I have to tell you guys and gals that this season has actually had me working harder than ever because it takes more time to define what is open and what isn’t than during a typical season when everything is open. With the crazy temperature inversions and variances all over the place, it takes me longer to research and compile than during a normal season. I say “to hell with this El Niño thing!”
I don’t normally do coffee but on this morning I found the need for a bit of a charge to my batteries as it took about three hours to get through all of the details and data to share. (By the way, I have a really good friend in Maryland who IS an NSA agent and he keeps me in NSA and Cyber Command coffee cups. I wonder if this cup is bugged? Hmmm.)
It’s Another Crazy Temperature Morning…
As I was readying myself for updating the snow reports this morning, I looked out my front door to see ice on my windshield. CHECK. (Looking Great so far.)
I looked at the temperature via our in-home weather station. Temperature 27°. CHECK.
…and then the first ski resort temperature that I researched as of 7:45am this morning was Appalachian Ski Mountain. Temperature: 38° and the snowguns were off. What?
Boone is reporting 26.3°; Foscoe (close to my neighborhood) 23°; Valle Crucis 22.4°. As of 8am – Appalachian 40°; Beech Mountain 39.8°; Sugar Mountain 39.7°; Cataloochee (over in Maggie Valley) 42.1°; and even Snowshoe Mountain West Virginia – 31°…and they ARE still making snow as of 8:04am this morning. However so was Beech Mountain at their base. Up top it was already too warm and evidently the base snowguns will be turned off shortly. (In fact AS I WAS TYPING THIS SENTENCE the base guns were turned off.)
So the snowmaking window that lasted from Thursday evening (Friday afternoon for some resorts) to today is coming to a close as temperatures are forecast to reach in the mid-to-upper 40s Sunday. There IS a chance that some resort may be able to make snow Sunday night and early Monday morning. But if the forecast for the next 10-15 days holds…that may be “IT” for snowmaking crews until after January 1st.
So in essence, the resorts (and skiers and snowboarders) will have to make do with what we’ve got right now.
So let’s get right to it and “see what we’ve got”…
We’re going to start with a little bit of a sensation. Did you guys see Kenny Griffin’s Wisp Video Timelapse of snowmaking? They started making snow around 3pm Friday afternoon and Kenny setup a timelapse to shoot it and it was very cool.
Check it out (click to play)
They are STILL making snow this Sunday morning. So let’s begin our tour there and work our way down today. Temps are as of 8:30am:
Wisp Resort – 21° – making snow. No word on when they will open…but we’re expecting them to open any day now. They may be saving the snow for Friday… As of 10:15am Sunday morning they ARE still making some snow around the mountain although most of the snowguns on the front of the mountain are off.
Canaan Valley Resort – 18° and a TRACE of new snow. Canaan’s David Vance reported a GREAT first day on the slopes as Canaan opened Saturday for the season. They will play on the same 4 slopes for Sunday day sessions on a base of 8-24″. Snowmaking CONTINUES as of 8:45am!
Snowshoe Mountain – 32° as of 9am – and as this shot at 9:26am shows, “make it and they will come”. Snowshoe will operate with 8 slopes and trails and 5 lifts for day skiing and snowboarding today. That means that they ADDED one slope since Saturday’s offerings.
Snowshoe Mountain’s webcams are awesome for showing you all that you need to know about making plans to visit. They’ve been making a ton of snow at every part of that mountain that they can and as of 10:21am this morning, they were still blasting the Silvercreek side as well. That tells us that Snowshoe plans on getting more terrain open during this coming week as long as there isn’t too much rain. Silvercreek trails should open as we get close to Christmas day.
It was fun watching Snowshoe’s near-legendary lift-guru, Mike (snoop dog) working the early morning crowd at the base of the mountain.
Winterplace Resort – 28° – THEY ARE OPEN! 4 slopes and trails serviced by 2 lifts and a base of 12-24″ and making snow as of this morning. Special Offer today, Sunday – $19.95 – – Includes: Lift Ticket, Rental Equipment & a 90 minute Group Lesson.
That’s a sweet deal!
Timberline Resort – 18° and still making snow. I spoke with them briefly this morning and they are still evaluating their opening day scenario and will wait until they turn the guns OFF and see how much they were able to blast the slopes with. There is a chance that they will wait until December 26th to open.
