We’re Talking Deep Snow Totals this Weekend…

Awesome Photo from swamphox at Appalachian Ski Mountain on Friday.
Click to ENLARGE and see the HIGH WINDS!

Happy Valentine’s Eve Everyone…

The conditions this weekend are going to blow your socks off…and anything else you may be wearing out on the slopes!

It looks like the forecast for much of the region is for light snow, mixed sun and clouds…VERY COLD temps in the single digits and winds in the 20-30 mph range. It could be worse in terms of the winds as we saw a 64 mph wind recorded in Boone this morning. By the way as cold as it is across the region this morning, temperatures will be holding steady or falling through today and into this evening. Wind chills will be dangerous so if you’re venturing on to the slopes, make certain that you have every square inch of your body covered. We’ll see wind chills in the -10s to -30s on mountaintops for today.



Someone emailed me the other day asking, “With all of the high elevations that you report on all season long, which peak has had the most snowfall from one storm this season?”

A lot of you would expect the answer to be the resorts at Davis, West Virginia (Canaan Valley and Timberline) or Snowshoe Mountain and while both of those areas saw 33-36″ of snow from the late January snow storm…believe it or not Mount Mitchell in North Carolina saw 66″ from that same snow storm and that was a record that even surpassed the 50″ of snow that fell in the Blizzard of 1993! Those were official numbers as Mount Mitchell hosts a National Weather Service station atop the 6,683′ elevation.

“I haven’t heard anywhere else in the nation getting close to those totals,” said meteorologist Jeffrey Taylor with the National Weather Service office in Greer, South Carolina. “Mount Mitchell just happened to be in the sweet spot of this storm.”

41″ of snow fell on January 23rd with 4-5″ of snow per hour falling during the peak of that storm. Another little factoid regarding Mount Mitchell – they’ve seen more than 94″ of snow since January 1st!

With that in mind, our Randy Johnson posted a nice Cross Country skiing story on Friday. Check it out: Cross Country Skiing this Weekend



A view from Snowshoe's Basin Webcam this morning at 10am.
A view from Snowshoe’s Basin Webcam this morning at 10am.

Of course it has been a very snowy period since January 14th. I was talking with someone on Beech Mountain the other day and they made the observation that once winter finally decided to visit the mountains literally on January 1st of this season – we have seen snow on the ground every day since then. I’m talking about natural snow on the ground and not JUST the ski slopes. We’ve had measurable snow on the ground since January 1st. That a running number of 44 days straight with snow on the ground.

With some heavy rain during that period and a few mild days, that stretch of consecutive days with snow on the ground ALMOST ended on February 7th but then 4″ of snow fell on the 9th and now we’re back to from 10″ of snow on the ground atop Beech Mountain this morning and 15-20″ of snow on the ground up at Snowshoe.

This has been a crazy “snow week” for me. While it has dumped 22.4″ of snow on Beech Mountain in the last five days…just 20 minutes down the mountain at my home in Sleepy Hollow – I’ve seen MAYBE 3-4″ of snow and due to the blustery winds we have from 0″-1.5″ of snow around my decks and yard.

We’re seeing that kind of snow-anamoly across our coverage area from Wisp Resort in Maryland down to Sapphire Valley in North Carolina. It has been a VERY SNOWY week, and while some areas are covered in deep snow, others are snowy…but look more like a frozen tundra…



Kenny Griffin does the FirsTrax reporting during the week for us and I take over on the weekends and Holidays. So you guys are “mine” for the next three days. One of the first things I always do on Saturday mornings is look over the snow totals for the week and compare them to the official (and some unofficial) reporting stations, etc.

Over the years I’ve ALWAYS noted that Ray Russell’s Ray’s Weather is one of the resources that we look at for weather within the state of North Carolina and Virginia as the guy has something like 24-25 stations reporting around the region. Those are all calibrated perfectly and since they are open for anyone to peruse…I do.

Like most weather gurus, Dr. Ray Russell comes under a lot of scrutiny as some people swear by his forecasts while others claim he’s wrong more than he’s correct. Personally I’ve found his WEATHER FORECAST reporting to be pretty accurate. However as one “real weatherman once emailed me”,

“Ray is a college professor with a doctorate in computer science. He has no degree, at any level, in meteorology, which is odd because that is the very discipline with which the internet community associates him.”

