A Mix of Weather and Conditions as Southeast Ski Areas

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful – and since we’ve no place to go – Let it snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

You think that the winds are heavy this morning, think again.  It’s only forecasted to get even more windy.  The temps nose-dived late last night and we began receive some reports of light snow at Beech Mountain first. The winds kicked up earlier in the evening (6pm or so) and that was a harbinger of things to come. We saw a gust of wind at around 24mph late last night and thought for a moment “well M-A-Y-B-E the winds won’t be too bad.”  Sorry, but we’re forecasted to see the AVERAGE wind speeds in the 40-50mph range as the day goes on and gusts up to 70mph!  With the moderate to heavy snow squalls that will be very blizzard-like!

There will probably be some power outages and tree’s knocked down across the region.  Snow totals won’t be that impressive with this storm, according to all forecasters.  Expect 1-4” in many locations of the High Country (Boone, Blowing Rock, etc) and more towards the Tennessee line – 4-6” perhaps isolated heavier amounts on top of Beech, etc.

According to the National Weather Service reports, Ober Gatlinburg could be in just the right location to get a good dump of snow – 4-6” and more.  Snowshoe in West Virginia is looking at about the same amount.  Some areas into Virginia are looking at a mix of clouds, sun, snow mix, rain…etc.

Massanutten is reporting temps in the upper 30s right now and neither they nor Bryce or Wintergreen has made snow as yet.  Resorts in North Carolina and other regions of the Southeast ski areas are already making snow.

Wintergreen is reporting Spring Conditions…and they are looking to begin making snow as temps drop today.

Resorts further North haven’t quite gotten the brunt of this wintry system as yet as many are reporting Spring Conditions, Loose Conditions and no snowmaking. It’s wintry as it could be already here in Tennessee and North Carolina.  Snowshoe has reported just a trace of snow so far.  However all of the ski areas should be experiencing COLD and some winter precip pretty soon today.

Be PREPARED today!

Boy Scout training and their motto would be a smart bit of advice for skiers and visitors to the mountains today.  Expect anything!  These winds will make it tough to ski and ride in…except for short bursts of slope time.  The winds will drive the wind chills and if you don’t dress appropriately you will be miserable.  So be prepared and dress in layers and cover exposed areas.

The winds – oh my gosh the winds.  The National Weather Service is saying that we will see damaging winds that will take trees down and cause possible power outages. If you are visiting us – be prepared. Make sure that you can stay warm if that happens.  These kinds of winds WILL prompt ski areas to shut down lifts and if it’s bad enough they might even shut operations temporarily.  Be Prepared!

I love the crew at Cataloochee and the job they are doing to inform their visitors of conditions.  Hats off to Tammy Brown and Chris Bates up there this year.  Here is a quote from Tammy about what to expect today, “… if strong winds are in the area, there is a possibility that we will have to shut down lift operations until the winds subside. We will offer no refunds for lift shutdown due to wind but will make allowances to provide our customers with additional skiing hours. Also please be aware that we will be making snow throughout the day during skiing hours as temperatures permit.”  You HAVE to reward a resort like that YOUR business.  Our “Cat Crew” would agree!

If you are driving, have the right equipment.  Maybe even pack some blankets, flashlight, rope, etc…as you never know what you may come up on. Last time – be prepared.  Prepared people will ENJOY even this blizzard kind of day.

A New HighCountryWeather.com!

Like everything else with this website, we have been behind schedule to get numerous features implemented!  I guess that’s the way it is with growing pains.  We’ve been so busy keeping up with the daily stuff, that we’ve delayed some of the new features that are going to make us even more popular.  Many of you have emailed us mentioning the new Weather Forecasting on the front of SkiNC.com and SkiSoutheast.com (we’ve been doing that since the beginning of the season) however, that HighCountryWeather.com icon/graphic now links to a NEW www.HighCountryWeather.com website!  You’ll notice a lot more information on that page, and once the construction dust clears in a few days you will notice oh so much more!

High Country Weather has been the most visited weather website devoted to the region for a few years, but we didn’t have time to attempt to make it the best.  That distinction has done to Dr. Ray Russell’s website.  We’ve never denied that.  Ray knows weather! However last season we began to get a lot of attention from regional meteorologist (like Brad Panovich of WCNC NBC 6 in Charlotte, Eric Thomas of WBT TV in Charlotte, Steve Udelson of WSOC in Charlotte, Mark Reynolds of WJHL in Johnson City) as well as input from other weather gurus like Austin Beeghly who hails from Orlando, and who is a weather practitioner as well.  Once we began driving more traffic to our weather information (we’re seeing more than 7000 unique visitors a day to our weather information) we KNEW that we had to take that up a notch…and so we have done that.

The exciting part is yet to come.  Our goal is not only to provide a lot more weather data to the HighCountryWeather.com website, it is to provide it RIGHT FROM the ski resorts that we all know and love.  All of the current national weather websites pull weather and forecasts from the closest reporting station to the resort – and NOT from the resort itself.  As an example, when you look at Weather.com or others and check for weather at Cataloochee, you’re actually see the forecast for Maggie Valley, which is CLOSE, but doesn’t have the high elevations that Cataloochee has. We have no clue how long it will take us to finalize this project and it is probably one that will grow piece by piece…but look for us to take things up a HUGE notch over the next week, weeks and then months!

Just some base depth mentions –

Yesterday as I was driving in downtown Boone and the rain was pouring across my windshield in sheets – I said to myself that any resort that doesn’t show a drop in base depth this morning should be ashamed. Resorts WERE able to make snow last night, but these kinds of winds don’t make for perfect snowmaking ops.  ANY snowmaking is good right now though and Sunday should be one for the books – regarding what should be great conditions.  Natural snow, no matter how wind-blown, coupled with snowmaking will make for nice conditions – ONCE the groomers push it around so that the wind-blown sheets of ice are covered.

One cool note is that several resorts in Virginia and West Virginia which have NOT been dropping base depths, must have caught up on reading because they dropped base depths substantially in the last 24 hours.

Stay warm if you’re going out…and we’ll see you on the slopes – maybe tomorrow! It’s HARSH out!

Until Next Time!

Be sure to email photos, snow reports and comments to: [email protected]