First Trax

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Yes, I just YELLED THAT TITLE, but it felt good to say that!

As I walked outside this morning it felt like a slightly chilly, Spring morning as the temperature was only 43°. That is 41 degrees warmer than the morning low just a few days ago! Of course, we experienced a string of 40-50° mornings only a couple of weeks ago…and subsequently just went through two weeks of snowy, cold days with highs in the single digits and teens…

That’s probably why several of my office crew was sick a few days this past week. Either that or they were sneaking out to hit what has been some of the best ski conditions of the season! Whatever, we’re now looking at a stretch of weather ahead that should offer more normal-average temps with some chances of wintry weather.


Temperatures are all over the place this morning.  They are forecasted to turn colder throughout the day all across the Southeast and Mid Atlantic with most areas already at the highest temp they will see with falling temps throughout the day to some cold, cold, cold, snowmaking temps overnight.  However, as has been the case all season long – the upper tier of the Southeast’s ski areas – the five in Maryland and West Virginia – are considerably colder than the rest.

While temperatures are in the 30s and 40s right now in Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina – Snowshoe and Wisp Resorts are at 19°.

The forecast for the North Carolina Mountains is that Sunday looks like a colder-than-average day with highs in the mid to upper 30s and lows around 23°. Look for the same weather on Monday and Tuesday with some chances of snow on Tuesday. Things look a notch milder on Thursday and then turn colder again going into next weekend.

For those resorts in West Virginia and Maryland look for temps in the teens today (for highs) and the highs will only be in the 20s through Tuesday with snow in the forecast the middle of next week.

So the summary is: Conditions will remain SAH-WEET for the next week and with these kinds of highs and lows come nice, carvable snow to play on. More terrain will open at the resorts not already 100% open and things will just be great no matter where you ride this next week.


As it turns out, yours truly has to put in some hours at the office today so I won’t be making it to either of the Winterfest activities in Blowing Rock or Ski Beech. If you’re headed that way, we could use a trip report or two. Send them to [email protected] or post them on the messageboard and drop me an email and we’ll go grab them! …and thanks ahead of time!


Jason Vioral, otherwise known as "Mellow Yellow" on the messageboard and one, unbelievable, low turning, long board rider dropped by to see me for a few minutes. He had just finished making some turns at Ski Beech and reported that they looked "real nice". He, TeleDave and some others were headed up to Winterplace for Saturday so we hope they have a great trip up and make some great turns. Photos Jason! Dave?   Also Mellow I meant to show you around the new digs (office) but I was so caught up in getting the Beech Summit coupon running that I forgot.  Drop by anytime and we’ll introduce you to everyone.  Heck that’s an open invitation to all of our readers!


We’re going to be skiing and riding at Ski Beech on February 21st with a few of our closest friends and characters from the messageboard and you are invited. All messageboard members will get a $30 lift ticket to ski all day at Beech that day and that is 50% off the regular, adult ticket price. More accurately…Beech is offering 50% off whatever the age and whatever the price so if you have some juniors who would normally ski for $40 – they’ll get it for $20!

Don’t know what the heck we’re yappin’ about? Click here to check out the SkiNC.com / Ski Beech Summit planned for February 21, 2009 and make plans to come ski with us and make some new friends!

We haven’t done a tour in the last couple of days so let’s do one:

Snowshoe Mountain – 19° – They are the cold spot this AM as the cold has already filtered into their 4848′ elevations. This the first time this season that we have seen Snowshoe 100% with all 60 slopes AND all 14 lifts operating! They are expecting light snow today and great conditions for the great activities planned for today. The WV OPEN is going on right now…so quit reading and go enjoy it.

