Ski Areas Still Waiting on some Cold Air! There’s a Mild Forecast for the Week Ahead!

First Trax

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The rain was welcome. We needed it. We got it. Now its time for some COLD TEMPS and a blanket of natural snow wouldn’t be bad either.

Oh you guys have such short memories…

Over the last few days we’ve received more than a few emails from those of you who are already comparing the weather of the last week or two to last season. For example,

Denise P. of Roanoke, Tn wrote, "Any idea when we’ll get some snow and cold on the ski slopes? Last season so spoiled us that I doubt this season will stand up to how great it was last year. Love your site by the way."

Okay, admittedly she saved herself by "making nice" about our site, so we’ll go easy on her. Denise (and all of the rest of you who have emailed us lately about how "slow" a start we’re supposedly experiencing) have a look at these numbers.

Nov 17, ’10:  Lo 31° Hi 69°
Nov 18, ’10:  Lo 31° Hi 61°
Nov 19, ’10:  Lo 40° Hi 55°
Nov 20, ’10:  Lo 40° Hi 55°
Nov 21, ’10:  Lo 34° Hi 58°
Nov 22, ’10:  Lo 27° Hi 58°
Nov 23, ’10:  Lo 29° Hi 54°
Nov 24, ’10:  Lo 31° Hi 54°

The archived temps above were taken at Beech Mountain. There was no precip during that time and as you can see – very little in the way of snowmaking temps for any of the resorts to work with, yet Sugar Mountain made enough snow over the following couple of days to open the 2009-2010 season on the day after Thanksgiving, November 27th.

It bears repeating that the season really didn’t get going in earnest last season until mid December.

The other day we posted a "Waiting on the snow" photo of the day shot showing a lone piece of snowmaking equipment on a bare slope. We did so because for the most part of all of the ski areas of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic only four have made any snow whatsover thus far and only Sugar Mountain and Cataloochee have offered skiing or snowboarding thus far.

Both of those resorts are now in the waiting mode…as are all of the region’s resorts. However, Laura Parquette who now has a new title at Snowshoe Mountain (Brand and Communications Manager) emailed me that they are waiting for opening day which they have set as November 24th – however they are waiting with a bunch of snow still on the ground.

She wrote, "Hi Mike. We saw the picture of the snowgun with grass on the homepage yesterday. We’ve still got some really nice piles out there. These were taken yesterday afternoon."

<Top of Powder Monkey on Monday

As you can see, they DO indeed have a ton of snow on the mountain. The shot that she sent of the conditions at the top of the Powder Monkey lift and over at the top of the resort area were indeed impressive. Looks like they could open today if the wanted.

While on Snowshoe you guys should know that Snowshoe is offering SEVERAL early season Lift and Lodging packages starting at as little as $97 per person, per night. You can check out these specials by clicking here> Snowshoe Mountain Early Season Discounts

If you want to see how skier and snowboarder traffic affects snow base all you have to do is look at the three photos posted of Snowshoe, Cataloochee and Sugar from yesterday. Snowshoe has stockpiled snow and not dropped the ropes as yet.

<Cataloochee this AM

Cataloochee Ski Area has only operated for the last two weekends, opting to remain closed during the week and Sugar operated every day from the 5th through this past Sunday, November 14th. Cataloochee is obviously looking pretty thin and Sugar is playing the waiting game now for some colder temps along with the rest of the ski areas of the region.


Several people emailed this morning asking WHEN might the ski areas be able to make snow. The forecast for the next several days is "iffy" at best and many of you guys assumed that no snowmaking would be happening for a while yet. WRONG! Sugar is actually making snow right now…albeit at the middle of the mountain and up. The temperatures this morning dipped to a low of 26° at the summit and Gunther and his team fired up the guns.

A few of you guys emailed us that this was happening this AM. Thanks for the "heads up". A couple of you emailed, "Sugar’s starting all over again trying to get snow on the mountain."

Actually that’s not so. There’s PLENTY of snow up top so Sugar is way ahead of the game, especially when compared to all ski areas in the region except Snowshoe and Cataloochee.


The word is – just as soon as they can. Most of the ski areas are simply looking for that first window of consistently cold temps to get the guns blasting the slopes.

As mentioned earlier in this story, ANYTHING prior to Thanksgiving in the way of trail openings is a "gift" and while Cataloochee and Sugar have awarded their faithful fans with some early, pre-season skiing and snowboarding – the question of the day (actually the last few days) is – when will it turn consistently cold enough for ALL of the ski areas to fire up the snowguns and begin coating ALL of their trails with snow?


The forecast from now through Thanksgiving doesn’t look like it will provide those needed cold temps to do anything special for any of the ski areas. Since the three aforementioned ski areas already HAVE some base, they will see a couple of nights here and there to make snow and perhaps we’ll see SOME Turkey Day/Weekend skiing at those resorts. The rest will still be playing the waiting game.

Here’s the forecast by area:

Blowing Rock / Appalachian Ski Mountain

Wednesday: Hi 50° Lo 36° Sunny
Thursday: Hi 50° Lo 34° Cloudy
Friday: Hi 49° Lo 34° Sunny
Saturday: Hi 50° Lo 34° Sunny
Sunday: Hi 54° Lo 36°

This weekend’s weather looks great with moderating temperatures and great for outdoor activities. Next week begins on a mild, dry note. Some rain may await for Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day.

Beech Mountain / Sugar Mountain

Wednesday: Hi 45° Lo 31° Sunny
Thursday: Hi 47° Lo 31° Cloudy
Friday: Hi 49° Lo 31° Sunny
Saturday: Hi 50° Lo 32° Sunny
Sunday: Hi 54° Lo 34°

This weekend’s weather looks great with moderating temperatures and great for outdoor activities. Next week begins on a mild, dry note. Some rain may await for Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day. No snowmaking days through the period all the way to November 25th.

Snowshoe Mountain / Wisp / Canaan Valley / Timberline

Wednesday: Hi 45° Lo 33° Sunny
Thursday: Hi 45° Lo 29° A few showers
Friday: Hi 47° Lo 31° Sunny
Saturday: Hi 50° Lo 31° Sunny
Sunday: Hi 50° Lo 36°

This weekend’s weather looks great with moderating temperatures and great for outdoor activities. Next week begins on a mild, dry note. Some rain may await for Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day. No snowmaking days through the period all the way to November 25th. Thanksgiving Day and the following weekend IS looking colder with some possible snow!

Highs in the low 40s and lows in the low 20s means that we could see some pretty good conditions up that way for the Turkey Day weekend, especially considering they’ve got a lot of snow already on the ground.


Be sure to check back often for more photos being posted as well as our video blog. If you have not yet visited our Ski Messageboard Forum you should do so.

We’ll be sharing TONS more input about our plans for this season, but for a little sneak peek visit:  

Send your comments, photos, videos and trip reports to: [email protected]

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