More Snow Hits the Southeast and Mid Atlantic Ski Areas and More Trails Open!

Let’s talk temperatures this morning. A lot of people ask me what drives the subject of each post that we put up daily and the answer is quite simply – YOU. Your emails tend to flow in certain patterns. When temperatures are frigid, people want to know if we’re setting records. If the temps are in the 40s or 50°, then people write about Global Warming and the emails tend to be "gloom and doom" about how we’re NEVER GOING TO SEE SNOW AGAIN. When we GET a lot of snow, then you guys tend to be over the top excited about how this or that ski area will set records. When WE talk about record snowfalls, we get emails from people disputing whether it IS a record – and some write "so what if it isn’t a record, we can only ski on THIS YEAR’S snow".

This morning the emails came in two basic forms. One was about the "warm temperatures" forecasted for Saturday and particularly for Sunday. The other was about how much snow we received from yesterday’s snowfall and how you guys wanted to see it BETTER on the many webcams that we do or don’t have running. You guys are RARELY content 🙂

Let’s cover the subject of temperatures first. We have had an awesome start to the season and today is only December 13th and we’re seeing snowfall totals from 11" at Wolf Ridge Resort in Mars Hill, North Carolina to 89" atop Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. THAT is a good start to a season! We have also had some great AND consistent cold temperatures as well. Some of those temps have made for around the clock snowmaking early on. THANKFULLY so, because without the phenomenal base depths that resorts were able to put down early on – we’d have seen some bare spots after this week’s rain totals (which were in the 2-4" range". However, the temps dove down again yesterday and resorts made and average of about 5" of snow across the region and many received 3" to 4" of snow.

That makes for GREAT conditions for today and this weekend. However, as I said, you guys are not exactly the contented peeps you should be. Your emails followed the pattern that Shelly W. of Roanoke, Virginia wrote, "We’re planning on being with family over there at Beech Mountain this weekend and noticed that your highs were going to be in the mid forties for Sunday. Will the slopes be wet from those kind of readings?"

HERE’S WHERE ANOTHER LESSON BEGINS – so everyone go get some paper and a pen!

…and when you can snatch the pebble from my hand, you can go ski, snowboard or so whatever it is you want to do today!

Shelley asked about Beech Mountain but this pertains to all ski areas of the region for this weekend. Beech’s forecast for Saturday is for temps to rise to about 40° today and drop to 21° tonight. Sunday’s forecast is for a high of around 44°. While those are not NEARLY as cold as the temps we have seen in the last few weeks, it is very important to note that the bitterly cold temperatures of the last few weeks were VASTLY COLDER THAN NORMAL for this time of year! In fact the AVERAGE high for Beech Mountain for today, December 13th is 46°, so today’s forecast is for temps to be six degrees colder than normal! The low forecasted for tonight is to be five degrees colder than normal! Sunday’s high is expected to hit 44° or so and that is still a couple of degrees cooler than normal.

Perception is everything!

As per the "will the slopes be wet" question. Go to your refrigerator and get yourself a glass full of ice cubes. If you can get crushed ice, do that. Now take that glass of ice and dump it on the floor (preferrably carpet). Now sit on it. Skootch around a little for about 30 seconds and laugh a lot while you’re doing that. Then get up. Now place your hands on your bottom and see if you are wet.

Chances are you will feel a slight bit of moisture, but you should not be wet, unless you repeat those steps about 20 times!

Now, let’s apply that reasoning to the slopes.

First, try not to fall 20 times, but if you do, make sure you laugh a lot because THAT is part of the learning process. If you think that you might fall 20 times, then make certain that you are wearing proper gear. A decent pair of waterproof or water resistant pants makes for a much more enjoyable day on the slopes.

Here endeth the lesson.

For today’s tour around the area…we’re skipping around a bit to make things interesting!

Winterplace Resort – We just received Missy Kline’s report for this morning. We tried calling earlier as no report was online and the SSAA and other reporting services were are reporting "Reopening Soon" for Winterplace. However we got it and we can now report that they will skiing and snowboarding for day sessions today from 9am til 4:30pm on 12 of 28 trails. Their popular Snowtubing Park – Will NOT be open – and they advise to "please continue to check back"! Missy writes, " We have some Cool Terrain Features are located on Wanderer!"

Winterplace doesn’t have any black diamonds open for today but we saw some massive snowmaking happening on some of those trails last weekend so we can speculate that it is only a matter of time. They do have "Cascade, Meadows, Rendezvous, and Rendezvous Too" open for some BLUE trails.

Ski Beech – 11° – Beech picked up 3" of new snow over the last 24 hours. An inch of it was reported early on Friday and another 2" fell during the day and evening hours. That takes Beech Mountain to 24" of snow on the season! They saw only 38" all last season so they are off to a nice start towards their normal 80" of snow per season!

Beech is skiing and snowboarding for day and night sessions today on 5 of 15 trails. They do have some terrain features set up on Lower Shawneehaw for your enjoyment and Ryan Costin writes, "Snowmaking resumed late last night. We will continue making snow as conditions allow. Ice skating is open this weekend and weekend night skiing starts today (Fri-Sun). There are several freestyle terrain features on Lower Shawneehaw for the park enthusiasts. The Beech Tree Bar & Grill is open today with live music Saturday from 9pm-12am."

