Snowfall Totals This Week. I’m here to provide some accuracy and sort out the numbers and weed out the BS.
Monday’s snowfall totals really boosted season-to-date totals across the region. I was caught in that heavy snow atop Beech Mountain Resort Monday evening as 11.8″ of snow dumped on the mountain. It snowed well into Tuesday, pushing the numbers for Beech Mountain over the Monday-Tuesday storm to 14″.
Despite what Sugar Mountain was reporting (12″), they did NOT have that much. It’s kind of one of those, “Who are you going to believe – ME – or your lying eyes” because WHATEVER Beech Mountain received Monday into Monday night and Tuesday, Sugar had MAYBE 60-70% of that. I mean the snow on the trees, snow on the side of the road, in the fields and on the mountain was noticeably less. It was STILL BEAUTIFUL and still plenty of snow, but it was not as deep as that atop Beech.
The TRUTH is, snowfall totals are rarely the same for Sugar & Beech despite what some reports might share. I’ve done this for nearly 30 years now and I’ve visited Sugar and Beech almost every time there’s a snowfall – shoot me, I love snow – and rarely is there a time when the snow is deeper at Sugar than atop Beech.
We reported 7-8″ at Sugar from the Monday storm and that was fair. We also have connections with residents who LIVE in Sugar Ski & Country Club which is located at the top of the mountain and he was reporting 8-10″ and my buddy, Ron can always exxagerate that extra flake or two to expand on how much snow is on the ground.
I guess we are ALL that way a little bit. It is like the fisherman’s story where when asked how big a fish was caught, he extends both arms wide apart, making you think it was two-to-three feet…while all the while, actually holding his thumb and forefinger on one hand the 6″ apart that the fish actually measured.
We ALL get excited, right? I mean, it’s SNOW!
However, most ski areas do a fabulous job of reining in their excitement and providing trustworthy numbers.
Unfortunately, Sugar has always climbed their mountain after a snowstorm to find that ONE, protected spot where some extra snow gathered over a ridge to report the biggest number they can find. Just FYI, I was out and about Monday night and Tuesday morning and while there was 12″ of snow drifted around Sugar Mountain (actually much deeper snow drifts), the more accurate snowfall tally WAS the 8″ we reported Tuesday morning. So our numbers were immediately lower than that being reported by Sugar.
Fast forward to Friday and Saturday (this morning). On Friday they reported 6″ of new, natural snowfall AND another 4″ over the last 24 hours. The issue with that is that there was some definite overlapping of the 6″ and the 4″. They didn’t receive another 10″ on Friday and this morning. Officially.
9″ two days, 17″ since Monday! Sugar
12″ from Friday storm and 24″ since Monday! Beech
Sugar’s website is reporting 39.7″ on the season, but liberal totals would allow for 33″…and official, NWS numbers are less.
We Need More Volunteer CoCoRaHs reporters!
We’ve always relied on official, NWS stations like those atop Beech Mountain and Fred’s General Mercantile and/or the NWS station atop Snowshoe Mountain’s 4848′ elevation. When those official stations are not available we try to find CoCoRaHS reporters. When that fails we HAVE recruited friends and fans at various locations – like at Sugar Ski & Country Club. (We’ve even resorted to secretly reaching out to the mountain police departments to get their assessments.)
As I looked at CoCoRaHS this morning, here are some numbers that jumped out at me:
At 6am this morning, the NC-AV-13 station at Banner Elk reported 6.2″ of snow in the last 24 hours.
It is IMPORTANT to know that SAME NC-AV-13 station reported 0.5″ of snow in the PREVIOUS 24 hours.
Those are OFFICIALLY reported numbers – so 6.7″ of snow there.
Seven Devils (that station is AT the same elevation as Sugar Ski & CC and positioned the same facing). That station reported 8.4″ of new snow over the last 24 hours and 9.1″ over the last two days.
BOOM! There’s our number.
According to those stations AND the NWS snow map, Sugar and Seven Devils have seen a very similar, matching 19.5″ of snow in January. P-R-E-T-T-Y freaking awesome.
SO FAR SINCE NOVEMBER 1st, 2023 – OFFICIALLY? 24.1″ and NOT the 39.7″ that Sugar is reporting. We’ve pooled two independent spotters and matched them with CoCoRaHS to provide Sugar’s 30″ reported on SkiSoutheast’s Snow Report.
HOW MUCH SNOW IS ENOUGH TO RAVE ABOUT?
Not sure if there is EVER too much snow although I would imagine some people out west would have argued that last season. I can tell you that despite the fact that the official snowfall at Sugar this week is probably more like 17″ since Monday, our own Kenny Griffin is out at Sugar Mountain Resort this morning making laps on Gunther’s Way and others. He’s not caught up in the “snowfall-gate” story. He’s just playing like the kid he is. (We will get some nice vids and photos later.)
You Tired of the Sugar Debate? Let’s look around the rest of the area.
Here are the official tallies as of this morning from the last 24 hours, the week and the season.
|Canaan Valley Resort
|Beech Mountain Resort
|Sugar Mountain Resort
|Appalachian Ski Mountain
|Cataloochee Ski Area
|Sapphire Valley Resort
|Omni Homestead Resort
So this double-whammy, El Niño winter is delivering as Meteorologist Brad Panovich promised us. The Virginia ski areas could use a little more love in the way of snow, but there’s plenty of cold to make snow right now.
According to all of the forecasters out there, the El Niño winter is very likely close to peak strength and is likely to continue for the next few months, while gradually weakening. There is also a NOAA synopsis that is sharing that El Niño is expected to continue for the next several seasons.
Here is a tour of the Southeastern Ski Areas LIVE CAMS this morning:
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