As has been the case all season long, the resorts that are located at the northern portion of what we call the Southeast have had more to work with in the way of cold and snow. While resorts in North Carolina, portions of Virginia and Tennessee experienced milder temps and light rain on Tuesday – Wisp Resort in Maryland received 3" of snow and wintry mix.
While temps are in the 40s and 50s across much of the region, the temperature was 32° this morning at Winterplace Resort in WV, and they are reporting 48° as of 9:45am and expecting temps to fall throughout the day.
Looking further south down to Basye, Virginia – home to Bryce Resort – they are at 39° right now (9:45am) and coming out of a little freezing rain and expecting 31° for tonight. They MADE SNOW last night!
As I said, there are some widespread, crazy differences around the Southeast!
No better proof of that is the fact that at 8am this morning it was 61° atop Gatlinburg, Tennessee, home to Ober Gatlinburg. Those kind of temps and rain have forced Ober to close temporarily – effective today.
Meteorologist Matthew East provides more weather information below…but for now we haven’t done a tour of the resorts in the last couple of days so let’s do one this morning:
<A view from the top of chair #6 at Wisp…looking pretty nice
Wisp Resort is reporting 3" of wintry precip on Tuesday – They are open until 5pm today with 20 trails, their Pro Park Terrain Area, and the Mountain Coaster is open today as well. As you can see from one of their many webcams, conditions look very nice for today!
Snowshoe Mountain – 42° – They look in great shape heading into the weekend as they have 34 trails open (and terrain park) for today and as of Friday they will have 52 trails available! On Friday, December 19, the Silver Creek area opens for skiing and riding! Silver Creek will feature 16 trails plus night skiing and tubing. The opening of these trails will give the resort at least 52 open slopes and the most skiable terrain in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. They are reporting Soft, Wet Snow for today. Snow is in the forecast for Snowshoe Mountain for Saturday evening, Sunday and Monday. Christmas looks like it could be white was well! Make your reservations now people!
Canaan Valley – 54° – They are reporting the same 8 trails open today that were available on Tuesday. They are open for day skiing. Bryan Brown, one of Canaan Valley’s Communications people wrote, "Count Down the Year with a Month Full of Activities at Canaan Valley Resort!"
On December 24 and 25, the Canaan Holiday Celebration includes a Christmas Eve visit from special guests Santa and Mrs. Claus. Executive Chef Nemat Odeh and his culinary team welcomes guests to his dining room to enjoy a special Christmas Eve dinner with an international theme and a traditional holiday buffet on Christmas Day. “Guest won’t want to miss the special gingerbread house that our culinary team is building just for this occasion,” Bostic said. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 304-866-4121 ext 2651.
On December 31, Canaan Valley Resort is planning to ring in the New Year with not one, but several parties. “Come to celebrate with your children, your friends or a special someone this New Year’s,” Bostic said. “We have activities to help you celebrate in whatever style you’ll most enjoy with party favors, special menus and entertainment from casual to classy.”
The resort will offer several holiday lodging packages that include ski lift tickets and rental discounts. To find out more about these packages and make reservations, visit the resort’s Web site at www.canaanresort.com or call 1-800-622-4121.
Timberline Resort hasn’t updated their report for today, so we’re expecting the same 16 trails open for today.
Winterplace Resort has a 20-50" base and 12 trails open for day skiing and they want us to make sure that guests know that they do not have their tubing hill open for today. They expect to offer tubing this weekend.
<Not the best cam, but shows good snow coverage at Bryce Resort!
Bryce Resort – They are reporting that they made snow last night and they are open for day skiing with 6 trails for today.
Massanutten Resort reported a low last night of 29°, but they did not make snow. They are open for day skiing and tubing for today. Mass has FIVE trails open for today, including a black diamond "Diamond Jim". Their terrain park is closed.
Wintergreen Resort has not updated their report as well. However we expect them to offer 8 trails for today for day skiing.
Ober Gatlinburg – 61° – Due to the weather, their slopes are temporarily closed but will reopen as soon as temperatures permit.
<App look VERY NICE for today!
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.
IN MORE APP NEWS…
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.
<Cat could use some cold air, but has good coverage (cam image is not the best)
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."
Ski Beech looks pretty nice although there are some bare spots as shown via the Slopeside Live Cam>
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.
<As you can see for yourself, Sugar looks good top to bottom (expect some thin areas…but all in all very nice)
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.
THE WEATHER AHEAD…
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 today through Sunday really with some slight breaks.
The NWS is calling for a 70% chance of light, bothersome rain today for the NC Mountains, 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° 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 snow slopes will look on Tuesday and Wednesday of Christmas week!
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