We’re seeing evidence of those pesty inversions this morning as temperatures are colder around Newland (16°) and Banner Elk (18°) than up top at Sugar Mountain (31°) and Ski Beech (34°). We are on our way to a very mild Sunday with highs reaching into the 40s and some 50s (possible a mid 50 here and there). This is the lull before the storm, so enjoy your day on the slopes as things should be awesome no matter where you choose to ride today.
CLOSER TO THE MONDAY-WEDNESDAY STORM…SO HOW ABOUT SOME MORE DEFINITIVE NUMBERS
We have yet to hear from our trusty, neighborhood meteorologists but I am sure we will because according to the National Weather Service things are shaping up a little better now and at least they are talking some numbers. If things go according to their forecast this will be an awesome week of skiing and next weekend may be the best of the season (after the storm and the associated winds clear out)!
From what the NWS is saying, the storm precip will begin as light rain at lower elevations (below 3000′) and change over to snow sometime in the afternoon on Monday. (That’s great for the school kids around here, because one more missed day of school and they will be schooling it on Saturdays!)
The higher elevations may only see snow from this thing – right from the beginning. As for numbers, this is looking like a 2-3" snow for the lower elevations and maybe 4-5" by Tuesday morning.
Then the real fun begins! Tuesday and into Tuesday night we’re looking at some pretty significant snow showers and they should continue into Wednesday and by Wednesday evening we should see some accumulations in the 4"-5" for much of the ski area mountains and maybe some 6-8" (or slightly more) around the higher elevations.
It will be windy as heck during the height of the storm and cold with highs in the teens and low 20s both Tuesday and Wednesday. Some gusts Tuesday evening are expected to ramp up into the 50 mph range! That will make for some crazy snow drifts and probable areas that look like almost no snow fell.
So this next few days are expected to be snowy, bitterly cold and windy. Looking ahead Thursday into next weekend, things look awesome with sunny skies and highs in the mid 30s to mid 40s by Saturday and great skiing weather and perfect ski conditions!
We will update you guys just as soon as we hear from Brad Panovich and Matthew East. This storm doesn’t look as impressive as we’d hoped for, but it looks like a decent little storm for us here in the mountains of North Carolina.
DOING A LITTLE HOUSECLEANING TODAY…
You guys brag on us a LOT and we really appreciate it, but we have been so remiss in getting a lot of the website functionality caught up this season. For example we JUST realized that when you guys clicked the Photo of the Day photos on the front page of the site, that you could then see the full shot of the day (which was good) – but then all of the other links on that subsequent page went to LAST SEASON’S PHOTOS! Crazy! Anyway that has been updated and you can now view photos from all of the ski areas that we’ve posted thus far.
Also we just updated our weather page on the site to show a quick glance view of the temps that are going on at several areas across the Southeast and Mid Atlantic. Visit the WEATHER PAGE
To see all of the photos thus far, click here> Ski Photos from the Southeast’s Ski Resorts
Road conditions will be an important topic this week with all of the snow flying around and we just updated the Department of Transportation links that provide the latest and greatest road conditions for all of the region. Southeast Ski Area Road Conditions
If you are headed to the mountains and don’t know the best directions to get from where you are to there – John Hopewell, aka "Faceshot" from the messageboard took the time to create some nice new mapping for us. We have updated the Resort Locations page with that new feature which does some pretty cool things to help you guys. Check that out by clicking here> Southeast and Mid Atlantic Ski Area Map
We are combing through the websites to find outdated information and we’ll be updating that this week. (Since it is February 1st, it is probably about time right?!?!)
Speaking of February 1st, that means that means that the pesky little rodent will be slithering out of his manmade cave to tell us whether or not we’ll be seeing six more weeks of Winter or if we should get in a few more turns and throw the skis in the closet. This will be the 123rd trek to Gobbler’s Knob for this particular lineage of Punxsutawney Phil the 23rd or whatever he is! That event culminates on Monday at about 7:25am and we’ll share that news of interest as soon as we hear it.
It’s cute how brazen the events promoters have become over the years. They used to simply say (very tongue in cheek) that this critter was the only prognosticating groundhog. Now with the passing of time, according to their promoters via an email I just received :
1. He is the ONLY true weather forecasting groundhog. All others are imposters! (Gosh that shoots a hole in the official SkiSoutheast.com groundhog "Blizzard" (which oddly enough ALWAYS sees its shadow!)
2. He is 120 years old and that there has only been ONE Punxsutawney Phil. He supposedly is fed some secret elixir of life each summer that gives him seven more years of life. (Didn’t they just say that this is the 123rd year?)
