Variable Conditions and Hope for Better Holiday Skiing Ahead!

Thanks to Mark McKelvy for providing us with the video feature that appears on the front of the website today. Mark and Joe Harmon were up at Sugar Mountain and showed us what conditions were like just 14 days ago. We’ll talk more about conditions in a moment. While I’m on the subject of trail reports and videos, etc, I want to thank those of you who have already signed up to send us reports this season. Your reports are an invaluable part of what makes this website tick.

Special mention at this early point in the season needs to go out to Mark McKelvy, Joe Harmon, Kent Jackson, Tom Parsons, Dana J Bolden and Gresham Barker for their contributions.

Joe Stevens’ newest “Joe Knows Snow” article is entitled, “One Man’s Opinion” but we’re thinking that many of you will agree with his thoughts today.


Winter officially will start today, December 21, 2006 at 7:22pm EST. It will officially end on March 20th, 2007 at 7:07pm EST. Weather permitting, many resorts will continue skiing right on until the end of March and in some cases the first week of April but it’s time for us to see some sustained cold air around here! The snowmaking temps that hit yesterday at most areas was a VERY welcomed sight, but we need more.

Many resorts made snow for quite a while yesterday and a few actually made a little snow late last night…and while that IS great, we’re now in for some moderate to rather heavy RAIN in the forecast for Friday. Meteorologist Marcus Lynch and others are forecasting 1-2” of rain from this afternoon through Friday and into early Saturday. Things will certainly deteriorate but don’t fret, the resorts should be in decent shape when the rain stops.


We don’t want to jinx things, but the consensus of all of the meteorologists is that cold air (not frigid) will make for some natural snow chances for Monday and Tuesday. Even MORE welcome news is that the temperatures during the all-important Holiday week should be very much like normal for this time of year. One look at the forecast into next week show highs in the 30s and 40s, with lows in the 20s across the Southeast and Mid Atlantic. We’ve had a few people ask us what IS normal for this of year. To answer than accurately we’d have to detail highs and lows for all 19 snow sports resorts. However, to provide some insight:

The normal high for the High Country of Western NC is: 44°
Normal low: 24°

Note that it’s the lows that we’re not seeing right now with any consistency…at least yet. Keep the prayers going; keep the positive mental attitude flowing; keep THINKING COLD and SNOW and maybe – just maybe Winter will finally bring us some consistent cold and snowy weather for the rest of the season!


We get a lot of pretty cool questions and believe it not we answer every single email in one way or another. Often the weather, or the lack of it, prompts some of the more unique questions and the question of the day came from Bambi Thomason of Washington, D.C. (Anyone else envisioning a Capitol Hill intern?) She wrote, “I know that most of the ski resorts only have a portion of their slopes open so far. Which resort or state has the highest percentage open?”

That is one of the cooler questions that we’ve seen lately and it made us do some quick math, which is always good to get the juices flowing. Here’s what we found:

North Carolina Resorts lead the way with 33 of 87 trails open today. That’s 38% open terrain. West Virginia has 29% of their trails open (46 of 158 trails) and Virginia’s resorts are looking at 27% of their trails running today (15 of 56 trails). To be fair, Wisp Resort in Maryland has 12 of 35 open and Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee has 3 of 8.

Most of the resorts are running at or near 30-50% open and right now the most open terrain is Sugar with 9 slopes open in North Carolina; Snowshoe with 30 trails leads the way regionally; and Wisp in Maryland has 12 trails operating today.

Percentage-wise…the resort with the most open terrain is Appalachian Ski Mountain in North Carolina with 60% of it’s ten trails operating today.

Good question Bambi and thanks for the fun emails! (We had some fun with her and she was a great sport and agreed to let us use her name, etc.) Say “hi” to the Senator for us!


Send comments and emails to: [email protected]  

For more information about the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic visit  


Previous articleONE MAN’S OPINION – by Joe Stevens
Next articleRooster Allen – Trail Report – Sugar Mountain – December 15th
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.