What a GREAT Weekend to Ski and Ride in the North Carolina Mountains!

Let’s talk temperatures this morning. A lot of people ask me what drives the subject of each post that we put up daily and the answer is quite simply – YOU. Your emails tend to flow in certain patterns. When temperatures are frigid, people want to know if we’re setting records. If the temps are in the 40s or 50°, then people write about Global Warming and the emails tend to be "gloom and doom" about how we’re NEVER GOING TO SEE SNOW AGAIN. When we GET a lot of snow, then you guys tend to be over the top excited about how this or that ski area will set records. When WE talk about record snowfalls, we get emails from people disputing whether it IS a record – and some write "so what if it isn’t a record, we can only ski on THIS YEAR’S snow".

This morning the emails came in two basic forms. One was about the "warm temperatures" forecasted for Saturday and particularly for Sunday. The other was about how much snow we received from yesterday’s snowfall and how you guys wanted to see it BETTER on the many webcams that we do or don’t have running. You guys are RARELY content 🙂

Let’s cover the subject of temperatures first. We have had an awesome start to the season and today is only December 13th and we’re seeing snowfall totals from 11" at Wolf Ridge Resort in Mars Hill, to 24" atop both Sugar and Beech Mountains. THAT is a good start to a season! We have also had some great AND consistent cold temperatures as well. Some of those temps have made for around the clock snowmaking early on. THANKFULLY so, because without the phenomenal base depths that resorts were able to put down early on – we’d have seen some bare spots after this week’s rain totals (which were in the 2-4" range". However, the temps dove down again yesterday and resorts made an average of about 5" of snow across the region and many received 3" to 4" of natural snow.

That makes for GREAT conditions for today and this weekend. However, as I said, you guys are not exactly the contented peeps you should be. Your emails followed the pattern that Shelly W. of Roanoke, Virginia wrote, "We’re planning on being with family over there at Beech Mountain this weekend and noticed that your highs were going to be in the mid forties for Sunday. Will the slopes be wet from those kind of readings?"

HERE’S WHERE ANOTHER LESSON BEGINS – so everyone go get some paper and a pen!

…and when you can snatch the snow crystal from my hand, you can go ski, snowboard or so whatever it is you want to do today!

Shelley asked about Beech Mountain but this pertains to all ski areas of the region for this weekend. Beech’s forecast for Saturday is for temps to rise to about 40° today and drop to 21° tonight. Sunday’s forecast is for a high of around 44°. While those are not NEARLY as cold as the temps we have seen in the last few weeks, it is very important to note that the bitterly cold temperatures of the last few weeks were VASTLY COLDER THAN NORMAL for this time of year! In fact the AVERAGE high for Beech Mountain for today, December 13th is 46°, so today’s forecast is for temps to be six degrees colder than normal! The low forecasted for tonight is to be five degrees colder than normal! Sunday’s high is expected to hit 44° or so and that is still a couple of degrees cooler than normal.

Perception is everything!

As per the "will the slopes be wet" question. Go to your refrigerator and get yourself a glass full of ice cubes. If you can get crushed ice, do that. Now take that glass of ice and dump it on the floor (preferrably carpet). Now sit on it. Skootch around a little for about 30 seconds and laugh a lot while you’re doing that. Then get up. Now place your hands on your bottom and see if you are wet.

Chances are you will feel a slight bit of moisture, but you should not be wet, unless you repeat those steps about 20 times!

Now, let’s apply that reasoning to the slopes.

First, try not to fall 20 times, but if you do, make sure you laugh a lot because THAT is part of the learning process. If you think that you might fall 20 times, then make certain that you are wearing proper gear. A decent pair of waterproof or water resistant pants makes for a much more enjoyable day on the slopes.

Here endeth the lesson.

For today’s tour around the area…we’re skipping around a bit:

Ski Beech – 11° – Beech picked up 3" of new snow over the last 24 hours. An inch of it was reported early on Friday and another 2" fell during the day and evening hours. That takes Beech Mountain to 24" of snow on the season! They saw only 38" all last season so they are off to a nice start towards their normal 80" of snow per season!

Beech is skiing and snowboarding for day and night sessions today on 5 of 15 trails. They do have some terrain features set up on Lower Shawneehaw for your enjoyment and Ryan Costin writes, "Snowmaking resumed late last night. We will continue making snow as conditions allow. Ice skating is open this weekend and weekend night skiing starts today (Fri-Sun). There are several freestyle terrain features on Lower Shawneehaw for the park enthusiasts. The Beech Tree Bar & Grill is open today with live music Saturday from 9pm-12am."

Sugar Mountain – 11° – They are reporting 3" of new snow as well and 24" on the season! Sugar has 12 of 20 trails open for day and night sessions and they also have their huge ice skating rink open as well. Sugar does not have their terrain park open as yet and tubing is not operating either. Sugarfest kicks off this morning, with a weekend of pure winter fun! Santa Claus will even be joining in on the festivities today!

Cataloochee Ski Area – 19° – They reported a TRACE of new snow and 5" of manmade snow over the last 24 hours, which takes their base up to 18-60" to cover all the blemishes that resulted from the rains of the last few days. Those are now all gone and it should be an awesome day at The Cat with 9 of 14 trails open for day and night sessions. "Tube World" in Maggie Valley will open on December 20th!

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 18° – 1" of new snow and they made 6" of new, manmade powder and report 42-66" of base with 100% of their slopes open, BOTH AWESOME terrain parks, ice skating and weather that will make for a GREAT day and night of skiing and snowboarding!

Wolf Ridge is open to the top of the Quad with day and night skiing available on 5 trails. Their terrain park is closed but tubing is open for today and things look pretty nice via their webcam!

Speaking of Wolf Ridge or Wolf Laurel, I was researching for some more news on what is or isn’t happening up there as I’ve heard some rumors (that we don’t want to spread) and thus far have not been able to catch up with anyone of significance. In looking around I noticed that the old sites of SkiDixie.com, SkiAsheville.com and SkiTheSouth.com are all gone. Additionally, Slopequest has Wolf as "Wolf Laurel" and only 15 trails (instead of 20) so who knows about that data. They report that Wolf will be open on December 1st of 2005. YIKES!

We’ll get you some "news" ASAP.

Hawksnest’s Tubing Park – 15° – There were no snowguns running when we looked this AM, but Seven Devils did pick up 2-3" of new snow and they are scheduled to reopen for Saturday. We watched as four guys were out working at 9am, but we’d suggest calling ahead to see their hours of operation for this weekend. They’ve had some unlucky weather and their sessions have been interrupted a few times this season and they’ve made some last minute closing decisions. Calling ahead is the best bet.

Sapphire Valley was hoping to be able open for SKIING today but due to the rains of this past week are postponing that until the weather cooperates. Looking ahead at the forecast for down there, it is not likely that they will be able to open for the weekend of December 20th either. That is a shame. THEY DO HAVE tubing going for Saturday and Sunday. They tube on Saturday from 10am until 8pm and on Sunday from noon til 8pm.

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]