How About MINUS 13° On Beech Mountain This Morning! That’s COLD baby!

All of our weather peeps have been forecasting the coldest air in years to hit overnight last night and this morning, but they missed their forecasts just a bit! IT’S EVEN COLDER THAN THEY WERE PREDICTING! I’ll tell you how cold it is this morning!

I have a one year old Husky/Shepherd mix (doesn’t everybody?) and he normally stays inside when we are home, but sleeps outside at night. Of course, last night we’d already planned for him to stay inside as temps were forecasted to drop to about 1°. We wanted to give him an opportunity to "relieve" himself for the night and opened the door and he normally just trots out and does his thing and then comes back and paws the door. Not last night! I opened the door and he trotted out and within two quick steps – stopped abruptly and turned back to look at me as if to say – "you’ve GOT to be kidding me!" I motioned for him to come back inside and he did so without ever "doing his thing". I expected him to wake me up in the middle of the night to do so, and that didn’t happen. You got the sense that he knew what the outside had to offer. So this morning as I am exiting the house I figured he’d be ready to burst and run out. Nope. He stuck his head out, saw his breath which is a bit unusual for a dog, and quickly withdrew into the warm confines of the den. (That guy’s got a huge bladder!)

For those that have not experienced what MINUS THIRTEEN DEGREES!!! does to you and everything around you, let me share some of the quicker observations, but before I do I’ll share some morning temperature observations at 8am:

Ski Beech – MINUS 13°
Sugar Mountain – MINUS 10.8°
Hawknest – MINUS 6.6°
My House – MINUS 2°
My Office – Plus 1°
Grandfather Mountain – MINUS 8°
Cataloochee – MINUS 2.9°
Wolf Laurel – MINUS 6.8°

Massanutten Resort in Virginia – MINUS 4.3°
Wintergreen Resort – MINUS 7°

Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia – MINUS 16°
Timberline – MINUS 12.8°
Wisp Resort in Maryland – MINUS 8.4°

Add some breazy winds to those temps and you have some wind chills in the MINUS 30° BELOW ZERO and COLDER!

Now back to my story…

So if you’ve never experienced cold like that let me tell you that it creates some oddities. I remember back about fifteen years or so ago I was living up on Seven Devils when the natural temperature dropped to minus 12° and several times during that night my wife and I were awakened by something that sounded like either someone slapped the side of our home with a baseball bat – or that someone had fired a shotgun on our front deck. Each time I bolted out of bed I found nothing. After this happened a couple of times I stayed up peaking out the front windows when it happened again. BOOM! To my amazement, it was NOTHING. Nothing, that is, except the fact that at those kinds of temperatures the air pockets within the boards of the deck contract so much that it explodes! Literally explodes with a snap that sounds like a gun going off.

As I stepped onto my front deck this morning, I heard that same sound as one of the boards literally exploded. (For the record, the boards don’t explode…it just SOUNDS that way.) Maybe THAT’S why my dog didn’t want to go out this morning 😉

Anyway, another little oddity is the fact that you HAVE NOT LIVED until your nose hairs freeze. Okay, I know you’re all going ewwww! But that happens when going from 70° warmth to MINUS 2°. I tell you something else; vehicles don’t like these kinds of temps. My truck fired right up, but my steering wheel was tight (squeaked a bit on turns); my shocks were stiff and made funny sounds going over bumps. Even the driveway seemed to complain about being driven on.

It is THAT cold out this morning!

As I rounded the curve before crossing the Sleepy Hollow Covered Bridge that spans the Watauga River I noticed that a good portion of the river was iced over. The river flows pretty good right now and that’s something I had not seen in a while.

Temps were forecasted to drop to maybe -8° at Snowshoe and perhaps -3° at Beech Mountain, but they definately exceeded that.

If you are traveling up today, be aware that the highs in the mountains of North Carolina are forecasted to be around 13-18° today (depending on elevation) and drop back to sub zero degree temperatures again tonight. Things will quickly get to more normal highs and lows for Saturday through Monday as highs are expected to be in the low to mid 20s all three days with lows in the middle teens each night. That is certainly more like a normal winter weekend around here. Typical highs this time of year in the NC mountains are around 40° with lows in the 19° range. So we are well below average right now.

