Morning updates –

First Trax

Thanks to all of you who sent photos of the different 4th of July Celebrations. Most were too dark to use, but a couple did land on’s front page. We had some great reports that the snow is still holding good at all resorts. Yes, there are reports of thin coverage and bare spots…but right now those are being handled with grooming.

The Question of the Day HAS to be from Mirza Rustemov, of Lincolnton, NC who emailed us, "Is there any snow at the Hawksnest Slopes?" Now Mirza, I wouldn’t normally "out" you like this, however just YESTERDAY I addressed this on our front page story. Look at the ski report page and it will CLEARLY tell you that there IS snow at Hawksnest…as well as ALL of our resorts. We are certainly in a mild period and things look to be staying mild at least through January 11th, which is the longest range forecast we have. No cold air is in sight as of this report. There is also some good chances of rain in the prolonged forecast. That’s not what we snow lovers want to hear…but that’s what we’re dealing with right now.

The MOST asked question of Yesterday? – "Will this mild period cause SOME resorts to close some up?" That IS possible…and in fact, Sapphire Valley already has closed on-snow operations until the weather permits more snow making. Others MAY be forced to do the same over the next ten days. More likely, however, is that MOST of the ski areas in North Carolina WILL remain open…and WILL have skiable terrain. There WILL be more and more bare spots and thin coverage areas. However, all of these guys do a great job of moving snow around and they WILL be doing everything to keep good skiable terrain open.

The Weather Forecast

Sun – Jan 2 – Mixed Clouds – Hi 57° Lo 42°
Mon – Jan 3 – Mostly Cloudy – Hi 59° Lo 43°
Tues – Jan 4 – Cloudy with PM Showers Possible – Hi 59° Lo 44°
Wed – Jan 5 – Cloudy with lingering Showers – Hi 61° Lo 46°
Thur – Jan 6 – Cloudy with morning showers – Hi 55° Lo 38°
Fri – Jan 7 – Partly Cloudy – Hi 50° Lo 37°
Sat – Jan 8 – RAIN – Hi 52° Lo 42°
Sun – Jan 9 – RAIN – Hi 54° Lo 34°
Mon – Jan 10 – RAIN – Hi 50° Lo 32°
Tues – Jan 11 – Showers – Hi 52° Lo 34°

This is one yucky forecast for those of us that want cold and snow in it. However this is the most reliable data that comes from The Weather Channel, Intellicast and Ray Russell. All agree the next week and some change won’t be pretty.

This brings us to another comment – We have seen the weather data that comes from all of the forecasters in the region as well as nationally…and they ALL still say that we will have a COLDER and SNOWIER winter than normal. We’re still compiling data and will file a report on that the first of the week. However, I had the pleasure of having breakfast with Paul Goodloe a few weeks back and he told me personally, "Mike, I’ve seen the forecasts that speak of a colder and snowier winter for the southeast and that is coming from the NWS service departments that put out forecasts based on historical data. From what I am seeing, with all of the variable in play, the Southeast will NOT be colder and snowier than normal. I think what is more likely is that the Southeast (particularly Western North Carolina) will see some strong storms that might dump some heavy snow a few times during the season, but I also see some mild and drought periods where snowmaking is going to be very tough."

That sure looks like Paul may be right. We can hope not…

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