Be sure to check the Slope Reports page for all of the individual resort conditions for today.
If you look at the temperatures at each of the resorts around the Southeast, you can almost visualize where the frontal boundary falls across the mountain ranges. We’re seeing temperatures at 8am this morning such as 50° at Appalachian Ski Mountain, 49° at Cataloochee, and 47° at Ski Beech. As you then look slightly northward we’re seeing 40° at Bryce Resort in Virginia, 36° at Massanutten and 32° at Wintergreen Resort. It’s also 32° at Snowshoe in West Virginia, and 25° at Wisp Resort in Maryland.
Precipitation is falling mostly as light drizzle across much of the area (as expected) today, but we are hearing reports of sleet and freezing rain northward. Wisp Resort is getting some mix of sleet and light snow as of this report.
A couple of the resorts have emailed us that things will be icy out and about today, and you’ll get that when you mix snow, ice granules and light rain. The drizzle will be hit and miss today and resorts across much of the region will offer relatively soft snow. Due to the differences in temps from north to south, we’ll summarize by stating the following:
North Carolina Ski Areas will see light drizzle and temps in the 40s and 50s for today and that will make for mostly loose granular conditions. Most resorts will have groomed early so look for really nice conditions early, then loose and wet granular for later.
Virginia and West Virginia Ski Areas will be much the same with slightly colder conditions. Since lows hit right at freezing overnight and this morning, things will be a bit firmer, (icier) but will soften up as temps rise into the mid 30s and low 40s and milder later today. Snowshoe is expected to hang in with a high of around 36° and 1-2" of sleet accumulations.
Wisp Resort in Maryland is experiencing the coldest temps this morning with a 25° reading as of this 8am report. We’re surprised to see that they are not making snow, but they are forecasted to see snow prior to lunch with 2-4" of sleet and snow accumulation and a HIGH of only 29° today! Can you tell where the cold air has damned up?
One reason that snowmaking crews may not be running up there is that they are expected to see light drizzle through the end of the week.
WHAT ABOUT CHRISTMAS?!?!
Models, models, models. We’ve received a few emails from some of our weather friends about the forecast ahead and there are some distinct differences in what some are forecasting for EVEN THIS WEEKEND, so looking as far ahead as Christmas-to-New-Year is not only difficult, it’s rather silly to even try. However, I’m feeling on the silly side this morning so what-the-heck, I’ll try my hand at a forecast. I haven’t heard from our "team meteorologists" – Brad Panovich or Matthew East about the Christmas week forecast and probably for the reasons that I just stated. (It’s too early.) It has been explained to me numerous times by people much smarter than I am about all things having to do with weather – that all weather resources basically provide a three-to-five day forecast that is reliable. Any forecast further out than that are actually based more on HISTORICAL DATA than on the actual forecasts.
I’ll Quit Delaying and Get to a Christmas Week Forecast!
Monday will be COLD! We’re seeing evidence that support highs in the mid 30s and lows in the low 20s for the North Carolina Mountains. The NWS, Weather.com, Intellicast and others are agreeing with that. One local weather guru is predicting "the coldest air of the season" for Monday with highs in the LOW 20s and lows in the 10° range. Nobody else is seeing that, but we like that call and hope he’s correct! Regardless, of whether we agree with the mid 30s highs or one that is some 15° colder – it will be cold Monday and that means snowmaking.
Tuesday will be cold, with highs in the upper 30s and lows in the low 20s (more snowmaking!) Wednesday is looking like a mix of sun and LIGHT SNOW with highs near 44° and lows in the 28° range. Could be more snowmaking, could be a mix of scattered light rain, but nothing to worry about.
Christmas Day appears to offer more of the same. Scattered Snow Showers and highs in the 30s and lows in the 28° area.
The further north you go, tweak the temperatures DOWN a few degrees. Snowshoe is looking at a high Monday of 25° and snow showers. Overnight lows should be in the teens. Tuesday looks sunny and cold with highs in the 20s and lows in the low 20s (more snowmaking!). Wednesday and Christmas Day looks SNOWY with highs in the 30° range and lows in the low 20s. (More snowmaking!)
PAST THAT…we’re guessing temps that will be in that same ball park.
SO THE SUMMARY is: Expect rain the rest of this week, with some mixed precip around some ski areas. This weekend will not be as nice as it’s been thus far this season, but most of you are getting ready for your Christmas getaway, anyway.
Then Christmas Week looks p-r-e-t-t-y darn cold with some snow chances. That and the excellent snowmaking crews of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic will make for VERY NICE CONDITIONS for your Holiday getaway, and more terrain opening up.
Now let’s keep our fingers crossed, say your prayers and THINK SNOW (and COLD!)
What’s On the Minds of the Ski Areas?
First, maintaining what they have during this rainy, icy, yucky week. Most ski areas are reporting much the same in the way of base depths that they have had for the last week with maybe a 2-4" drop in bases in North Carolina and Tennessee. Resorts further north are at about the same today.
Second – SPREADING THE WORD ABOUT THE WEATHER TO COME…
Christmas / New Years visitors are crucial to the overall success of our ski resorts each winter. This winter has the added ingredient of a suffering economy according to many analyst. So we think that it’s important to make sure that you guys know the following:
1. There is PLENTY OF SNOW at all of the resorts right now.
2. There WILL BE PLENTY of snow to make it through this weekend with the light rains forecasted.
3. COLD, COLD weather and some snow is in the forecast beginning Monday and lasting deep into next week and that means lots of snowmaking and that means that you can expect really nice conditions and lots of slopes open for the Holiday week.
Anne Marie Jones of Wintergreen wrote this summary which supports what we are reporting, "Temperatures will remain just above freezing overnight tonight and will likely do much of the same between now and the weekend. When the snowmaking weather returns for the weekend, we plan to resurface all of our open trails and work on adding more terrain. Bouncing back quickly after a thaw is something we do very well. Thanks to fully automated snowmaking, we can cover our trails with a fresh layer of dry snow overnight. Something our loyal customers know they can count on and rave about. Re-opening the Highlands this weekend and getting started on our Terrain Park are at the top of our list. Our goal will be to have both of these popular areas open during the Christmas Holiday period."
WHAT ABOUT THIS WEEK…
There is plenty of snow out there, but things simply are not as nice as they were just 10 days ago. The hard rains of last week knocked some substantial numbers off the bases and with added mild temps and light rain, we’re now seeing some thin coverage areas and even a few of the dreaded bare spots. The best snow in North Carolina right now would be at Appalachian Ski Mountain, although things look darn decent at ALL ski areas. Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee is hurting right now and in need of some snowmaking. They’ll get that next week. The Virginia ski areas could use some snowmaking as well. We’d lean towards Massanutten right now…with an honorable mention to Wintergreen. The West Virginia and Maryland resorts are in better shape right now since they’ve seen somewhat less rain and cooler temps.
…now let’s just get to next week and that colder air!
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!
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