When is a Ski Resort Open, But NOT OPEN!?!?!

FeaturedFirst Trax

USUALLY anytime it is SNOWING or snowed I would be leading the FirsTrax news with that bit of information. So I should mention that we have reports from 1″ of snow at Beech, Winterplace, Wisp Resort and Sugar; trace amounts at various resorts and 2″ at Snowshoe Mountain and 3.3″ at Canaan Valley Resort and Timberline.

Canaan Valley Resort this morning at 9:30am. Click to Enlarge!

Getting back to my title question of, “When is a Ski Resort Open, But NOT OPEN!?!?!”

Here’s the best way I know to answer my own question:

The Oz Run at Beech Mountain is NOW OPEN. Kind of! Click to Enlarge!

The popular Oz Run trail at Beech Mountain Resort is open for the first time in quite a long time. (Probably two or three years ago.) …and if you are reading about it here, chances are you won’t be able to go ski or ride it, because Beech Mountain Resort is SOLD OUT for Saturday and Sunday.

A SIGN OF THE TIMES THIS SEASON – They are not the only ones as:

Appalachian Ski Mountain is – SOLD OUT FOR DAY SESSIONS.
Beech Mountain Resort is SOLD OUT Saturday & Sunday. No walk up sales.

Bryce Resort is SOLD OUT for tubing through Monday. No mention of lift tickets, but they did mention RENTALS and LESSONS also being SOLD OUT.

Cataloochee Ski Area shared: Due to the overwhelming demand and to give the best guest experience, we have gone to a reservation only system. Please book your lift tickets and rentals online at cataloochee.com. In order to purchase a rental, you must purchase a lift ticket as well. If you do not see the time or day you are looking to purchase that means we are sold out. Currently, we are only accepting reservations two weeks out. Once we are sold out online, we will not be accepting walk-up guests. Please understand this is a holiday weekend, there will be lines in order to pick-up tickets, rentals and lift line. At the time of this posting the Adult 6 Hour ticket is sold out for this Saturday, January 16th.

Massanutten Resort is SOLD OUT Saturday & Sunday for skiing and tubing.

Ober Gatlinburg – Tubing and rentals SOLD OUT, Individual lift tickets will still be available to purchase for those that have their own equipment.

Wintergreen Resort is SOLD OUT for Saturday & Sunday.

Wisp Resort – Day and night lift tickets, rentals, and lessons are sold out for Saturday 1/16 and Sunday 1/17 for skiing and snowboarding. Snow tubing is sold out for Saturday 1/16 and Sunday 1/17.

That has been a recurring theme all season long.

The truth is, other resorts are sold out or selling as many lift tickets as possible because there is NO QUESTION that we are seeing crowds attending many of the ski areas of the southeast and mid-Atlantic like never before.

While most or many are selling out and seeing record numbers of skier visits this season – a handful are actually throttling back on the number of people allowed on the slopes by perhaps 30-35%. (Snowshoe, Appalachian Ski Mountain and Massanutten Resort are among them.)

We have been reporting how packed the slopes are at various resorts this season and I heard from Brad Moretz and the crew at Appalachian Ski Mountain last weekend sharing:

We have structured our participation to give people a measured, excellent experience on the slopes and off.

Lift Line wait times at 1:30pm Sat. Jan 9:

#1 Quad: 4 minutes

#2 Double: 5 Minutes, 39 seconds

#3 Quad: 6 minutes

Appaltizer Conveyor: 11 minutes, 30 seconds

Well there you go….

Records Will Still Be Set This Weekend Across the Region

Joe Stevens buzzed me early Thursday morning and he shared, “You know it has been years since the three-day MLK Weekend has had the kind of weather forecast we have headed into this weekend. We’ve seen some rain on at least one day within each of the last several MLK weekends that have held crowds down. But the forecast is for cold and snow and I’m predicting a record skier visit weekend for the Southeast region.”

