Two to Three Inches of Rain Falls Causing Flooding! Resorts still look good!

The heavy rains that brought from 1-3" of rain to the region in the last 24 hours has forced some ski areas to reduce the number of trail openings for today. The North Carolina ski areas are holding steady with the same trail openings that they reported on Sunday. The biggest drop has come from Wintergreen Resort which has dropped their base 10" overnight and they also dropped SEVENTEEN trails from the 25 that they had open on Sunday. That makes for 8 of 26 trails available for Monday day sessions only. Anne Marie Jones writes, "Overnight storms forced closure of some of our slopes, however, colder air returns tonight and stays all week. We anticipate re-opening terrain daily and being fully open by this coming weekend."

Wintergreen is hosting the VA SPECIAL OLYMPICS! Today and tomorrow Athletes from all over the region will be training and competing.

Snowshoe Mountain dropped eight trails this morning and offers 52 of 60 trails for today. Obviously they too have seen flooding rains as they are warning visitors to check the WV DOT pages for road conditions. They have closed up the Western Territory trails which include Upper and Lower Cupp and Shays Revenge. Lots of snow and colder temps are forecasted beginning Monday evening with perhaps 5-9" of snow or more in the forecast. So things will quickly reverse and Snowshoe should be able to get those closed trails reopened in great conditions within a day or so. Snowshoe is reporting some thin coverage and bare spots on a few trails.

Wisp Resort dropped 4 trails from Sunday’s open terrain. They offer 27 of 32 trails for day sessions today.

While we’re talking notables…

Cataloochee joins Canaan Valley offering AirBoarding! Canaan Valley has been offering the alternative way of sliding on the snow for a few years and now Cataloochee joins the sport.

Tammy Brown writes, "…starting every Tuesday and Thursday evenings, Cataloochee will be offering Airboarding with instructor Kevin Yount from Face Level Industries. Airboarding will cost $59 for the 3 hour package and runs from 6:30pm-9:30pm and includes airboard rental, 3 hour lift ticket, boots, helmet and instruction. Class size is limited to the first 8 folks to sign up so get your friends and come on out!"

WHERE’S THE SNOW? WHERE’S THE SNOW!?

That’s the question of the morning via my personal skiMail INBOX. Let me answer the question emphatically – there’s PLENTY of good, skiable terrain no matter where you may choose to ski or ride on Monday. The ski areas have weathered the onslaught of the milder temps and even heavy rains and even after twelve straight days of sub par winter weather, they are in nice shape.

There are certainly some thin coverage areas out there and you’ll find a bare spot or two at probably every ski resort in the region with the exception of perhaps Appalachian Ski Mountain, Cataloochee and perhaps one or two other of the smaller ski areas. However things look quite nice if you’re headed to the ski resorts today.

Now that we have THAT out of the way…

Let’s talk rain because THAT was a lot of rain that fell on Sunday! I thought we’d had a bunch of rain by 3pm or so. It had rained most of the day in moderate little bursts of drizzle to moderate rain to some semi-heavy periods. I was out and about at 3pm and there was a lot of water on the roads and roadsides and streams were roaring.

THEN the real stuff hit last night! The heavens really opened up and we saw some flooding rains that had waterfalls coming down in places that water doesn’t normally flow!

According to our office weather station we saw 1.03" of rain since midnight last night. That was after 0.91" of rain on Sunday. So nearly 2" of rain fell in just the last 12-18 hours. That will surely have some negative effect on base depths and we’ll get to those in a minute.

The temperature in Banner Elk right now is 30°. The average low temp for this date is 26° so we’re not all that far off this morning. The normal or average high for January 25th is 45°

The forecast is for some snow this evening and Tuesday with highs Tuesday around 25° and lows near 16° Tuesday night. Monday night’s low temp is forecasted to be around 20° so while right NOW the roar that you might hear is the roar of area streams – the roar you’ll hear later today and tonight through Wednesday (perhaps even around the clock) will be the roar of snowguns cranking up – accompanied by the roar of snow skiing and snowboarding fans around the region.

BACK TO THE RAIN…

Some reporting stations from Western North Carolina to Wisp Resort in Maryland and all point in between are showing 2-3" of rain in the last 24 hours.

THE QUESTION OF THE MORNING (ALREADY) IS, IS THERE ANY SNOW LEFT!?!?!

Okay we’ve already answered the question, but let’s go into some detail.

We were looking around all of the web cams this morning and the ski areas look pretty darn nice. Lot’s of wet snow still prevails! We ARE seeing some areas where thin coverage and even some bare spots are now showing. However, we also seeing really good coverage (side-to-side) at all of the resort.

