Up to 3 inches of Snow Fell Yesterday at Wisp; 5 to 9 inches Expected at Snowshoe today!

Light rain falling into the Tennessee and North Carolina ski areas…

For the second straight day, SNOW is falling into the Virginias and Maryland ski areas and light drizzle is bugging ski areas into Tennessee and North Carolina. As much as 3" of snow fell on Monday (at Wisp Resort) and as much as 5-9" of snow is forecasted for today at Snowshoe Mountain and other WV ski areas.

Wintergreen and Massanutten are getting some snow as well and that is great news as they could easily pick up more snow today than they’ve seen accumulatively for the entire season to date!

There is a 90% chance of rain today and tonight across most of the North Carolina mountains, but even though the forecast states that the rain will be very light (maybe as much as a quarter of an inch) there’s a good chance that most snow lovers’ eyes will be looking northward as all of our ski area brothers and sisters in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland are receiving snow as we speak. As much as 5-9" of snow is forecasted for some areas.

For the second straight day, temperatures in the North Carolina Mountains are hovering in the 30s to 41° and that makes for some "under developed" snow around these parts! Just across the state line into Virginia we are seeing 26° at Bryce, 28° at Massanutten, and it gets as cold as 17° into Western Maryland – home to Wisp Resort where they have already picked up 4" of snow since yesterday. As much as a foot of snow may be in store for some of the ski areas into West Virginia and Maryland before the stormy weather clears out just prior to the weekend.

The North Carolina Mountains will get some snow perhaps beginning as early as Wednesday afternoon. A little rain will fall early tomorrow and that is forecasted to change over to snow with falling temperatures thoughout the day on Wednesday. Don’t look for anything significant but snow is snow, right?!?!

With a foot of snow into the upper tier of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas – and with great snowmaking temps returning Wednesday evening at ALL of the ski areas of the region – things will be near PERFECT for your ski getaway no matter where you choose to head this weekend.

WHY NO SNOWMAKING???

We received a fair number of emails yesterday from people evidently planning ski trips for the coming weekend and some of them felt slighted that none of the ski areas were making snow last night. Well, actually a couple of ski areas DID make snow until around midnight last night, but I repeat, HUH!?!?!

Let’s review:

Appalachian’s low temp – 35°
Cataloochee’s low temp – 40°

Ski Beech’s low temp – 35, but it was 40° at 8am.

Sugar’s low temp – 34°
Wolf Ridge’s low temp – 41°

Of course, we HAVE seen a couple of ski areas make snow at 34°, but the humidity, wet bulb and all of the weather thingies have to be in perfect alignment for that to happen! We’ve witnessed Sugar Mountain making snow at 35° more than a few times and we’ve received reports from some of our volunteer reporters that ski resorts were running "humidifiers" and not snowmaking equipment on some of those days 😉

One emailer (who will remain last-nameless) named Janeen wrote, "I am supposed to be at Beech this weekend with my church and I’ve read about their problems with snowmaking this season. I noticed they are not making snow tonight and wandered why not. Don’t they care enough to make snow so we’ll have more stuff open this weekend?"

I LIVE FOR THESE KINDS OF EMAILS!!!

Janeen, by the use of the word "supposed" I am guessing it is fate that will have you with us this weekend. You also alluded to "wander" which makes me think that you are aimlessly wandering around because you’re SUPPOSED to be here and you are worried about Beech "having more STUFF open".

Beech has plenty open as the View Haus Restaurant is open and serving some of the best homemade chili I’ve ever eaten! The Beech Tree Restaurant and Bar is open and they have some nice food and all the adult beverages that you might need to deal with those kiddies you’re SUPPOSED to be with. The Beech Sports Shop will be open as well.

I couldn’t help myself! I’m frustrated because we’re not located 150 miles north and we’re missing out on the snow that this "split flow" weather pattern is dumping northward!

Okay, Janeen – I’m okay now. Sweetheart (you don’t mind me calling you sweetheart do you?). Anyway – that white stuff that you see on the slopes and trails at Ski Beech and ALL of our ski areas IS REAL. It isn’t "fake snow". It is MANMADE SNOW. Man can’t make snow at any higher temperature than God can. In fact, I’ve seen God make snow at 41° at ground level. The other day I was taking care of my horses over at the foot of Beech (that place that snow goes to die) and it was snowing pretty decent. I looked at my car thermometer and it was 41°. Weird, but true. In fact, I took some kids up on a ridge on Sunday and we played in about 4" of snow and had a snowball fight from snow that was left over from last week’s storm.

