Outdoor Updates: Snow Reports, Vital Info for Dog Owners, and New Bike Trails

In case you haven’t noticed this winter has brought favorable conditions to the Blue Ridge region’s ski areas. Looking at reports from West Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia, base depths are high and the number of open slope numbers is plentiful. Rumor has it Beech Mountain’s Oz Run will open soon. Wolf Ridge is open top to bottom. Sugar Mountain has both Tom Terrific and Whoopdeedoo open, and then there’s West Virginia’s Snowshoe, which has received 48” of snow for the season and is operating 48 of 51 slopes. So pack up the family and get some turns in during the upcoming long holiday weekend!

 A shot from this week at Cataloochee – shot by Taylor Leal

Check our full slope report below (As of 1/13/21)

ResortSlopes OpenBase DepthLifts OpenSnowfall (Season)
Appalachian Ski Mountain12 of 1246-80″5 of 6 15″
Beech Mountain16 of 1738-60″4 of 845.5″
Bryce Resort7 of 830″3 of 712″
Canaan Valley14 of 4715-30″4 of 443.6″
Cataloochee Ski Area18 of 1846-66″5 of 525.5″
Massanutten Resort7 of 1432″5 of 86.5″
Ober Gatlinburg6 of 1035-50″3 of 415.5″
The Omni HomesteadRe-Opening Thursday (1/14)29″12″
Sapphire ValleyRe-Opening Friday (1/15)
Snowshoe57 of 6155″12 of 1448″
Sugar Mountain18 of 2141-90″5 of 940.5″
Timberline16 of 2316-60″3 of 343.6″
Wintergreen Resort13 of 2532″+3 of 56″
Winterplace23 of 2728-48″5 of 1017″
Wisp16 of 3415″7 of 1143″
Wolf Ridge 6 of 1526-53″3 of 531″

New Mountain Bike Trails in Tennessee

Thanks to a $6 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Cocke County, Tenn., will see the construction of more than 50 miles of mountain bike trails, many of which are in Cherokee National Forest, in an effort to increase tourism to the rural, natural-resource rich community. Coupled with these new trails in Cherokee are mountain bike trails on the Foothills Parkway right-of-way in Sevier County. 

Many communities in the Blue Ridge have taken notice of the pandemic-driven bike boom and hope to help spur economic growth with increases in bike-centric tourism. As we slowly put 2020 in our rear-view mirrors, outdoor recreation will continue to be a key economic-booster for many rural towns in the region. 

Dog Owners: Watch Out for Xylitol

Dog owners often give canine companions peanut butter to coax them into taking medication, fill chew toys, or reward them for good behavior. But the common nut butter might be potentially harmful, or even deadly, to our furry friends. 

It has been documented in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association that a natural sweetener used in sugar-free fums (as well as candies and baked goods) called Xylitol can cause a sever spike in blood sugar, followed by liver failure in dogs. More relevant to pets, many peanut butter products that tout themselves as being sugar free also use this naturally occurring ingredient. How much is too much? As little as three grams of Xylitol can be fatal to a 65-pound canine or the equivalent of 8-10 sticks of gum. 

But what about cats? “There is no information on whether severe Xylitol poisoning has occurred in cats” according to Dr. Gwaltney-Brant, an expert in the field of veterinary toxicology. 

Next time you go to fill that Kong with peanut butter, make sure it is Xylitol-free.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Places to Go, Things to See: