Some Natural Snow and Snowmaking Make For Great Conditions at Your Favorite Southeast Ski Area Today!

We’ve been stuck in this weather pattern of semi-milder air and some light drizzle every few days and we are still in it for a few more days. Some people have emailed us that it’s the normal couple of week’s that we get every ski season where we kind of go into a thaw and lose conditions, etc.  If THAT is the case, then yahoo…because things are still in pretty nice shape across the state and the Southeast for that matter.

(On that subject, whether it’s the crowds keeping our On-Snow Reporters away from the slopes, or whether it’s the weather…we’re not seeing a whole lot of incoming emails, so we are combining today’s SkiNC and SkiSoutheast daily article.)  In case you didn’t know, about 98% of the time we’ll write updates and happenings for North Carolina via SkiNC and then expand that material over on SkiSoutheast.  Truth is, I’ve had to do some hustling to get all of the reports in and updated in time to hit first tracks while here at Snowshoe, so this is a good enough excuse – I hope!  Anyway on to the morning update…

We had received a couple of emails about the lightning storm that hit the Maggie Valley area the other night (Wednesday Night) and Tammy Brown emailed us about it.  Cataloochee is one very cool resort.  She wrote, "Tonight we had a tremendous lightening storm go through the area and we had to stop loading all lifts at 6:55pm. We do this for the safety of our customers. We did not reopen the lifts at all after that as we continued having lightening strikes in the area until after 9pm.  We gave all twilight and night skiing guests a complimentary ticket and/or with rental equipment to come back any other night."

A lot of resorts would have told customers that they have no control over the weather and that that is part of the agreement when you purchase a ticket.  It the weather turns bad, ie rain, etc…it’s just bad luck.  That was a very cool gesture from Cataloochee – which continues to impress this season. Cataloochee made snow last night, and did some sweet grooming – so expect great conditions there on 9 of 10 trails.

Since we started with Cataloochee, let’s do the rest of the North Carolina resorts first.

Appalachian – App is 100% open and they did get to make snow last night and they have what may be some of the best snow, surface conditions in the Southeast…day in and day out.  The well managed little ski area lays down and maintains some quality snow. They have all 9 trails going and more than a two foot base across all trails. Visitors should note that Appalachian also features an Ice Arena that is open daily from 12-2pm, 2:30-4:30pm, and 7-9pm.

Sapphire Valley – They have still been missing in action (no reports on their own website, with us or the Southeastern Ski Association) for nine days.  Some reporting services are reporting their condition last posted Dec 20th as what they are currently running. Our cell phone won’t work up here or we’d try to contact them.  That will have to wait until we will get back to normal operations Jan 3rd. We’d suggest calling ahead if you’re heading to Sapphire.

We received some reports about some natural snow falling along with the chilly light rain on Thursday around the High Country and Hawksnest reported a light dusting of snow.  They also made snow last night and they should be in great condition for skiing today. They have 9 slopes and the tube run operating on a very nice two-plus foot base of manmade snow!

Ski Beech – The morning temperature at 6:45 was 27 with partly cloudy skies. The forecast is for cloudy to partly cloudy with temperatures getting near 40. No snowmaking today. There will be live Rock n’ Roll at the Beech Tree beginning at 9:30 on New Year’s Eve. Beech reported a mixture of a dusting of snow and ice over the last 24 hours. They made snow overnight and should be looking quite nice today on 14 of 15 trails.

While on the subject of reported snow, Ray Russell, Boone weather guru, reported one inch of snow and ice mix for Beech Mountain over the last 24 hours.  We received a couple of emails that pretty much stated the same thing.

Sugar Mountain – A lot’s happening up at Sugar over the next few days. Currently they have 18 of 20 slopes open during the day session, and 14 of 20 slopes open during the night session. Sugar made snow last night but there will be no snowmaking today.  They also have their terrain park and snowtubing hill going for your enjoyment. If you are skiing at Sugar today or Saturday Check out the Salomon Oasis!  You can test-ride Salomon’s 06′ line-up of skis and snowboards and see how they perform on the hill.  After the test-ride you will recieve a $100 rebate on a pair of Salomon skies or a $75 rebate on a Salomon snowboard, redeemable at your local ski shop!  Also, pick up a Salomon Oasis Hook-Up card and get a chance to win over $100,000 in prizes like Salomon apparel or a free pair of skis or snowboard. Very cool! As mentioned the other day, Sugar also has fireworks, live music and a torchlight parade planned for New Year’s Eve.

Wolf Laurel – They have 12 trails available for your skiing or snowboarding pleasure with more than one-and-half feet of base depth. New Year’s Eve festivies include a torch run, fireworks, and a bonfire. Wolf Laurel Slopes and Zero Gravity will sponsor a terrain park competition on January 7th. Registration is at 10 a.m. Outdoor Exposure will be at the base of the mountain for demo day.

Moving north…

Ober Gatlinburg dropped their base substantially over the last couple of days but still show a nice one-and-a-half feet of snow on five trails.  They were not able to make snow last night.

Into Virginia…

Bryce Resort reported a smal drop in base and they are open with six trails.

Massanutten was not able to make snow, but is still looking quite nice with almost two feet of base across 13 open trails.

The Homestead has 24-30" of base and six trails open.  They did make snow last night.

Wintergreen Resort – Is 100% open and has the most open terrain in Virginia. Freestyle Demo Day is today at the top of the Big Acorn lift. Sepp and his staff will have the latest ski and snowboard equipment for you to demo for free, all you need to have is a credit card and valid ID to leave as collateral while you make a few runs. Don’t miss this opportunity ! They will be open today from 9am until 11pm skiing and riding on all 24 trails. Snowmaking will continue on all open trails as temps permit in an effort to provide the best surface possible and continue to increase their current average base of 30"-40". The Slide and Plunge will be open today for some great tubing.

Let’s kick over to Maryland…

Wisp Resort – They are playing on more than 2.5 feet of snow and 33 trails.  Wisp also has their terrain parks and tubing runs operating for tons of fun for kids of all ages!

Over to West Virginia…

Canaan Valley received an inch and a half of snow yesterday…and is skiing on 34 trails today. We haven’t heard a lot from up at Canaan, but what we have heard is all good!

Snowshoe received another 2" of snow yesterday (it sure seemed like more) and that gives them 63" on the season. The mountain also received some snowmaking on many trails. The return of cooler temperatures allowed all slopes to be groomed. Snowshoe Mountain is 100% open offering the most open terrain in the region!

Winterplace received one inch of new snow and they made snow last night so their 25 open trails will be great for Friday!

Timberline has been a little quiet and hasn’t updated their report yet so we’ll post information on them a bit later.

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.