Sunday Looks a Little “Rain Affected” but Snow and Cold Hits Today!

First Trax

As of 10:30am as I am wrapping up Sunday’s FirsTrax post – it is snowing – sideways! Snow showers and very blustery winds have invaded the mountains.

I feel a little like a bear coming out of a long winter hibernation after being under the weather since this past Wednesday. I want to thank Joe Stevens and Kenny Griffin for having my back with the LIVE SNOW REPORT and coverage of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association press conference this past Thursday. I watched both events and thought everything went off really well. That’s going to be a really cool, new function of this website – the ability to go slope-side, on the mountain and broadcast LIVE content.

Additional thanks to Kenny for holding the fort down for me this past week and for handling Saturday’s report as well. It’s good to be back “among the living” this morning.

Kenny and I are going to try and broadcast LIVE later this week from yet another ski area. We’ll keep you posted on that. Right now we’re thinking about a “Pre MLK Weekend Broadcast from atop Beech Mountain”.

A capture of App's terrain area on Sunday morning
A capture of App’s terrain area on Sunday morning

Before I get into today’s “tour” I don’t know if you guys noticed this over the last week…but only ONE ski area in the entire region has been open with 100% of their terrain so far this season. They are open again today with 100% of their terrain. That ski area?

Appalachian Ski Mountain in beautiful, Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

On that subject – it still surprises me when I run into someone who tells me that they have never visited Blowing Rock or Beech Mountain, North Carolina. They are two, distinctly different kind of mountain communities, located within 20-30 minutes of each other…but both have won numerous accolades.

Blowing Rock has been described as, “One of America’s Prettiest Winter Towns” by Travel & Leisure. Southern Living Magazine’s readers voted Blowing Rock as, “A Favorite Mountain Destination”. Pinnacle Living voted Blowing Rock as, “Best of the Mountains for the Most Picturesque Main Street”.

All are deserved.

Grandfather displays snow creations like these natural snow and wind creations often every winter
Grandfather displays snow creations like these natural snow and wind creations often every winter. Click to enlarge.

…and I continue to be surprised by people who write and tell me that they’ve been to the High Country hundreds of times over the years – but that they’ve never been to Seven Devils, Beech Mountain or Grandfather Mountain. I can tell you that you’ve never BEEN to the High Country unless you’ve been to those destinations as the top of Beech and Grandfather mountains are simply – another world.

I wanted to give a special bit of promo to Brad Moretz and Appalachian Ski Mountain as their being the only mountain that is 100% open did not go unnoticed.

Kudos to them.



As far as we can tell, anywhere from .25″ to .70″ of rain fell across the entire region on Saturday, Saturday night and into early this morning. The rains seemed to be somewhat on the higher end of that reading into the West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland mountains as most of the resorts that we could acquire rainfall totals for – saw around one-half to three-quarters of an inch of rain in those areas – while the North Carolina mountains saw the entire range.

For example, Beech and Sugar saw .25″ of rain while Blowing Rock reported .70″ (which matched the rain totals atop Snowshoe Mountain.)

To be honest, after how things have gone thus far this season, we could use some more perfectly timed weekends of great cold and snowy weather. Saturday didn’t deliver in terms of the weather…but it was nonetheless great slope conditions when you consider what the heck we had going on just one week ago.

Fast forward to today and we now have 151 slopes and trails open across the region. The transition that took place with the last arctic blast was nothing short of amazing and some colder air and snow is on the way for this week.

Poorly timed weather for THIS weekend…but MLK is Looking Awesome!

All of our resorts could use some perfectly timed cold and snow patterns. You know… the kind that allows for around the clock snow-making Monday-Thursdays with maybe 5-6″ of natural snow on Wednesday and then sunny skies and temps in the upper 30s for Friday, Saturday and Sundays!

So flurries are flying today (Sunday) and some of the coldest air of the season is expected over the next 2-3 days. That and some natural snow could spell a weather pattern for MLK Weekend that will be “just what the doctor ordered”…if the doctors were the ski area execs and accountants.

A cursory view of the forecast for Snowshoe Mountain shows highs in the 20s and low 30s from now through Tuesday, January 19th – with lows in the single digits, teens and 20s with SNOW showing up in the forecast for today, Tuesday evening and Saturday and Sunday of next week. (MLK Weekend!)

The forecast for Winterplace is very similar but only a degree or two “milder”.

A look at the forecast for the Virginia mountains is showing snow-making temps every night this week and that will make for awesome MLK conditions.

The North Carolina mountains should see a lot of near around the clock snow-making this week and perhaps 1-3″ of snow next weekend.

THAT could make for a lot of skier visits for all of the ski areas as visitors with a ton of pent up desire to ski or ride hit the mountains.


As I was catching up on the snow reporting a couple of things jumped out at me. Traffic at the ski areas this morning looked brisk. Pretty good but not great.

Most of the ski areas webcams were showing truckloads more snow on the mountain, but things were certainly “rain affected” from the aforementioned rain that fell Saturday, last night and early this morning.

Resorts across the region have been reporting some “roller-coaster base depths” as they BOMBED the trails with last week’s arctic cold snap…and then as rains affected those efforts to some degree.

To be clear, EVERY ski area has PLENTY of base depth today and with awesome weather coming up this week things should be awesome, awesome, awesome for the holiday weekend ahead. Saying that – we did see some bases drop 4-11″ over the last 24 hours.

