Four out of Seventeen Resorts Open in the Southeast

The big news on this Friday after thanksgiving is the COLD temps that have invaded all of the high elevations of the mountains of the Southeast. Just 24 hours ago the temps were in the upper 40s to near 50°. Now on Friday morning we are seeing temps that range from 21° at Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain and Snowshoe Mountain – to 30° or so around Cataloochee. Wintergreen Resort in Virginia is reporting 23°, Timberline in West Virginia is reporting 24 and Appalachian Ski Mountain in North Carolina is showing 27°.

The cold temps began filtering into the area yesterday afternoon and that prompted more snowmaking equipment to fire up around the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.


That is the top question of the morning via your emails. Our skiMail inbox received 211 emails this morning and more than 60% of them relate to "Why is xyz resort not making snow yet?"

We don’t practice "mentalism" around here so we can’t get inside the heads of some of the mountain managers, but it is pretty obvious that the forecast has some management concerned enough to hold off a bit longer and waiting for more consistent cold temps.

For example, the forecast for the North Carolina mountains is showing wonderful, snowmaking temps for today and Saturday…but then the forecast goes sour. Here’s a look at the forecast for Banner Elk:

Friday – Hi: 35 Lo: 20 – PERFECT FOR SNOWMAKING

Saturday – Hi: 36 Lo: 30 – Not PERFECT but pretty good.

Sunday – Hi: 46 Lo: 44 – Cloudy with light rain. No Snowmaking.

Monday – Hi: 52 Lo: 42 – Cloudy; Rain; Milder temps

Tuesday – Hi: 52 Lo: 36 – Ditto

Wednesday – Hi: 53 Lo: 34 – Mostly clear – No Snowmaking

Thursday – Hi: 52 Lo: 34 – Cloudy

Now let’s have a look at the forecast for up around Snowshoe Mountain and the mountains of West Virginia:

Friday – Hi: 29 Lo: 11 – PERFECT FOR SNOWMAKING

Saturday – Hi: 36 Lo: 17 – Very good snowmaking

Sunday – Hi: 41 Lo: 23 – Daytime rain, Night Snow – Overnight Snowmaking

Monday – Hi: 53 Lo: 33 – Light Rain – Little or no snowmaking

Tuesday – Hi: 45 Lo: 21 – Clear – Overnight Snowmaking

Wednesday – Hi: 42 Lo: 22 – Clear – Overnight Snowmaking

Thursday – Things look to be going to the colder side a bit.

Now it doesn’t take a genius to see that if you haven’t made any snow yet – you might want to hold off just a bit unless you’re located in the northern most area of the region. Bear in mind that there are SEVENTEEN ski areas that located in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic and only FOUR of those have made a substantial amount of snow (enough to be open). Those resorts are Appalachian, Cataloochee and Sugar Mountain in North Carolina – and Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. Those four resorts are ALWAYS the most aggressive about making snow and getting open.


Today we now see Wintergreen Resort in Virginia making snow. Timberline Resort in West Virginia is making snow…as is Winterplace Resort. Wisp Resort in Maryland is making snow across a good portion of their terrain. That means that there are FOUR more resorts in the mix now. For the record, Bryce Resort in Virginia has made a little snow previously but does not appear to be making snow this morning.

For those of you keeping score, that means that Hawksnest, Sapphire Valley, Ski Beech and Wolf Ridge in North Carolina have yet to make snow. (Actually Wolf DID make snow one day, but not since.)

In Virginia, Bryce made it a bit…but not now. Massanutten and The Homestead have yet to make snow.

Tennessee’s Ober Gatlinburg has yet to make snow.


Several of those that emailed this morning included the obligatory "global warming" references and how this ski season will probably be about 30 days long (as compared to the normal 130-150 day season) and all we can say is that what we are experiencing right now…IS NORMAL early season conditions. There HAS been some phenomenal starts, but typically ski seasons don’t start off with three feet of powder and all slopes and trails open. This is the "season" of sporadic conditions and SLOWLY INCREASING trail openings and base depths.

Remember that the important part of every ski season doesn’t even begin until mid December (which is still two weeks away) and the VITAL portion of every ski season is still a month away. For you naysayers look back just THREE weeks ago and we were still in warm temps.

Things will turn cold and we will have some pristine conditions to ski and ride on.


Our meteorological friends are telling me that we will see some normal temps on and off over the next week, but the REALLY COLD stuff looks to be hitting around December 2 through the 7th. That period looks to be highs in the TWENTIES and lows in the teens and single digits!

SO, THINK and PRAY for cold and snow!

Check the slope conditions page for details on who and what is open today…

Until Next Time…

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