I say all of that to answer some of the emails that I have received from some of you asking, “Why do you call him a ‘weather guru’ and not a meteorologist?”  However, my reason for even mentioning Ray in my post this morning is because while his weather reporting is pretty spot on, his SNOW REPORTING is biased AND inaccurate as hell.

He has always reported Sugar Mountain as ALWAYS getting more snow than Beech Mountain and this year is perhaps his most biased towards Sugar. For example, through this morning, he’s reporting that Beech Mountain has seen 37.3″ of snow (actually through February 12th). If you add in Beech’s reported 3.8″ this morning, that would show 41.1″ of snowfall on the season. One look at his Sugar report shows 43″ through FEBRUARY 10th. Add in Sugar’s reported snow since then and you’d get the following:

Ray’s Snow Report:
Sugar Mountain – 46.1″
Beech Mountain – 41.1″


From RaysWeather.com:




According to official NWS and CoCoRaHs reports (and our report):

Sugar Mountain – 42″
Beech Mountain – 51.3″

So while Ray is reporting EXACTLY what Sugar Mountain’s people are reporting, he is purposely under-reporting and ignoring what Beech Mountain’s official NWS and CoCoRaHs reporters are sharing.

As entertainer, Arsenio Hall used to say…”These are things that make you go hmmmmm.”

I’ve hesitated to share Ray’s snow reporting snafu for a few years, but felt the need to bring it to light since so many people DO visit his website.



I was out late on Friday evening and could not believe how packed Hwy 105 was coming out of Boone, heading towards Banner Elk and Beech Mountain. Then it hit me. We are in the midst of a “Triple Whammy Weekend”.

It is Valentine’s Weekend, President’s Day Weekend and it has Snowed a lot this past week. All of those things will bring the masses and while the winds might hold the crowds ON THE SNOW down a bit…look for a busy, skier-visit weekend.


Some Notables…

Joe Stevens’ 11 year old son is a writer for their hometown newspaper and he has a column called, Christian’s Sports Beat. He recently shared a story of his first time on the slopes and we thought it would be great to share that with our audience. (I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Joe.)

Read it: Let Gravity Be Your Friend

A great cam to see snow falling and road conditions to Beech and Sugar!
A great cam to see snow falling and road conditions to Beech and Sugar!

Have any of you guys noticed the new Banner Elk 184 Camera? It has always been a ResortCams.com favorite and now it’s LIVE HD. Check it out: Banner Elk LIVE Webcam

Speaking of webcams, I was watching numerous resorts grooming the snow this morning and maybe it’s just me, but I always enjoy watching the ski resort webcams as the sun is coming up. The hearty souls that get up when most of us are still sleeping to maintain and groom the slopes to perfection is always an “appreciated watch”. It is kind of “must see TV”…via the webcams.

The easiest way to tour the region in under 15 minutes is to visit Ski Resort WebCams and click around.

I just LOVE this early morning snow tubing shot at Wintergreen Resort! CLICK TO ENLARGE!
I just LOVE this early morning snow tubing shot at Wintergreen Resort! CLICK TO ENLARGE!

Love this Tubing cam at 7:30 in the morning: Click the image to the left to ENLARGE the capture from 7am or so this morning OR click HERE to see:

Wintergreen Snow Tubing WebCam

I really loving this new camera:

Wisp Resort WebCam

Let’s Get to Some Ski Resort News and Notables:

Snowshoe Mountain Resort – The COLDEST spot in our report this morning is atop Snowshoe’s 4848′ elevation at MINUS 4°. They saw 4″ of new snow and that takes them to 19″ in the last 7 days and 89″ on the season! Snowshoe is pretty close to 100% OPEN with 55-56 trails open. Of course they also have snow tubing, snowmobiling and more.

Wisp Resort – 0° and 4″ of new snow and 73″ on the season. Wisp is open with 28 of 34 trails and ice skating, snow tubing and mountain coastering all open.

Click to ENLARGE for App Fun this Weekend!
Click to ENLARGE for App Fun this Weekend!

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 8° and 2″ of new snow and 20″ on the season. App is 100% OPEN and has excellent conditions for the slopes, terrain parks and ice skating. App has some awesome fun planned and YOU are invited!

Winterplace Resort– 10° – 3″ of new snow and 43″ on the season. 100% OPEN with tubing open as well. 40-72″ base.

