Cold and Some Snow Enter the Forecast for North Carolina Ski Areas!

Quick Note! The Sugar Mountain Extreme Cam is back to running!  Thanks to Jim Shannon of Extreme and the guys at Mountain Heritage Electric for getting that popular cam back online. Enjoy!

Boy HOWDY was it crowded at the slopes of North Carolina yesterday!  I cannot attest to those further north, because I haven’t seen the On-Snow Reports as yet, but I CAN tell you that it was a VERY BSUT ski day at both Sugar and Ski Beech.  A lot of the South’s school age children have been out of school for the Holiday break and a ton of people were spending an extra day on the slopes on Wednesday.  I was up past Sugar yesterday afternoon and the main trail coming down was heavily dotted with skiers and snowboarders.  I was actually showing a potential client around the web cams yesterday afternoon and we clicked onto the Ski Beech cam and the bottom of the hill was FULL of people. I guess the Holidays are not QUITE over just yet!  It’s great to see good conditions and lots of people enjoying them.

I know that some of the state’s children started back to school on Wednesday, some were not scheduled to start back until today…while our mountain kids had to start back on Tuesday due to a few December snow days that they made up. Look for a little less in the way of crowds today.

I’ll be posting another story after this morning’s update so be sure to check that out in a little bit…as I am writing about a conversation that I was favored to have last night with Warren Miller of ski films fame!

Here’s some notes from around the area:

Cataloochee is honoring the fairer sex today. Today is Ladies Day and all ladies purchasing a full price adult lift ticket will receive an any level ski or snowboard lesson free. If you’re a female and been wanting to tune up on your turns or if you have been wanting to try snowboarding…today is your day.

Cataloochee also has a great deal being offered to anyone of the age of eight. They have a Guaranteed Learn to Ski or Ride Package where first time skiers or riders age 8 and above may purchase a beginner lesson, beginners area lift ticket and ski rental equipment for only $39 or a beginner snowboard lesson, beginner area lift ticket and snowboard rental for only $55. And with our guarantee, you may repeat the lesson as often as you like during the same day session. A $300 credit card deposit is required to participate in the Learn to Ride package. Package lessons begin at 10, 12, 2 and 3:30pm and you must be here at least 30 minutes prior to the time the lesson begins to sign up.

The Cat has 9 of 10 slopes open today, as well as the popular tubing park.

*** One person emailed me this morning stating, "Why is it that you guys show that Cataloochee did not make snow last night and yet another website (SSAA) shows that they did? Where do you get your information?"

First, why would you be worried about looking at another website for information when we are THE ONLY website to post the accurate data EVERY DAY? Second, why look at a website that only two or three people, in addition to the industry people, are looking at?  Third, we get our information from the ski resort itself.  Cataloochee did not make snow last night, despite that error posted elsewhere. Haven’t we trained you guys better than that?

It’s so good to see Sapphire Valley back to posting conditions.  They are reporting a "Spring Conditions" base surface with two trails and their new (last year) Frozen Falls Tubing Park operating today and tonight.

Ski Beech was reporting that is was 35° with FOG at 6:45am this morning. One of the weather stations up there is reporting 30°. Temps are supposed to be falling today so look for the snowguns to crank up across all of the state as temps allow today. Today is MEN’S DAY at Ski Beech.  Men ski FREE today.

*** Come to think of it – how are the guys and gals supposed to get together if Ski Beech is offering the MEN a FREE day and Cataloochee is rewarding the LADIES?  Trust me…they will find a way to hook up!

Sugar Mountain has ALREADY begun making snow as of this report (8am) and that is great news. Sugar is skiing on 18 trails today.  Right now it is FOGGY as heck up atop Ski Beech and Sugar and we’re seeing wet moisture on the cameras. Down below, we’re just seeing skies begin to cloud up a bit.  The temps are forecasted to drop and some snow is in the forecast as well…so look for snowguns cranking everywhere shortly.

Since I have been on my "warpath" about base depths of late, I think that it’s only fair to mention (gotta be equitable here) that the following resorts all reported the following base depth drops in the last 24 hours (MILD TEMPS):

Appalachian – Dropped 2"
Cataloochee – Dropped 5"
Hawksnest – Dropped 2"
Sapphire – Dropped 6 to 8"
Sugar – Dropped 1"
Ski Beech – ZERO
Wolf Laurel – ZERO

In closing (for now) we’ve been monitoring (as have many of our emailers) the differing weather forecasts of late, and we hope that you guys will help us compare predicted temps and actual temps over the next little bit.  We’ve been monitoring Ray’s local forecast and he seems to be good at forecasting the weather patterns (and predicted snows) but seems to be 5° low in his forecasted highs of late. As an example he is forecasting a high today of 34° for Beech Mountain and we’re seeing anywhere from 40-45° on the National Weather Service, WJHL, etc.  We’ve seen this same kind of thing out of AccuWeather (predicted lower than actual temps). Ray is forecasting highs for Friday of 22° for Beech and we’re seeing 29° or so. It should be a good homework assignment for you guys to make sure that you turn in your work ontime!

Speaking of weather – we have been getting a lot of emails about the impending snow.  Don’t get too worked up about it.  It looks like more of the same for the Western North Carolina mountains.  You know the kind that the Tennessee line gets 1-3" and the rest of us get a dusting.  We’ve been in that kind of pattern for a bit. A "report card" on the season would be a high "B" since we have had good-to-great temps (other than this last week of milder temps) and pretty good precip…not too much rain and from 10-18" of natural snows so far across the state.  We’d all like to see a bit more in the way of significant snowfalls – you know the one-foot variety – but those will come.

Don’t be too picky because this time last year we were experience temps in the 60s and no snow…and pretty spotty conditions.  There’s plenty of soft snow for today, side to side coverage and lots of skiable terrain at your favorite resort.  Look for COLD to filter into the region overnight tonight and last through Saturday.  That will give all of the resorts THREE STRONG snowmaking days and that will insure near perfect slope conditions for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Sunday through next Wednesday are forecasted to be a little warmer than normal (into the upper 40s and low 50s again) with some chances of light drizzle again on Monday/Tuesday.  So enjoy the next few days of great skiing…and THINK SNOW and COLD!

Until Next time…

Be sure to visit for more stories and skiing in the Southeast!

Send comments or emails to:  [email protected]

Previous articleSnowy scene showing new snow and clouds at Snowshoe on December 31st, 2005
Next articleCold and Some Snow for Skiers Forecast
Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of, and 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.