The weather gurus are all saying that we’re going to continue to see snowmaking cold temps through at least Thursday of next week and that means that we’ll all have the best ski conditions of the season for the foreseeable future!

So MLK Weekend will be HUGE; the week after will be awesome and things looks SWEET for the long range forecasting period on the slopes.

More snowmaking means more slope openings so let’s go see what’s open out there and do our quick tour of the region this morning:

Ski Beech – minus 13° and they added 4" of manmade overnight – Beech is still operating one pump down right now, but these cold temps are allowing some ideal snowmaking ops and Beech has got a nice cloud going over Robbins Run right now. They are reporting FIVE trails open, BUT Robbins will open today and that will give Beech its most open terrain of the season to date. They will have 7 of 15 trails open and you can expect them to focus on White Lightning next. Ryan Costin writes, "We will be opening Upper and Lower Robbins Run along with two more surface lifts. Our new full-featured Terrain Park will be set up on Powder Bowl on Saturday and remain there for the entire season. Ice Skating all weekend and come get warm next to our brand new Village Fire Pit. Live music in Beechtree Saturday Night from Soul Benefactor from 9pm-12am."

Be the first to ride Robbins Run this season and get us some photos and videos. Send them to [email protected]  

No matter which angle you look at Beech this morning – it IS gorgeous. The snow looks VERY inviting and the grooming looks awesome.

Sugar Mountain – minus 10.8° this AM and they added 4" of manmade powder. Sugar also has opened three more trails and now have 17 open for the first time this season! High temperatures today will be around 10 degrees and lows tonight around 0 degrees! Snowmaking is currently in progress and will continue as long as conditions allow. Whoopdedoo, the Terrain Park, and the rest of Big Red open this morning! With cold weather and snow in the forecast for the next week, look for more slopes to open soon!

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 1° above this morning. They are always a bit warmer than the elevations around them over in Blowing Rock. They have already "warmed" to 7° above at 8:30am and are holding with 8 of 10 trails and ice skating today and tonight. We kind of thought that they might be ready to drop the ropes on Hard Core and Thin Slice but they must be holding off for one more day of focused snowmaking and maybe open it for Saturday’s crowd. App reports that the cold temps allowed them to add 6" of new manmade snow and they now have a base of 60-86"!

Cataloochee Ski Area – minus 2.9° and they too added 6" of new, manmade snow. They also add another open trail today and now have 12 of 14 trails open. They also have terrain features and snow tubing open. Tammy Brown reports, "Please note that even with the colder temperatures continuing throughout the day, we will not be making snow on open trails during skiing hours. We are one day closer to being 100% open and will open the Advanced Upper Omigosh today, Friday and open our two new trails added last season, Intermediate Short ‘n’ Sweet and Beginners Turkey Trot on Saturday, January 17 for your holiday skiing and riding. Its great snowsports weather and a great time to get outdoors with your friends at Cataloochee!"

Sapphire Valley – They will be 100% open for today with their beginner hill and the lone ski slope open. They will also offer their Frozen Falls Tubing Park for this weekend!

Wolf Ridge – They reported minus 6.5° this morning and they have 50% of their mountain open and means that 10 of 20 trails will be offered with great conditions. They also have tubing open. We had some good communication with some fans of Wolf yesterday and hope to see a few more photos coming from over that way!

Hawksnest Tubing Park – minus 7° this am and they have evidently made all the snow that want or need as the guns are off and the groomers are out doing their thing (as we watched via the live cam) and the tubing should be fun today! Wrap up!

It should be an AWESOME day to ski and ride before the heavier crowds hit on Saturday and Sunday. Get out and get us some photos and videos of your trip and enjoy your day. Email us at [email protected]

It has been a while since the conditions have been so perfect for a major visitation weekend for the resorts and this should be a special skier visit number for all of the ski areas. It will be interesting to watch and compare traffic at all of the resorts and we’ll try to provide you some insight into what we’re seeing out there.

Be sure to check Meteorologist Brad Panovich’s weekend forecast! 

Also Ed Schneider, producer of Snowshoe Mountain sent us a great powder video that is running on the front of www.SkiSoutheast.com  and you guys should check that out.

Enjoy your day!

Until Next time…

Be sure to visit www.SkiSoutheast.com  for more news from the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas!

Send your snow photos, videos, comments or emails to: [email protected]

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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.