Timberline Resort – 1° – 3″ of new snow and 78″ on the season. 33 Trails Open with a base of 30-60″.

Beech Mountain Resort – 3° – 4″ of new snow and 51.3″ on the season. 22″ of snow has fallen this week! That will make for some snowy fun. Just watch out for that wind-tunnel up top! Beech is 100% OPEN with ice skating and tubing as well. That means that OZ RUN is open on the back side of their mountain.

Sugar Mountain Resort – 4.4° – 2.8″ of reported snow and 42″ on the season. Sugar and Banner Elk haven’t seen quite the sweet spot of snow as Beech, but there’s lots of snow on the ground and according to one of our friends up on the Reserve, they have reported more than 15″ of snow since the 9th. Not sure WHY Sugar isn’t promoting that. It’s PRETTY SNOWY there!  Sugar is 100% OPEN, with tubing and ice skating as well.

Canaan Valley Resort – MINUS 1° at 7am and 5.8″ of new snow. That’s 26.3″ of snow in the last FIVE DAYS and 80.4″ of snow on the season! Canaan has not updated their snow report for today (9am) but we’re thinking they will at least play on the same 43 trails they operated on yesterday. Ice skating and snow tubing are open as well.

Wintergreen Resort – 2° – A Trace of new snow and 31″ on the season. Wintergreen is 100% OPEN today with snow tubing and terrain parks open.

Wintergreen Video:

Massanutten Resort – 8° – They saw a TRACE of new snow and 32″ on the season. Massanutten is 100% OPEN and also has 14 lanes of snow tubing open. No day time snowmaking today, 100% open with great conditionis! You can snow tube til MIDNIGHT tonight.

Bryce Resort – 13° and a TRACE of new snow and 29″ on the season. They are 100% OPEN with snow tubing open as well. Bryce is reporting 6″ of manmade snow under their “NEW SNOW” column. Some national reporting services ARE picking that up as natural snow…but at least Bryce is reporting it AS MACHINE MADE.

Ober Gatlinburg – 17° and 3″ of new snow and 22″ on the season. Ober is operating with 9 of 10 trails open and ice skating, snow tubing and mountain coastering all open. Today would be an awesome day to ride their aerial tram.

Wolf Ridge Resort – 9° and 4-5″ of new snow and 41″ on the season. Wolf is 100% OPEN with terrain parks and snow tubing open as well. Wolf is probably in the best condition that they’ve seen in a couple of years. You should head over there and check it out.

OMNI HOMESTEAD – 7° with a TRACE of new snow and 26″ on the season. The Homestead is 100% OPEN for the first time this season. They are playing with awesome conditions today and snow tubing and ice skating are open as well.

Not sure if you guys have noticed that they have a new webcam: The Homestead Resort Webcam

That thing is showing some sweet conditions at the base this morning!

Sapphire Valley – The “warmest” spot in the region this morning is the 23.3° reading at Sapphire this morning. That has not kept them from seeing 12-15″ of “new snow” in the last 24 hours!!!! (INSERT SARCASM HERE!) Sapphire continues to report manmade snow as “new snow” and unfortunately several national reporting services are as well. On The Snow, Google and others are inaccurately sharing that information. Yikes. I wonder how many people will head to Sapphire from HotLanta looking for a foot of new snow?!?! Maybe THAT is what Sapphire is counting on…

Sapphire HAS bombed their slopes with manmade snow and they are reporting 120″ at some spots at the top of their slopes. Five feet on the snow tubing hill. It HAS BEEN COLD!!!

Cataloochee Ski Area – 11° and 2″ of new snow and 25″ on the season. Cat is 100% OPEN and has great terrain parks and snow tubing open as well. I sure do wish these guys would report natural snowfall and update their snow report in the early morning hours instead of the night before. Kind of hate seeing a snow report that displays:

Natural Snow: YES

As for ME, give me some numbers….

Sugar Mountain Resort – 4.4° and 2″ of new snow and 42″ on the season. Sugar is 100% OPEN and has snow tubing and ice skating open as well. Sugar is NOT making snow today!!!

So it’s windy today…and cold…and there’s lots of snow around if you want to venture out and play. Just bundle up.


I guess that’s it for me for today. Head to the slopes.


Until next time…

Enjoy your day and THINK SNOW! THINK COLD! Email me anytime and about anything at: [email protected]


Also visit all of our Ski Resort WebCams.

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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.