Not All Trails Are Open, But on WHAT IS OPEN, IT LOOKS NICE!

First Trax

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According to the forecasters, we’ll not see anymore snowmaking temps until next Wednesday, when some wintry weather is predicted with some possible snow and temperatures in the teens for lows. The following couple of days look even colder with highs in the 20s and lows in the teens. So we have THAT to look forward to if you’re planning a ski getaway for the weekend of January 9-11th. Believe it or not, THAT was the most frequently asked question of the last 24 hours in one form or another. I guess the Christmas / New Year Break is wrapping up and you guys just need to know what to expect for NEXT weekend.  (You guys should REALLY live in the moment, but here’s your answer.)

To properly forecast conditions for next weekend, we need to know where they are TODAY and then subtract an inch or so of base due to temps in the upper 40s to low 50s for today; trim off another inch of base due to the 70% chance of perhaps a half inch of rain forecasted for Sunday and Sunday night. Since we’re in the "debit mode" lets shave off another inch of base for the rains forecasted for NEXT Tuesday through Wednesday. For most ski areas, that we’ll mean very little because they ADDED a lot of snow with some great snowmaking temps over the previous couple of days. All of the ski areas will do some marvelous pushing around of snow as they dig some snow from one place and pop it into place at some thin areas and then groom it into sweet shape. THAT IS what our ski resort snow maintenance people do best!

THEN…we’ll get to do some addition…as cold temps and even some natural snow may be in the mix beginning Wednesday night. The temps are forecasted to drop back into the 20s (at least) with some models reflecting even colder temps. That means the snowmaking crews will ADD an inch or two of base to needed areas of terrain. Thursday and Friday of next week look plenty cold at night to make another inch or two of manmade snow and THAT will put us right back where we are today!


Well I’m back home in beautiful Banner Elk, North Carolina where it appears that a "London fog" has set in. That is forecasted to clear out of here by mid morning and we should have a pretty good day of skiing and snowboarding.

Let’s go check the status of our ski areas…

Beech Mountain is 39° with an overnight low of 35°

Cataloochee is at 42°

Seven Devils is at 40°

Appalachian Ski Mountain is reporting 28° (crazy huh?)

Wolf Ridge is at 29°

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 55-81" Base – Groomed Conditions on 8 of 10 trails. Both terrain parks are open as is the ice rink! Conditions are pretty sweet at App for today! One quick glance at the LIVE CAM there will show you that! Click here to see Appalachian Live Web Cam!

Cataloochee Ski Areas – 28-60" Base – Packed Manmade Conditions on 8 of 14 trails from the top of the quad down. They have tubing available over on Tube World, across from Ghost Town in gorgeous Maggie Valley. Cataloochee looks GREAT day and you can catch a nice glance of that via their new LIVE CAM! Click Here to see the Cataloochee Live Web Cam! 

Ski Beech – 18-40" Base – Groomed Conditions on 5 of 15 trails from the top of the quad down. Beech writes, "Conditions continue to look really good. We have added a couple of terrain park features to the skier’s left side of Freestyle…"

Beech offers ice skating as well and they are reporting a trace of light snow falling this morning. They DO INDEED look really good and you can view that and the couple of terrain park features at the bottom via their LIVE CAM. Click Here to See the Ski Beech Web Cam!

Sugar Mountain – 28-55" Base – Frozen and Loose Granular Conditions on 12 of 20 trails, open to the top. Tubing and Ice Skating is also open and Sugar is doing a little entertaining with live acoustic sounds of North Carolina High Country bluegrass from BOSS HAWG from 4:00-6:00pm.

You can catch a full front shot of how nice it looks up at Sugar via the LIVE CAM! Click here to see the Sugar Mountain Web Cam!

Wolf Ridge – 20-40" Base – Wet Granular Conditions were last reported as of January 1st at 7:30am. Theyare reporting 7 of 20 trails open with tubing open as well.

Wolf is looking pretty good as well. Catch a LIVE CAM shot by Clicking Here to see the Wolf Ridge Web Cam!

Hawksnest’s Tubing Park actually looks very nice today. They have several lanes open and you can see that LIVE! Click here to see Hawksnest’s Live Web Cam!

Sapphire Valley is open with 2 trails and tubing. We don’t have specifics this morning because they have not updated their report since December 29th. They have not updated their report via the NC Ski Areas since December 9th! We’ll make a couple of calls and get that to you guys.

So with conditions looking as good as they look right now, you can expect nothing but AT LEAST the same for the next week or so.

In closing, let’s address those of you who are grouchy as heck because more terrain isn’t open yet. Yes, we got off to a fabulous start to the season and it appeared that we were headed to 100% open terrain across the board prior to Christmas. It didn’t happen. For those who have written me complaining that we are reporting "nice conditions" when all isn’t open, you have to understand that we are reporting the conditions on WHAT IS OPEN! Conditions are quite nice on the terrain that the ski resorts have open. We’ve had a wild ride thus far this winter with some good snows (Beech and Sugar are holding at 24" of natural snow on the season thus far) and some extreme cold temps. We’ve also had about three weeks of mild temps and quite a good bit of rain in that period.

It is a testament to how creative and how talented (and hard working) our ski resort crews are that we have the conditions that we have today on January 3rd. All of the ski areas across the region are working dilligently to provide the best product that they can on as much terrain as possible. To that extent, conditions ARE quite nice on the terrain that each resort has open.

Since you guys are not skiing or riding on CLOSED terrain, then our reporting IS accurate. I suppose we COULD report something like, "Conditions are GREAT on 12 of 20 trails at Sugar. The other 8 trails are grass covered and not so great!" Since we’re not skiing the other eight trails that would be kind of silly – don’t you think?!?!

Enough said, go ski, ride or do whatever it is that will make you happy today!

Until next time – THINK COLD AND SNOW!

As always, be sure to click over to  for more news about ALL of the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic including more photos of the day, more snow news, more videos…and just MORE!

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