Southeast Ski Resorts Remain Open Despite Warm Weather

First Trax

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Saturday felt like some days that we actually experienced during this past summer! We came very close to breaking some record highs on Saturday and today will offer more of the same kind of forecast. The sunny skies are nice, but these temperatures (that are some 15° above normal) are doing some base snow killing at the four Southeast and Mid Atlantic ski resorts that are open to date.

The average high is 52° and yesterday’s high topped out at 70° in Boone…at the beginning of the App State game. Speaking of App, congrats to them on their win yesterday. They are looking strong to possibly repeat at National Champions in Division II football. Go Apps!

Since snow news is kind of slow right now while we’re waiting on Mother Nature to kick in some winter-like temps…we’ll talk more football. Congratulations also go out to another Western North Carolina football team. Our Watauga High Pioneers football team won against a previously undefeated AC Reynolds in the State 4A playoffs Friday night. Last but not least my beloved U.S.C. Gamecocks defeated the Clemson Tigers 31-28 in a very exciting game Saturday. So this weekend could not have gone any better sports-wise for my favs.

Okay…okay…it really could have. We COULD be in the midst of an artic blast of cold temps that could be allowing the resorts to make snow. We COULD be skiing and riding on a blanket of 18”-20” of fresh-fallen snow. …but we’re not. We just need to keep things in perspective. It’s only November 26th, and we’re only in that period each season – that only SOME resorts are open…with limited terrain. …and that is exactly what we find ourselves on this gorgeous Sunday.

Cataloochee Ski Area we be DAY SKIING ONLY today. They have four slopes open with Intermediate Lower Omigosh, serviced by the Omigosh Double Chairlift, Beginners Easy Way and Beginners Rabbit Hill serviced by the Easy Way Triple Chairlift and the Beginner’s Luck Learning Area serviced by the Moving Carpet Conveyor lift on a base of 10-36" and a machine worked surface. Holiday rates are in effect for today. Cataloochee will resume there regular, early-season opening schedule on Monday. That means they will be CLOSED on Monday and reopen on Tuesday for day and night skiing.

Appalachian Ski Mountain is reporting 6-12” of base and 2 slopes open for Sunday, day skiing.

Before we dive right into reporting Sugar Mountain’s slope status this morning we have to first say: WE’RE SOOOOOO PROUD!!!

In the “tell it like it is department” Sugar Mountain is doing some heart-warming, phenomenal reporting by stating NO BASE DEPTH measurement. It’s been 11 long seasons, but when you finally see your children grow up, it’s just… oh, sorry, I lost it for a moment! Sugar Mountain is reporting the following:

4 trails and 1 lift with NO BASE MEASUREMENT. They have opted to replace the normal measurement portion of the slope conditions report with “Thin Coverage” and then further report, thin coverage and some bare spots.

WAY TO GO SUGAR! Nice job! Keep up the great work!

Just to further tell it like it is, Sugar Mountain DOES have PLENTY of skiable terrain from the top to the bottom. It may not be pristine, but it IS snow. Sugar has done a great job of maintaining the snow that they made in ONLY a matter of three-four days of early season snowmaking. That is a remarkable testimony to how good snowmaking technology is these days, as well as how talented Gunther Jochl’s crew is at maintaining as good a snow as possible. Nice job Sugar!

Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia is the only other ski resort open in the Southeast and Mid Atlantic region. Andrea Smith wrote me 7:28am saying, “Hi Mike- A quick update from 4848′. We do have one real run top to bottom open and we still have pretty good coverage on it. The inversion in temperature is amazing up here nearly 20 degrees at one point! This makes our conditions variable as it is more like groomed granular at the bottom and wet granular at the top. Our mountain ops crew was able to make enough snow to have a bit of a base on those trails so we should be good until the winter weather returns mid-week. We then expect to begin making snow around the clock and open Spruce Glades and move over toward the Ballhooter lift quickly. We will then work our way up to the South Mountain area and the new Soaring Eagle Express lift. We will begin working on the Western side as soon as possible and Silver Creek, along with night skiing and tubing is scheduled for a December 15 opening.”

Snowshoe’s mountain ops is also reporting that they have the terrain garden on Whistlepunk open with 1 box and 1 rail!

The Weather is on YOUR Mind… the sequel!

The email that we’ve received the most in the last few days has AGAIN been, “When will the slopes open with more terrain?” That is a weather related question as the resorts can’t pull snow bunnies out of their hats. HEY, THAT WOULD BE A COOL TRICK! I think some of you guys out there think that the snow that the resorts make is artificial snow. That is not the case. It is REAL SNOW and very similar to the NATURAL SNOW that God makes. The snowmaking snow that resorts make it NOT made of plastic or foam; it is made from water and air. Some resorts add in a mixture that helps the crystals form more quickly but we won’t confuse the main focus of this statement. The snow that resorts make is not FAKE snow. It’s real. Don’t call it FAKE SNOW.

While we’re on the subject of snow grammar…don’t use the term, “The resorts are blowing snow.” They don’t BLOW snow, they MAKE snow. They make manmade snow, they don’t BLOW, FAKE snow.

I lost my focus didn’t I? You guys want to know when the resorts will be able to make more snow…and since you NOW know that it’s real snow, then you have to realize that won’t happen until when??? That’s is correct…not until it is COLD ENOUGH to do so. Okay class. Let’s see if you’ve been paying attention; how cold does it have to be to make water become ice or snow? Correct again…very close to freezing.

For the answer as to WHEN we can expect freezing or colder temperatures to invade the area…check out the weather forecast on the front page of the site. The summary of it is that we DO expect a return to more winter-like temps around Friday night (December 1st) when temps are expected to allow for snowmaking. The timing of that snowmaking weather will determine when and if resorts are open next weekend. We’ll save that commentary for a few days as we watch the weather.

Until Next Time…


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For more information about the ski resorts of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic visit  


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