10 of 18 Southeast and mid-Atlantic Ski Areas Open Four Days Before Christmas

With 58 of 355 trails open today, we are at 16% open.

It’s a numbers game today with 18% of the region’s slopes and trails operating. That is 66 of 363 total trails at the region’s 18 ski areas (including Liberty Snowplex’s 8 of 8 as they don’t rely on snow to be open). Take away the artificial snowplex surface and we’re running 58 of 355 slopes and trails or 16.3% of our available trails.

Appalachian is Open with 8 of 12 slopes, ice skating and more.
Appalachian Ski Mountain is Open with 8 of 12 slopes, ice skating and terrain park features.

Only ONE ski area in the region (Snowshoe Mountain) is operating with double-digit slope openings and that is with 13 of 60 trails or 21.7% of their trails. Appalachian Ski Mountain may offer the best, closest-to-normal experience right now with 8 of their 12 trails open or 67% of their mountain.

We’re going to instruct you guys to CHECK THE SNOW REPORT for details as to which resorts are operating with what slopes and trails, but suffice to say that whatever slopes and trails are open NOW will be the slopes and trails that are open for this week, weekend and into the end of December – “IN A BEST CASE SCENARIO”.

Keep checking the snow report daily as frankly there are a couple of ski areas with very limited bases and only a trail or two open that we’re very wary of whether or not they will remain open all this week – must less be able to stay open for Christmas, next weekend or the following week.

Add in some wet weather in the forecast and we could be seeing numerous other ski areas to suspend operations.

All I Want for Christmas (NOW) is Very Little Rain…

2015-Dec-21-sad-winterUmmm in case you didn’t know it – Winter Begins Tonight at 11:48 PM.

If you have a ski getaway planned for the Christmas through New Year week…hold out SOME HOPE that we may see a shot of snow showers as we get to December 31st and January 1st.

However between now and then…

Normally I’d amp up my Christmas wishes for some nice, cold air and maybe a bit of snow for the coming week and into the New Year. I’m still holding out hope for some freak colder air for the snowmakers to kick on sometime during the week ahead and that would be awesome. However, right NOW what I going be wishing for is for less RAIN than it looks like is headed our way from Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

See Brad Panovich’s latest Skier’s Forecast.

Brad is STILL talking about a “pattern change” that could come after the first of the year, but the peril right now is this week’s “rain event” that could spell real trouble for any hopes that the ski areas that are open, CAN STAY OPEN. First let me say that we LOVE our Official Meteorologist, Brad Panovich – but even he tends to “overstate” the effects of rain on manmade snow. In his weather video blog he mentioned that the rain of the next three days “may or will melt all of the snow”.

Trust me when I state emphatically that this will not happen. Yes, rain will melt snow…but there is ONE TO TWO FEET of base depth snow at many of the ski areas and unless we see some torrential downpours of rain, there will be plenty enough snow to weather this weather coming in this week.

Here’s the GRIM forecast for this next week and weekend:

We are going to see milder temps today and all week with highs in the upper 40s to low 60s by Christmas Day. Overnight lows will be in the low 40s (ugh) and even some low 50s. We will see some LIGHT RAIN developing across much of the region today, but some ski areas may avoid this rain altogether. Tuesday looks like some morning rain (again light) and then a dry afternoon. So – thus far we’re o-k-a-y.

The rain that we’re going to need to be concerned with is the system that may make its way into much of the area Tuesday night and into Wednesday. For the most part the rain hitting Monday and Tuesday should be nothing to worry about. The rains headed our way for Wednesday looks to be the three quarters to one-and-a-half inch variety.

Let’s pray for it to be on the lower end.

The weather this week will be unlike any Christmas week ever experienced in our region. We’ll be breaking record highs from Thursday through the weekend as a warm, moist tropical flow will not be denied. This event could cause some HEAVY RAINS particularly Wednesday morning.

Right NOW things look drier and warm Christmas Weekend…with some stray showers possible (30% chance or so).

One to Two Inches of Snow for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day?

P-u-h-l-e-a-s-e!  Unfortunately long range forecasts HAVE been accurate this early season SO we can HOPE that this one is as well. Right now, there looks like a chance at some colder air – just cold enough to mix with some moisture and 1-2″ of snow is in the forecast for some of the higher elevations.