Just to be clear, there is STILL some NATURAL SNOW on the ground at many locations around Banner Elk, Sugar, Beech, and of course further up into West Virginia where a 5" snow depth is still being reported by David Lesher at Canaan Valley. We’re not talking base depth at the ski areas people. We’re talking natural snow depth still on the ground. Wisp Resort in Maryland is still reporting a 4-6" natural snow base on 40 km of cross country ski trails.

Chip up at White Grass in West Virginia is reporting an average base of 4-6" and 4-22" of snow "in the woods" with a snow stake measurement of 18" at their 4000′ elevation.

So as you can see there’s still SNOW around from the January snowfalls that have blanketed the region with from 24.2" of snow at Beech Mountain to 59" at Snowshoe Mountain. Even though measureable snow hasn’t fallen since January 13th, there is still snow on the ground.

THE SKI RESORT’S SNOW BASE LOOKS GOOD

So if the natural snow has hung around, the snow that has been groomed and packed at the resorts has held up even better. Several resorts are reporting another 4" loss of base depth since Sunday morning and we’ll cover that in a second, but we’re seeing good base depths from 22" plus at Wisp, to 62" plus at Appalachian Ski Mountain, to 34" at Ski Beech – and those are minimum numbers…so things are looking good in terms of base depths.

As mentioned – there are going to be some trails with some thin coverage areas today (though good side-to-side coverage).

AND NOW WINTER RETURNS!!!

We’re seeing some rain still falling this morning into Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland At 7:30am this morning, but the skies have already cleared in the North Carolina Mountains.

Snow is forecasted in some locations today and tonight and perhaps an inch or two of snow could accummulate in the Western North Carolina mountains (with a dusting to an inch at many locations) – and the rain could change over to snow up into Canaan Valley and Snowshoe around noon to midday today. 3 to 5" is the forecast for Snowshoe Mountain Monday night and perhaps another 2-4" of snow on Tuesday.

In fact snow is in the forecast for the WV mountains each and EVERY day this week and into the weekend! With 5 to 9" falling through Tuesday night and then with more on the way – this week and weekend is looking pretty good there.

As mentioned, we should see some snow in the next 48 hours into Western North Carolina and there is snow in the forecast for Friday and Saturday as well.

We’re not seeing any snow in the forecast for the next day or so around the Virginia ski areas but snow is in the forecast for Thursday night and into Friday around Wintergreen.

Lows should allow for snowmaking at least every night this week at the Virginia and West Virginia ski areas. There could be some around the clock snowmaking happening into WV. Ditto that for Wisp Resort in Maryland.

We should see snowmaking Monday night at Beech and the rest of the High Country ski resorts and then around the clock snowmaking on Tuesday and Tuesday night. Tuesday looks pretty blustery but Wednesday is looking like a GREAT day to hit the slopes with little in the way of winds and what should be great temps in the 20s and 30s. Ditto that for Thursday.

…and then this weekend is looking primo with great conditions, great weather and great snow!

SO MAKE THOSE RESERVATIONS! It looks like we’ve weathered the January thaw really, really well. Twelve straight days of milder temps and rainy weather looks to be behind us and some great days to be on the snow are ahead of this week and beyond!

We haven’t heard from our buddy Brad Panovich yet this morning but we’ll share his latest Skier’s Forecast as soon as we get it.

Beginning tonight, we should see some snowmaking happening and base depths climbing, so we thought we share the latest tallies as reported (or NOT reported) by the ski areas. Hats off to many, shame on a few…

In the last twelve days since January 13th here’s what we can report about reported base depths across the region:

Resort 24hr / 12 day drop

Sugar Mountain: – 4" / – 33.5" (still 34-85" of snow!)

Appalachian: – 4" / – 33" (still 5 to nearly 8 feet of snow!)

Cataloochee: – 3" / – 33" (still 42-85" of snow!)

Ober Gatlinburg: – 2" / – 28.5" (still 20-32" of snow!)

Beech Mountain: – 5" / – 25" (still 34-70" of snow!)

Wintergreen: – 10" / – 20"

Snowshoe Mountain: 0" / -10" (+ use of single digit reporting)

Not so good:

Bryce Resort: – 3" / – 3" (first drop in 12 days)

Wolf Ridge: – 0" / – 9" (No drop in last six days)

Massanutten: – 0" / – 5" (dropped one day in the last 12)

Timberline: 0" / – 4" (dropped one day in the last 12)

Shame on these resorts that have reported NO CHANGE in the last 12 days!)

Canaan Valley: – 0" / – 0"
Winterplace: – 0" / – 0"
Wisp Resort: – 0" / – 0"

We’re on day 59 and there are 78 more days of opportunities to enjoy the snow for the 2009-2010 ski and snowboarding season!

That’s it for today. Check out the Snow Report at http://www.skisoutheast.com/skireports.php  and please send us your favorite ski photos, ski videos, trip reports and comments to [email protected]  

SSAA: 1 for 59/snowsh5652/self 57/59

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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.