Tucker County, West Virginia’s David Lesher posted this earlier this morning which kind of sums up the November-December preseason thus far:
Sun, 20 Dec 2015 – The remarkable (but not unprecedented) lack of snowfall this season continues. With just 4 inches so far, that is very far behind the 15-year average of 41 inches by December 20.
THE VIRGINIAS ARE NEXT
Wintergreen Resort – 29° to 32° and they are making snow on portions of their mountain…AND THEY WILL OPEN TODAY with 2 slopes and 2 lifts and a base of 12-24″ for DAY and NIGHT skiing and snowboarding!
This opening is a testament to great snowmaking crews and amazing technology as we really didn’t see enough snowmaking temps to make this happen. But they proved us wrong and “made it” to get open.
Here’s their sentiment:
We Made It!
This was one hard fought opening day… From all of us snow lovers to all of you patiently waiting to ski and ride, we are happy to be opening for the 15/16 Winter season.
We will open today from 12 noon until 9pm, skiing and riding on Upper Dobie and Potato Patch and operating Patch and Loggers chairlifts. We will offer a mini park on both skiers left of Upper Dobie and a small section of the Terrain Park exiting back to Upper Dobie just above the Park Shack.
For those of you wanting to visit this week, please look at the Mountain Message Blog BEFORE you head this way. Operating over the coming week will depend on how warm it gets and how long our snow can hang on. Please check the Mountain Message Blog before you head our way.
Editor’s Note: It WILL be a fight…but they are going “FULL GUNS AHEAD” as this shot of the snow tubing park will show you.
Bryce Resort – 25° and still making snow. http://www.resortcams.com/webcams/bryce-resort/ There has been no announcement per opening just yet, but they may be doing the same kind of assessment that we mentioned for Timberline. Wait and see if they can keep enough snow on the slopes to open for Christmas.
Omni Homestead – 32° – Their webcams isn’t showing the slopes right now but from what we can tell there has been no snowmaking yet. No snowmaking means no skiing or snowboarding for Christmas. But let’s face it, that place rocks for tons of ways to have fun with or without snow! Check them out at: http://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/homestead-virginia
Massanutten Resort – 29° and making snow! Steve Showalter, Kenny Hess and their crew are fighting mother nature with everything that they’ve got. They made snow Friday night and into most of the day Saturday and last night. They posted:
A limited opening is possible for Monday or Tuesday. Stay Tuned!
Ober Gatlinburg – 31° – and the are OPEN for Sunday skiing, snowboarding, tubing and ice skating. Isn’t that everything?
Kate Barido communicated this message to us:
OPENING DAY AT OBER GATLINBURG
Cold front allowed Snowmakers to open slopes in less than 48 hours.
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (December 20, 2015) — The weather has finally turned in the favor of cold weather enthusiasts! Our snowmakers had a very successful snowmaking run, focusing on Cub Way, Castle Run, the Snow Tubing Park and Cubbies Snow-Zone. The snowmaking system at Ober Gatlinburg ran non-stop starting at 2pm Friday until 11am Saturday and started back up late Saturday night. Slopes will open today at 10:00am! For more information, please check the website or call 1-800-MUCH-FUN.
See you on the slopes!
Director of Sales and Marketing
NORTH CAROLINA RESORTS
Beech Mountain Resort – 32° – They made a ton of snow since Thursday and are open today with day and night sessions and a base of 10-26″ and 5 of 15 trails open with 4 of 7 lifts.
Wolf Ridge Resort – 41° but they made enough snow and are OPENING TODAY! They will offer a 24″ base of groomed conditions with 3 slopes and 2 lifts for DAY and NIGHT sessions. Tubing is OPEN as well.
Sugar Mountain – 37° – Open for day and night sessions with 6 slopes and 3 lifts. 10-26″ base and packed manmade conditions. Ice skating is open. Tubing is open as well. EDGE of the WORLD Mini Games at the bottom of Flying Mile at noon.
Cataloochee Ski Area – 33° – made snow and now open for skiing, snowboarding and tubing. 5 slopes and trails open with a base of 20-30″ for day sessions Sunday. Cat says that they will begin night sessions Christmas night.
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 32° – REOPENS TODAY with 9 slopes and 5 lifts and a base of 24-36″ for day and night sessions.
Sapphire Valley – no movement yet. no snowmaking.
Whew! All done. Enjoy your day!
Until next time…
Enjoy your day and THINK SNOW! THINK COLD! …and Start a Prayer effort! Email me anytime and about anything at: [email protected]
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