First Trax

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What a gorgeous sunny morning this is! (If you like clear skies and minus 4° temps!!)

That’s the temp atop Sugar Mountain this morning. Sugar’s weather station is located up top and that is showing some crazy cold this morning. Since we’re on the weather, let’s talk some snowfall numbers and cover the forecast although we haven’t heard from Meteorologist Brad Panovich yet as per HIS forecast for the Monday-Thursday stormy period.

First some snow reports:

Beech Mountain has seen 22.2" of snow since Thursday! That put them over the 90" mark for the season! The Davis, West Virginia resorts of Canaan and Timberline are both reporting 23" of snow in the last few days and now 99.7" on the season.

Sugar Mountain – 19.3"
Cataloochee Ski Area – 16"
Wisp Resort – 16"
Wolf Ridge Resort – 15.5"
Snowshoe Mountain – 10"
Appalachian Ski Mtn – 6"
Ober Gatlinburg – 13"

You can see that the heaviest snows have fallen south and west with the heaviest snows at the highest elevations. We’ve seen maybe 8"-9" here at my home while just ten minutes up the road at the Eastern Continental Divide and 4000+ feet there’s been 18-20" of snow.

Todd Mingus, one of our snow spotters over at Wolf Laurel, home to Wolf Ridge Ski Resort reported at 8am this morning, "Looks like we ended up with around 15 to 15.5 inches here for the storm total. 6 degrees and a little windy! That wind chime is a goin’ out there. Not a cloud in the sky so it will be beautiful today."

Note: He wrote within the last few minutes prior to posting this report that the winds have died down.

It should be an AWESOME day on the slopes.

Todd added, "Saturday, the surface conditions were phenomenal just like you would expect, thick fluffy powder everywhere. Drifts at places 3 feet deep. The Bowl and the runs on that side were open briefly until they had to close the top due to high winds. It was still good to get a few deep powder runs on The Bowl, didn’t think we’d see that this year with the predictions of warmer and dryer. The high winds made for a tough day yesterday but that powder was worth it!

I don’t know what kind of snow this is, but comically it has gotten every one of us stuck somewhere at least once this weekend. A snow shovel and gravity got us all out fortunately."

True dat, Todd! We witnessed numerous stranded vehicles out and about on Friday night and Saturday. The main roads will be great today now that the DOT crews have had time to work them (now that the snow has stopped). If you have the opportunity, pack your gear and get up to the mountain of your choice and be here for the NEXT round of snow expected to hit Sunday night and carry into Monday and beyond.

Here are some more storm totals that came in:

Faust (over in Madison County) – 20"
Mars Hill (home to Wolf Ridge also in Madison County) – 9"

The more northerly and westerly areas saw more from this storm.

WEATHER FORECAST… Hey Where’s Our Snow-loving Meteorologist?

The National Weather Service is forecasting perhaps 4-6" of snow for Monday. Dr. Ray is forecasting 2-6" on his forecast this morning with perhaps a swath of 6-8" in some Western North Carolina counties. How’s THAT for a wide forecast range Joe? (Joe Stevens has brought recent attention to the fact that some weather peeps have been forecasting such wide ranges this season that they can’t go wrong!)

That said, I’ll go out on a limb without a net and forecast from 1" to a foot of snow between now and Wednesday AM! We’ll share Brad Panovich’s forecast with you guys when we have it, but we’re seeing signs that this Monday through Tuesday event could bring a foot of snow to the higher elevations on top of all that we already have.

The NWS summary is:


This storm looks to be adding another 6-8" of snow around Snowshoe and the WV ski areas and into Wisp Resort in Maryland. This one looks to be bringing at least SOME snow to the snow-starved Virginia ski resorts. The Homestead should see some snow Monday and Tuesday, while the others may get some Tuesday.

Let’s get to some awesome powder reports. Since it is Sunday and I’m taking my time, we’ll cover the snow totals for all ski areas this morning.

Snowshoe Mountain – 1° – 5" of new snow and 10" from the storm although by several accounts it looks like more than that! Snowshoe is edging closer and closer to being fully open for the first time this season as they now have 57 of 60 trails open and they are only making snow today on closed terrain so they’ll get more open pretty soon.

Laura Parquette writes, "Our groomers have left Lowers Shay’s Revenge and Camp 99 untouched this morning. Lower Shay’s is bumping up nicely and Camp 99 should be the perfect spot for some powder turns this morning. Knot Bumper is closed this morning for Patrol training. With those expert skiers working the slope, we may see some nice bumps develop over there, and the plan is to allow that trail to remain bumped for some great terrain variety across the mountain."

Don’t forget about Snowshoe’s other adventure activities like guided snowmobile tours and our snow cat slope tour. Snowshoe is once again a winter wonderland and these adventure offerings are the perfect way to enjoy more of their amazing mountaintop environment.

Ober Gatlinburg – 12°- 8" of new snow and 13" from the storm and 38" on the season which already surpasses their average annual snow totals of 35"! Ober has 7 of 9 trails open with ice skating and snow tubing open as well. They are making snow on Alpine Way!

Wisp Resort – 8° – 6" of new snow, 11" in the last two days and 16" since Thursday. That’s 89" on the season. They are 100% open with all 32 trails, snow tubing, ice skating and their mountain coaster! Wisp is now at 89% of their full, annual snowfall average!

