We cover that and more today. Read on.

We finished up the snow report early this morning and as of 7am Sugar was "deciding" whether or not they would be open today. Sugar was also the only ski area making snow this morning. At 8:30am I called up there and Michelle said that they were still deciding. I personally can’t image who would attempt to hit the slopes there today, but I’d love to see some video of it! That would be funnier than that of Evan Wiley’s Snow Dance video which is now making the rounds on YouTube and via our messageboard. While the father/daughter video of Tina and Tom Curley’s won the snow dance contest, Evan’s has a lot of people smiling. I have to admit, I’ve watched it more than a few times. If you missed those videos, you can still view them here> Snow Dance Videos

As of 9:00am SUGAR WILL OPEN AT 10am. (You should view the live web cams before making a trip up)

An inch of rain fell atop Beech yesterday according to John Huffman, the long time Fred’s Mercantile staffer. More rain fell at other locations around the region and suffice it to say that the rains did major damage to what little snow Sugar had on the hill. Ditto the snow base at Ski Beech, Cataloochee and Snowshoe (the only ski areas that can even report a base).

Here’s a look at temperatures at all of the ski areas as of 8am this morning.

41° – Appalachian Ski Mountain
33° – Cataloochee
32° – Hawksnest
41° – Beech Mountain
29° – Sugar Mountain – MAKING SNOW but they look p-r-e-t-t-y yucky this AM
43° – Wolf Laurel

59° – Bryce Resort
52° – Massanutten Resort
42° – Wintergreen Resort

38° – Canaan Valley
38° – Timberline Resort
38° – Snowshoe Mountain
38° – Winterplace Resort

44° – Wisp Resort

Just to be clear, only Sugar Mountain is open.


You can see Brad Panovich’s latest video Skier’s Forecast here> Skier’s Forecast for the Southeast Ski Resorts 

The North Carolina Mountains are looking at some snow and depending on what forecast model you look at, it could be significant. I have looked at a lot of forecasts and from what I am seeing we’re not seeing much in the way of accummulation although according to three forecast models that Meteorologist Brad Panovich is sharing on the messageboard and through Twitter, we could see a lot of snow. The NWS doesn’t seem as interested in forecasting anything to speak of. I tried to hop on the Dr. Ray Russell’s page and he’s dead in the water this morning (site’s been down all morning).

Let’s go with what the National Weather Service is forecasting for now and we’ll update you once we get more data and remember that Brad’s Skier’s Forecast video will run on Friday morning.


Thursday: Hi 44° Lo 28° – Breezy and some chances of drizzle mixed with snow at the highest elevations late.

Friday: Hi 39° Lo 32° – Sunny early and snow chance late

Saturday: Hi 32° Lo 21° – Snow all day but the NWS is only forecasting perhaps an inch or two of accummulations

Sunday: Hi 40° Lo 26° – Sunny

Monday: Hi 40° Lo 33° – Sunny

Tuesday: Hi 41° Lo 35° – Sunny

Past that slightly milder


Thursday: Hi 43° Lo 25° – Breezy and some chances of drizzle mixed with snow at the highest elevations late.

Friday: Hi 25° Lo 21° – Sunny early and snow chance late

Saturday: Hi 26° Lo 18° – Snow mainly between noon and 9pm

Sunday: Hi 33° Lo 18° – Sunny

Monday: Hi 35° Lo 21° – Sunny

Tuesday: Hi 35° Lo 26° – Chance of snow

Looking at this forecast, it looks like we’ll get at least FOUR snowmaking days or nights for the North Carolina and Virginia ski areas. Saturday looks snowy and like around-the-clock snowmaking opportunities so things should look pretty good for the latter part of the weekend. We’re betting that Sunday and Monday skiing will be pretty nice.

The West Virginia ski resorts will have better snowmaking opportunities with temps cooperating every night for the next six nights and up to THREE around-the-clock days of snowmaking is in the current forecast if it holds. Plus they should get more in the way of natural snow as well.

This isn’t the perfect forecast for all of the ski areas within the region but it looks like things will be decent for Saturday skiing and snowboarding at Sugar, Cataloochee and Snowshoe Mountain. Beech Mountain will be borderline as to whether or not they will be able to open as hoped for Saturday. It looks more likely that Sunday night be the opening date for Beech. Some natural snow could make the difference – or a push further south and quicker for the colder temps. We’ll keep you posted on that.

Regardless, things look a lot nicer for Sunday and Appalachian Ski Mountain plans to be open on Sunday. The rest of the resorts are in a "making snow and holding" pattern for right now with opening dates planned a little later. 

You can read more on weather models, etc by visiting the messageboard: SkiSoutheast Messageboard Weather Thread


We could have saved Dartmouth contributors a LOT of money that was wasted on that particular study! An AP story was released on Wednesday that read:

COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) — A study by two Dartmouth College professor says ski areas across the country exaggerate snowfall totals.

Vermont Public Radio says the study compares snowfall reports from ski areas with totals recorded by nearby government weather stations.

Co-author Eric Zitzewitz (zitz-EH-witz), an associate professor of economics at the Hanover, N.H., school, says the greatest discrepancies occur on the weekends.

The study looked at both eastern and western ski resorts.

Parker Riehle of the Vermont Ski Areas Association says the comparisons aren’t fair because it lumps resorts together and there can be significant differences in snow totals between resorts and weather stations.

Riehle says ski areas would blow the whistle on each other if snow totals were exaggerated.

That story was VERY SHORT but oh my goodness can I have some fun with that statement. Let’s go.

The statement stated, "the greatest discrepancies occur on the weekends." Um, let’s see, THAT is when people can travel and get to the resorts. So WHY would resorts do such as thing?!?

Parker Riehe of Vermont said, "…comparisons aren’t fair because it lumps resorts together and there can be significant differences in snow totals between resorts…"

I can’t tell you how many times one ski resort reported 2" of snow and one two miles away as the crow flies reported 5". Additionally there are official snow measuring services which are dotted all across the higher elevations that are now measuring and reporting snowfall totals at or near every ski resort in the region and they NEVER report what we see reported by ski areas. What make Mr. Riehe’s comments telling is that he is so correct on his first statement but so far WRONG (full of it in fact) that ski areas would "blow the whistle on each other".

He’s correct that it isn’t fair to group all ski areas together and claim that none report accurately. That simply isn’t true. A fair percentage of ski areas in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic do an admirable job of reporting natural snow and conditions these days. (I think websites like this one have made a difference there.) However for him to ADD his last remark tends to make me think that he is either spouting the party commentary or he’s so far out of the loop its funny. For him to say that resorts would blow the whistle on each other if some were not reporting accurately is laughable.

I can tell you that "brother" resorts talk about their other brothers all the time – in private. There are numerous reasons why they’d never blow the whistle on each other but we’ll leave that to your own imaginations. Suffice to say that I have had many personal conversations with ski management wherein we have talked about the shortcomings of other resorts in terms of snow reporting, etc. Those conversations were shared in private confidence and they will remain there.

…but this so-called "STORY" was funny. The only thing that is truly shameful about it is that it cost donors or taxpayers a lot of money for these to professors to go on the speaking circuit sharing this information that every ski and snowboarding enthusiast in the United States could have told them in two minutes.

Kind of like the recent "Global Warming" fiasco, huh? More about that later, but for now I HAVE to say – WE TOLD YOU MINDLESS ROBOTS OUT THERE THAT YOU WERE BEING DUPED!

THAT’S ENOUGH FOR TODAY. Enjoy your day and let’s all THINK COLD AND SNOW and it will come.

Send your comments, photos, videos and reports 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.