Winter Is All Mixed Up Lately

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An old saying has always circulated around these mountains. It goes something like, “If you don’t like the weather right now, just hang around for thirty minutes and it will change.”

That was the case over just the last 18 hours or so as moderate to heavy snow was falling in Virginia and West Virginia on Friday afternoon and evening. Two inches of new snow fell at Massanutten Resort, Omni Homestead Resort, and Wintergreen Resort. Three inches fell at Snowshoe Mountain and 1″ of snow hit at Winterplace Resort. Everywhere else? Rain.

The Photo of the Day is from Bill Nabers of Bryce

Some pretty significant rain for a short burst on Friday as many areas saw from about .25″ to .68″ of rain (the latter at Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain).

As I checked the live cams, it is already clearing out in the North Carolina mountains and the blue skies are appearing so it should be a nice day to ride.

The weather may be a bit on the dreary side into West Virginia today, but if you’ve got the right gear there’s plenty of good skiing to be had out there. The key is to stay dry underneath with a nice, waterproof outer layer.

More on the Weather…

I talk about “perception” a lot on this website, because my SkiMail inbox was full Thursday and Friday from people wondering if the snow was going to all be gone due to the 68° high temperatures in Banner Elk on Thursday. We had a gorgeous “early summer day” in the WNC mountains mid-week and most of my office crew was talking about trying to find a place to play…..golf!

However, let me be clear in reporting that our resorts are in great shape for skiing and riding. There is plenty of deep base snow; great side-to-side coverage at most resorts (lone exception would be Wolf Ridge which is already starting to creep in a bit – although they still have plenty of skiable terrain). Note: It is odd that they have not updated a snow report since Thursday.

Back to perception – despite the warm weather and the rain that has fallen. In fact, around the North Carolina mountain resorts – we have seen rain on FOUR of the last TEN days, totally around 2″ of the unpopular, underdeveloped snow-stuff! However, BECAUSE we had such an awesome first two-thirds of a season, base depths are in great shape.

If you check out the LIVE CAMS you WILL see some discoloration going on at some of the NC resorts, but there’s tons of good snow base and the grooming crews will farm that snow into sweet shape to begin each day. One last thing to mention on that subject – a short, four or five day stretch of mild weather isn’t enough to put much of a dent in our slope conditions.

Things WILL be soft and you will hear “Spring Conditions” around but the slopes look really nice.

A Look Ahead…on the Weather…

Things will remain “soupy” for another day or so and then we’re looking at snowmaking temps to return Monday and Tuesday nights. Things look seasonal going into NEXT weekend.

Notables and More…

I have been talking about record skier visits since BEFORE the season began. Don’t believe me? Go check out the Firstrax posts before the first ski area opened this season. Some people emailed me; others texted and I saw many on social media saying things like, “How can records be set when resorts are limiting ticket sales?”

Regardless, records are being broken across the entire coverage area. The first resort to even hint at it is Sapphire Valley Resort in Southwest North Carolina. On Friday they posted that they will close for the season at 6pm on March 7th, 2021 after – wait for it – “a record skier visit season”.

Even if we were to start seeing resorts close for the season TODAY, records have been shattered at some locations and certainly broken across the region. We will report more on that was things begin to wind down in a couple of weeks.

Dramatic Drops in New Covid Cases May Contribute to Even More Late Season Numbers

New cases of Covid-19 are dropping dramatically and have been for the last six weeks and that too may contribute to seeing more people hitting the slopes for one last trip to their favorite slopes.

More Notables…

All resorts are sharing huge, end-of-season discounts on season pass sales for NEXT season and season passes mean more than they ever have. They are one way to guarantee that you’ll get on the snow when you want. This season, resorts have been SOLD OUT nearly every weekend and all Holidays and season pass holders have benefitted greatly. I was speaking to a couple of industry insiders this week and one shared this thought:

Mike, this has been a crazy season. We have been SOLD OUT for so many days this year and it was a huge and pleasant surprise to us. Obviously, Covid was the root cause as people see skiing in the outdoors as a safe endeavor. So the masses have come. We have no guarantee that next season will be any different with or without covid. Season passes are one way to guarantee your place on the slopes. We’d appreciate getting that message out.

