It is Thursday, January 8, 2009 and after what has felt like an eternity of moisture laden weather – it continues to be dropping moisture AGAIN today! Of course, THIS kind of moisture is more of what the doctor ordered to heal the slopes of the ski areas that badly needed snow (Beech, Wintergreen and Ober Gatlinburg) (and the hearts of ski and snowboarding enthusiasts) across the region!
Beautiful, white, fluffy, wonderful, gorgeous SNOW began falling on Wednesday afternoon and has continued overnight and this morning. As I type this update (at 8am) it is snowing and all is well with the ski world.
Snowshoe, Timberline, Canaan (in West Virginia) and THE HOMESTEAD in Virginia are all reporting 6" of snow. Wisp Resort in Maryland is reporting 3" of new snow and the North Carolina ski areas are all reporting 2-3" of snow with snow continuing today!
Temperatures are where they should be for this time of year with the following observations noted:
Beech Mountain – 22.5°
Sugar Mountain summit – 22.8°
Cataloochee – 26°
Appalachian – 27°
Massanutten – 24°
Wintergreen – 23°
Snowshoe – 15°
Timberline and Canaan Valley – 16°
Wisp Resort – 17"
There is a WINTER STORM WARNING for our area (ain’t life GRAND!) For elevations above 3500′ we’re looking at perhaps 2-4" more of snow. The Winter Weather Warning is valid until 7pm this evening. Weather guru, Ray Russell of RaysWeather.com is saying that we should expect 3-5" or so. Yea baby!
WANT MORE GOOD NEWS!?!?!
According to forecasters, we’re looking at a forecast that has highs in the 30s and lows in the teens and 20s for the most part through next Tuesday. There’s a couple of days of snow in the picture as well…and THEN according to Ray Russell and Meteorologist Matthew East things look colder still. Matthew says that the next couple of weeks look cold with shots of natural snow!
One look at this forecast and all you need to know is that the base depths will be growing and so will the open trail counts. Expect more slopes to open as resorts get to the weekend.
He calls Saturday at "speed bump" with a quick shot of some rain that is in and out quickly. He’s confident of a LOT of cold air for the next couple of weeks with some additional shots of natural snow. Snowshoe and the WV resorts could see more in the way of a wintry mix Saturday and ending as snow. You can see his Skier’s Forecast by Clicking Here
GREAT CONDITIONS FOR SOME, GOOD CONDITIONS FOR SOME, QUICKLY IMPROVING CONDITIONS FOR THOSE IN GREATER NEED
One of our readers wrote in with what might be the perfect summary of what went down yesterday across the region.
Longtime reader, Martin Pyle, wrote, "I’ve been skiing for 14 years–10 in NC, but today was the craziest day of skiing I’ve ever had. First, we decided, because of the conditions, we needed to ski at App. The snow conditions at 9 AM were good–at least considering what had occurred on the mountain over the last 3 days. Absolutely ZERO thin spots… Second, within about 30 minutes we could watch a massive rain front head our way across the valley. Big ugly grey clouds….soaked EVERYTHING! Third, at 11, the sky cleared—I mean Carolina Blue—not a cloud to be seen. Then, about 12:45, the rain returned….and it started to get colder. By 1:30, it was rain, mixed with freezing rain, mixed with sleet, mixed with snow, mixed with a bit of hail….(yes, hail!) I started to wonder if we would see horsemen start riding up the mountain! We stayed as long at the GORTEX could last and headed out about 4…. On the way back to our condo, we were pelted with large MASSIVE snow flakes…"
That just about sums things up nicely Martin!
This morning it is 15° at Snowshoe. 24 hours ago it was 42° at their 4848′ elevation.
Here’s a rundown of the snow, conditions and more across the Southeast and Mid Atlantic:
Snowshoe Mountain – 15° and 6" of new snow! That takes Snowshoe above the century mark for natural snowfall this season. They now have received 105" of snow for the 2008-2009 season. Snowshoe offers 50 trails of Packed Powder for today and night skiing over on the Silver Creek side of the mountain. Snowshoe is looking at more snow for today and again on Saturday. Expect spectacular conditions at Snowshoe for today and the weekend!
