North Carolina Resorts Showing Thin Coverage but Fighting the Fight!

It rained most all day on Friday in the High Country of North Carolina but the conditions today are vastly better than you’d think. There’s plenty of skiable terrain. We are reporting base depth drops that reflect a 4-5" drop on the average, although Cataloochee is showing a 16" drop from 24 hours ago on their maximum base side of things. They still report a 16-30" base. Thin coverage and bare spots has made its way into the slope conditions reporting for several areas, so the cold temps that are expected to invade the mountains of North Carolina could not be coming at a better time…unless you count the wishes that we’d have cold temps everyday!


The ski resort snowmaking crews have not had any support from Mother Nature of late and the North Carolina and Virginia crews (Ober Gatlinburg too) has had it particularly hard in respect to snowmaking ops and any KIND of semblance of consistent temperatures. The last two seasons have simply provided a roller coaster of conditions and weather that has both brought out the best efforts of our snowmaking crews at all of the resorts…AND made for some frustrating times as well.

The temps for Saturday are going to be mild again. Highs in the mid 50s and lows in the frustrating 35° range. Probably just out of the range that nobody else except Sugar turns the guns on and even Gunther may not pull the trigger.

The rains have been beneficial in as much as we could all use some rain, but it is doing NO favors for Holiday skiers and resort management.

It is more of the same for Saturday and then it looks like Sunday will be a rainy day as well. Monday clears up and offers more seasonable temps in the 40s. Monday night should get the snowguns running again…just in time for New Year’s Day Tuesday. Many Holiday travelers may want to delay their travel plans and hang around another day or so, because Old Man Winter promises to lay down what could be some double digit snow for the NC mountains. More importantly the temps will be cold enough for resorts to make snow around the clock beginning Monday evening through sometime Friday afternoon when temps are expected to get back to the 40s.

That promises to make for some awesome conditions for a few day (the up side of the roller coaster again) before ANOTHER thaw (mild temps) are coming where no snowguns are predicted to be going.

The resorts will all do a great job of blasting the slopes and it appears that we will get some substantial natural snow from this Tuesday-Thursday storm…so enjoy it and let’s see what happens after that.

Here are some notes…

Appalachian – 45° – They still have seven trails for today, but the bigger news is that they now have their second Terrain Park open! Drew Stanley writes, "The Appal Jam Terrain Park opened Thursday morning, December 27th. This marks the earliest date in the season that both of Appalachian’s parks are open. Although Appal Jam is known for its signature Stairset feature, this park also now offers a 30 foot Tabletop, Hip Jump, 20 ft Rainbow Box, 16 ft Flat Box, and a 20 ft. C-Box. The current setup gives riders a choice of 13 features between the two parks.

The upcoming weather forecast projects low temperatures around 10 degrees Tuesday, January 1st through Thursday, January 3rd. Look for a complete redesign in both terrain parks by the weekend of January 5th."

Cataloochee is showing 49° this morning. Tammy Brown reports, "On Saturday, we will be skiing on six slopes with 2 aerial lifts and 2 surface lift operating on a base of 16-30 inches and a loose granular surface. Rock Island Run, our intermediate run serviced by the quad will not be open on Saturday."

Hawksnest – It’s 47° this morning and as far as we know Hawksnest will go with the same 6 slopes plus their popular tubing park for Saturday. They have not updated their website since the 27th.

Ski Beech is showing 44° and fog this morning. They still have 4 trails going and are now reporting thin coverage and bare spots.

Sugar Mountain is at 44° and they are also reporting thin cover and there are some bare spots as well…but plenty of good skiable terrain on nine trails today. They also have their new 10,000 sf ice rink operating for your Holiday fun.

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is offering Skiing, Snowboarding, Terrain Park fun and Tubing today. They still offer 6 trails for today and there is some thin coverage areas…and a bare area or two.

Enjoy your day…

Until Next time…

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of, and 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.