Ski Free Today at Cataloochee by Helping a GREAT cause!

First Trax

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Even after posting a run-down on all of the resorts across the region on Saturday – we STILL got a lot of emails from overnight asking who was making snow and WHEN different resorts would be opening. We’re going to simply direct you guys DOWN one article this morning…and save the chastising for another day. Maybe some of you haven’t gotten the Joneses out of your system just yet and you JUST need to ski or ride.

Anyway for a detailed, resort-by-resort, update…read the second article within this column and that should answer your questions.

For this wonderful Sunday, December 3rd, 2006 – the main notes for today will be as follows:

Don’t forget that you can SKI FREE today at Cataloochee. Cat is celebrating their 5th Annual Can- U-Ski Food and Coat Drive. In conjunction with Haywood Christian Ministries, Cataloochee Ski Area seeks to help with the increased need for food and warm winter coats for special families throughout our region. We ask all Cataloochee skiers and snowboarders to take at least 6 cans of foods or a winter jacket of any size that is in good condition to the ski area on Sunday, December 3rd and you will receive your lift ticket on that Sunday for FREE! Rentals and lessons are not included.

And after you are through with your day at Cataloochee, starting at 4pm on Sunday is also the “Back to Snow” party at Maggie Valley Skis and Tees, located in Market Square in Maggie Valley. Over $2,000 worth of prizes and raffles and their 2nd annual Cataloochee Season Pass Holder Sale – join the great folks at Skis and Tees for this great event. Call 828-926-0207 for more information.

Sugar Mountain is the “other” ski resort in North Carolina that is open today. As of this update (8am) they are still making snow although the thermometer is reading 34°. They are open to the ¾ station and are offering special lift ticket pricing for day skiing only today. You can ski all day for $30 if you’re an adult… $17 for Juniors. No night skiing tonight at Sugar.

Andrea Smith up at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia just updated her morning report as I was posting this. Good timing Andrea! She reports, “The snowguns were pumping all night, increasing the base to 16" – 20" and preparing the mountain for more open trails to come! All five open trails were groomed overnight and we have mostly packed frozen granular conditions. The Skidder, Powder Monkey and Grabhammer lifts will be running from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The terrain garden on Whistlepunk is open with one flat rail. Please be aware of thin spots and snow guns on open trails as you enjoy early season skiing and riding.”

That’s it for Sunday as far as skiable terrain goes. However the other newsworthy item of the day is THE WEATHER. Cold – and I mean COLD air is on the way. It’s been nice for the snowmaking crews at all of the resorts to get in some snowmaking Friday and Saturday nights. That has made the excitement levels jump up a notch for our email inbox, etc.

However, the REALLY COLD air is coming in tonight and then sticking around all week (at least) and that is great news because we’ll see a lot of around-the-clock snowmaking going on.

Ski Beech, Snowshoe, Wintergreen, Winterplace, Timberline, Canaan and Sugar are all still making snow this morning… but places like Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock have already turned the guns off as temps have creeped above optimal readings to make snow. Still other resorts, like Wolf Ridge, Hawksnest and others have not yet begun to fight (or make snow) but they all should be gunning later this evening. There will be so many snowguns running tonight and all week, we should probably hear the roar all across the Southeast and Mid Atlantic. That “roar” may not be the sound of the guns but from the fan base at each resort in anticipation of more terrain to play on!

We’re seeing a range of temperatures this morning from 23° this morning at the base of Snowshoe Mountain, to 29° atop Snowshoe’s 4848’ elevations, to 34° at Sugar and Ski Beech, to 36° at App (hence the guns are off), to 29° at Wintergreen in Virginia. The highs today will probably shut down the snow making equipment across the board – but then later tonight, the snowmaking crews across the region will go on around-the-clock duty as the highs around Snowshoe Mountain, Canaan Valley, Timberline and Wisp (as well as the other West Virginia areas) will be in the 20s and 30s all week. Low temps will be in the low 20s and into the teens up there. Although the air will be on the dry side…those areas will even see some snow flurries flying throughout the coming week to add to the ambience.

The weather further South…into Virginia, Tennessee and the mountains of Western North Carolina will be cold as well. Not QUITE as cold but plenty cold enough to see a lot of around-the-clock snowmaking…with only a few short breaks here and there. The air should be a bit drier with only some brief snow flurries here and there…but the highs will make for primo snow making. Monday should be highs in the 30° range, and then slightly warmer each of the rest of the daytime hours throughout the week. Low temps however will be in the teens Monday night, and low to mid 20s all through the next week. These temps and the dry air mass will make for some very nice, high quality manmade powder across our region.

Be sure to check out the forecast…and keep on THINKING COLD and SNOW. More terrain and improving conditions will result throughout the week and into next weekend.

Until Next Time…


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