Story by Mike Doble – [email protected]
I have to admit that I kind of, sort of thought that maybe, possibly the temperatures could have fallen enough for Sugar to have continued to make snow overnight last night and gotten open today. I thought that potentially, conceivably, imaginably that Cataloochee could have gotten their snow machines cranked and done their magic once again and that we’d have Thanksgiving Day skiing and snowboarding after all.
That was the kind of vocabulary I was hearing from people hoping, wishing, craving, hungering and coveting the ski areas to be open.
Yep, it is that kind of day today.
It didn’t happen, although the temperatures did INDEED take a nosedive to 29° IN THE VALLEYS as radiational cooling took place once all the cloud cover left late on Friday evening. Sugar Mountain and Snowshoe Mountain both began making snow around midday on Friday and I am certain that Sugar had designs on possibly being able to make snow throughout the night and make a Turkey Day session a reality. The temps dropped a degree or so allowing snowmaking to happen from Sugar’s mid station and up…but no guns were making snow at the base. We hinted that the forecast just wasn’t showing anything to us that reflected a possible drop of those low temps to make snow.
Unfortunately that was the case. One look at the Sugar Mountain Extreme Cam, across the street from Sugar Mountain’s entrance shows plenty enough snow for Sugar to be open from the mid station loading to the 3/4th station…but zero down below.
Of course NOW the speculation will turn towards tonight. Will Sugar or Cataloochee be able to make snow tonight? Will either of them be able to make ENOUGH snow to open on Saturday?
The answers to those questions will only be answered in time, because we are exactly where we were 24 hours ago. The forecast for tonight is showing the same kind of cruel, teasing temperatures that MIGHT, POSSIBLY, MAYBE allow for more snowmaking. Snowshoe is forecasted to see lows tonight hovering around 29-30°. Pretty much ditto that for Sugar, Cat and every other ski area community in the region.
An argument was emailed to me this morning basically supporting the idea that Sugar KNEW they were not going to be able to make snow overnight last night at their base and that they were simply shooting for that tonight and the other snow made from the mid station UP was to support what they would be able to do tonight. All this would make for a Saturday opening.
Okay, I’ll admit that Gunther and his remarkable snowmakers ROUTINELY pull off some magic up there – and I give those guys a TON of credit for being the best at what they do. However, as smart as Gunther is (and he is) even HE isn’t Nostradamus. My guess is that he’s just that much of a skier and he wanted the darn place open today and took a chance on the temps dropping a couple of silly degrees and it just didn’t work out.
I’m really, kind of, sort of thinking that we’ll see much the same kind of weather thing tonight. When you add in the fact that rain – and possible ADDITIONAL HEAVY rain is in the forecast now for the entire Southeast and mid Atlantic by Sunday…well – let’s just say that it won’t surprise me if even Sugar doesn’t back down to nature and wait for the next window of opportunity to make snow.
There IS some speculation that we’ll see some snow showers at most of the high elevations into Sunday from Beech to Snowshoe, but temps really don’t look supportive of consistent snowmaking until the 29th (Tuesday). We’re thinking we’ll see some accummulating snow up around Snowshoe, but just enough to continue the early season weather tease…and not enough to warrant an opening just yet up that way.
Soooo, we’ll take a chill pill and play the waiting game with all of you guys and gals.
PERHAPS IT IS TIME TO BREAK OUT THOSE COLD AND SNOW DANCES?
We may just do that if things don’t make a turn here shortly.
I am. Hopefully you are. If you have your health, love and a job – say your thanks today. I did.
I’m a member of the lucky "reproductive cell" club because I come from great parents and a loving family. If you did as well – be thankful. I am.
Be thankful if you get to enjoy the mountains year round. I am. Be thankful if you have the resources to be able to travel to your favorite mountain community a few times per year.
…and finally BE THANKFUL that it WILL TURN COLDER; IT WILL SNOW; and we all WILL get around to some great skiing and snowboarding soon. I am.
Happy Thanksgiving People…
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