As Cataloochee Opens For the Season, Several Other Resorts Fire Up Snowguns

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SkiSoutheast Discord user JohnBooswald checked in from Sugar Mountain during its opening day. Frozen man in blue jacket and goggles.

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Happy Cataloochee opening day to all who celebrate.

The Maggie Valley, North Carolina ski area will spin the lifts today to kick off the 2023-2024 season. There is a 20 to 35-inch base of manmade powder today, and the ski area is running the Beginners Luck conveyor, and Easy Way triple and Omigosh double lifts. There will be seven open trails, including Upper and Lower Omigosh and Rock Island Run. It does not appear that there are any open terrain parks just yet.

The view from atop snow-covered Cataloochee on its 2023-24 opening day.
The view from atop snow-covered Cataloochee on its 2023-24 opening day.

Matt Laws has more on Cataloochee’s opening here.

As you may recall, I told Mike that I’ve only snowboarded at one mountain in the southeast: Beech. That is true, but I have been to Cataloochee. I was on a reporting trip for WUNC in the spring, when out of nowhere, I saw the sign for the resort. It’s been on my bucket list since even before I moved to North Carolina, so I had to pull off and check it out.

WUNC car in front of Flipside Boardshop
The WUNC car paid a visit to Flipside Boardshop and Cataloochee over the spring.

There was no snow, and a whole lot of construction going on (and cattle, I was not expecting cattle), and it took me a moment until I realized that I was driving in the WUNC car, which is wrapped in some pretty loud branding. On my way out, I had to get a photo of the station car in front of Flipside Boardshop.

If you make it to Cataloochee today, you’ll actually be at one of the warmer ski areas in the southeast today. Temperatures this morning are around 28°, while they’re in the teens across other parts of North Carolina and Virginia, and even the single digits in West Virginia.

Sugar Mountain

It’s day two at Sugar today. Day one looked rad. Cold, but very rad.

SkiSoutheast Discord user JohnBooswald checked in from Sugar Mountain during its opening day. Frozen man in blue jacket and goggles.
SkiSoutheast Discord user JohnBooswald checked in from Sugar Mountain during its opening day.

Discord user JohnBooswald was there yesterday, and he said that there was less ice than expected, and that the snow was nice and powdery.

“Had a great time at Sugar today,” he wrote. “Very, very few people there. I took a run down Easy Street at about 12:30 p.m. just to see how it was and it felt like first tracks. At least a couple inches of powder in places.”

I kept an eye on the ResortCam all morning yesterday, and from what I could tell, it was wide open! Go sneak some midweek turns in before the weekend crowds arrive. Just make sure you layer up. That cold front that meteorologist Brad Panovich talked about yesterday has certainly arrived.

Bryce Mountain Resort

The snowguns in Basye, Virginia are firing. There’s a perfect window for snowmaking right now, and the team at Bryce is taking full advantage of that.

Yesterday, the marketing team posted an Instagram story that hinted at a possible opening this weekend.

And if you want to see what exactly goes into the snowmaking process, check out this short documentary put out by the resort.



Snowmaking has begun at Wintergreen Resort. The snowguns were blasting Wednesday morning, as the temperatures were around 15° this morning.

No opening date set just yet, but the team had this to say yesterday:

“We understand the anticipation surrounding the projected opening date. As of now, we do not have a set date, but rest assured, we are as eager as you are to welcome skiers, snowboarders, and tubers to our slopes. Keep an eye on our webcams to watch the snowmaking progress. We commit to keeping you informed and will provide updates on the opening date as soon as we have information.”

Appalachian Ski Mountain

App opens up for the season tomorrow, November 30. Chairlifts and snowguns were both in operation this morning, in anticipation for the big day.


Luke Berger shoots a ton of video for the App Ski marketing team, and he was out with the snowmaking team the other day. If you’re into park skiing and snowboarding, Appalachian State football, or just awesome video production work in general, give him a follow. He’s a wizard behind the lens.


Snowshoe opens Saturday, December 2. There were some snow showers yesterday and it is real cold this morning. Those harsh temperatures should ease up by opening day, though.

Just look at all of this untouched terrain at Silver Creek begging for some turns!

Snowmobile tracks in untouched snow at Silver Creek.

One last thing

If my primary goal with the FirsTrax report is to make sure you’re informed, my secondary goal is to ensure that stoke is as high as possible. If these cold temperatures and ResortCams videos aren’t quite enough to get you fired up, I’ve got one more thing that might do the trick, thanks to the folks from Warren Miller Entertainment.

The latest film from the ski movie giant is on tour throughout the country, and there are two locations left in the southeast.

The first will be in Clarkesville, Georgia at the Terra Incognita Vineyard, about an hour’s drive from Franklin, NC. Those will be on December 1, 2, and 3.

The second will be in my home of Raleigh, at the Marbles Kids Museum downtown.  Follow the links for tickets. Those showings will be Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3.

“ALL TIME” is WME’s 74th film. Keep an eye out for Maine’s greatest athlete, Donny Pelletier (real name, Troy Murphy, a 2018 Olympic freeskier) and one of my personal favorite freeskiers, Michelle Parker.

Ski the East, and remember to send any photos my way at [email protected].

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