Okay – I will toot my own horn again – but I forecasted record crowds early on. I also agree that with or without another bout with Covid, I think the next few seasons will be busy here in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic as many who attended this year will be back again and again.

We have seen record visitor traffic in the mountains since May of 2020.

Canaan Valley Resort

Go see the second night of the Torch Light Parade at Canaan Resort tonight at 7 pm. Help us celebrate an amazing season of skiing and snowboarding here in beautiful Canaan Valley.

Mark Moody of Canaan takes us down Ramble yesterday with Matt (Member of Ski Patrol)

Appalachian Ski Mountain

Midnight Blast Weekends are Back!
For the remainder of the season, every Friday & Saturday Night App Ski Mtn will be skiing and snowboarding until Midnight! This is the region’s only late night skiing, and offers more flexibility and ticket options.

Snowshoe Mountain Showing Soft Snow is Good Snow

Ober Gatlinburg Shares

Bryce Resort

Haven’t updated their snow report/conditions page since February 8th. Thanks to Bill Nabers who sent these photos.

A view from the TOP of Bryce Resort by Bill Nabers – click to enlarge
Another shot of Bryce Resort from mid-week. – click to enlarge
Brian and Brandon Duy Shares from Massanutten AND Snowshoe

Brandon Duy and I (Brian Duy) left Fredericksburg VA at 715 this morning and arrived at beautiful Massanutten resort just in time for first chair. It was a cold but gorgeous blue bird day on the slopes. We spent a good amount of the day over by lift 6 and the blacks and never waited to get on the lift. The slopes were in great condition. Think Snow!

Brian Duy from Massanutten Resort – click to enlarge

Brian wrote:

The Duy Boys from Snowshoe Mountain – click to enlarge

Duy boys are back at SnowShoe! Brandon and Brian Duy arrived at Snowshoe on Thursday night to solid conditions got a few laps in at Silver creek before we enjoyed a giant pretzel from Old Spruce. If you have never had one you definitely need to try one or three.

Friday was one of those awesome days on the mountain. 28 runs over great packed powder and then around 2:30 Mother Nature decided to make things even better.

Snow started light but picked up in intensity and it’s still coming down hard now at 7 pm.

Today’s favorite runs were Bear Claw at Silver Creek and Upper Shays to Lower Cupp on the Western side.

To put it simply today was GREAT!

Speaking of Massanutten Resort…this was a nice social media share

 

Waze for the Slopes???

Early last week I received an email from Enrique Gimenez, of Snowav, promoting a new app as “the first true navigational app for skiers and boarders”. It does have some cool features like “route planning”, live verbal navigational prompts and group skiing.

While designed for large scale terrain, it would probably be a “hoot” to drop in on top of one of our east coast resorts and see how the app alerts us to “turn left at Lower Shawneehaw” and stay straight for 300 yards to Powder Bowl.

Gotta try it though. Watch the video below and download the APP or visit www.Snowav.com. (You’re welcome Enrique.)

Closing thank you’s…

Have to give a nice shout out and thank you to Brian Dix, Brian & Brandon Duy and Rudy Rybeck – who ALL contributed to content this week. Honorable mention to Bill Nabers of Bryce for the photos.

In closing, here is a nice video share from Dr. Katie Wall, assistant professor and program coordinator of Outdoor Recreation Management. Lees McCrae has a full program that teaches ski resort business and related subject matter. SkiSoutheast has sponsored some of these programs and we thought you’d like to see this cool video.

Dr. Thomas Brigham Classroom Tour at Lees McCrae @ Beech Mountain Resort

That’s PLENTY from me today. Enjoy!

Email as you like at [email protected]

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