Last Friday was Christmas Eve. We were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the snow for Christmas here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The weather forecasters told us that this would be the first White Christmas for Atlanta since 1882, we are 100 miles north of Atlanta so a White Christmas in Blue Ridge was a “sure thing”.
Christmas morning, I awoke to no snow so I quickly checked the radar to find our where our snow was. It was west of us and on it’s way. By 8:00, the flurries started falling. It snowed, and snowed and snowed. By dusk, we has 6″ of snow on the ground.
After present opening and breakfast, everyone bundled up and went outside to partake in their favorite activity, throw snowballs at dad (me). I think at one point, it was 10 against one. Throughout the day, we had snowball fights, went tubing down the mountain, build a snow fort and an igloo, and had a great time out doors. A perfect White Christmas Day.
When we woke up the next morning, there were an additional 4″ of snow on the ground, making our total so far 10″. The problems started with the guests in the cabins, can’t get out of their rental cabins and can’t get to their cabins. Several of the guests were supposed to check out on Sunday, and there was no way that they could get out, the roads were too dangerous for 2-wheel drive. All of our guests were snowed in, but about half of them were supposed to be going home.
I jumped into my 4-wheel drive truck and headed out. Fortunately, I had purchased rock salt on Friday and headed out to see how I could help. I called one of our arrivals for the day, and tried to turn them back from coming to Blue Ridge. They were traveling from Michigan and their children were coming up from Florida, and they decided to take their chances and come anyway. I ended up having to drive them to their cabin, there was no way they could make it in their cars.
One of my biggest fears is sliding on the ice. Last winter, I went out to help a guest who had slid off the road. I ended up sliding backwards down the mountain and crashing into their car. Sliding on ice is a helpless feeling, once you start sliding, there is nothing you can do. While I did not slide off the road or mountain this week, there were many, many times that I felt the start of a slip.
I think that I stopped sleeping Monday night. The weather was not getting any better, we received an additional 2″ of snow overnight and nothing was melting. In many places the snow was packed from driving on it and was now ice 1″ thick. I went to check on some guests, and could not get within 1 mile of their cabin. I had to hike groceries into one cabin, because they were still in the cabin 2 days after they had planned on leaving.
Tuesday came and several of the guests were able to leave, in the early afternoon the temperatures had climbed enough that the snow was melting and they took their chances and left their cabins. I do not know how some of them got out, one guest left on Tuesday and I was still not able to access the cabin on Friday, every time I went there, there were vehicles (different vehicles each time) stuck from sliding off the road.
Friday, our last guest who was stuck (the ones I drove in on Sunday) were finally able to get out. Friday was also the first day that I did not drive in 4WD at all. It felt good to drive faster than 35 mph for a change. Many roads I had driven in low 4wd not exceeding 5 mph.
So, how was this White Christmas a great thing? I was not sleeping, terrified from driving on the ice, refusing to allow people to check in to their cabins, and assisting stranded guests. I started getting feedback from some of the guests and it was very surprising.
They said, “This was the best vacation we ever had in our life. We never spend much time together, we are always so busy running around. The snow and being stuck in our cabins, forced us to stop and just spend time with each other.” Wow, I’m stunned! I am really happy that everyone had a great time, enjoyed the snow, the time of togetherness with friends and family. I am especially grateful that everyone stayed safe and comfortable in their cabins for the Christmas week.
Hopefully, I will do a better job next time so our guests will be better prepared, I will be better prepared, and I will enjoy being snowed in too.
I am glad that all of you had a great time up here in Blue Ridge for Christmas! I hope that you will come back again and visit us when the snow is not so deep. For all of those who I canceled your reservations, I am truly sorry, but circumstances were beyond my control. Your safety is also a concern of mine, and I did not want you ever to be in danger. I hope that you will give us a call at Sundance Cabin Rentals and come spend time rediscovering your family.