Rains, Sun, Snow, Thunderstorms, More Snow! It MUST be Spring!

First Trax

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Wow what a burst of rainfall we had in the last 24 hours. Watauga River, which flows beneath the covered bridge that exits my neighborhood was roaring right to the tip of it’s banks this morning.

The weather station on the back deck of our office officially shows that .82" of rain fell since midnight last night. That’s after .62" of rain on Saturday.

The rains hit here around midday and most reporting stations are showing 1-1.5" of rain fell across the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Even so, Sugar and Appalachian BOTH look darn nice this morning as the sun is breaking through the clouds. The forecast is for more rain to fall and maybe even a thunderstorm or two for today…

…and then some chances at SNOW. The chances of SNOW at Appalachian Ski Mountain are a little higher than most areas because if temperatures allow, Brad Moretz says that they will MAKE SNOW tonight. The forecasted low for the Blowing Rock, North Carolina ski area is 28° so if the wet bulb and other variables allow…

Some rain is falling across much of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic today so things will be dicey out there for those ski areas that are open today (see below).

The forecast also includes the fact that we should see some snow mixed in with the rain today in some areas, and as much as 1-4" of snow at the higher elevations through Wednesday morning. So it is forecasted to be a typical couple of Spring days in the mountains today through Wednesday and even the days post that into the weekend.

Several ski areas are closed for the season as of today…and others are closed this week – expecting to reopen for this weekend, so some of us who report on the ski industry here in the region had a little more time on our hands than normal. Joe Stevens, who serves in a number of roles within the ski industry as well as being the official spokesperson for the West Virginia Ski Areas Association noticed that Appalachian State University’s men’s basketball team is playing Marshall University (of West Virginia) tonight at 7pm. He quickly challenged yours truly to a friendly bet that says that the loser of the bet will buy the other’s family dinner. If I lose I’ll be sending Joe and his family a nice BBQ dinner from Banner Elk’s Pappy’s BBQ Restaurant. As for Joe, if he loses I and my family will be dining on a nice meal from Tudor’s Biscuit World (see www.tudorsbiscuitworld.com).

The two teams meet at 7pm this evening in Huntington, West Virginia and by all indications it should be a good game although I’ve been told that visiting teams have had to play five players on the court and a couple of officials at times this season. I’m just saying, Joe…


Let’s first cover the ski areas that are open TODAY and this week:

In North Carolina – Appalachian Ski Mountain and Sugar Mountain are open. App for day sessions only and Sugar offers day and night skiing.

All of the Virginia ski areas are CLOSED this week. More about the weekend schedule in a moment.

In West Virginia, Snowshoe Mountain and Timberline Resort are open for day sessions.

Wisp Resort in Maryland is open for day sessions as well.

That’s it, people. There are FIVE ski resorts open for today within the region.


Add Cataloochee Ski Area, Massanutten Resort, Wintergreen, Winterplace and Ober Gatlinburg resorts to those that will operate the weekend.

A few resorts will go another weekend or two past this weekend. Here are the details:

Appalachian Ski Mountain will operate for day sesssions DAILY through April 11th.

Cataloochee will operate for Saturday & Sunday (March 27 & 28th) and again April 3rd & 4th.

Sugar Mountain will operate this week and weekend and close for the season Sunday, March 28th.

Massanutten Resort will operate Saturday and Sunday and then close for the season after day sessions on Sunday, March 28th.

Wintergreen Resort will open SATURDAY for ONE DAY ONLY and then close for the season after those day sessions, March 27th.

Snowshoe Mountain will ski and ride for day sessions daily through Monday, April 5th.

Timberline Resort will ski and ride daily this week for day sessions and then offer day and night skiing Saturday, then day sessions only for Sunday and then close for the season March 28th.

Winterplace Resort has tweaked their season ending schedule. They are closed this week and then will offer ONE MORE DAY of skiing and snowboarding on Saturday, March 27th and then close for the season.

Wisp is open daily through this week and then will offer Saturday and Sunday sessions for this weekend and potentially the next TWO weekends, weather dependent.

Ober Gatlinburg will be closed this week and reopen Friday from noon til 7pm and offer Saturday and Sunday sessions before closing for the season March 28th.

In closing, check the SNOW REPORT page because resorts are showing some drops in base depths and trail counts. After reporting about 2" per day in base depth drops over the last ten days, several ski areas showed another 5-6" of base depth declines within the last 24 hours and those declines are now affecting trail counts.

Snowshoe dropped nine trails in the last 24 hours and 4" in base depth. Laura posted, "We have lost a handful of slopes this morning, and we’ll see how much we can recover in the coming days and try to reopen them by the weekend."

Timberline snow lines are reporting 5.6° and 10" of powder…and all trails open. So much for keeping up with the telephone snow report line. We called there and they hope to have all trails open for day sessions this week and they will operate this weekend before closing for the season.

Wisp Resort dropped 10 trails from 24 hours ago. They will operate with 18 trails today for day sessions only. Tubing is open as well as ice skating.

That’s it for now…Go Apps!

We’re on day 115 and there are 22 more days of opportunities to enjoy the snow for the 2009-2010 ski and snowboarding season!

Go enjoy the snow! Check out the Snow Report at https://www.skisoutheast.com/skireports.php  and please send us your favorite ski photos, ski videos, trip reports and comments to [email protected]  

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