Appalachian and Sugar Earn Our Top Picks for Skiing and Riding Today

Yesterday we began getting a lot of emails on HighCountryOutdoors.com asking for information about Watauga Lake. I guess that’s just going to happen when the temps roar up to 69° in Boone! Several areas around Western North Carolina passed 70°!

I was out at Appalachian Ski Mountain Monday evening and the temp was 64°, dropping only to around 59° by the time we headed home. The warm air was working against the cold snow on the mountain and it created a fog that was kind of cool around 8pm.

While I am talking about Appalachian, I have to say that I and my crew had the best time skiing and riding at Appalachian. The conditions were nothing short of amazing. I’ll post some pics and video today, but I was fully expecting soft, mash potato-like snow and instead we rode some amazing snow for most of the evening. Appalachian’s talented crew worked and groomed every foot of that mountain between day and evening sessions and when we got on it for first tracks at 6pm it simply could not have been a better surface to ride on!

I was also a bit surprised as to how many people were on the mountain. While there were nothing more than 30 seconds or so of lift lines, there was quite a lot of people on the hill. It made for a good time by all. A couple of hours into the night session, the traffic did loosen up the snow quite a bit, but even so it was a nice surface. FYI, they have a phenomenal base with no hint whatsoever of any kind of thin coverage. They are in great shape today and obviously they and all of the ski areas will crank the snowguns back on this evening as temps drop into the mid 20s.

WHILE ON THE WEATHER…

Today will be decent for the first half or so…so if you want to ride today, get our early. This afternoon will be stormy, rainy, windy and just plain nasty. We may see some rain, showers, a thunderstorm or two, gusty winds, and there’s EVEN a chance for some snow flurries as the cold air meets the leftover moisture.

As expected, the mild snap will end tonight and Thursday through Tuesday looks great. Highs in the 30s to near 42° or so and lows in the 20s and even teens by Sunday night. There’s some snow in the forecast Saturday evening.

So make those trip plans and get on YOUR favorite mountain this weekend!

CHECK THE SLOPE CONDITIONS PAGE FOR THE DETAILS FOR ALL RESORTS…

Here’s a few notes.

Hawksnest Resort – We have downgraded their "average base" to "DECENT", meaning that there is good terrain and side to side coverage but there are some thin coverage areas and bare spots showing. Snowmaking tonight will quickly reverse that. They have 10 trails open with only Old Blue and Narrow Gauge not open.

Sapphire Valley – They are CLOSED on Wednesday and Thursdays as a part of their NORMAL operating schedule.

Ski Beech – They have moved Thursday night’s planned Rail Jam to Sunday February 10th. More on that later. According to Gil Adams, "It will be a two event series (second date to be determined) featuring up to 14 rail/box features with two completely different layouts for each event, not to mention a new 4’ by 8’ butter box under construction as we speak! The competition will feature divisions for skiers and snowboarders of different skill levels and for all ages. Each participant will have three runs through the park and be judged on style and difficulty of landed tricks with the best score being counted, with the competition starting at 1:00 pm. The awards ceremony will be held in The Beech Tree Restaurant immediately following the event with some great food/drink discounts for everyone!"

They plan on having on hill music and commentary pushing the competitors and a they hope to have a huge spectator section.

For today, Beech is looking pretty bad this morning and we have downgraded their base to "Decent", meaning that they have good terrain available, but substantial thin coverage and bare spots.

Wolf Ridge is beginning to look a bit worn this morning but still have good coverage. We are reporting it as "Decent to Good" meaning that they have good, skiable terrain with no bare areas, but they do have some thin coverage. 

 <Sugar Mountain this AM.  We zoomed in and around and what you see is what you get! Great conditions!

Appalachian, Cataloochee and Sugar all have Good-to-Great Bases with very little or NO thin coverage or bare spots whatsoever. The top picks for today would be Appalachian and Sugar Mountains, with honorable mention going to Cataloochee.

All of the ski areas will make snow tonight and the weekend should be sweet at all of the ski areas.

Enjoy your day…

Until Next time…

Be sure to visit www.SkiSoutheast.com  for more news from the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas!

Send your snow photos, videos, comments or emails to: [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.