Resorts further South Look Good Despite an "inequality of weather"…
After 132 straight hours of snowmaking, the snowguns are likely to get a rest at Snowshoe Mountain as temps will get above the mid 30s for the first time since last Sunday, December 28th. Snowmaking temps look to be returning on Monday night at the WV and Maryland ski areas while the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic resorts will probably have to wait until Wednesday, when some wintry weather is predicted with some possible snow and temperatures in the teens for lows. The following couple of days look even colder with highs in the 20s and lows in the teens. So we have that to look forward to if you’re planning a ski getaway for the weekend of January 9-11th. Believe it or not, THAT was the most frequently asked question of the last 24 hours in one form or another. I guess the Christmas / New Year Break is wrapping up and you guys just need to know what to expect for NEXT weekend. You guys NEVER live in the moment do you!?!?
To properly forecast conditions for next weekend, we need to know where they are TODAY. We’ll look at that in a moment and then do some subtracting of base due to a bit of milder temps and some rain. THEN…we’ll get to do some addition…as cold temps and even some natural snow reenters the forecast. The temps are forecasted to drop back into the 20s (at least) with some models reflecting even colder temps. That means the snowmaking crews will ADD an inch or two of base to needed areas of terrain. Thursday and Friday of next week look plenty cold at night to make another inch or two of manmade snow and THAT will put us right back where we are today!
WHERE ARE WE TODAY???
Well I’m back home in beautiful Banner Elk, North Carolina where it appears that a "London fog" has set in. That is forecasted to clear out of here by mid morning and we should have a pretty good day of skiing and snowboarding.
Let’s go check the status of our ski areas…
Ober Gatlinburg is at 35°
Wisp Resort is at 22°
Canaan Valley is at 23°
Snowshoe Mountain is at 22°
Winterplace is at 30°
Massanutten is at 27°
Beech Mountain is at 39° with an overnight low of 35°
Cataloochee is at 42°
Seven Devils is at 40°
Appalachian Ski Mountain is reporting 28° (crazy huh?)
Wolf Ridge is at 29°
Ober Gatlinburg – 18-28" Base – Groomed, Hard Packed Conditions on 5 of 8 trails. They offer their base mountain fun park, some great restaurants, shops and ice skating there as well as the TRAM ride to downtown Gatlinburg, where you can find MORE shops, restaurants and a gazillion motels, hotels, etc. Perhaps no ski area in the region has had less to work with weather-wise than Ober and they’ve kept a great attitude and worked through it to provide the open terrain that they have right now. We’re going to give them first mention today. Great job Ober!
Speaking of having better weather to work with; the resorts in Maryland and West Virginia have simply had better weather patterns to play with. While temps are in the 40s into Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina this morning, we’re seeing temps up at Wisp hovering at 20° and that means more snowmaking. Some of the Virginia and NC resorts have only made snow perhaps 3 of the last 10 days, while those in West Virginia have made snow for 132+ straight hours. They’ve simply had colder weather patterns thus far this season. In typical winters you won’t see quite the difference in the cold temps as we are seeing to date.
Having said that, let’s tour the rest of the region from North to South as closely as possible. I don’t need any geography buffs grilling me 🙂
Wisp Resort reported 20° at their summit, more snowmaking and 24 of 35 trails open with Machined Groomed and Hard Packed Conditions. They also have the Bear Claw Tubing Park and Mountain Coaster open today with what should be marvelous conditions. Wisp has some great LIVE CAMS VIEWS and you can view those by clicking here> Wisp Resort Live Cams!
Timberline Resort is showing 25°, added snowmaking and Groomed and Packed Conditions on 21 of 37 trails. They offer both terrain parks as well. Timberline is UNDER REPORTING the heck out of their natural snow total thus far this winter. They are reporting 57.5" of snow when in fact they have seen 77.5" of snow with another 7.2" of snow having fallen since January 1st. That’s 7.2" of snow in the last three days!
As I have already mentioned…the WV resorts have simply HAD better cooperation from Ma Nature this season!
Let’s go ahead and cover Canaan Valley since they are one ridge over…
Canaan Valley is reporting 23° and a dusting of snow with Groomed Packed Powder conditions on 10 of 39 trails with Upper Spruce and Lower Canaan Curve OPENING SOON!!! They offer tubing as well.
Snowshoe Mountain – When I left there Friday morning they were getting 2" of new snow and it must have stopped about the time we were leaving. That gives them 98-99" of natural snow on the season…and on top of that they have made snow since last Sunday evening and that is 132 hours STRAIGHT of snowmaking!
Again…they’ve just had better weather in which to deal with than resorts further south.
Snowshoe will offer Packed Powder and Groomed conditions on 53 of 60 trails, snow tubing, snowmobiling and more! We can attest that conditions there right now are simply awesome.
Winterplace Resort was getting a little snow (about an inch) as we passed through Ghent, WV on the way home on Friday. We really have to work with those guys to talk up their snow because they’ve had 34" so far on the season and they rarely mention it. They have 19 of 28 trails open and snow tubing on what should be great conditions. They really looked nice as we drove past on I-77 yesterday!
