That Sound You Hear Roaring Through the Mountains is Not a Train!

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…it is Snowmaking! We’ve already posted the snow report for this morning and while it doesn’t show any ski areas open in the region – it DOES show SEVEN of the seventeen ski areas as MAKING SNOW right now. I’m providing a quick glance rundown at the end of this post as far as who did and didn’t make snow and the morning temperatures.

This morning things are really hopping in my SkiMail inbox so you can tell that there IS a ton of pent up need to hear any good news. Joe Stevens called me this morning and he shared the title of this morning’s post and added, “Mike as far as we can tell, the four West Virginia ski resorts have 670 +/- snowguns blasting the trails in an effort to create a quality product for skiers and snowboarders as resorts look to open this weekend.”

Of the seven ski areas that are making snow right now, four of them are WV resorts and the other three are Cataloochee Ski Areas, Beech Mountain Resort and Sugar Mountain Resort – all in North Carolina.

Cataloochee’s Tammy Brown just emailed me a reference to Star Wars this morning as she wrote,

“The snowmaking force is with us and we will be reopening Saturday, December 19 at 8:30am.  Snowmaking resumed this morning at 5:30am.  This is a true testament to our ability to go from ground to open in little over 24 hours.  For our friends to the south and particularly in Florida, tell your folks there will be skiing in Maggie Valley and North Carolina on Saturday and for the Christmas holidays!”

60 snowguns aimed at one trail on Winterplace
60 snowguns aimed at one trail on Winterplace. Click to enlarge!

My friends – THAT IS the message that we’re hearing from across the region. columnist and WV Ski Areas spokesman, Joe Stevens also shared that as far as they can tell, the WV resorts will have a MAX of around 60 hours of snowmaking opportunities and that countdown clock started overnight last night. As far as we can see, the WV resorts and perhaps Cataloochee, Beech, Sugar and Wisp Resort may see around-the-clock snowmaking all day today, tonight and most if not ALL of Saturday and then Saturday night.  …and then brother there will be no more cold at least until AFTER New Year’s Day.

We kind of speculated on Thursday that ski areas might have chosen to make a ton of snow and sit on it until Christmas Day and into next weekend…because skiing and snowboarding on snow melts it as well. However, from all indications that theory or speculation on our part is out the window as we already know that Cataloochee and Snowshoe WILL open tomorrow and we’re hearing that Canaan Valley will as well. There’s no firm word on the others just yet.

So at this point it looks like those resorts that are making snow right now WILL BE OPENING ASAP (in some cases tomorrow) and then fight to stay open all this week and Christmas weekend. As I mentioned earlier, Tammy Brown and Cataloochee are “boldly going where no man has gone before” (a Star TREK reference) as they are stating emphatically that THEY WILL BE OPEN for Christmas and the Holidays.

I heard from a couple more emailers in the last 24 hours who are sharing our “ski no matter the weather” and with the forecast that we’re seeing, it would be cool as heck to get some photos and videos from those of you who “do it”.

(If any of you brave the conditions and elements and ride through the Holidays…email me your photos or vids at [email protected]

Right now the forecast for Snowshoe shows a 50-70% chance of showers from Saturday, December 26th and every day through the 1st. OF COURSE that could change and hopefully it will, but with highs in the upper 50s and 60s and no snow making and perhaps some showers…

By the way, that “under-developed snow” forecast (rain for you novices) holds true for the entire Southeast and mid-Atlantic…so it will be a massive challenge for ski areas to get open and stay open, but if anyone can do it…it is our ski areas of the region.


Will Everyone Get to Play?

We have never fielded the massive and pointed questions that we are getting right now. Perhaps the most often asked ones right now are about whether some of the ski areas will even GET open for Christmas.

Snowshoe Mountain making snow this AM at Silvercreek as well!
Snowshoe Mountain making snow this AM at Silvercreek as well!

