Cold Temps Allow Rebuilding Following a MILD Holiday Week!!

Top o’ the morning to you! Late last night, well, around 10pm (that’s late for me, I was already in bed) we received a brand new ski forecast from our favorite weather guy Brad Panovich. Look for that video later this afternoon. Mike is the main guy when it comes to getting those things ready to view, I might be able to post pictures and tell you about what’s going on, but when it comes to video, I’m no good! So definitely check back for that.

It’s great to seem some cold temperatures sticking around. After a mild week following Christmas, high skier and snowboarder traffic, and sunny skies, some areas suffered a bit of a set back. Conditions are still AWESOME across the board, but ski areas are definitely taking advantage of the cold temperature to help replenish base. You won’t see much snowmaking on open terrain, but if you do, just bear with it…it’s all for you!

Also, I’d like to share another Trip Report with you this morning. I’ve been seeing TR’s for all over the different areas, from Sugar, Beech and Appalachian up to Timberline and Wintergreen. This morning when I sat down, I was surprised to find Sno!Forum member Bronco Boarder had submitted a TR about….Sapphire Valley. This little hill never gets very much credit, and I have a hard time figuring out exactly what’s going on down there because their website is never updated. The home page still says they plan to open on December 17, 2010. I’m pretty sure they did open…ha. So this great TR from Bronco Boarder will enlighten us all as to the most current conditions at Sapphire Valley….here you have it.

<<< Messageboard member Bronco Boarder and his son hit up Sapphire Valley on January 2, 2010…

So with all of the crowds leaving after the BUSY holiday week, my son and I decided to hit the last place on our list for North Carolina Ski Areas for a few hours. Ski Sapphire in Sapphire Valley is really small, but extremely affordable and family friendly. For those skiers and snowboarders that are new to the sport, this really is the place to improve your skills on the slopes. To give an example, it would be the comparison between a full regulation golf course and a par 3 golf course. All of the fun without all of the hassles of a big ski area. They have a Large learning area with a fairly new Magic Carpet to transport you to the top of the run, which is completely separate from the main run. There is the Frozen Falls Tubing area for those that don’t want to or like to ski/snowboard. And the main run is roughly 1600 feet-long serviced by a quad chairlift. If I had to equate it to another run, I would compare it to about 3/4 length of Rabbit Hill/Easy way at Cataloochee, just not as wide.

No lift lines allowed Bronco and Bronco, Jr.  to grab 2nd chair…pretty cool! >>>>>

My son and I arrived a little after 9:00, got dressed, and proceeded into the rental building to purchase our lift tickets. This is the only place I’ve heard of or encountered that requires you to fill out a form to purchase a lift ticket, quite bizarre. We spent about 15 minutes inside in line(waiting for the cashier to come out from the back) to get our tickets and then it was time to get in line for the lift. I guess they were a bit tired because of all the holiday crowds. The few employees I talked to stated that Tuesday and Wednesday there was a 2-3 hour wait for lift tickets and rentals. They didn’t start spinning the lifts until around 9:30 so we were able to grab 2nd chair, which my son thought was pretty cool. He’s never encountered slopes with no tracks or very little tracks before and is now a fan of the corduroy. He learned what "First Tracks" are all about.

<<< Soft Snow and a Bluebird Morning at  Sapphire Valley

The snow was wet and extremely soft, what I would compare to late spring skiing. Overall, it was a lot better surface than I had anticipated considering the warm temps and rain the mountains had experienced the last couple of days. They roughly had a 20"-48" base with full side-to-side coverage with no bare spots or thinning areas. Down at the last quarter of the run, they had two small beginner-sized jumps that most people were enjoying quite frequently. It was fun until the first jump got bombed out (a crater was created) in the landing point and I ended up tweaking my knee. Decided we had gotten enough laps in, and my son finally got the hang of making big S-turns(Heel edge-Toe edge-Heel edge) on his snowboard and we called it a day.

It was a another great day on the slopes with my son and I’m looking forward to our next adventure! If you’re in the area, and you have a few hours, Ski Sapphire is a fun little hill to get your ski fix on.

And here’s a look around…

North Carolina Ski Areas

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 28°- Open on 100% of the mountain. Snowmaking will continue all week as nighttime temperatures will allow, but no snowmaking will happen during skiing and riding hours. Ops will be fired up late and shut down early each morning to allow for grooming, so look for super fresh conditions every morning. Fresh Fridays returns this week and Saturday will be the first Ladies Park Night of the season.

Beech Mountain – 26°- Open today on 100% of the mountain. Snowmaking all week will keep conditions fresh! Summit heads to Beech during their annual Beer Festival on January 22!

Cataloochee – 35°- Colder overnight temperatures have allowed Cataloochee to make snow overnight so look for great conditions on all 16 slopes open!!