We will be monitoring the cold and snowy pattern this week and if you’ve been wanting to plan a ski getaway weekend and just haven’t seen a “window of opportunity” yet this season THIS WEEK AND WEEKEND will be a good one to hit!

Make those reservations, get your gear and your rear up here!

Today, I’m reporting alphabetically by state: (Just switching things up a bit.)


Wisp Resort – 24% OPEN with 8 of 34 trails. They will operate for day sessions only on Sunday. Their Mountain Coaster, Ice Skating and Tubing are all OPEN.


Sugar Mountain Resort – 48% OPEN with 10 of 21 trails, terrain park, tubing and ice skating all open. I received numerous emails over the last few days talking about how amazingly good the trails were at Sugar, hence we talk about them first today. Expect a GREAT day Sunday as the temps nose down and Sugar does plan to fire up the snow guns as soon as the temps allow.

Appalachian Ski Mountain – 100% OPEN with 12 of 12. They also have ice skating and 3 terrain parks up and running. They’re kind of showing off now, right?

Beech Mountain Resort – 8 of 15 trails open for 53% of their mountain. Snow tubing and ice skating as well as tons of WinterFest activities are happening today.

Wolf Ridge Resort – 60% open with 9 of 15 trails. They are open for day sessions only with tubing open as well.

Cataloochee Ski Area – 11 of 18 trails open with 3 lifts and 2 conveyors operating to get you back up their mountain. That’s 61% open. Snow tubing and terrain park is open as well.

Sapphire Valley – Open with both trails and the Frozen Falls Tubing park.


Ober Gatlinburg – 12-15″ base on 5 of 10 trails (50% OPEN) with everything groomed except Mogul Ridge. Snowmaking will resume as soon as temps allow.


Bryce Resort – 5 of 8 trails open (63% OPEN) for day sessions only on Sunday. They are looking pretty nice now that they’ve been able to open. I had to share their post where they wrote, “WE ARE OPEN!!!!! Redeye, Bootlegger, White Lightning and the beginner areas are waiting for the touch of your skis and boards.”

Omni Homestead Resort – Open for day sessions Sunday with 3 of 9 trails available. (33% OPEN). No tubing just yet. The Homestead opened for its 56th season on Saturday. Pretty sweet. Just as an FYI – we shipped a new webcam for up there this past week so hopefully we’ll see that running shortly. Stay tuned.

Massanutten Resort – Open with a base of 24″ of groomed conditions on 43% of their trails – that’s 6 of 14 slopes open for today. They also gave 10 lanes of snow tubing open. Mega zip and Kids Adventure course will open today weather permitting.

Wintergreen Resort – 28% OPEN with 7 of 25 trails. Snowtubing and terrain parks are open as well for day and night sessions. With amazing snowmaking capabilities and great weather for this coming week, expect a lot of slopes to open over the days ahead.

I was watching the webcams this morning and business is looking brisk this morning despite the slightly wet conditions. When Joe Stevens does his year-ending “Snowies” awards, he needs to give Wintergreen the “Best Mountain Blogger” award to these guys.

This morning they posted,

Don’t Fret, Cold Air Is On The Way!

Rain overnight is helping recharge our watershed, topping off snowmaking ponds and helping lower the water temperature.  Clouds will move out as temperatures fall throughout the day, we are headed to a low of 20 degrees overnight tonight.  This is GREAT news!

Our snowmaking plan is pretty straight forward.  We plan to open a lot more terrain for MLK weekend and freshen up trails already open.  Check this blog over the next week and follow our progress.  Based on today’s forecast we should put out over 28 million gallons of water by Friday, that is a lot of snow!

Wintergreen is looking pretty good today despite those rains mentioned that dropped 6-12″ off their Saturday base depth. They are reporting a base of 18-24″ today. By the way, here’s a shout out for the best snow tubing camera in the region: View Snow Tubing Webcam

Maybe that will be another “Snowie Award”.


My first stop in West Virginia is usually to the NWS station atop Snowshoe Mountain and then over to David Lesher’s “Canaan Mountain Snow” as those two very official reporting stations are great for providing me with about all that we need to know in terms of the weather. Kudos for those reports David!

I had to mention that this morning because as I logged into David’s Canaan Data he first comment jumped off of the page. He wrote:

Total winter snowfall to today is 7 inches, compared to mean of 64 inches for past 15 years.


Thankfully we’re seeing some changes in that weather pattern and maybe we’ll get some dumpings the rest of the way.

Timberline Resort – We’re going to show Timberline some love today as they were the only ski area to remain open in West Virginia in late December. They’ve fought the fight and things look pretty snowy via their webcam. VIEW TIMBERLINE WEBCAM

Timberline has 9 of 39 trails open (23% OPEN) with day sessions only on Sunday. Expect more to open this week with the awesome weather.

Canaan Valley Resort –  8 of 47 slopes and trails open (17% OPEN) for day sessions today. Tubing is opening this week as will more terrain.

Snowshoe Mountain – 37% OPEN with 22 of 60 slopes and trails. Sometimes people can get caught up in percentages, but 22 slopes and trails leads the region in open terrain. Snowshoe also has snow tubing and other mountain activities available including their popular terrain parks AND SNOWMOBILING!

Winterplace Resort – Open with 17 of 27 slopes and trails (63% OPEN) for day and night sessions. Light misty rain should transition over to snow today and conditions look really good for Sunday. Tubing is open as well.



Until next time…

Enjoy your day and THINK SNOW! THINK COLD! Email me anytime and about anything at: [email protected]


Also visit all of our Ski Resort WebCams.

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