What’s it Like Skiing with Snowguns Blasting?

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Holiday skiing will get into full swing AM on Wednesday with all of the ski areas experiencing heavy traffic. 

That has promted a bunch of emails that I will try to handle as best as possible with this Christmas evening update.

Read on and feel free to ask your questions and we’ll always try to answer them.

Bob Denton of Mississippi asked, "Hi guys.  Nice website by the way. I was wondering since most of the ski resorts don’t have a lot of slopes going, what will that mean for holiday crowding?"

Bob, that will mean that you WILL be standing in lines that you’re probably not going to enjoy.  That is a given.  You didn’t mention where you were skiing, but truthfully all resorts will be crowded particularly as we get closer to the Holiday weekend. Your best bet is to ski early and often and then hit the restaurants while everybody else is in lines. Also if you can ski Wednesday and Thursday..all the better.  Night skiing will be somewhat less crowded than day skiing.  Depending on the resort you’re going to, try to hit the lift chairs that are more to the side of the resort instead of any MAIN lift.

Sugar Mountain is a good example of this.  Ride to the top, ski down to the mid station loading and avoid the bottleneck at the bottom. If you’re at Snowshoe hit any chair but Ball Hooter and you’ll shorten your time in line.

In summary, prepare for 10-20 minutes waits on Wednesday, 20+ on Thursday and the sky’s the limit on the weekend.  Less terrain open WILL affect things considerably.  But know this going in, accept it and have a good time.

Samuel Artice of Georgia asked, "I read that resorts will probably be making a lot of snow and this is my family’s first ski trip.  Is it tough skiing with snow machines blasting away?"

Sam, that is a question that we were asked several times in the last couple of days. There WAS a good chance that the snowguns would be cranking during the Holiday week, but now that the weather seems to be somewhat milder than first thought, the guns will be blasting less than we’d want.  More snowmaking means more slope openings.  However the weather looks to be marginal for snowmaking except for a shot or two at night.  However, IF the temps drop a bit AND we DO get some good snowmaking ops, then skiing and riding in it can be somewhat of a challenge.

Mark McKelvy and Joe Harmon, long-time SkiNC messageboard crew and trail reporters actually just recently paid a visit to Appalachian Ski Mountain during some massive snowmaking.  We clipped several snippets of their videos and posted it so that you could get the idea of what it is like.  Basically watch the video and imagine that the camera lens is your goggles!  Goggles are a must. Click here to see> Appalachian Ski Mountain Snowmaking / Snowboarding Video.

Tina Clawson of Richmond asks, "We have been keeping up with SkiSoutheast because we have a ski trip planned for Wintergreen this weekend.  With the weather looking spotty, should we cancel?"

Tina, the last thing I want is to tell you what you should do and then have you mad at us when and if it does not pan out.  We used your question, but received hundreds more very similar to it.  All you have to do is replace "Wintergreen" with most any other resort and you see what we’re up against. Nevertheless, I will try to tell you my take on the situation and you can take it from there.  First, check the National Weather Service website for the forecast. Then remember that MOST of the resorts do not have weather forecasts that are generated FROM their exact location.  For example, Ski Beech’s forecast is reported FROM Blacksburg, Virginia and pulled from Watauga County Hospital in Boone.  Boone is 20 minutes from Beech and Boone’s elevation is 3146 feet, while Ski Beech and Beech Mountain’s elevation is 5,506 feet. That 2300+ feet makes a LOT of difference in a forecast.

Such is the case at most all resorts.

Now having said that, I’d take the chance and go have fun.  If it rains a little, so what…dress accordingly and go have fun.  Life is too short NOT to go play in the rain occasionally!  The truth is this weekend is still days away and most anything can happen in the mountains.  The temps could drop a bit more than expected and make for snow.  The moisture could be substantially less than reported and only spoil an hour or so of your ski time.

I took a glance at the forecast for Wintergreen and it looks a little wet for Friday during the day…but a 60% chance of rain means that there’s a 40% chance it won’t.  Friday night skiing looks pretty good. Saturday looks sweet with dry skies and good temps. Sunday is spotty again.

Me? I’d go for it. So what if you ski a little less.  Go party, hang out with your family, play a few games when the rain falls…and ski when you can.

Feel free to send your comments, photos and videos to: [email protected]

Also visit www.SkiSoutheast.com for more information on all of the ski areas of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.

See you on the slopes!

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Kevin Stewart shares this snowy photo of Snowshoe Mountain on this past Wednesday, December 19th – What a beautiful day!
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