Look for Cataloochee or Sugar Mountain to open this week!

Welcome to November everyone! I don’t know about you guys but that extra hour of sleep actually helped me this weekend. Maybe it was psychological but regardless it sure felt easier getting out of bed this morning with the brighter skies. Several people emailed me an old indian’s take on daylight saving time. After he was told about the concept he was quoted as saying, "Only the government would believe that you can cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket."

True enough I suppose. The brighter start to the morning certainly felt nice, but it did get dark way too soon Sunday evening! So we’re now in the season wherein the days will get shorter, and hopefully, pretty soon we’ll have some frigid temperatures, snowguns blasting and natural snow falling.

According to the weather gurus around the region, we could see some snow guns cranking up THIS WEEK. Sugar Mountain held their annual job fair this past Saturday and in addition to what several people told us was a record number of attendees, there was some talk about Sugar’s snowguns cranking up this week. General manager, Gunther Jochl was heard to say that they might be firing up the guns sometime between Tuesday and Friday nights (or maybe each night during that span of days).

Cataloochee’s Chris Bates and Tammy Brown have been quoted as saying that they are ready and WILL make snow at the very first opportunity. They already did that a week or so ago and almost pulled off opening two weeks prior to Halloween. Ma Nature didn’t quite cooperate then, but Cat may get their chance again Tuesday night as temps are forecasted to dip into the mid to upper 20s. The National Weather Service website shows slightly milder overnight low temps forecasted to be in the upper 20s and low 30s and IF that is the case, then we could be looking at another "close but no cigar" scenario.

According to numerous other forecasters, the thinking is that Cat and Sugar (as well as several other high elevations of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic) could see overnight lows Tuesday through SATURDAY night that would allow for snowmaking.

According to one of our sources, "Sugar has all of their snowguns out and ready and they’re looking to maybe test the system."

That is "Gunther-speak" for – we’ll be blasting away and opening ASAP. Don’t be surprised if either Cataloochee Ski Area or Sugar Mountain Resort is ready to open by Wednesday or Thursday. The race is on and one of those two ski areas will be the first to open for the 2009-2010 ski and snowboarding season.

Snowshoe Mountain will probably refire their snowmaking equipment this week. They made a LOT of snow a week or so ago. Temperatures are looking pretty good for them during the middle of the week and there’s even some chances of some snow showers on Thursday and Friday. Snowshoe and other resorts won’t be taking part in the race to get open, but they and others will be making snow whenever possible as we’re now into November. These next two to three weeks will fly by and we’ll be skiing and riding the snow before you know it.

WHO WILL BE THE FIRST?

We don’t usually play the "speculation game" around here, but we’ve received numerous emails from people asking us "which way should we head to get in the first runs of the season?"

According to forecasters, the cold temps may not hit until 11pm or so Tuesday night. If that is the case, don’t look for openings on Wednesday morning. There’s a outside chance that either Sugar or Cat would open at lunchtime on Wednesday. It is ALSO a strong possibility that neither ski area will make snow Tuesday night as Wednesday night looks a bit on the "borderline" side of things temp-wise.

We’re thinking that it is more likely that both ski areas will make SOME snow Tuesday night and then make really get after it THURSDAY NIGHT and possibly open on Friday. That probably makes more fiscal sense as well because more people would be able to hit the slopes on Friday and again on Saturday. (Snowmaking temps are forecasted for Friday night as well.)

We’re looking at the forecast the same as you guys and gals and we have our educated opinion that the temps might be slightly favoring one resort over the other, but it is too close to call and we’re going to do like the rest of you and just wait and see! Regardless, it is a STRONG bet that there WILL BE some first tracks of the season made sometime this week. We’re hoping to get some video and first-hand interviews with the lucky "first chair" peeps and if we’re able to make that happen, we’ll share that with you guys.

Stay tuned! It is getting close now!

Be sure to email photos, snow reports and comments to: [email protected]