Look, we are not Nostradamus but with the tools and resources available to us it is safe to say that the list of ski areas that will be open for Christmas Holiday skiing and snowboarding are as follows:

Beech Mountain Resort
Canaan Valley Resort
Cataloochee Ski Area
Snowshoe Mountain Resort
Timberline Resort
Sugar Mountain Resort
Wisp Resort

No Snowmaking As Yet This Morning at Wolf Ridge Resort.
No Snowmaking As Yet This Morning at Wolf Ridge Resort.

We THINK that Appalachian and PERHAPS Wolf Ridge will get open before Christmas, but right now there IS a question of whether or not the weather will provide enough cold temps to make enough snow to open and stay open. If the window of snowmaking ops shrink at all, you could see them opt to wait until January when things are forecasted to change.

Unfortunately, we are thinking that NONE of these ski areas will be able to make snow or enough snow to open for the Christmas Holiday week. To be clear, the resorts ARE OPEN for tons of other activities, but we don’t think that skiing or snowboarding will be among them. Those ski areas that we think will NOT be able to open for snow sports are:

Ober Gatlinburg – although they WILL be open for snow tubing and ice skating
Sapphire Valley Ski Area
Bryce Resort
Massanutten Resort
Wintergreen Resort
The Omni Homestead

Notice that all four ski areas in Virginia are on the list of “doubtfuls” as we’re really only seeing PERHAPS 12 hours of snowmaking in their forecast. The good news is that each of the Virginia resorts offer SO MANY other activities that a trip to those mountains would be awesome with or without snow.



A view this morning from the base of Wisp. The Camera will go LIVE this afternoon. Click to enlarge!
A LIVE view this morning from the base of Wisp. The Camera will go LIVE this afternoon so we can’t show you just yet! Click to enlarge

We’re proud to announce that Wisp Resort in Maryland is now a member of our network. A close webcam friend emailed me last week that she did a search on Google for “Ski Resort Cams” and “Ski Resort Webcams” and she noticed that we ranked NUMBER ONE in all of North America. Thanks for that shout out Jessica Steele of Winchester, Virginia.

A-n-y-w-a-y, back to Wisp Resort, thanks to Lori Epp, General Manager Jerry Geisler and their team for coming on board this season and we are very proud to present a brand new camera that has been installed on top of the Wisp Hotel which is at the foot of the base portion of their mountain.

You can click over and view that camera LIVE after 3pm today as Wisp’s marketing staff has asked us to debut the camera LIVE with their snowmaking efforts that should begin just before or after 3pm today.

We zoomed the camera in to catch a shot of Deep Creek Lake! Click to Enlarge!
We zoomed the camera in to catch a shot of Deep Creek Lake! Click to Enlarge!

This new camera will provide an AMAZING view of Squirrel Cage, The Face, and Devil’s Drop and some of their greens to the right – Possum and Wisp Trail. The camera can also catch a glimpse of Bear Claw Tubing Park AND the always impressive Deep Creek Lake.

For those who have not visited Wisp, this camera may fool you a little bit about the size and scope of this mountain as you’ll only see the front 25% of the mountain…but it’s a great shot.


Here’s Wisp’s Trail Map Which Shows How Large the Ski Area Actually Is! Click to Enlarge!



Parting Shots…

As I mentioned earlier, my SkiMail inbox has been flooded lately and I LOVE that so keep the comments coming. I can’t share every message, but here are a couple of notables (to me).

Sam Bradley wrote,

“Mike, thank you for your dedication to the daily updates and continued positive attitude in regards to this dreadful start to the ski season.  This has been a difficult time for those of us working at the NC ski mountains and your reports always keep the hope alive that the cold air will come to stay!  I’m sure you’re aware of how the closures affect the seasonal employees at the mountains but not everybody outside the region realizes it.  We rely on consistent hours just like the rest of the workforce and long closures like this put a strain on the seasonal workers.  This can be especially hard during the holiday season when expenses are typically higher than other months.

Thank you for all your hard work operating the site and promoting our wonderful mountains.  Next time you think cold thoughts remember the seasonal workers too!

Sam B.”

