With Wisp, Wintergreen, Canaan, And More Announcing Opening Day, Ski Season Is Almost Fully In Swing

First Trax

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You wanted opening days? We’ve got opening days.

First, the newcomers to the party. Wintergreen and Wisp Resorts announced yesterday that they will open for the season tomorrow, December 15.  Canaan Valley Resort and Winterplace recently announced that they will open for the season just a day later, on December 16. Sapphire Valley had already previously announced that it will open Saturday for the season, and Massanutten, though it has already spun its lifts earlier this month, will be open for the rest of the season starting tomorrow, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

That means after this weekend, we’ll be waiting on only the Omni Homestead and Hatley Pointe. As for the latter, it will be 2024 before we hear the good news from them, as the ambitious renovations that are taking place are still underway. Keep an eye on their social media to see how the progress is coming along.

It was Santa Ski and Snowboard Day at Sugar yesterday, and the pictures sent over are great.

Photo Courtesy of Kimberley Jochl with Sugar Mountain Resort.

If you were also there, be sure to drop me a line and send a photo. My inbox is always open.

Economic Impact

Speaking of Sugar, the resort held the North Carolina Ski Areas Association’s economic impact conference yesterday. A report recently found that the state’s six ski areas generated $244.3 million annual economic boom to rural communities scattered up and down the state’s mountainous western border in just four months. The ski areas generated nearly 2,000 jobs for the region as well.

“The folks who work and live in these mountainous neighborhoods recognize that North Carolina Ski Areas bring more than cash and people to their communities, they add a sparkle of energy,” Bill Leonard, the owner of Ski Country Sports, said in a press release.

I’ve been pretty amazed at just how much economic impact ski areas across the United States have. The press release from the association states that the average person who stays three nights in the area spends $356, and that for every $100 a skier spends, $65 is generated through indirect impact.

That takes many different shapes: a tank of gas, dinner, or some beers at a local restaurant or pub. I know personally, I’ve even gotten an oil change, or done some grocery shopping in the mountains, because of the difference in price.

The nonprofit Protect Our Winters has done some great work regarding this type of economic impact, and published a report on how a changing climate can truly impact a mountain town’s economics. Give it a read, if you’re looking to learn more on the subject.

Here’s what else you need to know to go shred in the southeast today:


It’s a cold one over at Bryce Mountain this morning. Once again, ski patroller Bill Nabers has you with his report:

Redeye trail opened at Bryce this morning. Skiing on both top to bottom trails (plus Bootlegger) was good today and more folks are checking it out. Snowmaking tonight and tomorrow night should expand the coverage on Redeye and hopefully add White Lightening (another blue square).  Pre-holiday skiing is less crowded and less expensive.  It also make the holiday season more fun! I’m not Santa but I will have my red jacket on. Come take a run, or two with me.”

Don’t forget, Bryce will offer its discounted early season rates on lift tickets through December 22. An adult weekday pass is just $40, and the price bumps up to $55 on the weekend.


All of the terrain at Timberline has been groomed this morning. The one exception is White Lightning. That was groomed Wednesday, and has a layer of fresh snowmaking on the top right now, if you’re looking for some fresh stuff to glide through. Snowmaking is continuing throughout the day. Keep an eye on the Timberline snow report later today, there could be a few new trails open before the end of the day.


Just one more sleep until Silver Creek is up and running.

That and Soaring Eagle will also be open by tomorrow, according to the snow reporting team.

For those snowboarders who are Burton StepOn curious, the resort will hold a test ride day Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a full size run of men’s Photon and women’s Felix StepOn boots for you to try. The demos are entirely free!

This is a great opportunity for someone to check out the technology without committing the $450-plus you need to upgrade your set-up. I – like many snowboarders – were skeptical of the StepOn technology when Burton dropped it a few years ago, mostly due to some horrible memories with the early K2 Clickers. But many shop owners and gear nerds recommend the upgrade, and I’ve come around on the idea.

Today is the last day to buy an Ikon Pass for those of you on the fence. If you need some more guidance on the subject, make sure to read yesterday’s FirsTrax report. I get into some pros and cons of being an Ikon Pass holder in the southeast, and share my own personal experience with it.

Think snow!

Think cold!

Thanks to everyone that joined us on Discord.

Good news for those of you who like to head north for some skiing and snowboarding. (It’s me, I am those of you). The Kendog aka Kenny Griffin has added a northeast channel to our Discord. If you’re headed on trip, feel free to drop any questions you might have in there. I’m headed back up north for the holidays, myself, and I’m going to get some turns in at my old stomping grounds. I’ll be sure to post some photos in the channel.

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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