Snowmaking Has Begun and Snow is in the Forecast for Sunday and Monday!

First Trax

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We officially begin Christmas week today as it is now just 90 or so hours away from Christmas morning when tens of thousands of people (hopefully) will meet, see what Santa and family has stashed under the tree, share some hugs and kisses, and begin packing up and heading to their favorite ski hill for annual Holiday skiing and snowboarding.

"What will be awaiting you at your favorite ski resort?" is the question most on your minds this morning as our INBOX was flooded with various forms of that same question.

As of 9:13am only TWO of the Southeast or Mid Atlantic ski areas have started snowmaking ops. They are Wisp Resort in Maryland where the temperatures have dropped to 26° and Sugar Mountain Resort in North Carolina where the temp is 24° as of 9:14am.

The rest of the region’s resorts WILL fire their snowmaking arsenals as soon as temps and conditions allow…and THANKFULLY that should be within a few short minutes at some locations that desperately NEED the manmade snow – to a few hours for other locations.

Some areas of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic received quite a bit more rain yesterday as Beech Mountain registered nearly .66" of rain on Saturday and Saturday night. Other resorts in North Carolina saw about the same. Appalachian Ski Mountain and Sugar Mountain Resort both look quite decent for today. The rest are "toughing it out" and waiting for the snowmaking ops to hit sometime today.

Resorts in West Virginia and Maryland look darn nice for your Sunday skiing and snowboarding despite the fact that it has not been a great week or so of weather. Snowshoe Mountain (again) leads the way with 51 trails offerings for today but all of the WV and MD resorts look to be in the best shape of the region’s ski areas.

Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee is still closed awaiting the expected frigid temps for later today and the Virginia ski areas are doing o-k-a-y but fighting the fight as well. Bryce has decent snow from what we can see via the webcams up there.

Some NATURAL SNOW should fall today with flurries expected in NC and more significant snow (3-6") perhaps into West Virginia.

Be sure to check the SLOPE REPORT page for all of the details, but here’s a quick glance at some resort notes. Thanks to some FRIGID temps things should look very nice on Monday and into next week.

We will update your Christmas / New Year forecast and expectations on Monday AM. PRAY FOR COLD AND SNOW — peeps!

Here are some quick glance looks at what’s happening around the region:

Wisp Resort – 26° and making snow. They offer day sessions today on 18 trails, terrain parks are open (one anyway) and their popular mountain coaster and Bear claw tubing hill are operating today as well. Things look darn nice at Wisp for today.

Canaan Valley – 28° and mixed precip is happening there. They have a chance of Snow showers mainly before 1pm and new snow accumalation of 1-3 inches are expected. They offer day sessions on 8 trails for Sunday. They have not yet started making snow.

Timberline Resort – 28° and they too are not quite making snow just yet, but DARN they look good this morning via their multiple webcams. They reported 18 trails open on Saturday and should offer about the same for Sunday. As of 9am they were not making snow but we expect those to fire up ASAP.

Snowshoe Mountain – 34° – How can you NOT just love these guys!?!?! They not only have the most terrain open in the region with 51 trails, but they "tell it like it is" even during the "sketchy periods". Of course, Snowshoe’s "skethcy period" this season has STILL enabled them to have 51 trails open, when other resorts are fighting to get more terrain open. My buddy, Laura Parquette, writes, "Yesterday was a great day of skiing and riding, and it looks like conditions should actually get better as the day goes on today. We start off a little warmer than usual this morning, but temperatures should start dropping quickly, and we should see very cold temperatures in the teens to single digits by this evening. Snow should start falling in the next few hours, and could continue right into tomorrow. When the sun finally comes out on Tuesday, we could have as much as 6" of natural snow, and we should be able to make an incredible amount of snow. These very cold temperatures will mean you’ll want to bundle up on the slopes, but they also mean our expert snowmaking team will have their hands full making piles and piles of the white stuff. While we may start off a little wet and slushy in spots this morning, by early in the week conditions should once again be fantastic."

Winterplace Resort is at 37° right now (9am) and awaiting the next few degrees drop in temps so that they can begin making more snow. They are expecting some natural snow as well today and tonight and that will excite all of their fans. They have 12 trails open for day and night sessions on Sunday. Things look pretty darn nice at Winterplace today as well.

Wintergreen Resort in Virginia is reporting 32° at 9:10am. They write, "Snowmaking weather returns today! Temperatures are forecasted to fall throughout the day allowing us to begin making snow by mid day. When the snowmaking weather returns, we plan to resurface all of our open trails and work on adding more terrain. Bouncing back quickly after a thaw is something we do very well."

