Wintergreen Already Has More Snow Than Last Season; Plus A Southeasterner’s Guide To The Ikon Pass

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Another day, another skiing-related record to talk about.

Breckenridge Distillery in Colorado gathered 1,377 people for one of the most storied traditions in skiing: the shot ski.

As Powder reported Monday, the distillery gathered 495 skis for the record.

Yesterday, we talked about Jackson Hole Resort in Wyoming smashing the world record for most number of people skiing in jeans. But as Discord user SafeTmanEd pointed out, on any given day, Ober Mountain might have a number of skiers that can rival the record.

Many resorts are offering discounted lift ticket deals leading up to the holidays. Wisp and Wintergreen are really pushing their Mission Affordable 4-Pack deal, which offers four unrestricted 8-hour lift tickets for just $319. The tickets are good for any day of the 2023-24 season, and can be used either by the same skier, or different people. That deal is running through Dec. 18.

Speaking of lift tickets: the Ikon Pass will go off sale at the end of the day tomorrow. Stick around until the end of this report for my perspective on that.

Let’s get into what’s going on throughout the Southeast.


Yesterday, we were happy to report that after some fresh snow, the team at Wintergreen warned us to dust off our skis and boards and “keep a close eye on social media and website toward the middle of the week for an opening day announcement.”

What we didn’t mention is how the four inches of fresh snow that the mountain got overnight was enough to surpass the snowfall totals from the entire 2022-23 season. It seems crazy to say aloud, but hopefully, this is a good sign of things to come.


He’s making some turns, checking for ice. Going to find out who’s naughty or nice.

Santa Claus Ski and Snowboard Day is here. Come to the resort dressed as Santa, Mrs. Clause or an elf and receive a full-day lift ticket for $25.


“It’s so close, we can almost see, feel, and ski it!” the Wisp team said in its snow report this morning.

Well, the day is officially almost here. The resort will open for business Friday, December 15.


While there are still just three lifts and three trails open at Bryce today, the team is teasing out its snowmaking starting on White Lightning and Red Eye. Here’s what they had to say:

We received a light layer of natural snow Sunday night. Even though it wasn’t much it seems to be a sign of a good winter to come! Temperatures dropped into the low 20s Monday night which gave our snowmakers another opportunity to fire up the system…If we can get more snowmaking opportunities this week we should have more terrain open by the weekend and the weather is looking promising right now.”


Good news for those who frequent Timberline: Another two trails are open.

White Lightning is still the only black diamond run open in Davis, West Virginia. But Lower Dew Drop, Lower Thunder Struck, and Upper Dew Drop are all open.

Here’s what the Timberline team reported this morning:

All open terrain has been machine groomed this morning, and snowmaking will continue on both open and closed terrain throughout the day. The Ceiling and Bear Stroll are now open, and we anticipate having a handful of new trails open by this weekend.”


Winterplace will drop the ropes on Saturday morning, and people are flipping out about it.

Details surrounding snow tubing will be released soon. Make sure to read the snow report here Saturday to find out which trails and lifts are open.


Silver Creek will be open by Friday, and oh boy, does it look good. Load testing for the new Powder Monkey lift is complete, which means it should be spinning by this weekend.

“We’re getting closer to a big jump in the trail count ahead of this weekend, with Silver Creek and Soaring Eagle set to open by Friday,” Snowshoe said in its snow report. “Expect some delicious corduroy out there at rope drop this morning. Temperatures in the upper 30s and partly cloudy skies should make for a really nice day to be on the mountain. Snowmaking will be in progress on some open terrain today. Upper Flume is open for Basin access only.


Discord user Dactylis made it up to Cataloochee yesterday. Here is their report:

Temperatures were around 30 degrees and plenty of snow for the main runs. Snowbird, Turkey Trot, and the terrain park were closed and there was some remnant natural snow floating around. Overall it was fun, but the steeper stuff had some serious ice, mixed with small pillows of the shaved off stuff. Not too many folks up there so it was really pleasant. My fat deep powder skis are a lot of fun on the lower angle stuff, but the tiny edge that’s available underfoot really sucks on the ice. Too lazy and cheap to get new skis though.”

