The quick summary is Sugar and Cat are still the only two ski resorts that are open right now. Sugar has 4 slopes and Cataloochee has 6. Both have thin areas showing through but plenty of skiable terrain. It’s pretty remarkable that both ski areas even HAVE snow on them with the way this weather pattern has been.
Snowshoe Mountain is scheduled to open for the first time this season – tomorrow – with limited terrain (understandable) and we’ll update you on that tomorrow AM.
Beech Mountain Resort is still reporting via their website that they will reopen tomorrow but that could change. We’ll update you asap. It is looking like they will update with a change in plans.
We’re Still Eight Days Out for Any Snowmaking Weather…
The bad news is that we’re still looking at around the 17th of the month before any real snowmaking weather enters the forecast. According to our weather gurus, it does appear that we could see a VERY WELCOME and well-timed burst of perhaps FOUR TO FIVE nights of cold air around the middle of the month, which would allow for some happy snowmaking crews to go to work blanketing the slopes of the region.
That would definitely allow for resorts to get open and BE OPEN for the all-important Christmas to New Year Holiday “ski-week”.
There could even be some around-the-clock snowmaking opportunities in that four day period. Forecasts that are more than 6-7 days out are pretty decent these days, but beyond that it’s still a crap shoot.
Right NOW the 10-15 day forecast is looking “borderline” again in terms of lows being in the 33-34°. There DOES appear to be some wet snow in the long range forecast as well – but let’s hang our hat on the shorter term forecast right now and get some snowmaking happening, right?
We’re Getting a LOT of Holiday Travel Questions…
That is an understatement. About two months ago we reported that many of the ski resort accommodations people were reporting VERY strong lodging bookings with some ski areas 100% booked up. There is no question that people are getting a bit antsy as to “whether or not to keep those reservations”.
In fact, THAT is the question that we’re being asked. Most of our readers are not asking “whether or not there will be snow or good ski conditions”. We’re getting the specific question of, “Should I be thinking about cancelling?”
I think the real question should be, “Can you guys have a good time traveling to a beautiful mountain town; dining at unique and wonderful restaurants; and visiting eclectic shoppes and communities?
If the answer is “YES”, then don’t cancel those reservations. If there’s plentiful snow on the slopes of the ski and tubing hills, then that’s a bonus.
If you’re asking us the question, “Are the ski resorts going to be a winter-wonderland around Christmas and New Years?” then we REALLY not YET know the answer to that. THERE IS some snow in the long-range forecast and we are still 15-20 days away from those dates. The long-range winter forecast is STILL for 125%-133% of NORMAL snowfall. While it has been a challenging November and December weather-wise, the experts are still forecasting more snow than normal for this season and those predictions were JUST updated by “OpenSnow” this morning.
NOAA and other weather services are maintaining that we’ll see a continuance of milder-than-normal weather for the rest of this month, but that things should change as we get into January and particularly mid-to-late January and February.
As far as the Holiday travel period, it is looking likely that we’ll not see ski areas 100% open and in fact it could be more of what we’re seeing right now with perhaps JUST the core trails open across most of the region. That would/could mean 30% or so of slopes open for Christmas. However, if we can get some arctic air in here around the 20th, then that would drastically change things in a matter of 2-3 days.
Again – there does appear to be some good chances of timing the cold air that is expected with some moisture that would make for some significant snow later in the month and THAT would certainly make for a lot of fun on and off the slopes, right?
We’ll continue to keep an eye on the forecast and certainly things COULD change, but as for right now, we’d suggest hanging onto those reservations. You wouldn’t want to miss out on some winter-wonderland snow would you?
Keep the faith.
Until next time…
Enjoy your day and THINK SNOW! THINK COLD! …and Start a Prayer effort! Email me anytime and about anything at: [email protected]
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