Who the Heck Says This Has Been a Bad Winter?

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Photo of the Day was shot by Sam Dean of Sam Dean Photography while at Beech Mountain Resort

If you think that this has been a bad winter, you’re only considering the weather and not what counts. What COUNTS, is how many skiers and snowboarders the ticket counters can COUNT. I am here to tell you that while the first half of this season seemed to ‘eat up weekends’ with poorly timed rains that kept crowds down for at least half of each weekend, that has NOT been the case through the second half of the season to date.

Our ski areas are always going to be busy on weekends. That’s where perhaps 30-50% of their skier visit revenues are generated. Weekdays are important, but those are kind of ‘gravy revenues’. The ski areas generate a huge percentage of their revenues during “the Big Three” and the big three are the Christmas-to-New-Year’s week, MLK Weekend and the current President’s Day Weekend. The Christmas week and the two, four-day, holiday weekends generate a lion’s share of the skier visits when the weather is cooperative – and trust me, the weather was very cooperative for each of those important dates on this season’s calendar.

Appalachian Ski Mountain’s President, Brad Moretz shared at the half-way point in the season (a few weeks ago) that he would grade the current season as a “seven out of ten” at that point and he added that with some great weather the rest of the way, this could be an eight or a nine.

I will go ever so slightly out on a limb and say that this season is NOW ranking around an eight or nine for most (but not all) of our ski resorts within the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.

I drove by Sugar Mountain Resort on Saturday and the crowds were MASSIVE. MASSIVE. MASSIVE. I did a couple of quick tours (via the LIVE CAMS) during the day and the slopes were “covered in ants”. Those “ants” had each paid a nice premium to be on those slopes.

Trust me, this has been a very nice season after all. Challenging as hell for snowmaking and grooming crews; frustrating at times for the mountain ops crews who have been challenged to build, rebuild and rebuild again (and sometimes again with all of the rains that have had)…but in the end, this season will go down in the financials as a pretty nice season. Some ski areas will, no-doubt, close in mid-March – but many will play for yet another six or maybe even seven weekends and if those weekends turn out to be as nice as the last two or three, this might even be close to record skier visits for a few ski resorts.

Let’s Talk Today…

As I looked around this region this morning, many ski areas made snow overnight, however only Sugar Mountain and Snowshoe Mountain were still cranking out some snowmaking and those were only on a couple of slopes. The Town of Beech Mountain was making snow on their sledding hill. Other than that, all of the resorts had turned their snowmaking plants off. By the time most of you read this post, all snowguns will be off for the day and that means….

Sunday Will Be A Glorious Day on the Slopes of the Southeast

Highs near 40°. A few high clouds to make for “Kodak moments” from the mountaintops. Firm snow – especially for the first half of the day. Maybe some ambiance, natural snow flurries later in the evening.

Look for the slopes to be packed, wall-to-wall, with more ants (paying those premiums).

If You Like Your Snow Report Video Style

 

Random Notables…

Appalachian Ski Mountain is (again) 100% OPEN as Hard Core and Thin Slice are open as well as tons of park features and ice skating. Today, they are also offering a “Grill on the Hill” – with Burgers, Dogs and more cooked & served slopeside 11am – 3pm. They also have a Special Family Skate Session – 5-6:30pm $15 package AND you can play at App tonight until the clock strikes midnight with their Midnight Blast Session – ski and ride 5pm – Midnight

Canaan Valley Resort – has amped up to 26 trails open today. Awesome awesome.

Massanutten Resort
Snow Tubing is sold out for today. Free equipment demos today provided by Freestyle Ski & Board shop at the base of lift 6. Freestyle features in the Pacesetter Terrain Park.

Ober Gatlinburg
Snow Tubing Tickets are sold out Fri, Sat & Sun..but the Scenic Chairlift, Ski Mountain Coaster, Ice Skating, Wildlife Encounter, Carousel, The Shops at Ober, The Seasons of Ober Restaurant and the Loft Lounge are also available to guests of Ober Gatlinburg

Snowshoe Mountain – as if 51 trails were not enough, they added another open trail for Sunday fun day. 52 slopes across 192 acres of awesome conditions.

Winterplace Resort – they too added an additional trail opening to take their Sunday offering to 22 trails open for Sunday enjoyment.

A Quick SkiSoutheast Summit Update

We are happy to share that with almost two weeks to go until the Summit begins (Feb 28th), we now have 125 friends joining us for all the fun. YOU SHOULD JOIN US AS WELL!

I know meteorologist Brad Panovich hates it when we talk snow more than a few days out, but the trend is hinting at cold temps and even some chances of snow. Of course we will keep you guys posted as we get closer, but Snowshoe IS BOOKING UP fast (there is very limited availability left in the Village) so book today!

Click HERE and join us.

A Couple of Photo Shares

Photo from Beech Mountain taken by Sam Dean of Sam Dean Photography

Gotta LOVE IT when people are having fun. This is a nice shot from yesterday at Bryce Resort

Great event at Massanutten

My obligatory share that Sugar Mountain is grossly over-reporting natural snowfall this season:

Sugar Mountain Snowfall 2019-2020
Reported Snow thru 2/16/2020 44.2″
Actual Snowfall thru 2/16/2020 27.5″

 

 

 

That will do it for today.

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