First Trax

Rain, freezing rain, snow, yuck – it all fell!

First, Brad Panovich has posted his newest skier’s forecast video and my team is configuring that right now and it will be live by 10am. Be sure to check that video out. More about the weather in a moment. When you’re watching that forecast video pay attention to the background image as that was taken on Appalachian’s Opening Day, Sunday by old SkiNC’r Mark McKelvy who visited App with "Snowbird" from the messageboard and many of you will know that to be old Joe Harmon. It was great to hear from Mark and see that they are all doing well.  That photo was our Photo of the Day on Tuesday and showed some nice "powder-like" conditions.

As far as the weather is concerned, several of our weather input gurus are all saying that the "active, roller-coaster" weather pattern has no end in sight and that is on par with what Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich indicated in his pre-season Winter Forecast. Remember he said that along with the colder and snowier forecast we’ll see a volatile winter with periods of ice and freezing rain, etc. We’ll take the bad with the good as long as that means a lot of snow!

Last night I was crashing for the evening and about the time my head hit the pillow I heard the not-so-great sound of pretty heavy rain hitting the french doors out to our back deck. The wind was driving that rain. When I left out this morning I literally had to walk through a stream of water to my truck. When crossing the covered bridge over the Watauga River as it exits my neighborhood I couldn’t help but notice the roaring rapids that were exploding under the bridge. 

When reviewing all of the live cams around the region I was amazed to see some darn nice conditions at most all of the ski areas. Of the open resorts only Sugar showed any real thin spots at the bottom. Now, though after a little grooming by 9:15am things look much better.

The sun is BEAMING across the North Carolina ski areas as of 9am. After a mild day today with highs in the 50°+ range, thankfully, with near perfect timing – the cold returns in full force with expected lows tonight of around 21° (GREAT for snowmaking) and then Thursday and Friday look sunny with highs in the 20s and lows in the teens! Saturday and Sunday look cold with some mixed precip and highs in the 30s and lows just below freezing.

So let’s get through this last day of milder temps forecasted for today across much of our coverage area and then get to an extended six day stretch where we’ll see snowmaking opps throughout. Snowmaking will make for more open slopes and trails and much improved snow conditions as we work towards the Christmas Holiday period.

Here’s the quick tour for today! 

32° – Appalachian Ski Mountain is not making snow this AM, but they will definately be making snow tonight. We spoke with Paul there this morning as we received a bunch of emails about App’s snow report not being updated in a couple of days. They had a small glitch in the system but will get that rectified as App does a great job of keeping you guys (and us) informed. They have the same 7 of 11 trails open today with a base of 12-18" and good coverage top to bottom. They are open for day and night skiing and ice skating and terrain parks are open as well.

Note: We also received a couple of reports that some reporting services are reporting 9 trails open for App and that is not correct. Get the right report right here, everyday.

36° – Cataloochee Ski Area looks nice this AM via their webcam that shows the bottom face of the mountain. They are reporting a drop of 6" in base depth in the last 24 hours and that is indicative of how much rain fell overnight. It is amazing how good things look this AM and Cat will be open from 1-10pm on Wednesday with 9 of 16 trails and a base of 12-28". They will probably be making snow later this evening during the late session. 

Beech Mountain this morning>

41° – Beech Mountain Resort
– They look remarkably well this morning and will operate with the same 3 of 15 trails for day skiing only on Wednesday and they will crank the snow making up as soon as temps allow later today! They should be in great shape by Friday with more trails open as well.

29° summit / 48.5° base – Sugar Mountain – TALK ABOUT a variance of temps from top to bottom! It is 9.5° colder just 1200 feet up the hill! Sugar will be riding on the same 6 of 20 trails today for day and night skiing. They are reporting a drop of 6" in base depths in the last 24 hours down to 8-30". They appear a little worse for wear at the base area with some watery thin areas, but on up the mountain things look really quite good for this early in the season and after all that rain hit. Sugar will begin making snow (probably before anyone else) later this evening or afternoon so night session attendees should make note of that. With the cold and snow coming in Sugar will be in great shape for this weekend’s SugarFest activities.

37° – Wolf Laurel Resort – They are ready to make more snow this evening and are trying their best to open this Friday. Stay tuned for more.

Be sure to click over to www.SkiSoutheast.com  to see who else had snow and how much! You can check the snow reports for all of the ski resorts of West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and North Carolina via https://www.skisoutheast.com/skireports.php  as well as videos, photos and more.

Send your comments, videos, photos, trip reports and questions to: [email protected]  

SSAA: 0 for 13 Appslopes9/

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Cataloochee’s Ski Instructors Jack Harwell and Bucky Starnes pose with Record Can-U-Ski – Photo from Tammy Brown
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First Day At Appalachian Ski Mountain Terrain Park – photo by Witt Graham
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