SOME SNOW IS IN THE FORECAST FOR THE SKI AREAS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY!

How might this all shake down for a potential opening?

Meteorologist Brad Panovich has already shared his 2010-2011 Winter Forecast with us. Click to see: 2010-2011 Winter Forecast for the Southeast and Mid Atlantic

Now our focus turns to THIS WEEK and how much snow might we get this weekend. 1"-4" of snow might fall according to most forecast models – with the 4" falling north into the Snowshoe, Canaan and Wisp areas. Snowshoe’s been making snow on and off since this past weekend. Our buddy Laura Parquette has been busy, busy, busy of late but she had a new member of their team, Sarah Eilers, email us yesterday (Tuesday) that they made more snow yesterday and will continue to do so. Snowshoe began snowmaking efforts over the weekend with plans to open for its 37th winter season on November 24th.

OUR focus is a little more short term. Yes, the heavier snow and more snowmaking ops ARE going on further north, but so far there’s been NO snowmaking or flakes to speak of in the North Carolina mountain region. However that should change any day now and that’s all it takes for Sugar or Cat to pull the trigger, drop the ropes or whatever phrase you want to use for OPENING DAY.

According to the weather forecasts for Thursday night – Sugar Mountain might get just cold enough to make snow. We’ve seen Gunther run those guns up there at 36°. They are typically able to make snow up top even when its too warm down at the bottom of the mountain.

Temps will be borderline Thursday evening with lows near 30° at Sugar, Beech and Appalachian. Cataloochee is expected to be a "tick" milder and maybe a snowmaking temp of 32°. With those kinds of temps everything kind of depends on the wet-bulb.

FRIDAY is a different animal. Highs are expected to be in the upper 30s Friday and low 40s on Saturday at Cataloochee. More importantly the LOWS both Friday and Saturday night are expected to dip down to around 22° at Cat. They’re expecting a chance of snow on Friday and not-so-much on Saturday with a bit more snow over towards the High Country.

Sugar, Beech and App are expecting highs in the low to mid 30s both Friday and Saturday and lows around 20-23° and a bit more in the way of natural snow both days. That APPEARS to work in the favor of Sugar to crank up the snowguns and open earlier than Cataloochee. (It’s always a race between those two to be the first in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic to open.)

Obviously if any ski area is to open this weekend it will ALL be about timing. According to most models – the low temps won’t actually filter into the area until Friday morning around sunrise.

There’s going to be a lot of wind associated with these systems and that isn’t great for the snowmakers in the region so we’ll just sit back, wait and see – and enjoy the fact that we’re talking about cold and snow. If any ski area is able to blast a slope or two with snow and open – great. If not, it will happen soon enough.

We don’t want to be a "buzz killer" but if any ski area IS able to make snow and open, it looks to be pretty short-lived as the long range forecast through November 15th is showing highs and lows around Beech Mountain that won’t allow for snowmaking. Beech is the highest elevated ski area in the east, so those conditions apply to all of the NC, TN and Virginia ski areas. Snowshoe, Canaan, Timberline and Wisp will be a tick colder but pretty borderline for the next couple of weeks after this short term burst of cold and snow.

Just FYI, the Old Farmer’s Almanac accurately forecasted this burst of cold and snow – back three months ago! I don’t know how they do that!

Don’t get too bummed out if we get back to a little mild weather over the next couple of weeks. Remember that Sugar Mountain opened first last season and that was the day after Thanksgiving. Things were a little sketchy after that for a week or two and we even resorted to asking for snow dances to jump start winter. Of course we all know now that once we got into mid December things were cold and snowy the rest of the way with the most powder conditions that we’ve probably seen around this region in decades.

Keep the faith…THINK COLD AND SNOW!Be sure to check back often for more photos being posted as well as our video blog. If you have not yet visited our Ski Messageboard Forum you should do so.

We’ll be sharing TONS more input about our plans for this season, but for a little sneak peek visit:

www.HighCountryWebCams.com  
www.HighCountryWeather.com  
www.SkiSoutheast.com  

Send your comments, photos, videos and trip reports to: [email protected]  

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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.