Around the Clock Snowmaking Makes for Pretty Photo Moments on Sunday!

Man! Does Appalachian Ski Mountain look ready to open this morning!  Their base cam is showing a gorgeous snow-covered hill with lots of snow on it.  They’ll be opening soon!

Cataloochee went from a 6-8" base on Saturday morning to 18-24" this morning. They are open for day sessions Sunday with 3 trails serviced by two lifts. Cat’s weather post is reporting 37° but ours up there is reporting 27°. With snowmaking still happening we think we have the better data this morning. Cataloochee will operate Sunday and then close for the week ahead and prepare for the following weekend.

They report, "Please note our hours of operation for the upcoming week. We will not operate from Monday, November 29 through Friday, December 3 but will reopen for daily operations on Saturday, December 4 at 8:30am."

Surprisingly, several ski areas were able to make snow around the clock. Temps were forecasted to rise to near 40° on Saturday but they didn’t at several mountains in the region and ski areas took advantage of that and made snow all day and night.

Ski Beech is still making snow this morning. It looks like they’ve put down a ton of snow over the last two days. Fans are emailing us speculating an opening announcement at any time.

Sugar Mountain made snow around the clock since Friday evening and they are looking much better this morning.

Temperatures are forecasted to rise into the low 40s for Sunday so the snowguns should turn off at some point allowing for a nice day of riding the snow if you’re headed to Cat or Sugar today.

Sugar Mountain’s base rose from 2-10" on Saturday AM to 6-20" this morning on the same two trails from the 3/4 station. That’s Upper and Lower Flying Mile. Those trails are being serviced by the one lift. It’s a $35 lift ticket for a full day of riding or $25 for a half day. Some of you were emailing us on Saturday griping about that cost, but frankly we’re thinking that’s a good deal. Where else are you going to ski today? Okay Cataloochee. But where else?

Hopefully you get my point. Making all that snow isn’t cheap and actually $35 for perhaps 14-18 trips up and down the mountain isn’t too bad. Some of you will no doubt email me asking where I’m getting the 14-18 trips. Simple math really. It takes 15 minutes to ride the lift to the 3/4th station and if you ski or snowboard straight down it takes about 3-5 minutes. That’s three trips max per hour. Most people aren’t racing to see how many turns they can get in so we’re estimating the 14-18.

Others will email (some of you already have) that we seem to be "losing our edge" and that we’re not "telling it like it is" – somehow siding with the ski areas more and more. Actually I think we’ve always made it really obvious that this website is first and foremost for the skiers and snowboarders of the region. We’ll still call out the resort(s) who are over-reporting snow or not reporting bare areas, etc. However, we’re also going to tell it like it is for the ski areas that we cover as well. In the case of Sugar charging $35 for a full day lift pass with what some of you are griping is only two trails…you know you CAN take your business to other ski areas for today. Oh wait, I guess you can’t and THAT is my point.

Go spend the money and ride Sugar today. You’ll have fun and you’ll thank me for it.

Wolf Ridge Ski Area is making snow this morning at 28°. They are reporting, "If all goes well and the temperature works in our favor, the Wolf will be open next weekend, December 4rth. Watch the reports to see our "Ski Opening Date Countdown"."

Bryce Resort is showing a 34° reading this morning and no signs of snowmaking. Massanutten looks like they’re at 30° this AM but no signs of making snow there as yet. They are probably waiting on next week’s blast of cold temps. Ditto Wintergreen as they are reflecting 32° this morning.

Canaan Valley isn’t ready to begin reporting yet as their website is reflecting 28° and no snowmaking, etc. David Lecher’s phenomenal weather reporting for Davis, West Virginia shows a low this morning of 17°. We’re thinking Canaan is making snow.

Ditto Timberline Resort. They are making snow and reflecting a 17° reading this AM. They are counting down the days to opening day, December 9th. If you guys haven’t played at Timberline you really need to pay them a visit. They’ve upped their game over the last few years with luxury, slopeside lodging, and they’ve added a new "Timber Deck". Mens Health Magazine calls Timberline on of the "ten coolest mountain towns" and USA Today stated that Timberline is a little-known gem in the rough. I’d bet a lot of you don’t know that Timberline boasts the longest trail in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.

