Cataloochee Ski Area is the Lone Ski Area Open this Weekend

First Trax

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I am working remotely from out of town this morning and my cell phone is down in the parking lot of my hotel, however I’ll bet you that there’s a voice mail on it from around 6:30am or so from one "crazy cat woman" informing me that Cataloochee Ski Area is open for Saturday and Sunday day sessions!

I kind of, sort of expected that news. Hence the photo of the day via the front page of the website this morning. Okay it isn’t exactly pristine conditions and it isn’t exactly pretty, but there ARE three slopes open and there’s plenty of snow to ride if you’ve got the joneses for some skiing or snowboarding and not ready to shell out the airfare to fly out west where they’re getting dumped on with what Fox News is calling "SnoVember". I can see the National Weather service flipping out over the audacity of someone having fun with the weather and not issuing serious commentaries. If you’re not a weather geek you may have missed the fact that the NWS took a verbal ruler to the wrist of many national weather reporting services such as Accuweather and others who used the SnowMageddon phrase for last year’s huge snowstorm.

Anyway, it isn’t cold around this part of ski country. Cataloochee Ski Area is reflecting a morning temp at 7am of 48.3°. Sugar Mountain, which was the second ski area to open for the season by only thirty minutes to Cataloochee a couple of Saturday’s ago – is showing a morning temp at their base of 42° or so.

None of the North Carolina ski areas saw cold enough temperatures to make snow. Snowshoe’s Laura Parquette informed us that they have still been making snow readying things for their opening next week. She posted, "There’s nothing like the sweet sound of snowguns!" She reported that snowmaking resumed about 7pm Thursday and they made snow for a bit to add to the piles of snow that already exists on the mountain.

Sugar and Cat both have only been able to make snow for about three days of the "pre-season" thus far and remember that Sugar stayed open for nine days straight and that rider traffic wore down their base to the point that there’s almost no snow at the base of their mountain. They are in a "we can’t wait to make snow and get reopened" mode today.

Cataloochee on the other hand has operated on a weekend only mode prior to today and those four days of rider traffic made a difference…leaving them with enough of a base to push around, groom and open for this weekend.

Tammy Brown writes, "Yes, we will be open! On Saturday, we will be skiing from midstation down, on three slopes and two lifts on a 6"-16" base and machine worked surface. There will be some terrain features available to ride on Saturday and Sunday."

Cataloochee had PLANNED to be open full time after this weekend, but she added, "We will make a decision as to skiing during the upcoming week by 12 noon on Sunday. Persons planning on coming skiing beginning on November 22 should check by with us on Sunday by noon for an update."

…and that brings us to the updated weather forecast. COLD TEMPS ARE ON THE WAY!!!

Woo hoo! (Is woohoo one word or two? It looks better as one word so WOOHOO!)

Anyway it looks like the ski areas and all snow lovers will have a lot to be THANKFUL about beginning on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday as cold temps and some wet snow may be on the way. Thursday night’s low is projected to be in the TEENS to low 20s across our mountains of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic and that will bring out the sounds of roaring snowguns pretty much at EVERY ski area in the region. Most of the ski resorts of the region will be firing them up for the first time as what looks like a prolonged cold snap is on the way!

Thanksgiving weekend is looking VERY COLD with highs in the low 30s around Snowshoe and lows in the 20s so some around the clock snowmaking could be happening. All the way through November 29th looks cold enough at night to make snow. Sooooo, we should see some skiing at more ski areas for Thanksgiving weekend – probably Saturday at many locations…and of course Snowshoe plans to open for the season on November 24th.

It is our guess that Cataloochee and Sugar will be ready to play on by Saturday with some nice early season conditions. Since Appalachian Ski Mountain can throw down a virtual blizzard with cold enough temps…they possibly will be opening by Saturday as well. Beech should be blasting the slopes for the first time by next Friday night, but we’re thinking they might need an extra day before being able to open from Lower Shawneehaw down…but we’ll keep you posted.

So things are looking up! THINK COLD and THINK SNOW!

We’ll be sharing TONS more input about our plans for this season, but for a little sneak peek visit:

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

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