Sapphire Valley – 31°- Open today! Sapphire Valley holds a little more appeal following the Trip Report from Bronco Boarder!

Sugar Mountain – 31°- Open today. Sugar has added to their base with the help of snowmaking friendly temperatures and will be skiing and riding on 36-78 inches of snow. All 20 of Sugar’s slopes and trails are open! Sugar is hosting a party for all skiers and riders 70 years and older on January 11, 2011!

Wolf Ridge Resort – 33°- Wolf Ridge Resort is open on 11 of 20 slopes today on a 75 inch base. You can ski or ride during the day or night session at Wolf Ridge! Also, today is home school day so look for discounted rates for tickets and rentals if you’re part of that group. Another great deal the folks at Wolf Ridge are putting on is buy one-get one free night lift tickets. A great deal for great conditions!

Virginia Ski Areas

Bryce Resort – 19°- Open today with 7 slopes on a 30-65 inch base. Also open today three sessions of tubing at 10:30, 1:00 and 3:00. Conditions look great at Bryce!

Massanutten Resort – 21°- Open today after a night of snowmaking on some slopes and trails. The whole mountain is wide open for you today from 9am-9pm! The Tubing Park is also open today! This weekend is the 5th birthday of the Mass Water Park, and you’ll receive a free 8 hour slope ticket with the purchase of a water park ticket, and vise versa! Lots of fun to be had!

Wintergreen – 28°- Open today on 25 of 26 slopes and trails! Snowmaking temps have allowed the snowmaking guys to lay down some great freshies! Both terrain parks are open today! Limited terrain features are available in the Advanced Park and crews are working all week to add snow and new fun features!!

West Virginia Ski Areas

Canaan Valley – 22°- Open today on 11 of 39 slopes and snowmaking continues as the weather permits! Snowmaking temperatures are definitely in the forecast for the next couple of nights, so the weekend conditions should be superb! Canaan is also open for tubing and ice skating today!

Snowshoe Mountain – 20°- Open today with 48 trails and slopes and 11 lifts on a 45” average base. Tons of snowmaking over night on Cupp Run will allow groomers to “show it a little love” and will have a delayed opening this morning. Lower Shay’s, Camp 4 and Mountaineer at Silver Creek will remain closed for more concentrated snowmaking. Some snowmaking will take place on open terrain including Cupp Run and Fox Chase at Silver Creek in order to take advantage of the cold temps and rebuild after the mild holiday week. Here’s a little more of what Laura says, “In addition to the cold temperatures, we’re also getting help from Mother Nature in the form of some natural snow. Flurries are possible the next few days and some significant snow may fall on Friday. That natural stuff will mix in nicely with our base. Last week’s mild temperatures were beneficial as they’ve help restock our snowmaking water reserve at the Silver Creek area. We’re back to pumping out significant snow in that area, and we’ve begun working on Bear Claw off of the Flying Eagle lift. We’ll have more information regarding projected openings for those slopes near the end of the week. Mountaineer is getting significant attention at the Silver Creek area as we prepare to build a large terrain park in that area. Mountaineer will be closed for the rest of the week, and we hope to start building over the weekend. Our other large park, on Spruce Glades, has been getting attention overnight with tons of snowmaking as we look ahead to this weekend’s WV Open Slopestyle Event. Spruce Glades will be closed for feature construction on Friday, and closed to the public on Saturday for the competition. Registration is just $25 and it’s a winner-take-all cash prize, so all you jibbers out there, make plans to join us on the mountain on Saturday!

Timberline Resort – 22°- Open today on 30 of 39 trails and slopes and snowmaking on limited terrain. Ski areas are taking advantage of the cold temperatures while trying not to affect your experience negatively. Cold temps all week should set us up for a great weekend!

Winterplace Resort – 26°- Open today on 26 of 28 trails with 6 of 9 lifts running. Snowmaking temps mean great conditions out there on Winterplace’s 24”-68” base.


Wisp Resort – 20°- Snowmaking is in progress on limited open and closed terrain. Lots of fun things to do at Wisp in addition to skiing and boarding. Ice skating, tubing, and the Mountain Coaster are always great options! Wisp is open today for the day session only for skiers and riders. Tubing is open until 9pm!


Ober Gatlinburg – 31°- Some overnight snowmaking means great conditions when Ober opens today for skiing and riding at noon. They are open today with a 28-52 inch base on 7 of 9 trails until 10pm. There are several fun features in the terrain park so be sure to check those out if you’re a freestyle enthusiast!!

Be sure to check out our sister sites  and  for some great stuff!!


Send me photos, questions, comments, trip reports, and anything else at [email protected] or [email protected]! We love hearing from y’all!


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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.