It is “Conspiracy Theory Day” at today!”

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Being an old marketing and advertising guy, I HAVE to lead off this morning’s update with the fact that conditions into this weekend will be looking much improved as temps should allow for snowmaking at some areas as early as Friday night and Saturday morning. Resorts will certainly make snow Saturday night as temps fall into the low to mid 20s. There is STILL SNOW in the forecast for Sunday and Monday – and possibly even Tuesday. So if you have a ski trip planned from Saturday on…you’ll have a nice getaway!

Having said that…we are currently Suffering through two more days…THEN WINTER WEATHER RETURNS!

I read a lot of resources each morning in preparing for what I want to report to you guys. Among the weather resources are certainly our "house meteorologists" Brad Panovich and Matthew East who are loaned to us by their Charlotte TV stations. I also get some great input from Mike Stinneford of Washington DC, who just wrote me again yesterday, and I also spend some time on NOAA’s website and slide over to Ray Russell’s Boone Weather website. With that in mind, I had to admire Ray’s comments this morning when he wrote, "Today we’re headed toward the best rain event of the New Year. Of course, we need all the precip we can get; so, no complaining is allowed."

U-N-L-E-S-S you want to ride snow snow! C’Mon Ray!

Ray says that our area will see rain on and off on Thursday and then heavy rain this evening (up to an inch).

Friday should be beautiful – weather-wise – but you can bet that the ski areas will take another blow to their conditions. Simply put, Appalachian will hold up and Sugar will be decent…but the rest will suffer a bit more.

Temperatures last night were teasingly close to snowmaking at some spots like Sugar Mountain which saw a low temp of 33°. Appalachian reported a low of 35°. Most of the other reporting areas showed lows in the 40° range.

RIGHT NOW…conditions look nice at Appalachian; pretty good at Sugar Mountain, Cataloochee and Wolf Ridge; decent at Hawksnest and pretty rough at Sapphire Valley and Ski Beech.

The current mild spell and rains headed in today and tonight are playing havoc with conditions and even some plans are being rescheduled.

Wolf Ridge’s Justin Blythe wrote, "URGENT RELEASE- Due to the unseasonably warm weather. We have decided to postpone the Big Air competition set for this Saturday, 01-12-08. It is important to provide a quality safe event for competitors. Conditions permitting, our next event is scheduled for January 26th. Hope for cold… Think Snow!"

While on the subject of Wolf Ridge, we have received a bunch of emails in the last few days about Wolf Ridge and this is as good a time as any to address those.

One regular Wolf visitor wrote, "Mike, You seem to be bragging about wolf in your daily report today but something else that should noted is the location of their 6 open slopes. I don’t really want to bad mouth Wolf but none of the slope reports (their site and skinc) tell folks that the 6 open slopes cannot be accessed from one location. You only have access to three slopes on the old side and 3 slopes if you drive to the upper lodge. It’s about a 15-20 minute drive between the old side and the new side. For someone not aware of that or if you came with a group, this can be frustrating. Wolf will not allow you to walk between the two areas because there are no ski patrol there. Hopefully they will get some snow on the connecting slopes soon but until then, it should be noted there is a drive between accessing all 6 slopes."

Duly noted…

We spoke with Wolf this morning and you have to appreciate their attitude as they lady that we spoke with said in a straightforward manner, "This just has not been skiing weather, that’s for sure."

Without question, this simply comes under the heading of "you have to play the cards you’re dealt" and the weather patterns thus far have simply made all resorts have to fight the fight. In Wolf’s case, I would bet that they could not have foreseen a scenario with the new trail structure that would make things such that you’d have to ski three trails and then have to drive to another side of the mountain to hit the other three. Our guess is that they will probably have to address that for future seasons or better detail their ski reports to advise guests of such.

To that end, WE have detailed that fact on our slope conditions report, and we appreciate our readers keeping us informed.


