David McConnell’s Cataloochee Trail Report – December 19th

I got up to Cat yesterday evening about 5:20 or so, the temperature was in the high 40’s so no snowmaking was occurring. I pretty much had the place to myself; I guess that is the silver lining to all the warm weather we have had lately there are absolutely no crowds. I guess everyone is out playing golf.

Overall the conditions at Cataloochee were better than what I was expecting. They were open to the top of the Rock Island Chair skiing Rock Island Run, Lower Omigosh and all of their beginner terrain. They had their terrain park set up on the lower mountain in it’s early season spot with the Mailbox, Rainbow Box, Battleship Rail, Flat Rail and Flat Box features.

Rock Island Run is looking pretty thin with some substantial bare spots showing, but I am glad they had it open as it adds quite a bit to the mountain. It is still very skiable and doesn’t require and dirt skiing to negotiate, but they could really use some more snow on it.

The rest of the mountain has tons of base on it and no thin, icy, or bare spots anywhere. The base at the bottom of the mountain is easily 4 ½ to 5 feet deep and I would guess that the base from Lower Omigosh down is around 3 feet so even if the warm weather continues they should be able to maintain everything below the Omigosh midstation for a long time.

Of course the snow started off nice and soft, but not quite the slush and mashed potatoes of springtime and then firmed up as the night went along and the temperatures dropped.

All in all, it was a great night to just get out and ski. "