There’s PLENTY of base depths to weather a short January thaw!

Check the SNOW REPORT this morning for all of the details of slope and trail offerings for all of our ski resorts. We’re talking more about the quality of the product that is being offered today, this week and the weekend ahead – because THAT is what you guys are asking us about via your emails from over the weekend. We received dozens of emails from Sunday and Monday that asked basically the same thing that Emily did with this question:

"I was wondering if you would be able to tell me how much base Sugar has lost this week. Also, how much you would anticipate them losing in the next week with all the rain & warm temps. coming? I know it’s hard to tell, but in your experience, would you think that all 20 would still be open the last week of January? I am not holding you to it, but you are the best & most reliable person to ask!! Thanks, Emily"

Emily – we always love it when readers/viewers give us props like that! (Emily didn’t mention where she was from but we have her email on file). In our 14 years I think Emily’s may be the only email that has ever asked specifically how much base a specific ski area has lost. Dozens ask the question in ways that hint that they are concerned about base depth drops…but way to go Emily for doing your math and planning accordingly!

We thought we’d not only answer Emily’s question about Sugar, but also provide the base depth depreciation at all resorts and help you guys get a little more insight into which resorts do the best job of updating their base content daily…or at least regularly and also provide some comfort to those of you planning ski getaways for the next week or two.

First, we want to be as CLEAR as a blue sky day in the mountains that ALL of the ski areas in our coverage area have TONS of snow to weather the forecasted 7-10 days ahead. We’d be surprised if even ONE thin coverage area or bare spot surfaced at any ski area in the next week or so. That is why all of the ski areas continued to make snow while you were skiing during the arctic blast of a week or two ago. Resorts have to plan for winter thaws that are inevitably going to come within each ski season.

So they blasted the slopes at every opportunity and while there may be a slope or two (or more) that is not blanketed in four feet of snow, most of the base slopes and trails that are most important to each ski area are BURIED in a deep mixture of manmade and natural snow. Most ski areas are well covered on all terrain and we’ll bet that most are still going to be at or near 100% open even after the next seven days or so of milder temps and some rainy weather in our forecast.

Some resorts will drop a trail or two. Those might be resorts such as Timberline or Canaan that tend to open and close trails that are normally operating with more natural snow than all of it being manmade. Wolf Ridge and Wisp are resorts that will probably drop a few trails. We could see Beech drop one or two depending on the rain or mild temps over the next week. However, Appalachian, Cataloochee and Sugar will most likely remain 100% open with no bare spots or thin coverage.

In Tennessee, Ober is likely to drop a trail or two, but they’ll remain in great shape of the main six trails.

In Virginia, we could see a resort or two drop a trail or two, but most will remain nearly 100% with very nice conditions and no thin coverage on open terrain.

The temps in West Virginia have been some ten degrees cooler than the resorts further south, so there hasn’t been the same kind of thaw that resorts have seen into Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. If the forecast holds for the next week, the West Virginia resorts could see 1-3" more natural snow and actually be able to MAKE SNOW a night or two. It would not surprise us to see perhaps any one of the ski resorts in WV and Maryland to drop a trail or two just for preventive maintenance, but it also would not surprise us to see most or all of them stay 100% open.

So the summary is – we have PLENTY of base at EVERY resort and most will stay 100% open. Some will drop a trail or two but overall conditions will remain QUITE NICE for the next week even through some rain and milder-than-wished-for temperatures.

Regarding Emily’s specific question about Sugar – they are reporting a drop of 21.5" of base in the last six days. That sounds incredible, but they STILL have and are reporting a base of 44-95". They MIGHT drop a trail or two to perhaps 17 or 18 available by the end of the week but they might very easily remain 100% open. Closed trails might be some of the steeper, double blacks.

Here’s a quick tour today with emphasis on reported base depths and which resorts are doing the best job in reporting such. In fact, for fun we will list those below in the order that we’re seeing the best job being done in regularly updating that content.

With that in mind…here you go:

Sugar Mountain Resort (yes Sugar Mountain) – 34° – 100% open – Great condition! Reporting a base of 44-95" which is a drop of 3" since Monday and they’re reporting a drop of 21.5" in the last six days. Great job Sugar! Don’t let that drop fool you though, they have TONS of snow, great conditions, no thin areas or bare spots. Sugar also has ice skating and tubing that are open.

Ober Gatlinburg – 41° – 100% open with ice skating and tubing open as well. Ober is reporting a drop of 3" in base from Monday. They are reporting a base of 35-50" or 14.5" drop in the last six days. 

<App this morning!

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 36° – 100% open – Great condition! They are reporting a base of 83-110". They’ve reported a drop of one foot in base in the last five days. 8" less today than Monday AM. We were watching App’s groomers this morning via the Live Cam and things look VERY NICE at the Blowing Rock ski resort this morning. Check it out at: Appalachian LIVE CAM!

Cataloochee Ski Area – 33° – 100% open – Great condition! Reporting a base of 63-106" and have reported losing about a foot in the last few days. They dropped 2" from yesterday’s report. Cat looks great this morning via the LIVE CAM We watched this morning as a couple was snowshoeing across the slopes this morning. They’re in great shape today. Tubing is closed until Thursday.

Wolf Ridge Resort – 39° – They’ve dropped four trails from those that were open on Monday. They also dropped 4" from their reported base depth from Monday and are reporting 50-68" or a drop of 9" in the last six days since January 13th. Tubing is also open.

