Be sure to check out the SNOW REPORT for the latest “announcements” of Opening Day.
While some ski areas are attempting to “coax mother nature” by announcing dates on the calendar in which they hope to open; most are simply going with the standard statement of, “We will open as soon as weather permits”.
The truth is, every ski area is at the mercy of the weather. The moment that a two-to-three day window of cold temps appears in the forecast, you will see every ski area’s snowmaking crew spring into action.
Canaan Valley Resort, Snowshoe Mountain, and Timberline Mountain (all in West Virginia) were the first to fire up snowmaking operations and they put down a ton of manmade snow in hopes that the cold weather pattern would stick around. Even Beech Mountain Resort in North Carolina and Wintergreen Resort in Virginia made a bit of snow.
Alas, the burst of cold weather didn’t last long, but it DID provide for excitement in the form of natural snow that fell at Snowshoe, Canaan and Timberline mountains. In fact, 4.2″ of snow fell in Davis, WV, home to Canaan Valley and Timberline ski areas on Friday into Saturday morning, November 11th.
That natural snow AND the manmade variety that was blasted by each of the snowmaking crews mentioned above is just about gone as we are NOW waiting for the next cold air to arrive and stick around.
As this morning’s Photo of the Day will show you, most of the natural and manmade snow that was produced so far, is just about gone.
When Might Opening Day That Be?
According to in-home, snow-loving, weather gurus all across the region – for whom many like to email me – “Hey, Mike, the Operational, Global Forecast System is trending towards a cold pattern for tons of snow TEN DAYS FROM NOW!”
Much like all of those awesome weather apps that come on all of our phones these days, you can take ANY forecast that is more than 2-3 days out with a grain of salt.
I spoke with fellow SkiSoutheast columnist, Joe Stevens the other day and I know that he is CURRENTLY coordinating his outreach with an assemblage of professional meteorologists from around the region to get their take on the upcoming 2023-2024 Winter Forecast. We also have Chief Meteorologist, Brad Panovich back with us for his 15th season and he will be providing his prediction. However, right NOW, we just want to know when the snowguns will fire up in earnest to allow for some strategic slope openings.
…and what do we have to rely on for that information right now? You guessed it…those unreliable apps and some unofficial blokes like myself spending too much time looking at WeatherBell and WeatherModels.
Thanksgiving is the Traditional (Yet Unofficial) Start to the Season
Thanksgiving is November 23rd. Several ski areas in the region kind of point to that date on the calendar as their target date to get open. People flock to their favorite mountain for that Thursday-to-Sunday weekend to get in some mountain air, mountain-village and local Christmas tree shopping and to make some turns down their favorite hill.
A few ski areas HAVE already posted a “HOPED FOR” Opening Day of November 24th. Count Appalachian Ski Mountain and Beech Mountain Resort among them. Cataloochee and Sugar can make enough snow in an 18-24 hour period to open their mountains for skiing and snowboarding.
Might that happen THIS Thanksgiving Day and/or Weekend?
Of course, it COULD happen, but from what we are seeing via WeatherModels and with my untrained eyes is a rainy pattern, with temperatures just a little too mild to make snow right through that long, Turkey Day weekend.
It will BE cold enough tonight (November 12th) and perhaps again on Monday and Tuesday nights to make snow here and there, depending on elevation, however, we are seeing the next 12 days as a bit too mild AND with some showers on perhaps 7 of those days or nights.
…and then HERE is where those pesky apps tease us – there ARE some SNOW SHOWERS mentioned around Saturday, November 25th and Sunday the 26th.
…but don’t bet your house on it!
We Do Need Some Rain…
I was texting back and forth with Kenny Griffin this morning and we were both lamenting over the fact that it appears that we won’t get an EARLY START to the ski & snowboarding season. However, he quickly added, “Yea, we actually need some rain to fill all of the snowmaking reservoirs.
…and he’s right. We could use some rain.
Hey, SkiSoutheast! So When Do YOU Think the Season Will Start?
Drum Roll, please….[Uncomfortable, long pause, like when Ryan Seacrest is going to announce the next American Idol.]
…just a little longer pause.
And the 2023-2024 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic, Ski & Snowboarding Season Will Begin….
“When the Weather Permits.”
(I can hear the collective groans.)
Again, any weather forecast or model that is for farther out than a 2-3 day period (maybe 3-5 days) is just not to be trusted.
So here’s the deal. While we ARE looking at these WeatherModels and reporting that it doesn’t look good for an EARLY start to the season…BECAUSE of the 12 day modeling…we SHOULD add that IT TOO cannot be trusted.
We may look back again in a few days and see a beautiful, cold and snowy pattern forming.
As things look right now, we are not feeling confident about a November 24th Opening Day anywhere in the region. It looks more like we’ll need another week or so into early December for cold temperatures to hit and perhaps hang around long enough for all of the ski areas to create a huge roar of snowmaking.
Until Then, THINK COLD. THINK SNOW!
Email me at [email protected] and be sure to check out our new SkiSoutheast Discord Channel
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