Our Favorite Ski Area Sister, Laura Parquette emailed:

Hi Mike, Hope you’re doing well! Thanks for the shout out in the snow report this morning 🙂 I’ve definitely been keeping my eye on things back East; it’s sad to see so much of the industry suffering through the early season. At the same time, I’m thrilled for our friends in Tahoe that winter has finally reemerged out there after four years.

I hope the weather does change as predicted in the New Year!

Laura Parquette
Keystone Resort Marketing

“Spider” wrote:

“This is my 10th year of following you guys and with all the questions and hoopla you are getting regarding the weather, I just wanted to say thank you for all you do for us here in the Southeast. Honest reporting and positive vibes during this rough start is not easy. I’m living by the motto of “how sweet it is”.  My thoughts are: when the weather finally breaks and we get some epic days, How Sweet lt Will Be!”  It’s a game of faith and patience now. Thank you again. Happy holidays to you and yours.”

Meteorologist Brad Panovich posted his latest Skier’s Forecast. Watch that at:  Skier’s Forecast


David Parks wrote,

“I don’t usually email website people but I wanted to say a huge thank you for your story on thursday. I was one of those people you talked about who has reservations the holidays and I was thinking of cancelling. Reading your story made me realize that when we’re on vacation the time on the slopes is minimal compared to time with my family. So we’ll be skiing in whatever mother nature brings next week. Thanks for the nudge.”

Editor’s Note: David, I don’t always respond to those kinds of posts because they can appear self-serving on our part. However, your email was received at a time when I was catching a few emails that were not very complimentary. Thanks. It meant a lot.

…and now for one of the few yuck emails that I got.


Gene W from Greensboro, NC wrote,

“I don’t know where you get off telling your readers that we should ignore the weather and just throw away hard money on a ski trip that will probably be crap. I don’t go on a trip to bond with my family. We do that every day. I go to snowboard and if the snow isn’t worth a damn, I don’t want to spend the money. Screw your holier than thou mentality!”

Editor’s Note: Well there you go. One guy gets it and another thinks I’m an idiot. The truth is “I DO get it.” Another emailer mentioned that they only GET a few vacation days a year that they can take off and with the weather being so uncooperative they want to schedule days off when they can do a great ski trip. So they’re cancelling the trip for next week and hoping for another few days in January or February.

That said, I would never presume that I or we speak for everyone. We are simply ONE VOICE among the tens of thousands of you guys who share the same passion that we do for all things snow.


As Promised, Here Was a Breakdown of What We Saw as of 8am This Morning:

36° – Appalachian Ski Mountain – no snowmaking yet
26° – Beech Mountain Resort – Snowmaking began this morning!

28° – Canaan Valley Resort – Making snow and planning to open Saturday with 6 Trails from the top – offering beginner to advanced terrain. Snow making will be in progress this weekend.

23° – Snowshoe Mountain Resort – Making Snow across the Silvercreek, Cupp and Northern Terrain and plan on reopening Saturday at 9am. Expecting a couple of inches of natural snow tonight. Please check out This Week On The Mountain for alternate activities such as RZR Tours, Sporting Clays, Yoga, and more.

28° – Timberline Resort – Making Snow!

31° – Winterplace Resort – Making Snow! Joe Stevens reported that on ONE of their trails they are blasting 60 snowguns to get open soon!

25° – Wisp Resort – Not making snow

29.5° – Cataloochee Ski Area – Making Snow began at 5:30am and they plan to reopen on Saturday at 8:30am

29° – Ober Gatlinburg – Not making snow but they are open for tubing

26° – Sugar Mountain Resort – Snowmaking is in progress. The slopes are closed and will reopen as soon as weather permits. Ice Skating is open with sessions at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 8pm.

37° – Sapphire Valley Ski Area – not making snow
31° – Wolf Ridge Resort – not making snow
36° – Hawksnest – not making snow

36° – Bryce Resort – Not making snow
37° – Massanutten Resort – Not making snow
30° – Wintergreen Resort – Not making snow
35° – The Omni Homestead – Not making snow

Until next time…

Enjoy your day and THINK SNOW! THINK COLD! …and Start a Prayer effort! Email me anytime and about anything at: [email protected]


Also visit all of our Ski Resort WebCams.

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