3. He is 100% accurate and has never missed.
4. He never makes his forecasts in advance. Phil’s forecasts are not made in advance by the Inner Circle. After Phil emerges from his burrow on February 2, he speaks to the Groundhog Club president in "Groundhogese"(a language only understood by the current president of the Inner Circle). His proclamation is then translated for the world.
Put the groundhog – down…
We’re going out on a limb here and predict with all of the stormy weather around that old Punxsutawney Phil will not be able to see his shadow, but somehow, someway his handlers will be SAYING that he saw his shadow because WE ARE GOING TO HAVE AT LEAST SIX MORE WEEKS OF WINTER! I’m thinking that things will continue pretty much as they have been thus far this season. We will see some thaws (particularly in the Southern Appalachians) but it will be stormy with some big snows and outbreaks of cold that will make for an extended ski season right until the end of March and early into April for some!
How’s THAT for a prediction. So let’s just say that "Blizzard, the SkiSoutheast.com Rodent" just saw his shadow and there will be NINE MORE WEEKS of winter!
I think we just stole PP’s (Punxsutawney Phil) thunder!
GO ENJOY THE GREAT CONDITIONS AND SUPER WEATHER OUT TODAY and check the slope report page for the details. Wear some sunscreen today!
Here are some notables:
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 19° – They didn’t make snow last night and don’t need it! They have a reported 87-113" of base and are in supremely great conditions on 100% of their slopes and both terrain parks and ice skating.
Cataloochee Ski Area – 32° – They reportedly made snow but won’t be today. Remember that they only do DAY SESSIONS on Sundays. No night skiing tonight. They are in perfect shape with 100% of their terrain open and tubing as well.
Don’t forget that you can join Cataloochee for Sunday afternoon’s Cataloochee Recreational Race Series energized by Red Bull. Individuals race against the clock for the best of two runs. Top three challengers in both men’s and womens’ age divisions win cool stuff. Cost for racing is $5.00 for two runs. You must be 7 years of age or older to participate. Registration begins at 12 noon with racing from 1:30pm-3pm and race awards at 4pm, so dust off those racing skills and test your luck. The Cat is where it’s at on Sunday afternoon’s Recreational Race Series. Call the ski area for more information.
Ski Beech – 34° – They are making snow up top and we could see that from our slopeside cam. Their lower cam is out of service this morning but trust us things look AWESOME this morning atop Ski Beech. They will be killing the snowguns in a bit and things will be sweet at Beech for the 11 trails that they have open. We’ve had a lot of you ask about Beech not having all of their mountain open and we’ll check in with their crew ASAP and see if we can get some input as to whether or not Beech has been able to get that pesky 3rd pump online. That will help them do the trick during the next frigid spell that is forecasted for Tuesday and most of next week. They have great conditions today! They are reporting a base of 35-65" which is about as deep as we’ve seen from Beech in years, so obviously their focus has been to isolate on the main trails and then work others into service.
Sugar Mountain – 25° – They look AWESOME as well. They made snow overnight but have already killed them so there will be no snowmaking during sessions today. They have all 20 trails open so what a great day to hit Sugar Mountain.
Wolf Ridge – There’s been no report from these guys in two days. They will probably have 10 trails open and tubing for Sunday and Sunday night.
Sapphire Valley – There’s been no report in three days from them. They’re open but we doubt they made snow last night. Expect good conditions with both trails and the tubing park open.
Hawksnest Tubing Park – They had some big crowds out on Saturday and everyone seemed to be having a blast. They are open today as well.
Anyone else noticing that we really only have 4.5 ski areas that are acting like ski areas in the state of North Carolina these days. Appalachian, Cataloochee, Ski Beech and Sugar are holding the fort down with Sapphire and Wolf kind of promoting themselves every once in a while. Just a few years ago we had TEN ski areas operating successfully in North Carolina and now we’re down to SIX, with a couple of those just "playing at it".
We’ve already lost Mill Ridge, Hound Ears, Hawksnest and Scaly Mountain in the last decade or so. (This line will ruffle some feathers!)
It would just be nice if all of our ski resorts would act like they care enough to promote their product. Appalachian, Cataloochee, Sugar and Beech all get a passing grade with some of those four scoring what we would give out as "A’s".
Come on you other guys…get the word out that you have some great skiing available! Telling people the conditions from three days ago is unacceptable in this age of communication. Communicate!
I’ve done enough damage for today…
Be sure to click over to www.SkiSoutheast.com to see what’s happening into the Virginias, Tennessee, and Maryland ski resort areas.
Send your comments, photos, videos and trip reports to: mail@skiSoutheast.com