They will offer 6 trails and tubing for day and night sessions on Sunday!

Bryce Resort is holding steady with the same 6 trails, and what looks like plenty of snow via their webcams. They are open for day sessions only on Sunday.

Massanutten Resort has not updated their Sunday report just yet, but they should be offering 5 trails and 5 lanes of tubing for day and night sessions on Sunday. They have not started making snow as yet (9:08am)

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 8 of 10 trails open for day and night skiing. No bare spots, good conditions.

Cataloochee Ski Area is reporting 31° at 8am but no snowmaking happening just yet. (It WILL very shortly!) Cat has dropped back to 3 trails open for today (Lower Omigosh, Rabbit Hill and Easy Way). They will focus snowmaking and open more up daily.

Hawksnest’s Tubing is CLOSED today and Monday for Snowmaking. They also tend to close when the winds are as high as expected over the next two days.

Sapphire Valley – They haven’t updated their report since the 19th, but they’ve had no reason to. Look for Sapphire to make snow tonight and be able to operate at least their Frozen Falls Tubing Hill for Christmas.

Sugar Mountain – 27° and making snow! They are doing a little predicting with their surface conditions reporting this morning, writing, "Manmade Snow and Frozen Granular" and that’s alright because they are now making snow and the surface IS currently firming up with diving temps. They have 11 trails open today and ice skating. Sugar reported some thin coverage and bare spots on Saturday and not this morning (maybe a little predicting there as well!) If you’re going to be at Sugar early this morning expect SOME thin areas, but those will disappear late today.

Ski Beech – 27° and not yet making snow at 8:03am. I still think that they WILL be before I wrap up this post! They are still reporting thin coverage and bare spots with 4 trails open and ice skating as well.

(Here’s a FUNNY side note: I was watching both of Ski Beech’s live cams for snow guns to fire and sometimes the LIVE cams will delay for up to two minutes with a lot of users on them so I logged into the Slopeside cam that we have up on the middle portion of Beech and noticed that "Mr. K" up there has a thermometer on the deck. So I zoomed into it and noticed that it was reading 43°. I thought to myself, "Well THAT is why Ski Beech wasn’t making snow just yet!" 

WHILE I WAS ON THE CAMERA, Mr. K brought out an exact replacement thermometer and switched them out! Now who do YOU know that has two exact thermometers sitting around! Anyway, I watched that thermometer as it started at 55° (must have been inside somewhere) and nosedived within about two minutes to it’s current status at 8:24am of 28°.

Wolf Ridge Resort – 27° according to Ray Russell’s weather station over there and no snowmaking happening there just yet. They offer 3 slopes for day and night sessions on Sunday. Tubing is open as well.

The fog has lifted over most of Sugar Mountain and you can now see most of the mountains pretty clearly via the Extreme Snowboard and Ski cam. They have a lot of snowguns blasting. As we move over to the report no other ski areas in North Carolina are making snow just yet.

THANKFULLY, the snowmaking crews are "armed and ready" and they should begin making snow this morning at some point (maybe in some locations before I even finish compiling this data and posting it)! The transformation will be amazing helped by temperatures that are expected to drop from their current readings throughout the day today to a low tonight ranging from -2° or so atop Ski Beech and Sugar Mountains to 6° or so at Banner Elk. Monday’s high should be around 14° at Ski Beech and 20-25° elsewhere at high elevations of Western North Carolina and THAT means around-the-clock snowmaking opportunities from sometime today all the way through at least sometime Tuesday if not a bit longer into Wednesday morning.

It is forecasted to be windy as heck today with 15-25mpg sustained winds and gusts to 40+ mph (especially along the peaks). More of the same (winds) for Monday and Tuesday. That won’t delight the snowmaking crews as those kinds of winds and temps make for some raw wind chills as they move equipment around, etc. They’d also prefer to be able to point their manmade snow right where they want it, but it appears that nature will decide where the snow is made over the next 60-72 hours. Beggars can’t be choosers, so they will make the best of it and we should see some vastly improving surface conditions by Monday and into Tuesday.


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Resorts across the Southeast and Mid Atlantic have refired their snowmaking equipment and around-the-clock snowmaking should occur at all resorts from
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We will pop in another photo of the day shortly but we wanted to share this live shot at 7:41am Monday morning of the cloud of snow that was being mad
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