I concur!

Let’s put it this way. MLK and President’s Day weekends are not for the faint of heart and they are not for locals and people who ski or ride multiple times each season. These last two long, holiday weekends are for the masses of skiers and snowboarders who only trek to the mountains on 3-4 day weekends. You won’t catch me clicking in this weekend – although the conditions will be marvelous!

With this weekend now guaranteed to be at or near record levels of skiers and snowboarders on the slopes, that will ensure that two of the three most important weeks and weekends to every ski area have been amazing! Nearly 30-35% of many ski resort’s skier visits come within the Christmas to New Year period, with another HUGH bulk of skier visits on the two holiday periods of MLK and President’s Day weekends.

Without question, President’s Day Weekend, which will be celebrated on February 12-15th this season, could be totally washed out with rain and this season would be fine. In an odd twist, I know more than a few mountain ops who would INVITE a President’s Weekend washout as they could use a weekend to catch their breath.

Shhhhh. The Weather Has Been Spectacular This Season

In case you missed it, we did a LIVE Facebook feed showing the snow falling across several ski areas this morning. Here is that video.

Kenny Griffin texted me this morning that the weather pattern looks to be holding and we should see more continued cold and snowy conditions for the next two weeks – at least. THAT will put us right at the half-way mark in the 2020-2021 ski & snowboarding season and we have not seen a mild stretch of weather like we do nearly every year. Might that still happen? Sure, but not for at least another couple of weeks.

If you have a chance to ski or ride, wait until after Monday of this week and then make those plans to get on the slopes. Do BOOK in advance!

Check out ALL the SNOW via our Mountain Resort Cams!


Beech Mountain Resort – again they are almost 100% OPEN now with Oz Run NOW OPEN!

Ober Gatlinburg – I can’t tell you HOW GREAT it has been to see how the weather has cooperated in the Great Smokies this season. Ober has had great snowmaking and even 16″ of natural snow on the season. That has provided them with their best season in probably a decade or more.

Here is a nice aerial shot at Ober’s Aerial tram in the snow.

Timberline Mountain posted this message:

While Timberline Mountain is not limiting capacity on the mountain, we do advise skiers and snowboarders that we have limited parking spaces. We recommend parties traveling together carpool to the lodge, or that non-participants drop off their parties in our drop off area in front of the lodge. In observance of COVID-19, indoor seating will be limited. We ask that parties limit their time at indoor tables to 30 minutes or less. Additional outdoor seating will be available.

Wintergreen Resort Park Team Message

Join us and the Wintergreen Terrain Park team for our first rail jam of the season. Information is below. Every Participant must have a valid lift ticket.
Date: Saturday January, 16th
Location: Dobie Progression Park.
Format: 45 Minute Jam Session.
Entry Fee: $15.

Really Liked this Message from Wolf Ridge Resort

❄️Snow is falling❄️, groomer is running, all we need is you! ⛷🏂

Snowshoe Mountain Adaptive Ski Program

REALLY appreciate this video and the program! You can email Carol Woody of Snowshoe to support this great program at Executive Director: Carol Woody – [email protected]

Closing Comments…

Most all ski areas made snow and some were early this morning, however the conditions are so nice you that you can expect little to no snowmaking during open sessions anywhere this weekend.

The holiday weekend is cold, windy, and snowy at times. Snow showers and flurries are around today and tonight with flurries lingering into Sunday morning. Snow showers return again Sunday night and continue into Monday afternoon. Today’s snow is the better producer of the two rounds. However, outside of the higher westward facing slopes closest to the TN border accumulations are generally light today/tonight, a solid dusting to “about an inch” or so. Locations above 4000′ will pick up 2″-3″ by tomorrow morning.

Here are a couple more photo shares:

Appalachian showing off some snowmaking


Beech Mountain looking gorgeous this morning!

That’s it for me today. Enjoy! Email me at [email protected]

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