One of our more conspriracy-minded readers wrote, "I really wonder why you have not said one word about this!! Is this not NC Skiing News??? Are you paid to keep quiet?? Seems to me that would be better reading these days than another useless comment about the local weathermen. Wolf does’nt even bother to tell their customers you have two different sides open. I’ll lay money down right now that says they never open from the top this month, or maybe this year. Come on and show some &^$% and report about it instead of the continued cover-up. I dare ya!!!"

Oh boy I COULD have SO much fun with this guy! I had to read four sentences into the email before I even realized what the heck he was asking or reporting and then I had to endure yet another email alluding to the fact that I or our ski sites were part of some, silly coverup.

So young man…there’s your post. (See the statement above it which alludes to the issue as well.) There’s no cover up and Wolf nor anyone else is performing some purposeful misinformation.  Also, I doubt that our meteorologists (or most readers) think that the weather is useless commentary.

…again, we all have to play the cards we’re dealt.

SNOWMOBILES, SNOWMOBILES…anyone in NC Got Snowmobiles?

Here we are, smack dab in the midst of what may be the craziest winter season ever and we have people writing to us asking about snowmobiling in the Carolina’s.  I can’t speak for South Carolina but we don’t have any snowmobiling in North Carolina.

Again, I will "play nice" and not say anything r-e-a-l-l-y mean-spirited. I guess it would be easy to assume that since North Carolina has ski resorts, that we might have snowmobiling. Perhaps in the NEXT millenium when we’re averging 240" of snow per season and suffering through "global cooling" antagonists, we’ll have some snowmobiling programs operating at the North Carolina resorts.

For NOW though…the closest snowmobiling is in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. Visit for that content.


Due to the weather, Cataloochee was forced to drop two of their open trails and are now open with five for day and night skiing as well as their tubing hill.

Hawksnest – Justin writes, "Free lesson Thursday, get a free beginner lesson when you rent equipment at Hawksnest. On Thursday, Jan 9th slopes will open at 9am for skiing and boarding until 10pm. Snow tubing will be open at 11am until 9pm. Last tubing session is 7pm to 8:45pm. Ladies Day is Wednesday, ladies receive a free lift ticket. Free lesson Thursday, rent your equipment with Hawksnest and receive a free beginner lesson. As snowmaking allows we will add more terrain for you."

Sapphire Valley is still reporting "packed powder" conditions on the NC Ski Association’s website, and they have not updated their own website since Monday morning so we’re advising you guys to call ahead for availability. These guys have had it tough only being able to make snow a few days the entire season, so they are certainly looking forward to the weekend’s cold temps.

Ski Beech – We received a lot of emails on Tuesday and Wednesday when their main webcam was not operating. Seems a lot of you guys assumed that they had it turned off so that they didn’t have to show how bad it looks out there. Since we are aware of the technical aspects of all of the live cams, we can tell you that the camera or the internet connectivity was the culprit – not administration or the marketing department. Where were you guys a couple of weeks ago when Beech was showing what might have been the worst conditions in years…live on the internet for all to see.

Anyway…the camera is running again this morning and is certainly showing some rough conditions (but skiable). Ski Beech was forced to close off Upper Shawneehaw and is now down to three open slopes – Lower Shawneehaw, Powder Bowl and Freestyle.

One of our more marketing-savvy regular readers had an idea that would put a positive spin on these roller coaster conditions at some of the resorts. Jenny Thompson of Hampton, Georgia wrote, "I think it would cool as heck if when the conditions are really bad and showing a lot of slush and mud, if one of the resorts would host a "mud bowl football game". I know I’d drive up to play!

(Sounds like MY kind of gal!)

Like we wrote yesterday, the truth is that we receive emails from visitors all the time who tell us what a great time they had at "xyz resort" even when conditions were the pits.

That’s it for today. Stay out of the rain, and wait until Friday night’s colder temps. (…and shut down your conspiracy theories…we’re ALL just playing the cards we’re dealt.)


Until Next Time…Send your comments, photos and videos to: [email protected]  

For resort news, photos and videos from ALL of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski areas, visit  

See You On The Slopes!

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This is a good image from Sugar Mountain on Tuesday, January 8th that shows just how good the conditons still are! Enlarge for best image! Photograph
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