Oh, Janeen – I forgot you were still here! Anyway – when MAN makes snow, we have to have temperatures that are less than 34° or so. Most of the time, snowmaking equipment will prefer it to be in the upper 20s or below. They REALLY like zero degree temps!

That white stuff is not foam, soap, artificial or anything other than water and air that has been manipulated by the snowmaking mechanism to fire into the air…but it doesn’t come out as snow. It comes out as very tiny particles of water. It is the cold air that these particles float through that makes it into snow.

(For those bound to email me – yes ski areas can and do mix in some snowmax, etc as a "nucleator" but I don’t want to confuse Janeen.)

Janeen? Janeen, you still there? Hmmmm, I guess she wondered (I meant WANDERED) off somewhere!

With a hope to put a cap on this subject – MANY SKI AREAS have not made snow even though they could have last night (like Canaan Valley and Winterplace in West Virginia) because they simply don’t need to right now.

BASE DEPTHS HOLDING UP WELL and they will…

You guys seem to love our "legend base reporting" technique wherein all of the ski areas in the state are looking good with ratings mostly in the 9 and 10 range (as good as it gets). However, some of you seem to be insecure and need to hear some numbers (even though they are not as accurate as they need to be) that are posted around the region.

For you insecure snow babes and babies, here’s what the resorts are reporting:

Wisp – 20-65"
Ober – 38-72"
Bryce – 35-61"
Massanutten – 50" (Love that single number!)

Wintergreen – 40-60"
Canaan – 20-40"
Snowshoe – 56" (Yea baby! Love that single number!)

Timberline – 36-60"
Winterplace – 28-68"

Appalachian – 82-108"
Cataloochee – 42-90"
Ski Beech – 32-62"
Sugar Mountain – 43-82"
Wolf Ridge – 46-66"

By the way, we are not saying that ski areas don’t have the minimums and maximums bases that they are reporting. They probably have those numbers and more…somewhere on the hill. However, none of them have those numbes as AVERAGES across all of their slopes and trails.

We have beaten this poor horse to death, but if we’re going to report these numbers AND include comments such as "such and such resort has a couple of slopes with thin coverage and a few bare spots" – we feel compelled to explain further because you guys email us about it.

To explain it better – you can’t actually HAVE an average base of 30-60" and list 14 trails open – AND have thin coverage and bare spots in the middle of some trails.

Where’s Janeen? I need Janeen back in here. Now I’m confused!

That is why we have suggested a SINGLE NUMBER BASE REPORTING NUMBER. When resorts report an average base of 50" across all 14, 30 or 59 trails – then they COULD still have a thin area or two – because the math would still make sense.

Aw, man – now tons of you guys are all confused!

Anyway, we love the fact that a few ski areas have already taken our suggestion and have begun reporting a single number base average.

Expect POWDER and PACKED POWDER CONDITIONS into West Virginia and Maryland today. Look for Wet and Loose Granular conditions at all North Carolina ski areas today.

Here are the notables for today:

Wolf Ridge is STILL reporting 8" of snow in the last 84 hours on the front of their site. Ummmm, no.

Bryce Resort – 26° – Reporting light snow with a high of 28°. Good for them. They’ve only had 3" of natural snow all season. The National Weather Service is forecasting 3-5" of snow for beautiful Basye, Virginia. They are reporting no snowmaking right now but they don’t need it with a base of 35-61" on all 8 trails.

Massanutten Resort – 28° – TRACE of snow and no snowmaking. Mass is reporting a 50" base on 14 trails.

Wintergreen Resort – 29° and they made snow until midnight and then Ma Nature began dropping snow. So far they really have a TRACE, but they are expecting some snow today! They have all 26 trails open.

Canaan Valley – 26° – 2" of snow has fallen thus far with more on the way as it is snowing right now. They did not make snow and simply state, "NO Snowmaking is needed at this time!" They have 38 trails open today. That extra two inches gives Canaan 56.5" of snow in JANUARY ALONE; they have a snow depth of 11" on the ground right now and 126.8" on the season!

Snowshoe Mountain – 26° – No new snow to report, but they made snow and have 59 trails open today. According to the NWS, Snowshoe could see as much as 5-9 inches of snow today! They are looking at some possible sleet mixed in.

Winterplace Resort – 25° and snowing although they are only reporting a TRACE thus far. They have 27 trails open today.

Wisp Resort – 17° and 3" of new snow, 4" on the week and 86" on the season. They have 30 trails open with powder conditions!

Check the SLOPE REPORT page for all the rest…

Until Next time…

Send your snow photos, videos, comments or emails to: [email protected]