Sugar Mountain – 11° – They are reporting 3" of new snow as well and 24" on the season! Sugar has 12 of 20 trails open for day and night sessions and they also have their huge ice skating rink open as well. Sugar does not have their terrain park open as yet and tubing is not operating either. Sugarfest kicks off this morning, with a weekend of pure winter fun! Santa Claus will even be joining in on the festivities today!

Wintergreen Resort – 16° – No new reported but they DID make snow and we’re going to give Wintergreen top billing today. The reason? Simply put, they have fought hard against "ma nature" as the Virginia ski areas have not quite had the consistent cold and snows that the resorts North AND South of them have had. Only a few dustings of natural snow have fallen thus far (and one, 1" snowfall) and the official tally for them is 2" on the season. They’ve made snow recently (and last night) and they are open today with 9 of 26 trails. Anne Marie Jones writes, "4 more trails open today! 16 degrees at 7am is allowing us to increase trail counts, base depths and improve surface conditions. Come out today or tonight and ski or ride. Potato Patch, Tequila, Upper and Lower Sunrise will open this morning increasing our trail count to 9 and our lift count to 3. Our snowmaking plan for today and tonight will include: resurfacing our open trails, increasing base snow depths on these trails and trying to get additional snow down on The Highlands. The Highlands will not open this weekend, however, we continue making snow in this area inching closer to our opening goal. A few more days of snowmaking weather will get this area open. Cross your fingers and toes for a little cooperation from Mother Nature. The Plunge will be open for tubing today 10AM- 9PM and tomorrow from 10AM – 6PM."

Ober Gatlinburg – 22° – Had closed Friday but they made snow, did some power grooming and they are open today with 5 of 8 trails for noon to 10pm skiing and snowboarding. They also offer their Olympic sized Indoor Ice Rink for Holiday skating anytime all day or night til 10pm.

Snowshoe Mountain – 10° – Laura Parquette writes, "What a great way to start the weekend! Another 3" of snow fell overnight last night, and we’ve now had 89" on the season! Today we debut a handful of new slopes, and we’ll be skiing and riding on a total of 34 slopes…that’s more than 50% of our terrain! Tomorrow we plan to open even more additional terrain, as we continue to plan to be 100% open by the Holidays. Tubing will reopen today from 3-9 p.m."

Snowshoe will be enjoying sunny skies today with highs in the mid 30s and lows tonight in the low 20s. Sunday looks like more of the same with just a notch milder conditions.

Massanutten Resort – 18° – They reported a TRACE of snow but made snow overnight. They have 6 trails open and 6 lanes of tubing AND their CMB Terrain Park! They write, "Hours for Dec. 13,14, 9am-10pm for both ski and tube. Massanutten will night ski and night tube on Dec. 13, and 14th and resume night skiing on Dec.19 for the remainder of the regular season."

Cataloochee Ski Area – 19° – They reported a TRACE of new snow and 5" of manmade snow over the last 24 hours, which takes their base up to 18-60" to cover all the blemishes that resulted from the rains of the last few days. Those are now all gone and it should be an awesome day at The Cat with 9 of 14 trails open for day and night sessions. "Tube World" in Maggie Valley will open on December 20th!

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 18° – 1" of new snow and they made 6" of new, manmade powder and report 42-66" of base with 100% of their slopes open, BOTH AWESOME terrain parks, ice skating and weather that will make for a GREAT day and night of skiing and snowboarding!

Wolf Ridge is open to the top of the Quad with day and night skiing available on 5 trails. Their terrain park is closed but tubing is open for today and things look pretty nice via their webcam!

Speaking of Wolf Ridge or Wolf Laurel, I was researching for some more news on what is or isn’t happening up there as I’ve heard some rumors (that we don’t want to spread) and thus far have not been able to catch up with anyone of significance. In looking around I noticed that the old sites of SkiDixie.com, SkiAsheville.com and SkiTheSouth.com are all gone. Additionally, Slopequest has Wolf as "Wolf Laurel" and only 15 trails (instead of 20) so who knows about that data. They report that Wolf will be open on December 1st of 2005. YIKES!

We’ll get you some "news" ASAP.

Hawksnest’s Tubing Park – 15° – There were no snowguns running when we looked this AM, but Seven Devils did pick up 2-3" of new snow and they are scheduled to reopen for Saturday. We watched as four guys were out working at 9am, but we’d suggest calling ahead to see their hours of operation for this weekend. They’ve had some unlucky weather and their sessions have been interrupted a few times this season and they’ve made some last minute closing decisions. Calling ahead is the best bet.

Sapphire Valley was hoping to be able open for SKIING today but due to the rains of this past week are postponing that until the weather cooperates. Looking ahead at the forecast for down there, it is not likely that they will be able to open for the weekend of December 20th either. That is a shame. THEY DO HAVE tubing going for Saturday and Sunday. They tube on Saturday from 10am until 8pm and on Sunday from noon til 8pm.

Bryce Resort – Has not updated a report. As of yesterday they were open with 6 trails for day skiing and snowboarding – terrain park and tubing are open as well.

THE HOMESTEAD – They have been making snow and hope to get the slopes open soon (perhaps this week). However they DO have tubing and ice skating operating from 10-5pm daily!

Timberline and Canaan Resorts picked up 3" more natural snow to take them to 67" on the season. Canaan Valley has 8 of 39 trails open today and Timberline has 15 of 37 trails open. Conditions should be MARVELOUS at both resorts today.

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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.