2015-Dec-21-snow-forecast
The snip above is from Weather.com and it is supported via OpenSnow.com as well. We can hope!

Things LOOK like we MAY be getting another shot of snowmaking temps as we get to January 1st-4th.

The Question of the Weekend???

In some form or another, THIS is what we’re most often being asked,

Do you think XYZ Resort will get open for Christmas and with the rain in the forecast, will they stay open?

With that question in mind, HERE are the ski areas that ARE OPEN TODAY. We’re showing OPEN, MADE SNOW, NIGHT SKIING, ICE SKATING and TUBING.

OPEN
Appalachian Ski Mountain
Beech Mountain Resort
Canaan Valley Resort
Cataloochee Ski Area
Massanutten Resort
Ober Gatlinburg
Snowshoe Mountain Resort
Sugar Mountain Resort
Wintergreen Resort
Winterplace Resort
Wolf Ridge Resort

MADE SNOW IN LAST 24 HOURS (None are making snow today.)
Appalachian Ski Mountain
Beech Mountain Resort
Canaan Valley Resort
Cataloochee Ski Area
Massanutten Resort
Snowshoe Mountain Resort
Sugar Mountain Resort
Wintergreen Resort
Winterplace Resort
Wolf Ridge Resort

NIGHT SKIING
Appalachian Ski Mountain
Beech Mountain Resort
Snowshoe Mountain Resort
Sugar Mountain Resort
Wintergreen Resort
Wolf Ridge Resort

ICE SKATING
Appalachian Ski Mountain
Beech Mountain Resort
Ober Gatlinburg
Sugar Mountain Resort

TUBING
Cataloochee Ski Area
Massanutten Resort
Ober Gatlinburg
Snowshoe Mountain Resort
Sugar Mountain Resort
Wintergreen Resort
Wolf Ridge Resort

Look, we KNOW that every ski area is fighting to be able to BE open and REMAIN OPEN for the Christmas-to-New Year week. If a ski area isn’t listed as open right NOW, it is doubtful that they will BE open later in the week. The only exception to that MAY BE Timberline Resort which is not open YET, but they may be saving their snow to open Christmas Day or weekend.

Some readers seem to asking us for some kind of guarantee that certain ski areas will be operating. While we cannot do that, what we will do is kind of go out on a limb and tell you our “Best Bets” to be open for Christmas Day and Christmas Weekend.

OUR BEST BETS:
Appalachian Ski Mountain
Beech Mountain Resort
Canaan Valley Resort
Cataloochee Ski Area
Snowshoe Mountain Resort
Sugar Mountain Resort
Winterplace Resort

There COULD be a surprise or two one way or the other and we will certainly be monitoring the announcements and the weather and we’ll update you as soon as we are aware of any changes.

WHO’S WITH US…???

We’ve received a lot of emails from you guys after we posted our “Let’s Just Make Memories” story. If you haven’t read it, check it out:

…and THEN drop us an email if “you are with us”. We thought it would be fun to hear from any of you who are simply going to go with whatever weather and snow is available to us and have a great getaway regardless.

Drop me an email [email protected] with your thoughts and we may have some fun with it and give away a few FREE LIFT PASSES to enjoy some free skiing once the weather is more cooperative!

If you’re going to be at Snowshoe during the Christmas week…let us know as I will be there as well and perhaps we can meet up, make some turns together and get some cool videos of the good times…no matter the weather. We may even do a LIVE BROADCAST on the slopes.

Email me “If You’re Going to Have a Great Time, Regardless” – [email protected]

A Couple of Closing Comments –

Massanutten Resort – 12/21/15 at 7 am – Opening day is upon us, lift #4 servicing our Southern Comfort trail will open at 9:00am to kick off the season. Early Season rates will be in effect with 4-HR and 8-HR sessions offered.

Due to the forecasted temperatures, operations for the remainder of the week will be made on a day to day basis, so please call ahead or watch this page for updates.

Bryce Resort was close to opening and is still trying.

No word from Timberline Resort

 

Until next time…

Enjoy your day and THINK SNOW! THINK COLD! Email me anytime and about anything at: [email protected]

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. Since September 1996 he has posted more than 13,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.