Welcome to Day 2 of the Season

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Alright alright alright!  Day number 2 of the 2017/2018 ski and snowboard season is here!  The last few days sure have been fun, seeing the snow guns get fired up and what not.  To be honest, I was somewhat surprised to see Sugar and Cat open yesterday.  I was down in Charleston, SC all weekend with my wife (yeah, I got married) and some friends, having a good ole’ time and I guess it was out of sight, out of mind in terms of the snow and cold.  I knew there would be some snowmaking going on Sunday but I didn’t think we’d see any openings until today.

As is the always the case though, Sugar and Cataloochee did not disappoint with their aggressive snowmaking and they were able to open for business before any other resorts in the region.  Here’s a little news clip from WCNC in Charlotte, featuring Gunther Jochl himself.

The past 48 hours at Cat has been an adventure it looks like based on the timelapse I made below.  A lot of the snow that they made on Saturday night melted before they really cranked out the manmade goodness Sunday night.  Cat was voted one of the best snowmaking teams in the country after all…

Both resorts are open once again today, each adding an additional slope to their trail count.  Sugar is rockin’ 5 open slopes today (to the top!) while Cataloochee is skiing from the halfway station down on 3 trails.

More Openings are Coming

Thanksgiving is always the target opening date for a batch of ski areas in the region, and it looks like we’ll be lucky enough this year to see a handful of resorts open for the holiday weekend.  Beech, Snowshoe, and Appalachian are all expected to be open come Friday and you’ll be able to work off all of that food.  App is actually hoping to open on Thanksgiving Day after having to postpone opening day a couple of times now.  They have a nice layer of snow on the ground right now and it looks like they will be able to make snow tomorrow night, so they should be good to go for Thursday.  They have the best snowmaking per acre of anybody in the region and all it takes is one night for them to get going.

App had the guns going full blast yesterday morning.

Beech and Snowshoe have Friday as their target opening date and both of them should be fine as well.   I helped build Beech’s new website and I’ve been looking at that countdown clock on their homepage for months now.  I’m stoked to see it finally down to only a few days!  As of right now I plan on being out there on Friday and I can’t wait to fly down Upper Shawneehaw.  I’ll be the first one in line.

It looks like Snowshoe has been able to lay down the most snow of anyone not just in the past few days, but over the past couple of weeks as well.  A week or two ago they were able to blanket several runs and that has continued over the past couple of days.  There’s actually some mini-whales visible on the Shaver’s Centre webcam and the video they posted yesterday got me pretty pumped.

It should be a fun weekend up that way.  On another note, does anybody know if the Old Spruce Draft House is back again in The Village this year?  That place rocks!  Crowlers FTW!

We’ve had some other resorts make snow as well.  Mike mentioned it yesterday and noted that Canaan, Timberline, and Wisp were all able to get the guns going.  However, Canaan and Timberline still have 3-4 weeks to go until they open and Wisp hasn’t announced anything yet.  They’ve been kind of all over the place in terms of opening dates over the last few years, so I don’t want to speculate on any opening for them.  However, they were able to crank out “Just under 1 million gallons of water…totaling about 7 acre feet of snow” so hopefully we’ll be able to see them open sooner rather than later.

If you can’t tell by what I’ve mentioned so far, the snowmaking temps have mainly been in North Carolina and West Virginia.  There’s a little bit of manmade snow on the ground at Massanutten and Ober is open for tubing, but other than that the sub freezing temperatures have not made their way into the Virginia and Tennessee mountains just yet.  Hopefully we can see Mother Nature help those resorts out in the coming weeks.  The outlook is fairly positive as noted by Brad Panovich.

As a winter weather lover there’s one thing you need to know about temperature maps.  Blue is good.  We want blue.  Seeing that in the 6-10 day forecast is a good sign and hopefully we can get things really going by the end of the month and into December.  If I have to hear the word “blowtorch” all winter I’m going to lose it.

While Brad noted that the 6-10 day outlook is positive, the next 5 days or so look pretty good as well.  We will see snowmaking temps return tomorrow night (tonight looks too borderline), Thursday night, and then again by the weekend for the North Carolina and West Virginia areas.  I’ll chat some more about that tomorrow as we lead into Thanksgiving.  Until then, enjoy your Tuesday.

It’s good to be back!

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