The Countdown is On For Old Man Winter’s Return to the Ski Resorts

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We are currently at DEFCON THREE and ELEVEN DAYS AWAY from seeing a strong chance at snowmaking temperatures.Give it a few more days and we may be upgrading the defcon status to ONE…

I know that ANY forecast outside of 4-5 days has always been suspect, but over the last couple of years – UNFORTUNATELY – where temperatures are concerned, they have been pretty accurate. Right now, it appears that we are about eleven days away from seeing temps into the mid to upper 20s.

Our own Kenny Griffin is over at Appalachian Ski Mountain this morning to mix a little pleasure with business. He’s looking into some issues with App’s webcams, and hoping to make some turns. He DID just text me at 9:15am and said, “Slush city. You sink about 4 inches when you walk on the snow.”

Sugar Mountain with NO lift line this morning at 9:50am. CLICK to ENLARGE

Sunday was another sporadic, damp one for those who braved the slopes of the region. I witnessed some more-than-damp precip on a couple of occasions on Sunday. This morning and today looks like more of the same – which can’t be great for the ski areas in terms of skier-visits. Typically MLK Monday is a brisk, skier-visit day for the ski resorts. Today’s weather might force it to be an early-exit-travel day for those heading back home to prepare for their work week.

We had a quick look at the webcams just moments ago and things look busier than a normal Monday…but not by much.

If the long-range forecast can be believed, we’re looking at Thursday, January 26th as the possible return appearance of cold temperatures. I was communicating a bit via text with one of our region’s resort presidents and he asked me not to “name names” but he was willing to share, “Mike, these last two seasons have been a lot more challenging than many of us would like to admit. Last season didn’t get going until January and we totally lost the Holiday traffic, but at least we had a good January and February. MLK and President’s Day were good for us. This season Christmas was off for us because we just weren’t able to get most of our mountain open and now this weekend (MLK Weekend) has been just ‘good’ not great.”

He added, “You know we didn’t have a November or early December, and now half of January is gone and we’re looking at the end of the month before we might have a chance to see some cold temperatures. Over the last two seasons we’ve lost a lot of days.”

The typical ski and snowboarding seasons lasts around 100+/- days for most ski areas. Think about it – how would you like to run a business where you have to make your living in less than a third of the year…and then have several of those days lost due to less than needed weather?

As I looked around the region’s webcams this morning, there is no question that we’re not seeing mid-season conditions anywhere. The Maryland and West Virginia ski areas have the best of the conditions right now and the Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina ski resorts are seeing quickly narrowing trails. Beech, Sugar and App look pretty good and Wolf Ridge Resort and Cataloochee as looking “somewhat more challenged”.

Pay attention to the SNOW REPORT as several ski areas are only open for DAY SESSIONS today.

Cataloochee Ski Area is reporting “SPRING CONDITIONS” and Tammy Brown posted, “We are open from midstation down only on 5 slopes with 2 aerial lifts and 2 conveyor lifts operating.  If your guests or customers have questions about our conditions please look at our webcam to see exactly what we have. Hang in there with us  – cold is coming and winter is farfarfar from over!”

Pretty every slope that was open on Sunday is open today…with the lone exceptions below:

Beech Mountain Resort dropped two trails down to 8 of 17 open now.

Sugar Mountain dropped one down to 12 trails and they dropped another 6″ of base reported.

Cataloochee Ski Area dropped one slope and they are reporting Spring Conditions.

All other ski resorts are operating status quo.

Based on reports, we’d expect some thin areas on display at Cat, Sugar, and Wolf.

The temps are as they have been for the last few days…lows in the mid 30s in Maryland, West Virginia and portions of Virginia – and milder into North Carolina and Tennessee.

 

Here are some of the better photos from the last few days at various resorts.

Wisp Resort from the last few days! It’s just been colder there! Click to Enlarge

Wintergreen from yesterday showing nice snow and sunrise! Click to Enlarge.

Winterplace this morning via Webcam. Click to Enlarge

Canaan’s Old Man Winter Snow Whale is still in place and the slopes look good. Click to Enlarge

That’s it for me today. Enjoy your day. Email me if have something to say – [email protected]

#THINKCOLD
#THINKSNOW

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Wolf Ridge Resort on January 9, 2017
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