Laura Parquette writes, "It’s yet another day for skiers and riders to enjoy 100% of Snowshoe Mountain’s terrain on all 60 of our slopes! Across 244 acres of trails, conditions should remain fantastic with packed powder and groomed surfaces. Colder temperatures have returned to the mountain after yesterday’s brief warming trend, and there is the chance for some natural snowfall this morning which will make conditions that much more amazing. This snow could possibly put us over last year’s season total, and it’s only January! Our expert snowmaking team has taken a break for the day and should be able to fire up again as early as tonight. Colder temperatures will remain in the long-term forecast with highs hovering around freezing or below, making for great snowmaking weather all next week. Also in the forecast today is the chance to see the area’s best freestyle athletes throw down at the richest rail jam in the region — the West Virginia Open! One skier and one rider will walk away with $2,000 each, so the competition is sure to be intense. The event starts at 5PM on the Skidder slope with registration from 2:30-3:30PM in the Depot. With 100% of our terrain open, fantastic conditions and more natural snow on the way, Snowshoe is place to get that big mountain experience that’s only a car drive away. Book by February 13th and get your 3rd night FREE! Call 1-877-441-4FUN to make your reservation today! **Skipjack will be closed from 12-4PM for NASTAR racing today. Slaymaker will also be closed from 9-11AM for Race Team training.**"

(You know I COULD NOT have said it better, hence just pasting her remarks!)

Canaan Valley – 30° – They have 38 of 39 trails open today with some terrain park features setup at the bottom of Meadows. They are getting a little light snow today and conditions should be awesome. Ice skating, air boarding, and snow tubing are all open!

Timberline Resort – 21° – They have 32 of 37 trails open with more opening soon says Jessica Scowcroft. Look for Upper White Lightning, Upper Dew Drop and Lower Thunder Draft to all open soon. Also USASA is offering a FREE one day ONCE IN A LIFE TIME opportunity for first time competitors. Athletes who have never ever competed in the USASA in their life may take advantage of a ONE DAY USASA Trial Membership to experience the thrill of competition and possibly become a member of our family.

There is also a Telemark Workshop On-Piste and Off- Piste – With Whole day workshop to skiers interested in on-Piste and Off-Piste techniques. Open to every level skiers, novices included.

Winterplace Resort – 27° – They have 27 of 28 trails open with tubing open and terrain park fun as well – all with great conditions and a chance for a snow flurry or two. We hear that messageboard members, Mellow Yellow, TeleDave and others will be there today!

Wisp Resort – 19° – They have ALL but Loggers Way open today and that makes for 34 of 35 trails open, mountain coastering, snow tubing and terrain parks. All in GREAT condition!

Massanutten Resort – 33° – They are 100% open with all 14 trails, snow tubing and terrain parks with a base of 50" and great conditions. We feature some nice photos today as the Photos of the Day over at Massanutten on the front of the website today!

Bryce Resort – 36° – They are 100% open with all 8 trails and snow tubing. Horst and Ryan Locher have a lot going on up at the Virginia ski area over the next few weeks. Beginning with TODAY they have The Nationwide Band playing in the Copper Kettle Lounge. They also have a Winterfest Festival of their own planned for March 7th…so mark that on your calendars. It’s basically a costume day to dress up in the whackiest outfit possible and ride the mountain. They also have a pond skimming contest – let’s hope it’s a frozen one! They have a RAIL JAM or two as well. They’ll start their day with a pancake breakfast served in the Ski Cafeteria at 8am.

Bryce Resort celebrates "Costume Day" during WinterFest. Children of all ages are invited to dress in costume. Prizes will be offered in a number of categories.

Kid’s Crafts will also be available.

DJ Doug will be on hand to spin your favorite tunes. Ski competitions and demonstrations will include pond skimming and rail jams.

Raffle drawings will be held throughout the day with many great prizes. Plan on joining them for a fun filled day of great activities on and off the slopes!

Wintergreen Resort – 32° – They are 100% open with the best conditions of the season on 26 trails. They also have tubing and both terrain parks operating. Wintergreen Resort welcomes the Wounded Warriors and USSA/SARA Ski Race Participants!

Anne Marie Jones writes, "We have a HUGE weekend planned with superb snow conditions, 100% of our terrain open, tubing, Ridgely’s Fun Park and lots of activities and events. Wintergreen Adaptive Sports is celebrating the 5th Wounded Warrior Event where injured soldiers and marines participate in learning Winter Snowsports. More information can be found at: www.skiwas.org We have all of the ingredients for a great weekend and our snow conditions are spectacular! Thanks to fully automated snowmaking, we can open terrain lightning fast and cover our open trails with a fresh layer of the best quality snow overnight. This is something our loyal customers know they can count on and often rave about."

