Sugar Mountain Tops Our List Today!

It’s a w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l day today. When you watch and see your baby go from taking little baby steps to a full out run…it is just a wonderful thing.  That’s the feeling I had this morning as I compiled the data for the slope conditions report. You want to know who has done THE best job of updating and changing with the weather each day for the last several days (maybe the last couple of weeks!) – Sugar Mountain.  That is a fact, Jack. We’ve been doing nothing different; just reporting as usual and yet something different HAS been happening up there. Over the past two light snowstorms where Beech, Hawksnest and others reported an inch of snow, Sugar reported none. Over the past couple of times when the weather report called for a chance of rain, Sugar showed that in their daily comments. …and over the last few weeks, we’ve noticed that Sugar has done the most frequent plusses and minuses of their daily base depths!  It’s VERY COOL to see and we salute Sugar Mountain – way to go guys and gals.

Yesterday’s mild temps affected base depths as such, according to thier reports:

Appalachian – dropped 2" on the minimum, none on the maximum side

Cataloochee – dropped 0" on the minimum, -2" on the maximum side

Hawksnest – dropped 1" on the minimum, -1 on the maximum side

Sapphire – Still NO REPORT since the 7th!

Ski Beech – No Drop reported – Unusual for them.

Sugar Mountain – dropped 4" on the minimum, -4" on the maximum (Yea, baby!)

Wolf Laurel – No Change – Status Quo

Yesterday wasn’t quite one for the record books but it was close.  Between conversations here at the office, we were tuning up our equipment (golf clubs not skis) as the high kept creeping higher and higher.  At one point it hit 60° here and we received reports from all across the region of temps in the 50s and low 60s.  The record for TODAY’s date in Avery County was set back in 1974 and it was 66°.  We won’t see anything near that today as temps are only expected to get to near 50°, but has been warm enough that we’ve been inundated with the traditional, “Is there any SNOW left?” questions.  We thought that when we installed all of these webcams that we’re pointing at ski resorts all over…that it would totally quell those questions!  Okay, admittedly it HAS cut way back on them.  Back when we were proud of 200 visitors per day (nine years ago) we used to get about a third of them asking that kind of question during mild streaks.  Years have past; you – our visitors – have become more educated to how things work with our weather around here and even though we now see an average of 57,000 unique visitors per day, we only see a trickle of these kinds of questions.  The fact is, ALL of the ski areas are in VERY NICE shape right now with PLENTY of snow…and VERY little, if any, thin coverage areas or bare spots.  That IS the facts. Remember we are not into marketing reporting around here.

Appalachian will have the best snow in North Carolina right now.  The compact nature of App makes it such that they can keep snow longer.  However all of the state’s resorts are in good shape.  We did some strong ZOOMING of the front cam at Sugar this morning and we could not see ANY bare areas and that is consistent with our On-Snow Reports.  The same is true for Cataloochee, Ski Beech and Hawksnest.

This weather pattern that we’ve been in has been nearly perfect for being able to maintain snow on the slopes.  We had a GREAT start to the season and even since we’ve been in the two-plus week long pattern of mild air for a few days and then a quick cold snap…it has been enough to maintain really good base depths and good snow quality.

We do have some light drizzle-type rain in and out of the forecast for the next couple of days and some continued milder-than-normal temps, but fret not…we have plenty of snow to play on.  Our picks right now would be any of the High Country’s resorts and throw Cataloochee in that mix.  In other words, App, Cat, Hawksnest, Sugar and Beech would be our recommendation.  Wolf Laurel is looking a little worn this morning and we’ve gotten a couple of reports of more than a few areas of thin coverage and bare spots. If you have plans to be there and ski, don’t worry there is PLENTY of good skiable terrain…they just aren’t high on our list of the best snow quality right now.  Once things get cold again…Wolf Laurel is a fav.

Here’s a couple of closing notes to get the “THINK SNOW AND COLD” mentality going.  We reported the record HIGH earlier.  Want to know what the RECORD LOW for today was?  Try on MINUS 26° back in 1982! That was NATURAL temps, not wind chill.  By the way on this date back in 1977 we had 12” of snow as well!

Have fun out today.

Until Next Time!

Be sure to check out www.SkiSoutheast.com for more news and stories for all of the Southeast’s ski areas.

Be sure to email photos, snow 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.