Ikon’t Decide Which Pass To Get

If you are a skier or snowboarder and own any piece of technology, it’s probably safe for me to say that you’ve been hit with an advertisement for the Ikon Pass.

The megapass is really one of two leaders in the field, and has been since 2018. I was an Ikon Pass holder from 2020 through last season, and used that pass at resorts all across the U.S., from Big Sky in Montana, to Sugarloaf in Maine, and Eldora in Colorado.

A rare two-plank day at Eldora for FirsTrax reporter Josh Sullivan.

Why do I bring it up? Well, tomorrow is the final day for you to purchase the Ikon Pass for the season. And I’m here to help you make your decision.

It’s not a cheap decision to make. At $1,399 for the full Ikon, the pass costs more than my first car did. That iteration of the pass allows you to ski and ride during blackout periods, which align with the typical days of the season that get the most traffic on the mountain, such as Martin Luther King Day, and the week in-between Christmas and New Years Eve.

There is also the Ikon Base pass, which provides unlimited days at 14 mountains, and five days at another 36 resorts for $979. You can also purchase an Ikon Session pass, which allows you to use it at 2, 3, or 4 days at any Ikon resort. That starts at $319, and can be useful for someone who is planning just one destination trip.

The key thing to point out here: Unlike the Indy Pass – which features Ober Mountain, Cataloochee, Bryce, Massanutten, and Winterplace – the Ikon pass has just a single regional resort on it: Snowshoe. The good news: both the Ikon and the Ikon Base pass gives you unlimited access to Snowshoe, without any blackout dates.

Here is what I will say: I have had some of the best seasons in my life while using an Ikon Pass. There’s not many thrills that can compare to seeing a $50 budget airline flight to Colorado, and sending it on a whim to Denver, while proceeding to split your time between Winter Park, Eldora, and Arapahoe Basin. If you pack your own lunch and crash on a friend’s couch, that trip could cost you just a couple hundred dollars, thanks to the already-paid-for pass.

There are very few things in this world that are better than a bluebird day at Araphahoe Basin.

But here’s what else I will say: I did not renew my Ikon for this year because the high cost of entry made me wince at the thought of spending any more money on skiing and snowboarding than I already had. So even though a half-night session at Appalachian Ski was only $35, it was tough for me to justify spending even more money on lift tickets after I had dropped so much on a pass.

Now this year, I won’t think twice about buying lift tickets at all the mountains in the area that I have had on my shred bucket list. And while I will most certainly cringe when forking over $160 for a single-day lift ticket at Brighton Resort in the spring, I will remember all of the money I saved leading up to that point and be at peace with my decision.

Simply put, if you are local to one of the resorts (and being more direct here, if you plan to make frequent trips to Snowshoe this season), and have at least one trip planned to another member resort like Sugarbush, Vermont or Big Sky, go for it! Two days at Big Sky alone can quickly cost more than $400, and trust me, if the conditions aren’t perfect, you’ll be grading every turn you make on a harsher scale.

Big Sky, Montana is one of the member resorts on the Ikon Pass.

But if your plan is to shred locally, perhaps forgo the big pass, and indulge in an Ikon Session pass for that trip out west.

One more thing to point out: Ikon loves to hand out discounts. If you’re a college student, member of the military, or a nurse, you can land yourself a steep discount. Adults under the age of 22 also pay over $200 less than the rest of us. If you can finagle a cheaper price, that might sway your decision.

There are others who have put together far more comprehensive guides to the megapasses. The Storm Skiing Journal has put together a Google Doc breaking down all 308 ski areas that are on a U.S.-based megapass.

And while Outside has partnered with Ikon as a sponsor, Outside Magazine has done some good reporting surrounding the pass as well.

Either way, you have until tomorrow to make your decision. Good luck!

Think snow!

Think cold!

Thanks to everyone that joined us on Discord. Never hesitate to drop me, or any other members of the SkiSoutheast team, a line.

Click here to join us on our new SkiSoutheast Discord channel. It is a great way to meet new snow loving friends and shares experiences, ask questions, and more!

And as always, email me at [email protected] with your thoughts and photos.

Keep skiing the southeast.

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