Snowshoe Mountain is reflecting 30° as of 9:47am but they were down in the teens overnight and have made snow for about 48 hours straight. Laura Parquette wrote, "The cold moved in earlier than expected on Friday, and the guns were on before 10am. Temperatures in the teens overnight allowed us to pump out tons of snow with 150 guns working between the Snowshoe and Silver Creek areas. We have another great night ahead with temps once again in the teens, followed by a slight warm up to start the week. We have marginal temperature overnight Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and there is some rain in the forecast. But cold temperatures—including more temperatures in the teens—return on Wednesday, with some natural snow predicted as well. This forecast has improved almost daily since the beginning of last week and we can only hope that continues. We’ll continue to be aggressive with snowmaking and watch the forecast and announce a new opening day just as soon as possible. Spirits are definitely higher on the mountain than the were last week, and all of those snow dances you’ve been doing have been working!"

winterplace Resort has been making snow even though you wouldn’t know it by their website’s snow report. They are reporting today’s date but 63° and fall colors. You can trust us on this one, they ARE making snow and it is a lot colder than 63°!

Wisp Resort is reporting 25° and they are making an amazing amount of snow with that star trek snowmaking system they have. Several trails look ready to open. Should be any day now.

Ober Gatlinburg is making snow when temps permit. They are showing some snow down at the base of the mountain via their new LIVE WEBCAM.

We had some emails asking about Sapphire Valley as to whether or not they were able to make snow. They are not reporting anything on their websites, nor have they notified us, but if our weather data over there is correct they probably are just a little too mild to make snow. We’re showing 38.7° at 9am.

So there’s our first "walk" through of all of the ski areas of the season. To date, we’ve pretty much just been chatting up the Snowshoe, Cataloochee and Sugar show, but all of the ski areas are cranking out the snow as temps allow and before we know it we’ll see a lot in the way of slopes, trails and resorts opening up.

WEATHER COOPERATING…

As Snowshoe’s Laura Parquette mentioned earlier, the long range forecast does seem to be cooperating a little but better with each passing day. As of today, here’s what we’re seeing by region:

Snowshoe Mountain / Canaan Valley / Timberline and Wisp:

Sunday: Hi 40° Lo 21° – Sunny and lots of snowmaking tonight

Monday: Hi 45° Low 32° – Sunny – borderline snowmaking at some locations

Tuesday: Hi 51° Low 29° – 90% chance of showers

Wednesday: Hi 38° Lo 21° – Rain and Snow mix. Could be all snow in some spots and plenty of snowmaking overnight.

Thursday: Hi 32° Lo 20° – Sunny and lots of snowmaking

Next weekend looks cold with highs in the upper 30s to 40° and lows overnight in the 20s each night. Clear skies through Sunday when snow reenters the forecast.

Winterplace Resort:

Sunday: Hi 45° Lo 26° – Sunny and lots of snowmaking tonight

Monday: Hi 50° Low 40° – Sunny – probably no snowmaking

Tuesday: Hi 58° Low 32° – 90% chance of showers and no snowmaking

Wednesday: Hi 40° Lo 26° – Rain and Snow mix. Could be all snow in some spots and plenty of snowmaking overnight.

Thursday: Hi 38° Lo 26° – Sunny and lots of snowmaking overnight

Next weekend looks cold with highs in the low to mid 40s and lows overnight around 30° each night. Clear skies through Sunday when snow reenters the forecast. Things look pretty good for snowmaking at Winterplace.

VIRGINIA SKI AREAS – Using Massanutten for forecasting:

Sunday: Hi 48° Lo 24° – Sunny and lots of snowmaking tonight

Monday: Hi 53° Low 37° – Sunny – probably no snowmaking

Tuesday: Hi 60° Low 44° – 70% chance of showers and no snowmaking

Wednesday: Hi 52° Lo 28° – 60% chance of rain. Could see some snowmaking overnight.

Thursday: Hi 47° Lo 25° – Sunny and lots of snowmaking overnight

Next weekend looks cold with highs in the low to mid to upper 40s and lows overnight around 30° each night. Clear skies through Sunday when some showers reenters the picture. Snowmaking ops Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights.

NORTH CAROLINA SKI AREAS – using Beech as the base:

Sunday: Hi 48° Lo 22° – Sunny and lots of snowmaking tonight

Monday: Hi 46° Low 37° – Sunny – probably no snowmaking

Tuesday: Hi 53° Low 35° – 90% chance of showers and no snowmaking

Wednesday: Hi 37° Lo 22° – 30% chance of rain. Should see LOTS of snowmaking overnight. This could another around the clock snowmaking day and SNOW instead of rain.

Thursday: Hi 43° Lo 24° – Sunny and lots of snowmaking overnight

Next weekend looks cold with highs in the low to mid to upper 40s and lows overnight in the upper 20s each night. Could see some SNOW next weekend as well.

That’s it for today. THINK COLD AND SNOW MY FRIENDS…

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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.