-degree-higher-than-24-hours-ago 23° this morning.

The Homestead – We haven’t heard from them in over a week…so NO REPORT.

Ober Gatlinburg – 35° – They report no natural snow and no snowmaking. They are the only ski area in the Southeast to report a drop in base as well, but they have great conditions on the 5 of 8 trails open and the snow tubing park is open as well.

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 29° – Did not make snow, but report 1" of natural snow and 100% open with 10 of 10 trails, both terrain parks and ice skating. App will not be making snow during day or night sessions and only as needed overnight.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 23° – They made snow and are 100% open for DAY SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING ONLY TODAY. They also have some terrain park features and snow tubing open as well.

Ski Beech – 20° and according to Baker Perry’s CocoRahs, official stationa data Beech picked up 3.3" of new snow. We received another unofficial report of 4" of snow and that takes Beech to 35" on the season. To show you how dry the air is, the water-to-snow ratio was pretty high with the 4" of snow coming from only .23" of precip.

Ryan Costin contacted us and shared that they had opened "Meadows" and with that and Crossway, Beech now has 9 of 15 trails open for day and night skiing tonight. Conditions will be sweet as more snow is expected and snowmaking continues. Costin said that they would turn their attention on White Lightning to get it open ASAP.

Beech is reporting 5" of new snow and that is a little on the high side according to the police station and the official snow measuring station up on Beech. More snow is falling as we speak and they’ll have that total (and probably more) in a bit!

Editor’s Hint: If you’re looking to make some turns and want a little less crowd with your skiing and snowboarding, we’d suggest popping up to Beech after lunch and the crowds will be heading home and the slopes will be less crowded.

Tubing is also open at Ski Beech and they have the terrain features set up for on Powder Bowl.

Wolf Ridge Resort – has not reported in as yet, nor updated their website. We suspect they got some of this natural snowfall and will have at least 11 trails open today.

Ski Sapphire – Has not reported in three days, but will have 2 slopes and tubing for today.

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