What a difference a snowstorm makes

It’s wintertime in Snowshoe! Yesterday, the 3rd of March was bright sunshine and plenty of fun with some special events – including the spectacle of hip-hop DJs and grown men riding tricycles in the middle of the Village Plaza. But today the 4th of March is an awesome snowstorm. We awoke to just a half inch of fresh snowfall. But, more importantly, the snow guns ran all night, and at the time of this writing, just before noon, the snow is still coming down in big glorious flakes with at least two inches having already fallen and a forecast for more.

The Skidder slope yesterday around mid-day.

The Skidder slope yesterday around mid-day.

Skidder at 6:52am with groomers and snow-making

Skidder at 6:52am with groomers and snow-making

Skidder today at 11:34am Sunday.

Skidder today at 11:34am Sunday.

Snowshoe logs 9″– first big snow of the season

9" on the tables at the Shavers Center.

9" on the tables at the Shavers Center.

Okay, so maybe it’s raining at Snowshoe right now on this Monday morning, but the weather gods were kind to Snowshoe ski season dreamers over the weekend of October 2 & 3. Less so to mountain-bikers, who were sent packing by the 3/4 foot of fresh powder. Snowshoe PR folks posted video and images on the Facebook page.

Cool Snowshoe fauna: blue crayfish

Seen near the base of the Ball Hooter chairlift on August 15

Seen near the base of the Ball Hooter chairlift on August 15

Here’s something we don’t see back in the low country: a blue crayfish. We spotted this one last Saturday after a chairlift ride down to Shaver’s Lake. It had been a mostly rainy day at Snowshoe, and this fella was on the lakefront trail. According to the pictures posted at the website of a Denison University professor, Whitney Stocker, this appears to be Cambarus monongalensis.

Snowshoe really becoming a motor paradise

At times, Snowshoe is not a quiet beach house.

At times, Snowshoe is not a quiet beach house.

It’s no quiet beach house at times. And this weekend appears to be one of those times, as Snowshoe is once again hosting the Freedom Fest, West Virginia’s motorcycle touring rally. Homeowners should be pleased, as this brings revenue to the mountaintop on a summer weekend when things might otherwise be quiet.

Speaking of quiet, there was little to be had on the last weekend in June when the slopes of our favorite resort were handed over to off-road motorized machines as Snowshoe played host to the GNCC. What’s the GNCC? It’s a serious set of off-road races in which motorcyclists and ATV riders compete for over $3 million in prize money at various sites.

When we called about visiting Snowshoe that weekend, we learned that not only was the Village almost totally booked, but that with the GNCC having taken over the resort, it just wasn’t gonna be the kind of weekend to stroll amid nature. Even the downhill trails normally available for muscle- and gravity-powered bicycling were off-limits to the usual Snowshoe customer.

Though it’s hard to turn down such a big, cash-generating event, the animals and nature-lovers are probably glad that “Thomas and Moss” have moved on.

Megasnows greet opening day

They can probably turn this thing off!

They can probably turn this thing off!

After delaying the start of the ski and snowboard season from its original date of November 24, Snowshoe resort is getting a rich reward in the form of a massive snow dump which has already delivered about two feet of snow in just the past couple of days. Now read what the National Weather Service is promising this morning:

Today: Snow showers and areas of blowing snow. High near 11. Wind chill values as low as -17. Windy, with a west wind between 25 and 29 mph, with gusts as high as 44 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.

Tonight: Snow showers and areas of blowing snow. Low around 4. Wind chill values as low as -18. Windy, with a northwest wind between 24 and 29 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

The ropes drop at 9am Wednesday, December 8.

Natural snow, cold temps combine to suggest good start Dec. 10

snowshoe-prepping-m

A snow tech prepares to a check a snowgun near the summit of the Ball Hooter lift December 1.

I don’t know how much it rained overnight, but it was a steady downpour all night November 30-December 1, and it resulted in the erasure of a lot of the hard work of the Snowshoe snowmaking crew, which — like the rest of us — probably hoped that the season would open as scheduled last Wednesday, November 24.

But Mother Nature made other plans.

The season is now slated to open on Friday, December 10th at 9am. So that’s good news that an opening day is in sight.

The other good news is that natural snow began falling this morning, December 1, around daybreak. By the time I left the mountain at 2:30pm today, it appeared that at least three or four inches of fluffy white snow had fallen. Combine that with a steady stream of manmade snow, and the base is on its way.

Oh, and the National Weather Service shows cold temperatures and snow showers for the forseeable future, so the guns are likely to keep on gunning, and the base is likely to keep on deepening.

Bill Rock leaves Snowshoe GM position for Northstar

snowshoe-billrock Just as the ski season is about to launch, it has been announced that Bill Rock, who has served as Snowshoe’s president and chief operating officer since 2005, is leaving to take the helm at a ski resort owned by another company. Rock will leave Intrawest-owned Snowshoe to become general manager at a California ski area recently purchased by the publicly held Vail Resorts.

Rock, with 14 years in the mountain sports industry, will lead Northstar at Tahoe, a recently revamped resort near Lake Tahoe that Vail Resorts announced last month it was buying for $63 million.

At Snowshoe, Rock helped lead the resort through the last gasps of the building boom launched around the turn of the century under Intrawest. He partnered with the developers of the Soaring Eagle Lodge to gain a new million-dollar high-speed quad lift unveiled in time for the 2006-2007 season, the Soaring Eagle Express. The high-speed quad chairlift replaced the old fixed-grip (read: very slow) Widowmaker lift.

Rock also knew when to pull back. For instance, there was a slopefront condo called Eight Rivers slated Continue reading “Bill Rock leaves Snowshoe GM position for Northstar”

Snowshoe Unauthorized gets a Twitter account

snowshoe-village-twHere it is. Sorry for the delay. Busy with my day job, I guess. Please feel free to email me any time via snow@readthehook.com with ideas for updates.

Snowshoe upgrades buggy tours with Green Zebra

Snowshoe has partnered with Green Zebra to offer buggy tours of the mountain

Snowshoe has partnered with Green Zebra to offer buggy tours of the mountain

Casting aside its old dune-buggy program introduced no more than two years ago, Snowshoe is celebrating a new partnership that brings an Arizona-based adventure travel company called Green Zebra Adventures to the mountain. Gone are the days of $84 (driver) and $41 (passenger) rides. In comes the so-called Tomcar with prices ranging from $49 for the backseat of a four-passenger vehicle to $149 for a single driver on a solo ride — though the standard fare appears to be $109, based on two-person occupancy. Snowshoe’s website doesn’t yet say how long the 14-mile tour is supposed to last, but the Tomcar does appear a little more sophisticated — with four-point racing harnesses and 4-wheel independent suspension — than prior buggies. The new partnership reportedly began on Memorial Day weekend. The tours began at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, with an additional 6pm tour on Saturdays.

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