Hawksnest Ski Resort Closes –

Hawksnest announced just a short time ago that they are closing due to the warm temperatures. They stated that they will look to reopen on Saturday (weather permitting).

The question becomes, "Will the weather permit?"

Our best guess is that it is doubtful. The forecast for the Banner Elk area according to local weather guru, Ray Russell is as such:

Wednesday Hi: 58 Lo: 47
Thursday Hi: 57 Lo: 32
Friday Hi: 47 Lo: 35
Saturday Hi: 50 Lo: 40
Sunday Hi: 55 Lo: 35

As you can see, there IS a chance of snowmaking temps Thursday night and MAYBE even Friday night but those are so borderline that even if there is a marginal period of a few hours that they and other resorts can make snow…they MAY NOT since the forecast for next week is more of the same mild temps.

Martin Luther King Weekend Looks in Jeopardy The forecast for Banner Elk through the 15th of January is not looking condusive for snowmaking either and that could spell huge losses in revenue from the VERY BUSY Martin Luther King weekend. The MLK weekend is traditionally one of the biggest weekends for all of the ski areas and the shape that the ski areas are in now…combined with continuing mild temperatures for the next several days could mean a very disappointing holiday weekend.

This year the MLK weekend falls on January 14-17 and every long range forecaster is calling for no cold between now and then.

More closing to follow? Without question it will happen. There’s a strong possibility that a few others will close up within days.

Good Snow in NC – We’ve already reported that our BEST BETS are Appalachian Ski Mountain and Cataloochee, but we have also had reports that Wolf Laurel has pretty good snow right now. Sugar’s main trail is also decent right now.

Keep the Faith! – It does look like right after that (around the 18th or so) we might see some more normal temps for at least a short burst.

There are no reliable forecasts outside of seven days, but from some of our contacts that don’t mind sharing data with us (as long as we don’t name them!) comes the news that IF things shape up like they SPECULATE they might…this could be one strange ski season. They are saying don’t be surprised if we get a little cold mid January then mild again…and then February and March may be HUGE snow months this year. By "Strange" they are speculating that resorts might be tempted to stay open longer to attempt to make up for lost revenues. That would be good news to the local tourism economy, but resorts don’t tend to close for a lack of snow in mid-to-late March. They typically close no later than the end of March because of a lack of skier interest. This year March 31st falls on a Thursday, which COULD mean that resorts like Sugar might extend through April 3rd. It’s unlikely that they would shoot for April 10th even if we have the snow.

We’ll see. We’re speculating WAYYYY to much now! Darn, I got caught up in it too!

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. 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.