Okay, it is not pretty out there. “Out there” being on the slopes of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic. Mountain ops crews are fighting the fight against a La Niña, winter weather pattern that CAN be challenging in terms of getting and keeping slopes and trails covered with manmade snow this early in the season. However, as we have shared countless times on this website – the snowmaking and snow-maintenance teams of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic are simply THE BEST at doing what they do.
Typically, La Niña events occur every 3 to 5 years or so, but on occasion they can occur over successive years. In our case, try this is our THIRD consecutive season with La Niña conditions. They can be wet, they can be dry, but they also tend to bring the Southeast region milder-than-normal temperatures.
After several days of warm weather and intermittent rain, temperatures have dipped into the 30s. We see in the forecast some possible good snowmaking conditions this week, and a chance of natural snow leading into next weekend.
Check out the SNOW REPORT for all the deets:
So far in December 2022, we have seen some nice low, snowmaking temperatures from December 1st through the 5th and then some mild temps the rest of the way so far. However, we’ve also seen measurable rainfall (although not total washouts) on nine of the ten days so far…with a light mist falling this morning across much of the region.
It has been a notch milder in terms of overnight lows in the North Carolina mountains with perhaps only two nights of snowmaking so far this month, and notch milder still in the Virginia and Tennessee mountains where they took advantage of a few nights of snowmaking only to see it all melt away.
The Highest Elevations Are Weathering the Weather…a Bit Better
Snowshoe Mountain (with 18 of 61 trails open), Winterplace Resort (with 16 of 28 trails open), and Timberline Mountain (with 10 of 22 trails open) lead the region this morning with the best and most snow to play on. Beech Mountain Resort (with 9 of 17), Sugar Mountain (with 7 of 21), and Appalachian Ski Mountain (with 6 of 12) offer the next best terrain.
The sun seems to be trying to dry out the fog and low-hanging clouds that are providing a veil over the webcams this morning at a lot of the mountain tops. Check back to see ALL of the LIVE SKI CAMS as the sun breaks though.
OH MY LORD WHAT A VIEW VIA THE CATALOOCHEE SKI AREA HEMPHILL CAMERA!
As we add more and more LIVE cams to our network, I continue to have “new favorites”. The Beech Mountain Sledding Hill camera is one such as it shows the full side of Beech Mountain’s slopes. However, Chris Bates worked with us to get the old Hemphill camera powered up and with good connectivity and MAN is it delivering some views. I cannot WAIT to see that bad boy covered in snow.
If any old picture is worth a thousand words, then how much is THIS bad boy worth!?!
Check it out LIVE HERE> Cataloochee Live WebCam
Webcams Tell The Story Better Than Words
I had the pleasure of speaking with Kristin Skeweris of Railey Realty and Railey Vacations of Deep Creek Lake and Wisp Resort in beautiful, Garrett County, Maryland. She and her Railey Realty team provide a couple of Deep Creek Lake cameras through our network and one was recently fried from either a power surge or lightning. She mentioned that she has received many emails asking when it would be back up.
The answer is – thanks to Kristen – NEXT WEEK. We are replacing it with a MUCH more High Def camera that shoots in 4k and should provide more views than before. We’re exciting and love working with local partners like Railey Realty to bring your these LIVE virtual tours.
Let’s Look BACK to See What We Can HOPE to Look FORWARD To…
One of the great things about the way Our IT-guy-extraordinaire, Kenny Griffin, set up this website, is that we can go back into archives and not just see data such as conditions of the slopes, but we can easily peruse the more than 11,000 FirsTrax stories posted over time. When we’re thinking that this year’s mild start is unprecedented, we can go look and often find – not so much.
I went backwards to December 7th, 2021 where our Meteorologist Brad Panovich shared his Skiers Forecast video. In that video, Brad shared just how mild early to mid December was. However, he also provided the good news that cold and snow was on the way…and just in time to make the Christmas-to-New-Year week a very nice one for the resorts.
You Can Check Out That Skier’s Forecast Video from December 7, 2021
Right after Brad’s report, we did see some snowmaking weather, but as La Niña winters tend to do, things swung mild again for a few days, prompting me to post the FirsTrax news below, complete with this cute bear photo complaining about the mild temps.
Feel free to Click and Read the FirsTrax News from the Same day Last Year
That was ONE WEEK BEFORE Christmas and we were receiving lots of emails from readers inquiring about whether or not they should keep their reservations. Things were challenging across the region LAST year at this same time and particularly for Wolf Ridge in North Carolina, Ober Mountain in Tennessee, and the Virginia ski areas in general.
