Lots of Snowmaking; Lots of Natural Snow and Powder Skiing on Sunday!

Five straight days of snowfall thus far. This time we have some significant snow pretty much across the board. On Saturday I was out and about around lunchtime and photographed some light snow falling. While doing so we captured a very ominous bank of dark clouds coming towards Banner Elk. Sure enough within thirty minutes it was bombing snow. These were huge "Charlie Brown snowflakes" as my mother calls them…and they were plentiful enough to mount up some accumulation pretty quick. That lasted about twenty minutes and we had a light powdery snowfall for much of the rest of the day and evening.

Admittedly I was beginning to doubt Meteorologist Brad Panovich’s forecast for heavier snow late in the evening. I checked out Laura Parquette’s post from AM Saturday and even she was touting the National Weather Service’s forecast of "a half a foot" of snow. That reminded me of Joe Stevens’ Friday call of "maybe – maybe eight inches of snowfall". That was after I shared Brad’s THURSDAY forecast of 10+ and perhaps between 10-20" of snow for the WV resorts.

Let’s see:

According to David Lesher’s official Davis, West Virginia weather service they’ve so far had 8.6" of snow since Thursday when the snow began. According to the National Weather Service (CLICK HERE FOR FORECAST) they are STILL FORECASTING:

2-4" of snow during the day on Sunday; 2-4" MORE accumulation tonight; 3-5" of new snow accumulations for Monday and snow is in the forecast through Wednesday. Let’s review. On Thursday Brad Panovich said that the "bull’s eye" for the heaviest snow was over the West Virginia ski mountains and that they should see 10+" of snow with perhaps 10-20" through Monday.

I know it sounds like I’m Panovich’s press agent (Brad call me) but if my math is correct if you add 8.6" of snow so far since Thursday to the forecasted 7-12" of snow that could fall today through Monday I think that might just be 15.6 to 20" of snow.

Good call Brad! By the way he was the ONLY weather forecaster calling for those kinds of numbers until the NWS jumped on the band wagon late in the day on Saturday.


Obviously we were coming to a brother’s defense with our opening foray of snow news this morning. However the snow is bombing across the region this morning. A quick look at CoCoRaHs reports from around the region shows these snowfall totals since Thursday:

9.6" at Davis, West Virginia
4" across some of the previously snow-starved portions of Virginia

A dusting to 1" across the Tennessee mountains/

5" at Wisp Resort in Maryland (1" in the last 24 hours)

7.2" AT Beech Mountain with 5.8" of it in the last 24 hours

7.5" reported at various locations of Avery County with 5.2" of it in the last 24 hours!

Cataloochee Ski Area is reporting 4" in the past 24 hours and 8" on the season!

Another couple of inches of snow is forecasted for portions of the North Carolina mountains for today into Monday.


The snow reports could be easily summed up as POWDER skiing and snowboarding ops for today at Appalachian, Beech Mountain, Cataloochee, Sugar, Wolf Mountain and Wisp Resort. The first four resorts are all North Carolina based ski areas and Wisp is only operating one bunny slope for today. The NC resorts are offering 33 trails to play on across the region.

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 20°- 6" new snow – 8 trails open, ice skating and $5 lift tickets for Sunday. App is open for night sessions as well!

Beech Mountain Resort – 14° – 5.8" of new snow and 13.5" on the season! – Beech has added another open trail to the mix and they now have 5 of 14 slopes open. They added Powder Bowl to the open slopes. Beech is operating day sessions only for Sunday.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 19° – 4" of new snow (8" on the season) – Tammy Brown told me this morning, "Mike our guys have worked so hard to get new terrain open." Cat has 10 of 16 open for today. They’ll operate day sessions only for Sunday. Tammy reminded me that they will operate on an early season schedule for the coming week and that means 1pm until 10pm Monday through Friday.

Sugar Mountain – 12° – 5.2" of new snow, 7.5" since Thursday and 10.7" on the season. Sugar is reporting 8" of new snow in the last 24 hours but we’re thinking that’s just posted to the wrong field on their website. Don’t drive to Sugar expecting to see 8" of snow on the ground – except on the slopes where they’ve blasted a base of 22-50" of manmade snow. The 5" of new snow will make for pristine conditions for day and night sessions on 9 slopes for today. Sugar is looking pretty sweet today. Can anyone say "POWDER".

