December 19th, 2007 Update Shows Snowmaking, Light Snow and Good Conditions

First item of news that we need to report because a lot of people emailed us first thing this morning about how we were reporting Wolf Laurel (Wolf Ridge) inaccurately as not open. FYI, they are NOT open today. There was strong intentions to open this morning. Justin from Wolf Laurel has reported earlier in the week that they would be open today, but we called over there this morning and were told that they still had some snow to push around and after looking into it a bit more…decided to open on Thursday.

Second on the agenda this morning is to announce that Ober Gatlinburg opens for the 2007-2008 Ski Season with 50% of their mountain open!

Kathy Doyle the popular and hard-working Director of Marketing for the Smoky Mountain Ski Area wrote, "We made a couple feet of snow the week of December 3rd, but lost it all with the warm temps and the ½” + of rain that fell Sunday. Then the 70°+ degrees last week were depressing to say the least! We started making snow about 10am Sunday morning and the snow guns have been running continuously despite the fluctuations in temperature (up and down from 32° – 19°) and humidity (from 27% – 83%). Optimal snowmaking requires low temperatures and low humidity; we’ve encountered low temps with high humidity and high temps with low humidity, however with our variety of new snow guns/machines we’ve been able to compensate for these variations and keep making snow. Mother Nature’s recent rainfalls have filled our holding ponds so we have sufficient water to make snow. We anticipate opening the slopes around noon on Wednesday – the Ski School area, Castle Run, Cub Way, Mogul Ridge and the upper half of Bear Run…the surface lift and 2 quads running with over 50% of the mountain open – a first for opening day at Ober Gatlinburg! Come on out and enjoy the beginning of our ski season!"

That is too cool and it really shows you the improved technology within the snowmaking industry. In past years resorts could only make snow under the best of conditions.


It wasn’t much but upon heading out this morning those of us who are blessed to live in the mountain were greeted with a heavy dusting of snow. You know, maybe we all just need to quit LOOKING for snow in the forecast and just enjoy it when it does snow! It got me to thinking that maybe it’s kind of like trying to watch a pot of water boil. While it will boil sooner or later, it seems to take forever. However, put the thing on the stove and walk away for what seems like a moment and the thing boils in no time! Maybe Old Man Winter is shy; maybe if we just let it happen and quit looking at long range weather forecast to see if there is a hint of snow in the forecast 7-10 days out. Maybe THEN, we’d enjoy the snows that come, whether they are a dusting, 2-4" or more.

What do you guys think? NAH! We’ll keep looking!

By the way, the light snow was reported at Beech, Hawksnest, Sugar, Snowshoe Mountain, Timberline and Winterplace Reports…so the light TRACE of snow was seen all across the entire Southeast and Mid Atlantic region.


Today could just be one of the best days of skiing and sowboarding that we’ve had thus far this season. Resorts have made a ton of snow since Saturday and Sunday (nearly around the clock) and we also had some natural snows in the mix as well. That has made base depth climb about 4" per day across the board…and even more at some resorts. So surface conditions will be primo today and the best thing is that the snowguns are off at resorts all across the state. Skiing should be phenomenal today.

Expect temps to allow for snowmaking to resume tonight, but then they could be off again until Sunday. The bad news is that we need more cold and snow to get more terrain open. The good news is that we’re only talking about Thursday-Saturday and while it won’t be quite snowmaking weather…it won’t be warm either. Some light wintry mix is forecasted for the evening hours Thursday and Friday. The weekend isn’t looking phenomenal as we may see some light rain on and off.

Sunday night we get back to the mid 20s and snowmaking…and (DRUM ROLL PLEASE)…Monday and Tuesday should be snowmaking weather days AND Christmas Day (Tuesday) we may see some snow with highs in the mid 30s and lows in the 20s! WE CAN HOPE!


Timberline Resort – Jessica Scowcroft wrote this morning showing all of us that she loves snow like of all us who thrill at snow falling from the sky. She wrote us this morning, "It is snowing Big White Snow Flakes!!!!!"

Way to go Jessica!

WINTERGREEN – They wrote, "Snowmaking continues on Eagles Swoop and in The Plunge! It is cold, we are pumping out the white stuff and we like it! For those guests who love twilight skiing, we are now open for both day and night sessions. Like you we are really pumped to be on the snow, you should come and join us! Don’t forget, Season Passes are good everyday through December 25th. If you like to ski and ride and want to save some dough, you should think seriously about purchasing one of these passes."

This week, we will make some snow on Dobie, but will shift most of our production to Eagles Swoop, the Cross Trails and The Plunge Tubing Park. Weather permitting, we anticipate opening these areas this weekend. The best way to stay informed about what is happening up here is on the web. Please check this report prior to your visit for the most up to date snow and slope information.

SNOWSHOE – Laura Parquette wrote, "As of 7am…it’s snowing… again! Today we will be experiencing natural snowfall on top of the 8" we received on Monday! Plus, cold temperatures are allowing our snowmaking crew to work around the clock. Their efforts are working! Not only are we offering the most open terrain in the region, but on Friday we hope to open an additional four runs… plus Sawmill, one of the new runs at the South Mountain! The Silver Creek area is looking great with continued snowmaking and Cubb run expected to open tomorrow. Tubing and night skiing are also available daily."

HAWKSNEST – Reopened this morning, Justin Grimes wrote, "Come ski, board, and snow tube with us; normal operating hours, weekday rates. The long-term, cold weather, forecast for Christmas through New Years is holding. Celebrate your holiday week in the High Country. Where else can you conveniently ski four different resorts and look across the valleys and see the resort you skied the day before?"

Good comment Justin…

SKI BEECH – Gil Adams wrote, "The temperature at 6:30am was 30 with a light snow. The forecast calls for mostly cloudy with temperatures in the 30’s. Snow making is in progress and will continue as the temperature allows today. We are open for both day and night skiing. Enjoy your day!"

Until Next Time…Send your comments, photos and videos to: [email protected]  

See You On The Slopes!

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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.