As we drop down into Virginia you can almost SEE where the cold front starts and stops as temps moderate upwards as we cross into the state through the huge tunnel on I-77.
Wintergreen Resort is six degrees milder at 36° for a low this morning and that means no snowmaking for them. They offer 9 of 26 trails open for today and while they have nice conditions on those, that is the most terrain that they have been able to open to date.
It bears repeating…the resorts further south simply have not had great cooperation from Ma Nature thus far.
Nevertheless, Wintergreen’s Anne Marie Jones stays upbeat with her post, "Ridgely’s Fun Park re-opens today! We made a bunch of snow on Wednesday and Thursday allowing us to re-open terrain and make the surface fantastic. Come up and check it out! Snowmaking weather returns Monday ahead of some natural snow, bring it on. When the cold air gets here, we will be concentrating our snowmaking efforts on opening The Highlands, Terrain Park, Tyro and maybe more before next weekend. Keep checking this report for updates."
I LIKE HER ATTITUDE!!! I havn’t met her personally but I’ll bet she’s a cutie as well 😉
Massanutten Resort seems to have captured a little cold air as they reported 25° at the summit of their mountain and they were able to make snow as well. They offer the most terrain of their season thus far with 10 of 14 trails open and that includes both terrain parks and two black diamonds including ParaDice and Diamond Jim. They have 8 lanes of tubing open as well. Looks like very nice conditions at Mass today.
Bryce Resort reports no snowmaking and 7 of 8 trails open with their one black diamond "Hangover" as the lone trail not open today.
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 55-81" Base – Groomed Conditions on 8 of 10 trails. Both terrain parks are open as is the ice rink! Conditions are pretty sweet at App for today! One quick glance at the LIVE CAM there will show you that! Click here to see Appalachian Live Web Cam!
Cataloochee Ski Areas – 28-60" Base – Packed Manmade Conditions on 8 of 14 trails from the top of the quad down. They have tubing available over on Tube World, across from Ghost Town in gorgeous Maggie Valley. Cataloochee looks GREAT day and you can catch a nice glance of that via their new LIVE CAM! Click Here to see the Cataloochee Live Web Cam!
Ski Beech – 18-40" Base – Groomed Conditions on 5 of 15 trails from the top of the quad down. Beech writes, "Conditions continue to look really good. We have added a couple of terrain park features to the skier’s left side of Freestyle…"
Beech offers ice skating as well and they are reporting a trace of light snow falling this morning. They DO INDEED look really good and you can view that and the couple of terrain park features at the bottom via their LIVE CAM. Click Here to See the Ski Beech Web Cam!
Sugar Mountain – 28-55" Base – Frozen and Loose Granular Conditions on 12 of 20 trails, open to the top. Tubing and Ice Skating is also open and Sugar is doing a little entertaining with live acoustic sounds of North Carolina High Country bluegrass from BOSS HAWG from 4:00-6:00pm.
You can catch a full front shot of how nice it looks up at Sugar via the LIVE CAM! Click here to see the Sugar Mountain Web Cam!
Wolf Ridge – 20-40" Base – Wet Granular Conditions were last reported as of January 1st at 7:30am. Theyare reporting 7 of 20 trails open with tubing open as well.
Wolf is looking pretty good as well. Catch a LIVE CAM shot by Clicking Here to see the Wolf Ridge Web Cam!
Hawksnest’s Tubing Park actually looks very nice today. They have several lanes open and you can see that LIVE! Click here to see Hawksnest’s Live Web Cam!
Sapphire Valley is open with 2 trails and tubing. We don’t have specifics this morning because they have not updated their report since December 29th. They have not updated their report via the NC Ski Areas since December 9th! We’ll make a couple of calls and get that to you guys.
So with conditions looking as good as they look right now, you can expect nothing but AT LEAST the same for the next week or so.
In closing, let’s address those of you who are grouchy as heck because more terrain isn’t open yet. Yes, we got off to a fabulous start to the season and it appeared that we were headed to 100% open terrain across the board prior to Christmas. It didn’t happen. For those who have written me complaining that we are reporting "nice conditions" when all isn’t open, you have to understand that we are reporting the conditions on WHAT IS OPEN! Conditions are quite nice on the terrain that the ski resorts have open. We’ve had a wild ride thus far this winter with some good snows (Beech and Sugar are holding at 24" of natural snow on the season thus far) and some extreme cold temps. We’ve also had about three weeks of mild temps and quite a good bit of rain in that period.
It is a testament to how creative and how talented (and hard working) our ski resort crews are that we have the conditions that we have today on January 3rd. All of the ski areas across the region are working dilligently to provide the best product that they can on as much terrain as possible. To that extent, conditions ARE quite nice on the terrain that each resort has open.
Since you guys are not skiing or riding on CLOSED terrain, then our reporting IS accurate. I suppose we COULD report something like, "Conditions are GREAT on 12 of 20 trails at Sugar. The other 8 trails are grass covered and not so great!" Since we’re not skiing the other eight trails that would be kind of silly – don’t you think?!?!
Enough said, go ski, ride or do whatever it is that will make you happy today!
Until next time – THINK COLD AND SNOW!
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