High Winds and Cold Temps Create Some Sporadic Snowmaking and Delayed Openings!

We’re witnessing sporadic snowmaking happening across the region. The winds and late arriving cold temps which are expected to create day long drops in temps have made some resorts hold off on snowmaking overnight.

Several resorts in North Carolina are making snow with some very cold temps in place. Ski Beech is at 12° this morning and they are making snow on White Lightning. Appalachian which reported no snowmaking overnight IS MAKING SNOW as of this post, but will probably turn them off during ski sessions.

Cataloochee is making snow this AM as is Ski Beech. Sugar is making snow as well and they are reporting that their tubing hill will be closed today, but will reopen on Thursday. They are otherwise 100% open!

Wolf Ridge is not making snow as far as we can tell by the webcams, although it is 26° there this morning. They have not updated their ski report so we’ll say that they are going with the same 16 trails they offered on Tuesday.

Sapphire Valley is CLOSED Wednesdays and Thursdays. We received a couple of request about conditions over there for skiing today. Contrary to the SSAA ski report, Sapphire is not open today. They will reopen for skiing and tubing on Friday.

Bryce Resort in Virginia reports no snowmaking. Massanutten is reporting 38° so no snowmaking there either. Wintergreen is at 22° but is not reporting any snowmaking. It could be the heavy winds that are holding those resorts back.

Snowshoe Mountain is experiencing some light snow right now and may see up to an inch of new snow. They are at 23° at the top of their summit and according to Laura Parquette they will be cranking up the snowguns at varied locations around the mountain today.

Timberline and Canaan are reporting about an inch of new snow and some reduced trail openings today. Check out the slope conditions page.

Wisp Resort IS reporting some snowmaking and windy conditions right now.

Ober Gatlinburg is a windy 25° and no snowmaking.


 <Hawksnest not making snow this AM

Hawksnest Resort is NOT making snow this morning. We spoke with them this morning and essentially they told us that it’s just too windy and in fact they are holding all ticket sales until noon today. Hawksnest looks in need of some snowmaking this AM, but some pre-session grooming will take care of that.

While we’re on Hawksnest…Justin Grimes shared a pretty sweet announcement with us the other day.

The first one hundred K-12 students who purchase a Nighthawk lift ticket at Hawksnest Ski Mountain on Friday, February 1, 2008 will receive a new sport safety helmet, free ski or snowboard equipment rental and lessons!

Here’s the official announcement:

Hawksnest Ski Mountain and the Town of Seven Devils to Give-Away 100 Ski/Snowboard Helmets

Free Equipment Rental and Lessons in Snow Sport Safety and Etiquette Part of Event Benefiting the Watauga Education Foundation

Seven Devils, NC – The first one hundred K-12 students who purchase a Nighthawk lift ticket at Hawksnest Ski Mountain on February 1, 2008 will receive a new sport safety helmet, free ski or snowboard equipment rental and lessons. The Family Snow Sport Safety Event is designed to encourage skiers and snowboarders to come out, have fun and learn the snow sport “Responsibility Code”
“We want to impress upon all our guests that the most fun on the slopes, begins with safety first,” says Lenny Cottom, Hawksnest owner. “When the Seven Devils Tourism Development (TDA) Authority approached us about hosting a special event focused on bringing families together and teaching them how to safely enjoy winter sports, we thought it was a great idea.”
TDA Spokesperson Carol Isquith said the idea grew out of the town’s summer fire Safety Event. “We simply felt it is a great tie-in with our other seasonal events, and we want to encourage families from across the region to get to know our community better.”

The fun will begin during the 6:00 PM Nighthawk session, although folks can begin purchasing lift tickets as early as 4:30. They will need to sign-up for lessons at that time.

“Every K-12 student who purchases the Nighthawk ticket will also receive free equipment rental for the night,” said Cottom. This is a tremendous value and a substantial portion of our proceeds will benefit a great organization, the Watauga Education Foundation.”

“Hawksnest has been a strong supporter of ours for years.” said WEF Executive Director Melanie Bullard. “We’re delighted that Seven Devils has joined the event this year. The free helmets and the free ski or snowboard rental and lessons make a night on the slopes affordable for every family. We hope to see snow enthusiasts, not just from the High Country, but all over the Carolinas come out play in the snow and raise money for our schools.”

The National Ski Areas Association reports that 40 percent of skiers and boarders wore a helmet in the 2006/07 season, up from 25 percent in 2002/03.


We have been labeling this season the "roller coaster" season mostly due to the fact that for the first 1/3rd of it we saw alternating cold and warm temps, and alternating decent and poor conditions. We’ve now been on the first extended great conditions period for nearly two and a half weeks and that has certainly made every skier and snowboarder happy. General managers have certainly been walking around in a better mood and we’re hearing comments from several that the last two straight weekends have been top five in terms of skier visits.

The roller coaster theme continues today as we are seeing temperature swings in the last 48 hours that I have not seen in many years. Two mornings ago we reported 24°to 26° reading across the North Carolina’s High Country and then 24 hours ago we reported 46° temps. That was a 20° rise and now this morning we’re 19° and 20° readings again. That’s up 20° and back down 27° over the last 48 hours!

That is an average reading that we’re seeing across the area. However if you want one better than those, how about the fact that it was 21° Monday morning up on Ski Beech, then 45° Tuesday morning and now 12.2° this morning. The employees up there have to be ready with any kind of clothing! The morning temps rose 24° one day and dropped back some 32° from 24 hours ago.

By the way, the wind chill up there as of this post at 8am was -6.7°. The highest wind gust overnight was 57mph at 7am according to our weather station up there! The lowest wind chill so far this morning up there WAS at 7am at -15.3°!

According to some of meteorologist buddies we should see a wintry mix in the mountains of North Carolina for Thursday and Friday, then a beautiful weekend with highs in the 40s to near 50° with lows in the low to mid 20s with sunny skies all weekend!

That will be three weekends straight of perfect ski weather and could make for another "top five" visitor day.

That will also push this extended period of great weather to nearly three and a half weeks, which has allowed many ski areas to bolster their base depths and made for great conditions no matter where you choose to ski and ride.

That extended colder than normal period is forecasted to give way to milder than normal temps going into Monday and Tuesday of this week with some chances of showers into Wednesday, but the great news is that the extended forecast is looking at some colder air coming BACK in on Thursday of next week with a chance of light snow. It’s early, but we’ll keep our eyes on that and share what Meteorologist Brad Panovich and Matthew East have to say about it.


I hate Groundhog Day! There, I said it! The furry little critter seems to hold the fate of our snowloving skiers and snowboarders in his cruddy, little, germ infested little paws! It also signals the downhill side of the ski season. Some ski areas such as Ski Beech which tends to close without any notice in mid March, may offer only 49 more days of skiing if they stay open until March 16th. Other resorts will probably make March 30th their last day, which means that they will offer 57 more days to ride. A couple of resorts will probably strive for April 6th, which will give the die-hard riders 63 more days to enjoy this season.

Have I bummed all of you guys out? Well now you know why I hate Groundhog Day! Add to THAT the fact that the stupid critter has an IQ of less than a gnat and yet we’re allowing this thing to dictate whether or not we get to have an extended period of Winter. I say REVOLT!

For me, I’m just ignoring him this year. Heck we HAVEN’T HAD 6 weeks of Winter yet!

Enjoy your day…

Until Next time…

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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.