THE HOMESTEAD – Don’t know…since they don’t report to anyone and don’t even include a report on their own website. I guess they don’t care, if anyone else cares. In case you DO care, they had 5 trails open yesterday. Five trails makes them 100% They have tubing too – and we’re GUESSING that is open.


Joe Stevens was telling me yesterday that only ONE ski area was 100% open the very first day that they opened for the season. That MAY be true for the entire country. The resort? Oglebay Resort & Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia. Oglebat us a 1700-acre, year-round resort in Wheeling, West Virginia just 1 hour from Pittsburgh.

Oh yea – they only HAVE ONE SLOPE!!!

Come to think of it Cloudmont and Sapphire only have TWO, but neither opened at 100%!


Appalachian Ski Mountain – 46° – 100% open with all 10 trails, two terrain parks and ice skating. Should be perfect conditions for a great day to be on the slopes.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 37° – 100% open with all 14 trails, tubing and terrain park features. Don’t forget to join Cat Sunday afternoons for the Cataloochee Recreational Race Series energized by Red Bull. 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. Cost for racing is $5.00 for two runs. You must be 7 years of age or older to participate. Registration begins at 12 noon with racing from 1:30pm-3pm and race awards at 4pm, so dust off those racing skills and test your luck. The Cat is where it’s at on Sunday afternoon’s Recreational Race Series. Call the ski area for more information.

Ski Beech Resort – 31° – They have 11 of 14 trails open and they are reportedly make snow right now and as the temps will be dropping throughout the day they will probably continue to make snow. You guys who are attending the Ski Beech Winterfest activities may see some natural snow mixed in with those bathing suits! Get us some pics and videos! Beech has tubing and ice skating open as well.

If you have not heard about it yet, we are inviting our visitors to come ski and ride with us at Ski Beech on February 21st as we celebrate the SkiNC / Ski Beech Summit. Check out the page at: SkiNC Ski Beech Summit and come join the fun and ski for half price!

Sugar Mountain Ski Resort – 30° – They are 100% open with 20 trails of what Sugar is reporting is Loose and Frozen Granular. They will be making snow later but are not just yet. They offer ice skating and 3 lanes of tubing as well.

Wolf Ridge Resort – 41° – They have not updated yet but as of yesterday they reported 11 trails open with snow tubing as well. We keep ribbing Wolf a little, but REAL QUICK – before you grab a pencil or calculator – Wolf says that they’ve had 8 inches of snow in the last 84 hours. How many days is that? BUZZZZZZ! 3.5 days. Actually it’s been 3 days since Wolf Ridge had any snow and as of this morning it has been 116 hours! Maybe next Tuesday we’ll report that they’ve had 8" of snow in the last 188 hours. Okay you get the point. Maybe reporting snowfall in the last 24, 48 or 72 hours is cool, with 72 hours kind of being the limit of most people’s recognition.

Additionally Wolf is reporting that they are making snow as of yesterday and no snowguns have been running for a couple of days as Friday’s high hit 50°. They do plan on making snow later today and they will focus that on The Howling, Powder Hill, View Finder, Whistling Dixie, the Ridge, and parts of Broadway!

We’ll stay on them til they get good at it.

Sapphire Valley Ski Area – Both trails are open. Tubing opens at 4pm today.

Hawksnest Tubing Park – 33° – 17 lanes of tubing are open.

Ober Gatlinburg – 46° – 6 of 8 trails open and snow tubing is open as well.

Until Next time…

Send your snow photos, videos, comments or emails to: [email protected]

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MarzSki from the messageboard sent this nice shot of Diamond Jim on the left, and the start of ParaDice on the right at Massanutten Resort this week!
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Crazy Temperature Differences This Morning! Zero at Snowshoe, 42 at Cataloochee!
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