We’re five to twelve days away from the end of the 2007-2008 ski season and it’s been a season of less than normal snowfall for all of our region’s ski areas. Now it appears that Mother Nature is gearing up to pull a huge prank and provide what could be a healthy snowfall ahead. Yes, Thursday is the first day of Spring, but the landscape and temps might look much more like mid-January if some forecasters are correct about the "disturbance" that appears to be taking form into Monday.
We’ll not make a huge deal of those forecast models just yet because others are predicting nothing more than another burst of rain. However some pretty reliable weather gurus are forecasting the Sunday light rain to change over to snow and work to form a coastal storm that depending on how close that storm is to the coast…it could produce a substantial snowfall for the mountains.
We cover 17 ski areas via SkiSoutheast.com (18 if you want to count Cloudmont that we provide some cursory information about throughout the season) and as of this morning we still have 11 of those 18 ski areas operating. If we do receive some snowfall on Monday, only six resorts will still be open for skiing and snowboarding to take advantage of it.
Snowmaking temps that should drop temps into the 20s will also be prevalent into Monday and several of the ski areas appear to be ready and willing to make one more snowmaking push to provide the best possible product for their visitors. Appalachian Ski Mountain has previously reported that they would make snow right up until the last day or so of their season which they have already announced will end on March 30th. App has some cool "Meltdown Games" festivities that we will cover over the next couple of days.
Cataloochee and Snowshoe have also stated that they will make snow as needed. Cataloochee is looking pretty discolored this morning and although they have plenty of snow base, they could use a little "sprucing up" via some timely snowmaking which could happen on Monday. Monday looks like the last temperature opportunity for Appalachian as well.
Snowshoe Mountain may make their one last snowmaking push as early as Thursday. Laura Parquette writes, "Starting tomorrow we’ll have some cold overnight temps through the end of the week, which may allow us one more snowmaking push so we’ll have good conditions for the end of the month."
Maybe they will see a bit of an "assist" from nature. We’ll see.
HOW MUCH SNOW HAS FALLEN THIS SEASON?
With just a few days left in the 2007-2008 season we’re being asked "How much snow have the resorts seen?"
Again, SkiNC.com and SkiSoutheast.com is the only website that we are aware of that has recorded the individual snowfall totals for all of our coverage area resorts for the last several seasons. We have that information documented on each of the individual ski area pages on the website. Here’s the answer to your questions at a quick glance for those who asked.
Timberline and Canaan Valley resorts which are located within a half-mile from each other in Tucker County, West Virginia has seen the most natural snow this season. They have recorded 147.4" of snow. With that they have actually received a very-near-normal snowfall total this season. (They average 150" per season…and they are also within less than an inch of matching last season’s snowfall and they may get that Monday.)
Resort Snow Avg %
Timberline 147.4 150" 98%
Canaan 147.1 150" 98%
Snowshoe 116.5 180" 65%
Wisp 86 100" 86%
Winterplace 63 100" 63%
Ski Beech 38 80" 48%
Sugar Mtn 35 78" 45%
Hawksnest 35 65" 54%
Wolf Ridge 32 65" 49%
Cataloochee 26 40" 65%
Ober Gatl. 17.5 35" 50%
Appalachian 17 50" 34%
Massanutten 11 35" 32%
Bryce 8 30" 27%
Wintergreen 7 34" 21%
Sapphire 4 30" 13%
Homestead 0 35" 0%
Region Total 790.5 1257" 63%
If you look at the chart above it is pretty apparent that Brad Panovich’s preseason forecast for the winter was pretty close to being on par. The West Virginia resorts saw from 63-98% of their normal snowfall while resorts into Virginia experienced about 21-32% of normal and the North Carolina resorts received from 34-65% of normal with the lone exception being Sapphire Valley which the southernmost located ski area in the state and they saw only 13% of their normal 30".
The Homestead in Virginia actually saw numerous traces of snow and flurries but never reported any accumulating snowfalls all season long.
Although it is very unscientific I thought it would be kind of cool to tally all of the reported snow totals and compare them with the normal totals and doing so reveals that the Southeast and Mid Atlantic received about 63% of our normal natural snowfall for the season.
As Brad Panovich predicted prior to the season, those ski areas into West Virginia and Maryland would see close to their normal totals and that is certainly the case…while those areas further south struggled to wrench out snow all season long. In fact, without a two day storm that dumped 14" of snow on Gatlinburg, Tennessee – they would have only seen about 3-4" of snow on the season.
So needless to say it was a strange winter and as we wrap up the last week or two of the season it looks like Mother Nature might just be throwing yet one more strange twist by potentially providing some late season snow.
The Announced Closing Dates…
Wisp Resort – March 30th
Appalachian – March 30th
Cataloochee – April 6th *
Sugar Mountain – March 30th **
Bryce Resort – March 22nd
Massanutten – March 23rd
Wintergreen – March 23rd ***
Canaan Valley – March 23rd
Snowshoe Mtn – March 30th
Timberline Resort – April 6th
Winterplace – March 23rd
* Cataloochee may close Sunday, March 30th and then reopen for the following weekend and close April 6th
** Sugar has not announced a proposed closing date so this may change…depending on skier traffic.
*** Wintergreen had previously announced that they would be open until March 30th, but now say they will most likely close Easter Sunday, March 23rd.
Until Next time…
Be sure to visit www.SkiSoutheast.com for more news from the rest of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas!
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