If you’re headed to Wisp, Wintergreen, or Massanutten, happy opening day to you.
And if you’re a Winterplace, Canaan Resort, or Sapphire Valley Resort local, you’re almost there! Just one more day.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re hitting the slopes today:
There are four lifts open at Wisp today, but just one of them is a chairlift. Chair 3 is spinning, as well as Central Park Handle Tow, Sunset Carpet 1 and Sunset Carpet 2.
As for trails, Happy Camper, Possum, Sunset Boulevard-Wisp, Grouse Way, and Squirrel Cage have all dropped the ropes. Central Park Terrain is also open.
It’s a warm one in Virginia this morning! Temperatures are around 44 degrees, and the team at Wintergreen is spinning two lifts: Potato Patch and the Blue Ridge Express. There are six runs open, including Potato Patch, Upper and Lower Dobie, and its Progression Park.
Massanutten is back, and they’re open until 9 p.m. today and tomorrow.
Paul’s Way, Southern Comfort, Upper and Lower Showtime are all open for skiing and riding. In a weird twist, it is actually warmer at the summit of Massanutten than it is at the airport today: 41 degrees compared to 19.
The season pass window will be open during operating hours for you to pick up a season pass.
The number of open trails has nearly doubled just in time for the weekend.
Eight lifts will give Snowshoe-goers access to 22 trails today. Here’s what the team had to say:
Boy do we have a lot to look forward to on this fine Friday! Silver Creek opens for the season today which also means that tubing and night skiing are back in play. Soaring Eagle and Camp 99 will open this morning as well. The forecast is calling for mostly sunny skies and temperatures rising to above freezing by late morning. Mountaineer Park will be closed for a build during the day session today. Progression Park is open with a fun mix of features, including a fresh jump! Join us for the grand opening of the brand new Powder Monkey lift this morning. We’ll be cutting the ribbon at the bottom of the lift at 10 a.m. before moving the party to the Boathouse!”
There’s a Nor’easter headed our way, as meteorologist Brad Panovich points out in his morning forecast.
Last night wasn’t just any old Thursday night over at Beech Mountain, it was Ladies Night. And if you or someone you know is interested in going, but looking for a girl group to ride (or ski) with, allow me to introduce you to the organization Girls Go Shred.
Started by Kristen Gray and Renner Murphy, the group was simply born out of Gray’s lack of women to ride her snowboard with. The Edge of the World Snowboard Shop employee put out some feelers on Facebook, and got more than 100 responses. The rest is history. You can find Girls Go Shred stickers plastered all over the Banner Elk and Boone area, and t-shirts and hats at the EOW shop.
I was lucky enough to talk with Gray and Murphy ahead of the first Beech Ladies Night of the year. Here’s some of our conversation:
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
JS: How are you feeling about this year with the program and what’s exciting you about this season?
KG: We have a lot of exciting events coming up that we’re doing. We’re hoping to do a couple of new events this year that we haven’t done in the past, but to hopefully kind of get some more people introduced to the sport and the industry, and kind of build our community.
JS: Do you know what those events might be yet?
KG: We’re hoping to do a little bit more with beginners this season. We’ve had a lot of events in the past that we’ve had beginners come out to, but they don’t necessarily cater to people who are just getting on the snow or have never been on the snow before. So, we’re hoping to incorporate that a little bit more this season and help some people get out there for the first time, and give some lessons. And provide some support and information and get more people out there.
JS: What was the process like, getting this all going?
KG: When I first started working at Edge of the World Snowboard Shop (in Banner Elk, North Carolina), there weren’t many girls that worked here, and the few who did kind of moved on. And I was the only woman that worked here. And as fun as it is to ride with the boys, sometimes we just need a group of gals out there. And I noticed that wasn’t really a thing on the mountain. I never saw a big group of women riding together or meeting up or anything like that.
So it was kind of born on the chairlift. I was chatting to my brother about it, and he was like, you know, start something, create a Facebook group or create a meetup. And I did.
We had the first meet up, I think it was 2015. And I put a post out on Facebook and just said, “Hey, I’d love to meet some of the women in the area that ride I’m going to be a Sugar Mountain at this time on this day, meet me at the bottom of slopes. And I think that first event on Facebook, I think we had like 120 RSVPs. I was like, so they’re out there. And there’s a space.
That’s kind of how it all started. And after that I just kept doing more and more meetups, and then we kind of branched out into other different types of events like demos, park nights, park camps, fundraising events, things like that.
JS: Did you find that it was more people who were kind of in your shoes, they’re already like established on snow, but they were looking for a group of woman to ride with? Or were there a lot of people who maybe wanted to try the sport but had never really like found like a place to fit in?
KG: A little bit of both. In the beginning, it was a lot of women who are in the same boat as I was where they were just looking for other women that rode. A lot of people you know, are out there with their boyfriends or husbands, their brothers. Other guys that they have met along the way, and they just hadn’t really met too many women who are snowboarding. And that’s kind of where it started.
Then as we kind of got rolling, and I would talk to people that would come in the shop that I worked at, and I would see people around town, I started spreading the word. And I think that’s when it kind of caught on with people who had always wanted to try and didn’t feel like there was a space that they felt safe or supported or encouraged in. Especially…older women who always want to try the sport and didn’t feel like you know, there was an encouraging environment to do so. Or they hadn’t found it yet, I guess.
JS: Have there been a few defining moments? Maybe it’s on the hill, maybe it’s a conversation you had with someone in the shop. But just something that kind of pointed you in the direction of, like, alright, this is like gaining a ton of traction.
KG: We’ve definitely had some moments that stick out in my brain. One of the biggest things, I think, was the initial response that I had on the first event. That was the first moment where I was like, “Oh, this is something that we need. Not just me, but other people have a need for this in their in their lives.”
But one of the other things we do is park night at one of several local mountains, where they build a specific progression park where it’s really great for beginners to learn on. And then they close the park down and it’s just open to the women for the night and they kind of give us the run of the park.
I think, just the sheer volume of cheers when anything what happened that night whether you nailed a trick, when someone tried something for the first time, whether I fell on my face on a rail, the amount of cheers that people would give us when we got back up, that was a big one for us.
One of the biggest ones that we always talk about, her name is Lucy, and she came out to a park nights a few seasons ago. And I think she was around 10 years old. She had just started snowboarding and she came out…just learning. She’s very shy, very quiet. But Renner actually worked with her for the majority of the night to try and teach her to use her heel edge. And then by the end of the night, I think she had hit her very first feature (in the terrain park).
It was very cool to see the environment, like us wrapping our arms around her to support her. It was you know, 30 to 40 women screaming Lucy’s name. And so I think, for us, that was really cool to witness.
Thanks to everyone that joined us on Discord.
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And as always, email me at [email protected] with your thoughts and photos.
Keep skiing the southeast.