We May See a Decent Wednesday for Riding, Some More Rain for the Weekend

…and then a SHARPLY COLDER MONDAY and beyond!!!

Meteorologist Matthew East has updated his Skier’s Forecast Video on the weather link on the front page of the site. Check that out this morning. It looks GREAT for Christmas week and into next weekend. That’s the good news. The YUCK news is that we have to get through this Seattle-like weather for another few days as it’s looking rainy through Sunday really with some slight breaks.  We may see a decent day today and Thursday for skiing and snowboarding and then a bit more light drizzle over the weekend.

The NWS is calling for a 70% chance of light, bothersome rain today for the NC Mountains but that may be moving out now. Then we’ll see a bit of a break on Thursday with a 30% chance of rain. There’s a 50-60% chance of light rain for this weekend as well. Thankfully, things go sharply COLDER on Monday with highs in the low to mid 30s and lows in the upper teens and low 20s and that means snowmaking! Tuesday moderates only a couple of degrees upward and should hold temps for the week ahead in the mid to upper 30s and lows in the 20s and that should make for some unbelievable "before and afters" in terms of surface conditions.

Our resorts are holding up pretty decent in the North Carolina mountains although they are all in need of some TLC in the way of snowmaking.

Ray Russell of RaysWeather.com is still sticking to his Monday forecast of highs in the 20° range with lows around 10° and that is still some 10-15° colder than all of the national forecasts. If he’s correct, that will be phenomenal snowmaking ops and you simply won’t believe your own eyes about how nice the slopes will look on Tuesday and Wednesday of Christmas week!

We haven’t done a tour of the resorts in the last couple of days so let’s do one this morning:

Appalachian Ski Moutain – 46° – They are back to 100% open today, reopening the Appaljack Terrain Park and Strudel (one of the blue trails). That takes them to 10 of 10 slopes open. They also have both terrain parks and Ice Skating to enjoy. There could be some breaks in the clouds today and conditions could be pretty decent. 


95% of Instructors Return to Appalachian’s French Swiss Ski College

The French Swiss Ski College (FSSC) is celebrating a 40 year partnership with Appalachian Ski Mtn. that began in 1969. FSSC President, Jim Cottrell is reporting that over 150 people have applied for 14 new instructor positions that will be joining over 70 returning instructors. “We are pleased to say that 95% of our instructors from last season are returning for the upcoming season.”

According to Cottrell, “The primary quality that we are looking for in our instructors is their ability to care about helping people into a lifetime sport – not just giving someone a single lesson. We look for instructors who want to share their passion for skiing and snowboarding.”

The French Swiss Ski College believes that if a person takes three lessons in a short period of time, they can make someone a skier or snowboarder for life.

“At some ski areas, an instructor’s mission is teaching a beginner lesson. We focus on how to get a person to become independent on intermediate terrain. This gets people to a point where they can enjoy more of the ski area and probably become a lifetime participant in the sport,” offers Cottrell.

French-Swiss has a diverse group of instructors this season, including about 40% that are women, and an increasing number of instructors that are fluent in Spanish. 15 to 20% of the instructors have been teaching for 10 years or more.

Cottrell says, “We have a dedicated team of certified professional instructors. Each new instructor receives at least 50 hours of training with an emphasis on safety, fun and learning. We want our students to enjoy winter sports, and we take genuine interest in their progress.”

The French Swiss Ski College has taught over one million skiers and snowboarders.

<Sorry about the photo as Cats Cam is a little lacking…but you get the gist!

Cataloochee Ski Area – 52° – They have dropped a couple of slopes from yesterday and Tammy Brown writes, "Colder temperatures are back in the forecast beginning as we move forward to the weekend with a possible white Christmas in store as well. We will begin making snow again as quickly as temperatures permit this weekend in order to capture the colder weather and maximize snowmaking to improve conditions and add additional terrain for your holiday skiing and riding.

On Wednesday, we will be skiing on seven out of 14 slopes from the top of the quad with two aerial lifts and one conveyor lift operating on a base of 18-55” and a machine worked surface." 

This shot was taken from the slopeside cam showing some thin areas, but there is plenty of good terrain and nicely maintained snow…

Ski Beech – 50° – They are holding up with 5 trails open for today for day skiing. Beech is reporting some thin coverage and bare spots. Ice skating is closed until the weekend and snowtubing is scheduled to open on Friday, weather permitting. That could be delayed until Tuesday of next week, but we will update you ASAP. There’s plenty of snow up there and Beech is doing a really, really nice job of maintaining their snow this season, so you can expect some good surface in spite of the weather right now. They should weather this poor weather spell and get to making some snow late in the weekend. That will be great news for Holiday skiers as Beech cranks up the snowguns and makes for some nice conditions as we move through next week. 

<Conditions look pretty nice for today at Sugar as well!

Sugar Mountain – 49° – They are holding up pretty well today as you can see from this webcam capture. We zoomed in for you guys and as you can see, there are no bare spots noticeable from top to bottom right now.

That is a little misleading on our part, because we have received a few reports that there are some thin coverage areas and a couple of bares spots at trail merges. However the snow at Sugar looks pretty inviting today and they are still offering 12 trails for day and night skiing. Tubing is closed and Ice Skating is open.

Wolf Ridge – 50° – They seem to be holding up rather well as the bottom of their mountain looks pretty good. They are open for day and night skiing and snowboarding and tubing is open as well. Wolf Ridge Resort is offering 5 trails for today.

That’s it for the North Carolina Mountain report. As I am wrapping up this tour (at 8:39am) I can report that the sun is beginning to burn through the heavy fog that blankets our area and we may see some pretty decent weather today, despite the forecast for light drizzle. Our advice would be for you guys to get out and enjoy the break in the drizzle and make some turns at your favorite hill today and Thursday. Let’s get through the light rain forecasted for the weekend and look forward to a GREAT Christmas week – weatherwise. With some strong snowmaking ops for Monday and forward, we should see some more slope openings.

Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated.

As always, be sure to click over to www.SkiSoutheast.com  for more news about ALL of the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic including more photos of the day, more snow news, more videos…and just MORE!

Send your comments, photos, videos, and trip 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.