Cataloochee and Sugar Open for DAY SKIING Saturday and Snowmaking Cranks Up Full Force!

First Trax

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Ahhhh! This is much more like it! It’s nice to be able to use the phrase “Frozen Granular” and “Manmade Powder” in a report for a change! Temperatures at one point on Friday were in the 60s. At about 3pm in Boone we saw 68° and here we are this morning at 22°! Highs on Saturday will turn the snow guns off around North Carolina for a bit later today, but they crank them back up this evening and then once Sunday night comes…look for the snowguns to stay on 24/7 for a while!

The quick summary is Cataloochee Ski Area and Sugar Mountain are both open today for day skiing. They both made snow and both have limited coverage and terrain open…but THEY ARE SKIING!

Now here’s the detailed version, resort by resort:

Appalachian Ski Mountain has updated their snow report since Nov 27th, but they ARE making snow to beat the band! Their gameplan right now is to make tons of snow at every opportunity and to use the phenomenal weather forecast ahead to make the most productive snow base possible. They report, “Therefore we will not be re-opening on the first possible moment, but we will be making an intense effort to build up the most base possible during this cold front, and re-open with a deeper base than would be possible with snowmaking while skiing is in progress.”

HEY WE LIKE THAT! Look for Appalachian to open sometime around Friday, December 8th. One look at their live webcam will tell you they are making good progress already!

Cataloochee Ski Area will be skiing on two slopes, Beginners Easy Way and Beginners Rabbit Hill serviced by the Easy Way Triple Chairlift on a base of 0-30" and a machine worked surface. Cat will be making snow on these slopes to work on thin coverage and encroaching edges.

Tammy Brown reported, “On Saturday we will offer one session of skiing, day skiing only from 8:30am-4:30pm with a morning or afternoon half day rate also available. Because we are skiing only two slopes only, weekday and student rates will be in effect. Please listen carefully to our hours of operation for this weekend: Cataloochee will day ski only from 8:30am – 4:30pm on both Saturday and Sunday and there will be no night skiing on Saturday evening.”

Hawksnest Ski Resort – A lot of people have emailed us asking, “Why isn’t making snow?” Others haven’t been as nice, choosing to make negative remarks regarding the fact that their snowguns are not running this morning.

We spoke with Lenny Cottom on Friday and simply put Lenny stated, “We had so much rain Thursday night and Friday that we’re going to let this cold do some freezing of all the water we have on the hill and we will crank up the snowmaking on Sunday night.”

The temps that are heading in from Sunday through the week will allow for 24/7 snowmaking and Hawksnest looks to be opening on Friday, December 8th. It’s 24° up there this morning so lots of freezing is going on!

A lot has been happening up at Hawksnest. It hasn’t been as quite as some of you guys think. We will be running a story on some of the moves that Lenny Cottom and his staff have made preparing for the 2006-2007 season later in the weekend, so be sure to check that out on the “Business Spotlight” column on the front page.

Sapphire Valley is making snow and they are expecting to be able to open their Frozen Falls Tubing Areas on December 9th and they will open for skiing around December 16th.

Ski Beech – Lots of you emailed things like, “The snowguns are running at Beech” late last night. They cranked them up the moment the temps dropped. Gil Adams of Ski Beech reports, “The forecast for next week looks good for snowmaking and we anticipate being able to open sometime next week. These extra days of warm weather have allowed us to continue working on our night lighting, stock inventory in our shops, and get things ready for opening day.”

After reading reports that Ski Beech would start out making snow on The Oz Run, we’re not seeing evidence of that just yet. A few of you guys emailed us about that. We’ll try to get you word on Beech’s plans regarding snowmaking on the back side of the hill. Our guess is after the slow start to snowmaking, they will focus on getting the front blanketed. Of course with the arctic cold coming in Monday, we may see some guns running on Oz.

Sugar Mountain is open to their ¾ station for Day Skiing only on Saturday. That is remarkable really after only one evening of snowmaking! We were speaking with one of our clients who had spoken with Gunther Jochl of Sugar and he had hinted to her that Sugar might open today. He was hedging only slightly saying that they would definitely be ready to open by Sunday. Gunther IS a skier and he’s going to drop those ropes whenever possible and he did it this morning! Good for Sugar lovers! Don’t be surprised if Sugar isn’t open to the TOP by Sunday AM.

We are LOVING what we’re seeing in terms of snow reporting up there this early. We have never seen the kind of clarity in their reporting that they have already exhibited this early. Last season Sugar really began to nail the daily reports and this season they have taken things up a peg further. This morning Sugar is reporting 2-10” of base and thin coverage. We’ve been covering the snow scene around here every day for the last eleven years and there’s never been that kind of frank reporting in the past. We love it…and are just saying, “Great Job Sugar!”

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort – There’s no word yet coming out of the camp over at Wolf Ridge. No snowmaking quite yet. They had previously reported that they would not be opening until December 8th, so we’re thinking that they are waiting on Saturday night’s or Sunday night’s colder air to crank up the snowguns. We’ll get you word when we hear from Tim Bryant or any of his staffers from Wolf.

So that’s it for today! What a difference ONE DAY can make in these gorgeous mountains of Western North Carolina! Cold temps are creating some skiing fever and more terrain and resorts will be opening any day now!

Before I go, I want to mention that we have been adding new content and making tweaks to in a huge way over the last couple of days. We are adding more to SkiNC as well. We had a record number of contest entries in the last 24 hours so you guys really WERE waiting for us to debut the giveaways weren’t you? Keep looking around as we are adding more and more content in the next few days and we invite you to look around. If something looks a little out of whack…chances are it’s only a momentary thing because we are adding more and more information to both SkiNC and SkiSoutheast daily.

If you have any suggestions or comments please drop us a line.

Until Next Time…


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