North Carolina Ski Areas Get Off to a FAST Start!

Ski Beech opened for the season on Saturday and they’ve added another trail opening for your Sunday skiing and snowboarding pleasure. We’ve had a few people aski about tubing or terrain park options and they don’t have those going just yet. Like most ski areas, Beech puts a lot of focus on their opening terrain and then opens up more. Look for that to happen as we get closer to next Friday (Thanksgiving weekend). Beech is day skiing only right now according to their report. Beech is reporting the deepest base depth we’ve seen them report in years at 30-42" of Packed Powder conditions.

We did get a few emails about Beech having some opening day issues that prohibited Beech from operating their quad lift. Those issues appear to be ongoing for today as they don’t show the quad lift open. They appear to be operating with three double chairs for Sunday. That happens this early. Ski areas do all of the dress rehearsals that they can, but that is what these early, pre-Thanksgiving days are for. Resorts can work the kinks out and be ready for the larger crowds that come with the Holidays.

Several people did email that the conditions at Beech were beautiful on Saturday with what we heard were sweet, groomed and packed conditions. That is GREAT to hear.

Sugar Mountain has the most open terrain in the Southeast or Mid Atlantic region right now with 9 trails available for day and night skiing. They are planning to open more terrain almost daily as they move closer to Thanksgiving day. They plan to have the ice rink operation then as well.

(Quick note on snow totals, etc:) It didn’t go unnoticed by a lot of you who emailed us yesterday that Sugar Mountain was reported 10-12" of snow and Beech Mountain only 8". Many of you know that we have given Sugar (and particularly Gunther Jochl, Sugar Mountain Resort President) heck from time to time about his exuberant, over-reporting of natural snow depth. We reported that we were up atop Sugar Mountain literally right at the tail end of the storm on Friday and we measured 8-9" across most of the ridge that we were on. However, there was also MANY areas up there that had nearly 15" of snow. The winds were not nearly as heavy atop Sugar as they were at Hawksnest a bit later (we were there as well) and it would be easy for fellow snow lovers to measure 10-12". The official team of snow measurers up there reported 8", but we reported 9.5" since there WAS a huge ridge of snow up there!

Some of you also caught the fact that WE had over-reported the snowfall-to-date field on our snow reports by a few inches. SEE, we can get overly excited as well! We caught it evidently before any of you guys wrote us, but it didn’t go unnoticed as several of you emailed us after seeing Sugar, Beech and App’s season-snow-totals drop by 5.5" in an hour. We had already reported 4" of snow Friday morning AND THEN after the storm finished and as we were adding in the figures Saturday morning we added in the entire, finished depths of 6,7 and/or 9.5" – rather than 2,3 or 5.5" that had fallen since our initial reporting.

Hopefully that clears that up as I am already tired of apologizing or explaining decrepancies on snow depth reporting 🙂

It’s GREAT to be posting 15.5" of snow on the season so far for areas like Sugar and Beech IN NOVEMBER when they only had 38" the entire 2007-2008 season. Bear in mind that you always get a running snow total for ALL ski areas on the individual resort pages for each ski area – by clicking on the resort links on the front page of the site. I think that we are the ONLY resource that has documented and provides the natural snow totals for the current season AS WELL AS the previous 3-4 seasons – all just one click away!

Let’s move on now…

Appalachian Ski Mountain is now at 80% open! They just opened on Friday and here we are on their 3rd day of operations and they now have everything open with the exception of "Hard Core" and "Thin Slice". Both terrain parks are now open and they also have their popular skating rink in operation. That is pretty impressive and indicative of how phenomenal the weather has been in this first real week of the ski season. Of course it is also a testament as to how continued snowmaking improvements and focus has enabled ski areas to blast their terrain with more snow in a shorter amount of time during optimal weather conditions.

Regardless, look for a crazy-great day on the slopes at App on Sunday as they have the deepest base we’ve ever seen reported in November (49-60").

Cataloochee Ski Area in gorgeous Maggie Valley, NC is right there with Appalachian in terms of the base depths being reported. They are reporting a 25-60" base with 8 trails available. Tammy Brown writes, "On Sunday, we will be skiing on 60 % of the mountain from the top of the quad down on eight slopes with two aerial lifts and one conveyor lift operating, Intermediate Rock Island Run, Intermediate Lower Snowbird Trail, and Intermediate Lower Omigosh, serviced by the Rock Island Run Quad Chairlift, Beginners Over Easy, Beginners Easy Way and Beginners Rabbit Hill serviced by the Easy Way Triple Chairlift, Wolf Creek Hollow Ski School Area serviced by the Moving Carpet Conveyor Lift and Beginner’s Luck Learning Area on a base of 25-60” and a machine worked surface. Please note that some of our terrain features including our 20’ Mailbox, 16’ Flat Box, 8’ Flat Bar, and 16’ Flat Bar will be available for you to ride at the top of Over Easy, right down from the Snack Shack, accessed by the Easy Way Triple Chairlift."

Hawksnest’s Tubing Only Park is now open. They tried to get open on Friday, but high winds kept them from debuting their new operation. We went up there with all of our staff and surveyed the terrain since we couldn’t tube and it looks like it will be a lot of fun. They were open on Saturday and hopefully we’ll get a few reports as to how it went.

Hawksnest’s expanded snow tubing operation will make it the biggest snow tubing operation on the East Coast. Their Snow Tubing resort will now have 4 different areas to snow tube with 20 lanes of fun, lanes will be 400 – 1000 feet long and 2 moving carpet lifts to take you back to the top. Hawksnest has 100% snowmaking and lighting on all lanes to provide the best possible conditions and fun for the whole family. Also, you can enjoy their Coffee Bar, Carolina BBQ and Pizza before, during and after your tubing session!

That’s it for today folks! Be sure to click over to www.SkiSoutheast.com  to see more snow totals and open terrain for ALL of the ski areas of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic.

Also, be sure to send us your photos, videos and trip reports to: [email protected]  (We love to share your information with the masses!)

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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.