Cataloochee to Open the 2008-2009 Ski Season

10:50am Update:  Important! Cataloochee WILL OPEN at 1pm today! Tammy Brown, Cataloochee’s popular marketing director, just called to say that they will open with 2 slopes – Beginners Easy Way and Rabbit Hill with a base of 8 -12 inches. Weekday and student rates are in effect – with twilight and night skiing offered. Twilight skiing is from 1pm until 10pm and night skiing is from 6pm until 10pm."

I wish you guys could hear the excitement in Tammy’s voice!  We’re all excited to see the new season start!

As we reported on Monday, Cataloochee was able to fire the snowguns back up late Monday and make snow all night (and still are this morning).  They received some light, natural snow as well and that sets the stage for opening day for the North Carolina and Southeastern Ski Areas. They will be the undisputed "champs" for being the first ski area in the region to open when they drop the ropes for the first ski sessions at 1pm this afternoon.  According to the National Weather Service forecast, the temps should remain cold enough to continue their snowmaking ops through lunchtime and maybe a bit further into the day.  We’ll share the first snow report further into this morning’s update.

However the message is sent – Cat Crew…get your gear and ht the slopes later today – and get us some pics and video.

Ski Beech Maybe Doing More Than Just "Testing their System"

Ski Beech turned their lights on the mountain late Monday and the speculation on the message board was that the switches to the snowmaking mechanism would soon be flipped to start Ski Beech’s "testing of the guns".  That happened sometime overnight and those machines are still cranking out snow this morning. That led to a lot of addition speculation that Ski Beech may be thinking of something more than simple testing.  Emails began coming in around 3am this morning and have not stopped since.  I called Gil Adams and he confirmed that they ARE testing the system and doing some training, but they WILL make snow around the clock at every opportunity this week.  The forecast for the 5500+ foot elevations of Beech Mountain call for the cold temps through Thursday before turning a bit milder. Gil shared, "We’ll make all the snow we can this week and hope that it sticks around."

I asked him the question that was on everyone’s minds this morning, "Any chance that you guys might pull a surprise opening?"  He answered pretty definatively, "No, we’re still waiting on the delivery of our two new snowcats.  They are on the way here, but we don’t have them yet."

Here’s a Ski Beech Announcement:

A test run of our snowmaking system began on Monday night, October 27th. This is the earliest time that Beech Mountain Resort has ever fired-up the snowmaking, and although we do not plan to open after this test round, we do plan to be aggressive with snowmaking efforts this year…It is still October and we are making snow! The two new snow grooming machines that are on order are scheduled for delivery on November 3rd. With the good long range weather forecasts we’ve heard and a new attitude towards snow making and grooming, we are looking forward to providing some great snow conditions this season…We anticipate beginning our ski season mid to late November…

Sugar not Making Snow Just Yet

Probably a bigger surprise than Cataloochee, Ski Beech and Snowshoe MAKING snow, is the fact that Sugar Mountain ski area opted not to do so just yet.  They are reporting 2" of natural snow from this early-season storm (although you’d be hard pressed to find more than a half inch in most spots as the winds have been pushing this fine snow around), and the temperatures atop Sugar Mountain are in the teens this morning.  We’ll try to get word with Gunther or his staff later today, but we understand that Gunther was telling people even last week that he would probably not make snow during this first round of cold air.  The temps are forecasted to mild up towards the weekend and chances are he’s waiting for the next prolonged cold snap.  Gunther is a skier and you can bet if he felt that this early snow would last – he would be making snow.  However, it IS still news when other ski areas crank up prior to Sugar.

Snowshoe Not Opening Just Yet – However they are Reporting 5" of New Snow!

Snowshoe’s Laura Parquette is reporting, "Winter has arrived at Snowshoe in a big way. More than 5" of fresh snow has fallen at the resort since Monday night, and Snowshoe’s snowmaking operations began on Monday. More snow is in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, which means Snowshoe will have a great jump on building an early season base. Snowmaking will continue for the foreseeable future whenever temperatures allow."

For those heading to Cataloochee, here’s the report.

SNOW REPORT for October 28, 2008

Date: 10/28/08 Time: 5 pm Weather: 27 degrees, clear, making snow

Hi and thank you for calling the Cataloochee Snow Report for Tuesday, October 28. The time is 5pm on Monday evening, temperature is 27 degrees and we are currently making snow and we are receiving some natural snowfall as well.

Well…the weather is here and we know you’re beautiful and we hope to see each of you on Tuesday! You heard it right, we began making snow for the 2008/2009 snowsports season at 7:15am on Monday and with a weather forecast for low’s of 20’s for the next few nights and some natural snowfall for tonight as well, Cataloochee plans on making snow as long a temperatures permit on Beginners Easy Way and Beginners Rabbit Hill and plan to kick off the 2008/2009 snowsports season at 1pm on Tuesday, October 28.

Please remember those folks planning on skiing with us on Tuesday should check back at 9am for an update prior to coming.

Once again, Cataloochee is currently making snow in order to open for the 2008/2009 ski and snowboard season on Tuesday, October 28 at 1pm. Check back with us by 9am on Tuesday for an update prior to coming. Please be aware that due to such an early opening, there will be no food or beverage service here at the area this week and please come prepared.

For our complete brochure right at your fingertips, look for us on the web at www.Cataloochee.com  that’s Cataloochee or at www.kidsskifree.com and as always we do thank you for calling and look forward to seeing you on the slopes of Cataloochee this season.

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