I won’t keep “clicking you” back twelve months in stories posted, but as Winter began on December 21st, there was still a lot of angst about the weather, but cold temps did hit the area just in time to deliver a lot of open terrain.
Our December 25th, 2021 posts shared the fact that highs were in the 60s at some mountain locations and despite all of that, ski areas were able to open for Holiday skiers and snowboarders.
You can checkout that Video Report here.
Do Your SNOW DANCES and PRAY and THINK SNOW!
One never knows just how these La Niña weather patterns are going to act. They are as wild as Beth Dutton of Yellowstone of Paramount Television fame. However, if the forecast holds, it does look like we should see some snowmaking temperatures return Sunday night and extend for several days – JUST in time for prepping the slopes for the all-important, Christmas-to-New-Year’s getaway week.
Here’s a glance per a few mountain tops:
Wisp Resort in Maryland:
The forecast looks pretty nice for the Deep Creek Lake, Garrett County, Four Seasons resort. (How’d you like that for a bit of marketing introduction?). Anyway, they look to be primed and ready for snowmaking maybe every night for the week or so ahead AND some natural snow may be falling on 2-3 nights of the week.
Canaan Valley Resort, Timberline and Snowshoe:
A look at three different forecasting services shows:
Snowmaking should return Sunday night or at worst by Monday and there are some good chances of natural snowfall a week from today. Seasonably cold temperatures should hold perhaps for a few more days. That bodes well for Holiday skiers and snowboarders to the WV ski areas.
They look only a notch milder in terms of low temps, but there looks to be plenty of snowmaking opportunities for the next 7-10-14 days. Great news, right?!?!
Massanutten, Bryce, Wintergreen, Homestead:
If I have learned anything from Brad Panovich, it is NOT to trust weather apps and particularly when forecasting highs, lows and snowfall for the Virginia mountains. They seem to “get it wrong” more often than not. However, according to three different services, it does appear that the Virginia ski mountain won’t be shunned when it comes to some incoming cold temps. While this area might be a little milder than WV, the lows should allow for snowmaking on NINE or so of the next 10-14 nights and there’s a chance for some natural snow and freezing rain as well.
Beech Mountain, Sugar, Appalachian
The High Country ski areas tend to get a bit colder than some of it’s sister ski area west and south of them. Temperatures look to be seasonably cold through the next 10-14 days. Lows will be borderline some nights ahead, but I think we’ll see 9-10 night ahead with snowmaking opportunities. Friday, the 16th looks like the best chances for natural snow if the pattern holds.
Cataloochee Ski Area, Ober Mountain (Gatlinburg)
I hope my weather resources are wrong, but they hold to be accurate, Cataloochee will see borderline low temperatures that my not allow for snowmaking except on one or two night in the coming week. (M-a-y-b-e Thursday night.) Hope I’m wrong. Longer range outlooks LOOK colder. We’ll see.
WHAT TO EXPECT TODAY ON THE SLOPES
I’m am going to steal Paige Perfect’s well-written description of conditions today at Timberline Mountain to share what is waiting for you pretty at every open ski resort today: She posted:
Today’s snow is soft, heavy, and saturated. All open terrain has been machine groomed overnight and once again this morning. Our snow base from our early season snowmaking is holding fast thanks to our Mountain Operations team’s careful management of the snow. A very light precipitation misted the mountain early this morning, possibly developing into a light rain later in the day. It’ll be an overcast day with light and variable winds. Today’s forecast shows a high of 40 and a low of 33.
That was brilliant Paige and it reminded me of the phone/weather reporting every morning in the fictional town of “Grady” where the movie Doc Hollywood was based on. There was a scene in the movie that just sums up the south and I don’t know why but Paige’s description felt similar.
This is the National
Weather Service forecast..
.. for the greater Grady area tomorrow.
There’ll be plenty of
sunshine and blue skies.
The ol’ temperature should
be in the nineties again,
.. but a cool afternoon breeze will
make it all worthwhile come evening.
Y’all look out for the lightning bugs after sunset.
Some Notable Shares…
Several ski areas have suspended operations temporarily so you should check out the SNOW REPORT.
Beech Mountain Resort got a new Pisten Bully from Santa.
A special delivery, just in time for the Holidays! Our PistenBullyUSA Pro 400 is the perfect gift for our groomers.
Timberline Mountain Makes a Bold Statement
Timberline Mountain is now open 7 days a week!
There’s still plenty of snow here on the mountain, and we have about 60% of our terrain open!
Winterplace Resort Opens BIG!
One JUST WOW sighting! Winterplace is open with 16 of their 28 trails for opening day and they are also open for night skiing tonight and Sunday. They do plan to suspend operation during the coming week to allow for snowmaking and building base.
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