Canaan Valley – 19° (it was 49° Wednesday morning!) They are only reporting 1" of snow but that had to have been early in the morning as there is a GREAT snow resource located up there and they are reporting 6" of new powder for Tucker County, West Virginia and 83.7" on the season. Canaan Valley has closed 5 trails for concentrated snowmaking ops today but will reopen those for the weekend. They are open today with 7 trails and ice skating.
Timberline Resort – 16° and Jessica Scowcroft writes, "It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! 6 inches of fresh snow and more to come!"
Of course it’s beautiful at Timberline in the snow! They will have Groomed Powder conditions on 20 of 37 trails and some trails are open for night skiing according to their report although they are not reporting being open for night skiing tonight. You guys may want to call ahead if you’re headed to Timberline tonight.
Winterplace Resort – 28° and 3" of new snow! That takes the Ghent, West Virginia resort to 37" of snow on the season. They have 19 of 28 trails open for today and they offer night skiing tonight. They also offer snow tubing today and they are making snow on their terrain parks today and they should reopen Friday with some sweet features!
Wisp Resort – 17° and 3" of snow! They have 24 trails open and there great tubing hill, mountain coaster and terrain park. Wisp is open until 9pm tonight.
Massanutten Resort – 24° and they are making snow! They are not reporting any natural snow but they are looking quite nice with Snow tubing and terrain parks are open as well.
Bryce Resort – 32° – They didn’t report any natural snow nor snowmaking so temps must have been just slightly above the ability to do so. They have 7 of 8 trails open and good conditions for today.
The Homestead – These guys are reporting 6" of snow! That is great news for the Virginia resort! They have opened and additional trail today and now offer 3 of 7 trails for today and tubing as well! Ice skating is open as well!
Wintergreen Resort – 24° and a TRACE of snow! They offer 9 of 26 trails for today but most importantly they are making snow like crazy to create some really good conditions for today. Anne Marie Jones writes, "Snowmaking weather is back and the weather experts are telling us that we should be making snow through the MLK Holiday with only an occasional mid-day warm up. YES, we will bury this place with snow! Overnight we began making snow on The Highlands, in our Terrain Park and on all of the trails we currently have open. The Highlands should re-open Saturday and Tyro will open either Saturday or Sunday."
Appalachian Ski Mountain – 27° and about 1" of new snow so far. 8 of 10 trails open and absolutely GREAT CONDITIONS for today. They are making a huge cloud of snow at this time.
Cataloochee Ski Area – 25° and about 2" of new snow so far. They added 3" of manmade on top of that and reopened 3 trails and now offer 8 of 14 trails and have night skiing as well. Tubing will reopen on Friday!
Ski Beech – 23° and 2" of new snow and it’s pouring snow right now! Beech began making snow at about 3pm on Wednesday and they are focusing hard on the main portion of the mountain today as they had a lot of terrain to cover to get those top three trails back open. They ARE open today and tonight with 2 slopes and will reopen to the top for Friday!
Sugar Mountain – 19° and 2" of new snow and they are currently receiving more snow and making snow like crazy! Sugar will have very nice conditions on 11 trails for today and they are open with night skiing tonight as well. Ice skating is open but tubing is closed for snowmaking today. Expect it to reopen on Friday.
Wolf Ridge – 33° and 2" of new snow to take them to 13" on the season. (They are only reporting 8" so far this season.) They have 4 of 20 trails open for today.
Sapphire Valley – There’s been no reports since December 29th on their own website and the NC Ski Areas is reporting that Sapphire will "open
on December 19th! We were just about to give up on these guys as to getting any valid updates, but we spoke with Chris Green over there this morning and he’s promised to start sending us morning reports. That would be great for Sapphire fans and you know who you are! Sapphire has received 1.5" of snow since yesterday and they made snow. According to Wendy, they just turned the snowguns off due to the temperature getting about 32° over there. They are closed today as they normally are on Thursdays but WILL open Friday for skiing and tubing.
Hawksnest Tubing Park is making snow and recieved 2" of new snow. They will reopen on Friday with some great lanes of tubing.
Ober Gatlinburg picked up 2" of new snow but it wasn’t cold enough to make snow 🙁 They should be able to do that tonight. They have 4 of 8 trails open with some thin areas.
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