Winterplace Resort – 8° – 4" of new snow, 8" in the last 48 hours and 9" from the storm. They’re at 49" on the season. Winterplace will operate with 26 trails open today and snowtubing and terrain parks are open as well.

Timberline Resort – 3° – 23" of snow from the storm and 7.6" of new snow and 37 of 39 trails open for DAY SESSIONS ONLY on Sunday.

Canaan Valley Resort – 3° – David Lesher’s awesome weather reporting service in Davis, WV reports 7.6" of new snow, 17.5" in the last 48 hours and 23" from the storm. That takes them to 99.7" on the season! They ski and ride DAY SESSIONS ONLY on Sunday on 36 bof 39 trails.

Massanutten Resort – 10° – They are in great shape with a base of 20-36" of manmade snow and all 14 trails open, 8 lanes of phenomenal snow tubing and day and night sessions on Sunday. If you haven’t visited The Nut yet, you really should. This mountain has some fun terrain and everyone who works there simply have great attitudes.

Wintergreen Resort – 8° – They’ve been making snow like crazy to make up for the lack of natural snows on the season. To date Wintergreen has only seen 4-6" of natural snowfall. They are in GREAT shape with a base of 30-60" of manmade snow and 25 of 26 trails open. They also have tubing and terrain parks ready to play on!

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 3° – 2" of new snow, 5.7" since Thursday and 46.2" on the season. App has a new setup for you terrain park peeps on AppalJack and they are 100% open with all 12 trails on a base nearing 100" of snow and ice skating is open as well as all three terrain parks.

Beech Mountain Resort – 2° – 1.8" of new snow (Man that’s hard to believe as hard as it was snowing up there on Saturday. However, we stay official around here so 1.8" of new snow it is. That’s 19.8" in the last two days and 23.2" from the storm since Thursday. Beech is now over the 90" mark on the season which is TEN INCHES OVER their average full season snowfall numbers and we have a big storm on the way Monday and we’re only in mid January! Beech is 100% open with all 15 trails of packed powder. They also have ice skating and snow tubing open. You MAY want to call ahead on the ice skating thing as I don’t think I saw a CHANCE for that rink to be open on Saturday. There was too much snow on it.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 9° – 3.8" of new snow, 10.9" in last two days, 16" from the storm and 53.7" on the season! Cat is open for DAY SESSIONS ONLY on Sunday with 100% of their 16 trails open as well as snow tubing. They have a nearly 90" base in spots and packed powder conditions.

Wolf Ridge Resort – 8° – 3" of new snow, 10.6" in the last two days and 16.7" officially from the storm total. Unlike Sugar who HAS been dead accurate all season until Saturday, Wolf has been a little exuberant with their snow reporting this season. They are reporting from their website this morning that they’ve received 25" of fresh powder from the storm. The truth IS they’ve seen a LOT of snow and there are piles of it very deep, however officially they’ve seen 16.5" since Thursday and that jives with three snow spotters from on the mountain who all report nearly 15" of storm totals. Additionally Wolf is reporting now 95" on the season and that isn’t accurate either as they’ve seen 72.7" on the season. Man we love those guys, but they DO get overly excited when talking snowfall. Hopefully we can rein them back some without ticking them off.

Wolf will DAY SKI AND RIDE ONLY on Sunday with 17 trails open and great snow tubing as well. If you guys haven’t visited Wolf in a couple of years you owe it to yourself to do so as they’ve had a lot of cool growth over there.

Sapphire Valley – 12° – Trace of new snow and 13.4" on the season. Sapphire has both trails open which includes one bunny hill and one intermediate trail and their Frozen Falls Tubing Park open.

Sugar Mountain – -2° up top – 6" of new snow (as I said it WAS bombing snow up there!), 14.6" in the last 2 days and 19.3" since Thursday. Sugar is reporting 28" from the storm total and although someone up there messed up on their totals, I want to say that Sugar has been NAILING their snow reporting this season and have been perfectly ON with the CoCoRaHs reporter who is on top of Sugar. That said, someone in their office blew the snow totals just since Saturday morning as they had it right up until then. We’re thinking they added Friday twice. There is not 28" of new snow everywhere at Sugar. I crawled through it Saturday visiting with friends and there’s a good 19" though and that jives with CoCoRaHs as well. (Just don’t want you guys heading to Sugar thinking you’ll see 28" of deep snow everywhere. There’s tons of snow though!)

Sugar is 100% open with all 20 trails, snow tubing and ice skating with perfect conditions for skiing and riding today.

Bryce Resort – It’s cold. No Snow. Seven Trails Open. (That’s pretty much what you get when you call over there. They kind of act like they can’t be bothered unless you’re there on the hill.) So that’s what we’ll report. Seven trails for day skiing today.

Ski and Snow Videos – https://www.skisoutheast.com/videos/  

Weather Forecast – https://www.skisoutheast.com/weather.htm

Full weather details for all ski areas: http://www.highcountryweather.com  

Ski Resort Photos of the Day – Simply click on any ski resort link and then click on "PHOTOS"

Email me at [email protected]  and tell me about the snow in your area. Send
pics when you can!

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