Sugar Mountain and Cataloochee Open After One Day of Snowmaking

Lots of SNOW fell across West Virginia and Wisp!

A LOT of people emailed us asking how they can find out where all the snow fell! Good grief Charlie Brown! Umm, it’s right on the front page of the site. Right under the photo of the day where it says "Latest Snowfall" and you can click to see 24 hour snowfall, 48 snowfall, etc. As you can see Snowshoe picked up at LEAST 6" in the last 24-48 hours! Canaan Valley and Timberline saw 4" at least and Wisp Resort received 5" of new snow! (The Tucker County snowfall – Canaan and Timberline will surely go up because that official snow total will update after we post this morning.) We’ll update you guys on that tonight or early AM Sunday as I am traveling again today. Ditto the possibility of more snow on the official totals for Snowshoe.

We only received a few photos from first day skiers and snowboarders who made it to Cataloochee and Sugar Mountain on Friday. After only ONE DAY of snowmaking Sugar Mountain opened at 10am yesterday and Cataloochee followed three hours later. The reviews were good, though mixed. A few people wrote about the conditions being "bullet proof" which is another term for saying the snow was icy. Some wrote about the fact that there was some thin coverage, but after only ONE DAY of snowmaking most who wrote were just glad to be on the slopes and thankful for whatever snow they could ride!

I was up at Banner Elk midday on Friday and there was only a bit of snow still on the ground, but the live camera views via www.HighCountryWebCams.com  showed some awesome, winter wonderland shots up atop Sugar and Beech Mountains. The lower elevations missed out on the snow altogether and perhaps from one-half to 1" of snow fell across the higher elevations with a spotty report or two about 2" of snow.

Here’s the report for today:

Cataloochee Ski Area – 34° – Open 8:30am til 10pm. Tammy Brown Wrote, "On Saturday, we will be skiing on three slopes, Intermediate Lower Omigosh serviced by the Omigosh Double Chairlift, Beginners Easy Way and Beginners Rabbit Hill serviced by the Easy Way Triple Chairlift on a base of 6-14”. Also, there will be some terrain features available for you to ride located on our Easy Way slope. We are currently making snow to the top of the quad on our Rock Island Run slope and will open it as quickly as we can, please check back with us for an update. Please also be aware that we will be making snow as temperatures permit, so come prepared for winter conditions today and this evening."

Sugar Mountain – 22° – Open for day skiing only with two trails and one lift and a base of 6-12". We have a staff member who will be at Sugar today and we hope to bring you some video. This is Sugar’s 40th Anniversary season. They report that, "Snowmaking is in progress and will continue as temperatures allow. Adult Full day lift/slope ticket prices are $32 and adult 1/2 day lift slope tickets are $24."

Sugar’s ice rink is open for the season. On Saturday the ice rink will be open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. (the last session will be the 8:00 p.m. session). On Sunday the ice rink will be open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. (6:00 p.m. will be the last session) Sessions are 1 3/4 hours long.

Chris Jennett drove up from Florida and arrived at Sugar Mountain at 7am to be the first, non Sugar employee or staffer to ski or ride the mountain for the 2009-2010 season (according to his report). He claimed to be the first person from the public to be on a lift and on the mountain.

West Virginia Ski Resorts Report:

You know what I don’t understand? Greek, not a word. (That’s an old standby joke by Howie Mandel and I couldn’t resist the temptation to use it because ANOTHER thing that I don’t understand is how the Southeastern Ski Areas Association spent a ton of money during the offseason to create a new website and work with a new or supposedly improved snow reporting system and they are not reporting snow! The first day of the season the report was all over the place inaccurate and again TODAY they are reporting NO SNOW for ANY of the West Virginia Ski Areas and they are just way off!

My buddy with Canaan Weather who does the official reporting for the area there reported 3.1 inches of snow on Friday AM and another 3.3" of snow as of 9am for a snow total of 6.4" of snow and we’d bet there’s more to report when he updates that snow report this morning. We’ll get that for you ASAP (around 9am Saturday). Canaan and Timberline Resorts have seen 10" of snow already on the season. Canaan Valley anticipates opening on December 11th. Timberline looks to open ASAP.

Snowshoe Mountain had not updated their snow report as of 8:50am this morning (Laura is fighting the flu bug and we wish her well.) As of 2pm on Friday they were reporting 5" of snow and 9" on the season and that is certain to go up! They made a ton of snow as well and reported 27° at 2pm on Friday. They look good for their December 4th planned opening.

Winterplace Resort – 28° – There are no reports of snowmaking but we HAVE to believe that they are. They have a crazy strong snowmaking system and will use it at every opportunity!

So there’s been NO Natural Snow and NO Snowmaking in West Virginia? Ummmm, wrong! There’s been lots of snow and lots of snowgun activity! Hopefully the SSAA snow reporting people with get just a little more accurate with their reporting than they’ve been in the past. So far they are 0 for 2 on the season.

Wisp Resort – 30° and these guys pulled in 5" of snow in the last 24 hours despite the erroneous report from the SSAA which reported ZERO. (Okay I’ll get off their backs for the rest of today. I was just hoping that MY job was going to get easier because THEY would provide us with all the snow reporting we needed in one place. Oh WAIT, that’s what WE’VE done for the past 13 seasons! I guess we’re still IT!)

The Virginia Ski Resort Report:

It isn’t being reported anywhere else, but they’re all wrong and we can tell you that Wintergreen Resort MADE SNOW yesterday! They are now in preparation mode for their December 12th opening! Anne Marie Jones writes, "MAKING SNOW! The 09/10 snowmaking season has begun and we are pumped to start sliding very soon. The 09-10 ski and riding season is less than 2 weeks away with opening date scheduled for December 12th. Cross your fingers and toes for cold weather. If Mother Nature cooperates, we will try and get you on the snow before the 12th."

Bryce Resort is waiting on cold temps to begin making snow. Massanutten Resort plans on starting their snowmaking efforts anytime there are cold temps AFTER December 1st. Nothing yet from The Homestead.

The North Carolina details other than Cat and Sugar:

Ski Beech – 26° – They’ve made a lot of snow! We’re traveling today but thus far there is no word on opening just yet. We’ll keep you posted if they pull the trigger. It could happen at any moment.

Ski Beech base cam is back online.

Wolf Laurel / Wolf Ridge – 34° – The ski resort with an identity crisis has not made snow yet. The temps have not cooperated just yet and we have not received word from them about an opening date. The forecast looks iffy for the next week so perhaps they decided to hold off to a more consistent cold snap.

We have some news to share with you guys about some new camera options and contests, but for now if you can send us a snowdance video you MIGHT win a FREE SKI GETAWAY! We’ve only received four thus far so the odds of winning are HUGE. Just get out and do some funky dancing and chanting, film yourself and send it to [email protected]  and you might be a winner! We will choose the winner on Tuesday AM, so get yours in!

Be sure to check out SkiSoutheast.com for reports from all of the ski areas from West Virginia Ski Resorts, Wisp Ski Resort, the Virginia Ski Areas and Ober Gatlinburg as well. Visit www.SkiSoutheast.com  for all of the news that IS NEWS from the Southeast and Mid Atlantic. Send your photos, videos and trip reports and comments 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.