Snowmaking Happening! More Trails and Resorts Open! Maybe we can get Winter kick started!

First Trax

Merry Christmas Everyone! Hopefully most if not all of you who are reading this are enjoying good health and spending time with family. Be safe in all your travels today or as you leave out – headed to your favorite ski hill in the region.

The best snow in the region is found in the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland. Things are simply colder there. That’s the way it is and try as they might, the Virginia and North Carolina ski areas are simply playing with less cards in their deck. Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee, Wolf Ridge and Sapphire Valley simply haven’t had anything to play with in terms of cooperating weather so far. While each of them have made snow a couple of times, it’s all gone now and they are waiting on cold air.

Today is yet another example of the trend that has been prevailing so far this season. The resorts in West Virginia and Maryland are experiencing 20-24° temps this morning while those in North Carolina and Virginia are seeing a teasingly close 30-33° temperature range.

<Sugar making snow at 10am and looking much sweeter at the base this morning!

Sugar and Beech were making snow as this was being written (and still were as of 10am). Sugar’s looking much improved since Saturday – when the base area only had a small strip to maneuver through to get back to the lift. They are in much better shape this morning. As mentioned hundreds of times in the past – what a difference one day can make.


I check out all of the weather resourses from around the region and David Lesher’s in Davis, WV and Dr. Ray Russell’s in Boone are always great additions for gathering research. Of course NOA’s is of primary importance to my personal fact gathering.

Dr. Russell always provides a morning and afternoon BLOG and this morning he wrote, "For the first time in three years, weather is not an important item for Christmas Day…"

I KNOW what he meant by that comment because the last couple of years we were blanketed with snow and two years ago we saw a lot of ice that created bad travel conditions. So this season doesn’t offer any challenging driving. However the lack of snow or cold is definately an important item.

There are some snowmaking temps in the forecast around the area so keep THINKING COLD!


Over the years we’ve always put out a little, wooden snowgirl in our yard. Seems like everytime we did it we’d get snow within 7-10 days…and a good snowfall at that. A couple of years ago when the weather wasn’t cooperating – some of our readers reminded me to get the darn thing setup in my yard. Within seven days…we were BOMBED with snow.

<"Frankie the Mamoose" complete with 48" of snow measuring was placed on December 24th

Fast forward to yesterday. We’ve been so busy that we’d completely forgotten that we were going to initiate a NEW snow creature to inspire cold weather each year. The old snowgirl was worn out, so my youngest daughter, Madison, and I went to work creating a new one. We used the same "magic paints" and got it placed in the yard on Christmas Eve. If my calculations are correct, we should see significant cold and snow hit between December 31st and January 3rd. Keep your fingers crossed. This has never failed us so far. If this pans out, we’ll have some fun with it.

The name for our new, five foot tall snowman is "Frankie the Mamoose". It’s an inside, family thing. It comes complete with measurements marked off for up to 48" of snow!

Here’s the news for today. Bear in mind that some areas are closed for christmas, while some are closed due to no snow or cold.

Beech Mountain Resort – 32° – They are making snow and open for DAY SESSIONS today with 5 trails and ice skating open as well. Things are looking pretty good at the 5500′ elevation ski area!

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 33° – is CLOSED for riding the snow on Christmas Day. They were not able to make snow overnight and they are suggesting to call ahead for sessions on Monday. They do have their ice rink open for today.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 31° – They ARE MAKING SNOW THIS MORNING! They will open at 1pm today with 5 trails and tubing open as well. They will ride for night sessions as well. The temp should drop at Cat to around 22° tonight so it should be some great snowmaking ops.

Sugar Mountain – 32° – Making snow and opening at NOON today and will be open til 10pm with 4 trails and ice skating.

Sapphire Valley is showing 36° and has only made snow a couple of days since October 1st. They’re still waiting on cold air to make snow and are now looking at sometime after the first of the year to open.

Wolf Ridge Resort – 33° – no snow making. They are waiting to see some cold air to make snow. That COULD happen tonight as temps are forecasted to dip to 26° tonight.

Bryce Resort – 30° – No report update. Call ahead to see if they are open. The LIVE cam is showing NICE snow after a day of snowmaking.

Massanutten Resort – 34° – No report of being able to make snow and the LIVE cam isn’t showing any evidence of that. They look like they will be able to offer the same two trails for today. They posted, "Sunday, December 25th we hope to Ski/Board 12:30pm-5pm and Tube 1pm-5pm.

Wintergreen Resort – 33° – No snowmaking. They will be open with the same three trails and posted, "We will operate for DAY SESSIONS ONLY Saturday 12/24 through Thursday 12/29. Please keep checking this report for updates about when we plan to resume night hours. The Plunge Tube Park will operate with limited sessions.

Canaan Valley Resort – 25° – Making snow and open for day sessions with 5 trails. Ice skating is open as well.

Snowshoe Mountain Resort – 22° – They got a TRACE of new snow and a couple of inches in the last two days. They are bombing the trails with snowmaking and open with 28 trails and tubing and terrain parks as well. They are looking at snow in the forecast for this evening and later in the week.

Timberline Resort – 19° – They’ve been killing the slopes with snowmaking and opened SEVEN new trails today to take them to 11 trails open for day sessions on Christmas Day!

Winterplace Resort – 28° – No report of snowmaking in the last 24 hours but they have been blasting the slopes a lot lately. Today is their FIRST day of the season and what a Christmas present! They will be playing on 9 trails for day and night sessions.

Wisp Resort – 23° – They made snow but we don’t see that they are making snow this morning which is kind of weird. They are open today and tonight with 4 trails, snow tubing, ice skating, mountain coastering and more!

Ober Gatlinburg – 44° – Enough said.

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