Wolf Ridge Resort – 20° – 1.7" of new snow in the last 24 hours, 3" since Thursday and 4" on the season. Wolf is day sessions only for Sunday. They will be closed Monday through Wednesday to throw down some huge snowmaking ops. They will operate with 3 of 20 trails for today. They’ve been reporting that they were going to try and get 5 trails open over the last few days but thus far they’ve stuck with the three.


Ober Gatlinburg – 30° – They are making snow and reporting a dusting of snow accumulation so far. Their website is displaying temps that are not accurate. Kathy Doyle says that will be fixed pronto. We’re showing 30° there at 9:21am and they are making snow whenever possible.

Wisp Resort – 17° – 1" of new snow; 3.5" from the storm so far and 5" on the season. Wisp isn’t open, ready for prime time just yet but they are open with one bunny slope and $10 lifties for Sunday. Their grand opening for the season will take place December 9th and they’ll have a lot of slopes ready to go. They have their ice skating rink and mountain coaster open today as well.

Winterplace Resort – 27° – No New Snow – They are blasting the slopes today readying for next week’s opening. According to CoCoRaHs they’ve officially only seen a few dustings of natural snow so far this season although we have three slopesiders that have reported 2" of snow on the season. So is forecast for today so hopefully they’ll get some love today. Regardless they are bombing the slopes with manmade. Things should be awesome by opening day.

Canaan Valley and Timberline Resort – 8° – They are the cold spot in the region as of 7am this morning. David Lesher is reporting 2.4" of new snow; 8.6" since Thursday and 14.3" on the season. Next week’s opening day is looking like a POWDER opening!

Snowshoe Mountain – 16° – 4" of new snow! – My sister and brother from West Virginia – Laura Parquette and Ed Schneider – have been kind of quiet on me so far this season. (Send me some photos and videos Laura!) On Saturday Laura posted a forecast of perhaps a "half foot of snow" but now she’s coming around the Brad Panovich’s numbers. They’ve seen 4" in the last 24 hours and 7" since Thursday and now 11" on the season. Laura writes, "It’s amazing what a difference just a few days makes! Since the start of the new month, Mother Nature has flipped the switch to winter and Snowshoe Mountain is once again a winter wonderland. Four additional inches of snowfall fell yesterday and up to another FOOT of snow is expected in the next 24-36 hours. Some models are calling for even more accumulation than that! Either way, it’s setting up to be an epic Opening Day on Wednesday. In addition to all the work Ma Nature has been doing, our expert snowmaking team has been working around the clock since early Wednesday morning. We’re pumping so much snow; our equipment is having trouble keeping up with us! That’s some serious snowmaking power! And it doesn’t look like the snowmaking will stop anytime soon. We’ve already started to groom out areas, creating a great base, and we’ll continue to make a light, fluffy snow to add to the natural powder that’s falling! If you don’t already have plans to be up here, make them TODAY! Call 877-441-4386!"

Wintergreen Resort – 16° – 2" of new snow! – That’s the first significant snow on the season at the popular Virginia resort. Anne Marie writes, "6 GLORIOUS DEGREES AT 7AM, ANOTHER GREAT NIGHT OF SNOWMAKING & 2 INCHES OF NATURAL SNOW! Our big investment in additional snowmaking equipment this summer is really paying off. We are currently running on all 3 sections of the mountain including THE HIGHLANDS. No kidding, for the first time, we are making snow on The Highlands with plans to open it earlier than ever before. Keep checking this report for details about opening day and our Highlands progress. The mountain looks fabulous! We have a great forecast, predicting round the clock snowmaking through next week."

Massanutten Resort – Massanutten will be open for Snow Tubing only on Sat. and Sun. Dec. 4th and 5th 9am-5pm. Massanutten will open the Snow Sports Area for Skiing, Snowboarding and Tubing on December the 10th 2010. Ski and Snoboard hours 9am-4:30 pm, tube 9am-5pm. Night session starts Dec. 17th, 2010.

None of the reporting station for Nelson, Shenandoah County or Rockingham Counties in Virginia are reporting any measureable snowfall so far on the season. Cold temps will allow for plenty of snowmaking over the next week though and opening day should be nice at all ski areas in Virginia. We’ve had no reports so far from The Homestead.

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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.