Snowshoe Mountain – 30° – 100% open with all 60 trails, snow tubing, terrain parks and more. Snowshoe uses the single digit base reporting system that we’d like to see all resorts use. They are reporting the same 50" base for the last six days – however if you take a high and low number and average them you can still be reflecting a drop in base but reflect the same 50" average base depth. The bottom line is they have GREAT conditions. Laura Parquette writes, "Today’s forecast is calling for a chance of snow, and possibly some overnight, so cross your fingers! We are also looking at some milder temperatures for the remainder of the week, but with some overnight snowmaking, we are still able to remain 100% open. Almost all of our slopes were groomed over night, with the exception of Lower Shay’s Revenge and Sawmill Glades. For those of you questioning why we continued to make snow and didn’t open all of our terrain during some of the bigger storms we saw last month, stretches of weather like this are why! If you weren’t able to make it up to the mountain for this past long weekend, we have some great mid-week deals available for January and February. Skiing and riding are so much more fun when you should be sitting in an office or punching the clock, so tell your boss you’ve come down with "skiitis" and head for the region’s best peak-season conditions here at Snowshoe."

The Homestead – 36° – 100% for day sessions, snow tubing and ice skating. They are reporting a base of 24-70" which reflects a drop of 7" in the last six days. Hats off to Matt Fussell for keeping the report updated this season. That is something that their rec guys have not done prior to him coming on board this season. Now if we can just get The Homestead to post a snow report page on their website 😉

Beech Mountain Resort – 34° – 100% open and great condition! Reporting the same 55-84" base they reported yesterday. They have dropped their base by 4" in the last six days. Beech will host The 3rd Rail this Saturday. Winner takes all rail jam! Registration starts at 11am. The entry fee is $20. There are four divisions; kids, women, best of breed, and skiers. The competition starts at 4pm. There will be on the snow DJs and graffiti artists. The after party will be held in the Beech Tree Bar and Grille featuring Slick Rick.

The rest of these fine resorts have reported NO CHANGE in the last six days or more… (Listed Alphabetically…)

Bryce Resort – 36° – 100% open – Tubing is open as well. Great conditions. They are reporting the same 48-76" base that they’ve reported for more than a week. No change since January 11th.

Canaan Valley Resort – 37° – 36 of 39 trails open and great conditions. They have some snow in the forecast for today. Reporting the same 24-48" base that they’ve reported some getting open.

Massanutten Resort – 44° – 100% open and also 8 lanes of snow tubing with great conditions. They are reporting a base of 45-65" – the same that they’ve reported since January 13th.

Sapphire Valley Ski Area – Closed until Friday, January 22nd when they will be open from noon until 9pm. Some reporting services are claiming that they are open. They are not.

Timberline Resort – 33° – 100% open with great conditions. They are reporting a base of 28-68" and no change in the last six days.

Wintergreen Resort – 38° – 100% open with great conditions and snow tubing as well. They are reporting the same 40-60" base that they’ve reported since getting 100% open. No change in the last six days of thaw.

Winterplace Resort – 35° – 100% open with tubing open as well. Great conditions! Reporting the same 36-76" base they’ve reported for three weeks.

Wisp Resort – 30° – 100% open with tubing, all 32 trails, terrain parks, ice skating and snow tubing. They are reporting the same base of 24-48" that they’ve reported for three week.

Meteorologist Brad Panovich and others are still holding with their forecasts for conditions that would now qualify as a "January thaw" for the next 7-12 days. Seven days would put us to the 26th of the month. Obviously 12 days would carry us right to the end of the month. We’ve already seen ski area base depths dropping 2-4" per day over the last three days and with some rain and continued milder than desired temperatures in the forecast we’re going to see more base depreciation.

Panovich is hinting that he’s already seeing some changes taking place that should kick this pattern back over to a more favorable one for us but that is about a week or ten days out.

For the next 7-day forecast period, we’re only seeing perhaps one night this week where ski areas could make snow (Tuesday night). Conditions look much better for this weekend and we’ll talk more about that as we get closer to Thursday.

That’s it for today. Enjoy the milder temps today and check back within the next 24 hours to see the latest weather news.

Check out the Snow Report at  and please send us your favorite ski photos, ski videos, trip reports and comments to [email protected]  

We’re on day 54 and there are 82 more days of opportunities to enjoy the snow!

WE’RE ON DAY 33 and 54!

We’re tracking how many days in a row that we’ve experienced measureable snow pack in the area. We’re not talking snow base at the ski areas. They’re loaded with snow! In this case we’re talking snow pack in the communities around the ski resorts.

In the Mountains of Western North Carolina (we’re tracking the High Country specifically) we’ve now had natural snow on the ground for 33 straight days. It has now snowed 18 of those 33 days. (There’s lots of snow around Banner Elk, Blowing Rock and Beech Mountain as well as many of the surrounding communities.) If you’re headed to Wolf Ridge or Cataloochee you’ll find the same is true!)

David Lesher’s Canaan Valley / Tucker County, WV weather center has reported 53 straight days with snow on the ground and snowfall on 35 of those 54 days. That record is dittoed at Snowshoe, Wisp and Winterplace Resorts!

SSAA: 0 for 54/saphopenNOT/timb not open night/self 52/54

Next articleSugar Mountain TR 1/19
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.