Good morning skiers and snowboarders…and all of you snow-loving souls. This has been one of the more beautiful Autumn, Fall-Color seasons in a decade and maybe longer. You can STILL see some amazing fall color in patches of your favorite mountain.
I took the fall-color photo below on Friday afternoon. This is two houses down from mine and just caught my attention and I snapped the shot on my iPhone 12.
Some brisk winds kicked in Friday night into Saturday morning and those ushered in some light snow flurries that were being reported from around the region. I headed down the mountain to Huntersville, NC on Saturday to take in some of the unique sights and sounds of the annual Renaissance Festival. The weather and temps could not have been better as it was a Chamber of Commerce kind of day with highs in the upper 60s.
As I drove back home, up Hwy 321 from Lenoir to Blowing Rock, the temperatures quickly took a nosedive to 32° and this morning I saw numerous readings in the low 20s and snowmaking was happening across the region’s ski resorts!
As cold as those temperatures were, we are meant to experience the coldest air of the season tonight with lows dropping to 20-21° across many mountaintop locations such as those at Snowshoe Mountain, Canaan Valley, Timberline Mountain, Beech and Sugar Mountain. Additionally, highs on Monday should remain cold in the low-to-mid 30s all day and we are seeing some forecasts for an inch or so of snow around the higher elevations of Beech, Sugar and Winterplace resorts…and up to 3″-6″ at Canaan Valley, Snowshoe Mountain and Timberline Mountain Resort.
The screen capture below is the NWS forecast for Snowshoe, West Virginia.
Some forecasts are showing a chance for a dusting or so of snow elsewhere in the region.
A Blizzard of Snowmaking Hints at a Couple of Resort Openings
I know that many of you are new to SkiSoutheast, as we saw a 700% increase in traffic last week and 90% of our traffic last week was new visitors to the site. With that in mind I will ask for some patience on the part of our longtime readers as I share the fact that this is the time of year when ski areas will crank up their snowmaking systems and lay down a manmade blizzard of snow on the slopes of the region. We’ve seen several share some tests of their systems, but as we are now into mid-November those tests will transition over to full-fledged, powering up and making snow at every opportunity…as temperatures permit.
As the calendar moves forward into mid-November we always see Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia, and Appalachian Ski Mountain, Cataloochee Ski Area and Sugar Mountain Resort in North Carolina begin to blast away at the slopes first. Among these resorts, while Snowshoe Mountain usually has the more favorable temperatures and weather patterns, they usually opt to build deeper bases across a larger portion of their mountain – and opt to open just prior to Thanksgiving. If the weather holds up, Snowshoe Mountain is nine days and some 20+/- hours away from opening day (as of this post that should be Wednesday, November 24th.
Appalachian Ski Mountain usually sets at targeted date well in advance and that date, weather permitting is Friday, November 19th. This will be App’s 60th season.
That always leaves it to Cataloochee Ski Area and Sugar Mountain Resort to be the first ski area to open up for the season.
A Quick Preface is Needed…
I want to make it clear that neither of the marketing or management teams at Sugar or Cat have provide me any insight into the following prediction…however…
I will be SHOCKED if Sugar Mountain Resort AND/OR Cataloochee Ski Area doesn’t open on either Monday or Tuesday morning this week. Have a look at the current status of their base areas:
Sugar and Cataloochee JUST shut down their snowmaking opps at 10am or so this morning. The high for today (Sunday) should be around 42° and around sundown this afternoon, I’d expect both resorts (and App) to crank things back up. With overnight lows expected to be near perfect for snowmaking at 20° +/-, they will lay down enough snow that I think we will see an opening day for the 2021-2022 Ski & Snowboarding season on Monday Morning, November 15th, 2021.
If that doesn’t hold up, then highs tomorrow will be in the low-to-mid 30s allowing around-the-clock snowmaking opportunities and without question one or both ski resorts (Cataloochee and Sugar) will open up on Tuesday.
Some Closing Shout-Outs
The photo of today at the top of this post comes compliments of Appalachian Ski Mountain. What a perfect drone shot.
I’ve still been sharing some of the beauty of Autumn in the mountains. This shot below is a capture this morning from the LIVE webcam at the base of Massanutten Resort in Virginia.
I always feel obliged to share that you guys can ALWAYS see all of the LIVE conditions from the ski resort of the Southeast & mid-Atlantic by visiting: ResortCams’ Ski Resort LIVE CAMS
Also see LOTS of other Mountain Webcams
Here are some additional captures from this morning:
Be sure to check the SNOW REPORT for some snowfall totals so far!
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