With 14 Days Left Until Christmas, Old Man Winter Better Get His Stuff Together!

FeaturedFirst Trax

Check the SNOW REPORT for resort and trail openings. Today’s my day to just stumble, semi incoherantly around the region sharing the news of the morning – as it applies to the Southeast and mid-Atlantic ski and snowboarding scene.

A couple of things occurred to me as I toured the Live Webcams this morning. One – it is another foggy, meh-looking day out there on the slopes. The second thought (I don’t have a clue why, it is just how my brain works) – was of a quote by old Don Meredith when he was describing how former Dallas Cowboys football coach, Tom Landry was too much of a perfectionist. He once said of Landry, “If he was married to Raquel Welch, he’d expect her to cook.”

My point is, if you are blessed enough to be able to get out on any ONE of the EIGHT-TWO slopes that are open in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic today – consider yourself one of the lucky ones and make a few extra turns for me. It may not be pretty, and there will be thin coverage and bare spots on many of those trails, but skiing and snowboarding on any decent terrain is a beautiful thing.

Our own, Joe Stevens just texted me to inform me that he was going to Winterplace Resort today to get in HIS first turns down the mountain. I expect photos Joe – or it didn’t happen!

Okay, I’m Still a Bit Bummed and Ready to See the Weather Turn Colder

One glance at some of the weather resource maps that I look at every morning was all I needed to get my Sunday off to a bummer start. The lowest temperature I could find in Avery County was a 37.8° reading atop Sugar Mountain and even with heavy fog and an uncooperative, wet-bulb reading, even Gunther can’t make snow.

The coldest temperature this morning was at Wisp Resort where they are hovering between 32° and 33°, but their automated system has not kicked on to make snow, so evidently the fog/humidity and wet-bulb are not cooperating. Here is a snapshot of temps at 7:30am Sunday morning.

Wisp Resort – 32°

Bryce Resort – 38°
Wintergreen – 37°
Omni Homestead – 37°
Massanutten – 36°

Winterplace – 40°
Canaan Valley – 37°
Timberline – 37°
Snowshoe Mtn – 36°

Sugar Mountain – 37.8°
Beech Mountain – 39.5°
Appalachian Ski – 37.9°
Wolf Ridge Resort – 40.1°
Ober Mountain – 51°
Cataloochee Ski – 42.5°

WAIT! ARE YOU SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE!?!?

As I finished my depressing look at the temperature maps, I looked in on The Weather Channel’s lead news story and – OF COURSE – the headline was, “HEAVY SNOW, POSSIBLE BLIZZARD CONDITIONS FROM COAST TO COAST”!

Hey, WE are on a coast. What the heck. Come On!

Oh. Wait. They are actually saying that by the end of this week WE could actually be seeing some cold air returning and some natural snow!

Click to Enlarge map compliments of The Weather Channel

If the lead to this morning’s FirsTrax update sounds a bit depressing, I apologize. But’s it has been since November 13th since I saw a DUSTING of natural snow (no more than 0.5″ of it). On top of that negativity, we’ve seen “underdeveloped snow” (rain) on eleven of the last thirteen days across much of the region.

Only Wisp Resort in Maryland and Canaan Valley’s Timberline Mountain and Canaan Valley Resort have seen really measurable snowfall so far this early season, with 6.9″ of snow in November. That is a far cry from 43.1″ of snow back in November of 2008-2009.

The forecast does seem to be moving in the right direction with snowmaking temps and some wintry weather starting tonight or at least by Monday night. We’ll look forward to Brad Panovich’s Skiers Forecast later in the week.

Scattered Thoughts…

Thanks to Ed Winebarger of Vilas, who was attending the Red Bull Rail Yard event at Appalachian Ski Mountain on Saturday for sending a couple of pics. We have not heard any results from the event, but here are a couple of photos Ed texted me.

You can CLICK ON ANY to ENLARGE!

 

PHOTO OF THE DAY

 

Patrick O’Brien’s Ice Mill Studios Shows How We Can ALL have Fun, Even When the Weather Isn’t Perfect. Click to Enlarge

Patrick O’Brien of Ice Mills Studio was showing off his team’s skills at Ober Mountain on Saturday. It is just another way to share that when life throws you lemons, make lemonaide. Patrick founded Ice Mills Studio when the economy was throwing us lemons, and in his case when the weather is dishing out temperatures that are above freezing…make ice scultures anyway.

Here are some of the cooler ones we saw. Compliments of Ober Mountain. Click to Enlarge!

Speaking of Ober, I can’t wait to connect with New Ober Mountain CEO, Mark Adams. He was gracious enough to reach out the other day and I am so looking forward to hearing his passion and full story on plans for the popular resort.

For those unaware, Ober was purchased a couple of months ago by a “local group” led by the families of Sevier County natives Joe Baker, Cory Cottongim, and Chuck Edwards. Baker founded the Ole Smoky Distillery in 2010 and Yee-Haw Brewing in 2016.

“Gatlinburg is our home,” said Baker. “The vision for Ober Gatlinburg that was laid out by its founder, Claude Anders, is inspirational. He saw that the greatest views of the Smokies exist up there, high above town, and made it someplace special. His sons have carried on his legacy, and we’re looking forward to celebrating their heritage and continuing their vision.”

The aforementioned, Mark Adams, was the former president and CEO of the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. He has been hired as the President and CEO of Ober Mountain.

“Having led the convention and visitors bureau in Gatlinburg over the past five years, I know firsthand how special Gatlinburg is as a premier travel destination,” said Mark Adams, Ober Mountain’s incoming president. “I am so excited for the opportunity to build on Ober’s rich history and lead the Ober family for years to come.”

We are excited as well. Gatlinburg has always held such a special place in my own family’s history and the owners are talking trail expansion and more! We’ll get an interview with Mark and share more exciting news soon.

Smiles for Miles…

Snowshoe held a Rail Jam of their own on Saturday, creating these cool pics, compliments of Snowshoe Mountain. Click to Enlarge!

WINTERPLACE RESORT BLASTS OFF INTO THEIR 40th ANNIVERSARY YEAR!

They posted a reel to their Facebook page and I captured this clip of it. I am pretty certain at the 12 second mark there is a gentleman wearing a SkiSoutheast hat! Nice!

GET A JOB!!!

One quick Google search of – Ski Resorts Are Hiring – will get you tons of clickable links to every single ski resort in the region and they are ALL in need of hiring. If you don’t mind a little hard work and you love adventure, most every ski area in the region would like to meet you! Opportunities include instructors, lift attendants, cashiers, servers, line cooks, bartenders, dishwashers and event staff.

Don’t be shy! Google ANY resort and the word “hiring” and you’ll see a snapshot of what each ski area is looking for. I just test mown theory by searching “Bryce Resort Hiring” and found Food & Beverage, lift attendant and a line cook position.

The reason I am posting this tidbit of news is that I’ve received more than a dozen emails from people asking if we knew of any openings at any ski area in the region. They are ALL in need of dependable people. There are even some management positions open.

Go get ’em.

Enjoy your Sunday.

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