The Last Challenging Day for Resorts is Today as SNOW and COLD hits later today and sticks around for a few weeks!

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Today should be the last “challenging day” for ski areas as cold and snow returns!

As of this writing (update at 9am) we have had three or four downpours of rain and that is certain to play havoc with the conditions at all ski resorts that are getting this kind of flow!  I’d expect all resorts to be looking a bit worn…particularly the North Carolina and Virginia resorts.  Believe it or not, I just heard thunder rumbling!  This is a very spring-like storm.  However the good news is that this front is backed by some VERY COLD air and as soon as it kicks in this rain will change to snow.  That should happen around 1-3pm in North Carolina.

It is really good (from a reporters viewpoint) to see the Virginia resorts ALL adjusting their base depths yesterday.  Maybe enough talk was going around of our harping on the subject, maybe coincidence, who knows…but it was good to see.  All of the Virginia Resorts dropped their bases by 4-6” since yesterday when we called out a few.

Wintergreen Resort has fixed their Big Acorn Lift, but they are still challenged by the mild weather and fighting to keep good skiing lanes open.  Here’s what Frankee Love up there said, “The Big Acorn lift is OPEN ! ! Snowmaking efforts will resume as soon as conditions permit in an effort to increase our base on current trails and add more terrain. Today, we will be skiing and riding on 15 trails and 5 lifts will be running. The Plunge and the Slide are experiencing challenging conditions but we are doing our best to have some lanes open.”

Expect Wet Conditions today in Virginia and some thin and bare spots.  Thank goodness the snow and cold is hitting today and the snowmaking crews can get back to work.  Conditions will quickly improve and I’d bet Sunday will be sweet.  Monday sweeter and then this cold weather is supposed to hold for at least two weeks with more snow and cold in the forecast beyond that.  Some areas are expecting significant snowfall today.

The forecast is for 4-6” of snow around Cataloochee.
4-7” + around Beech, Sugar and Hawksnest resorts in North Carolina
Snowshoe, Canaan and Timberline are looking at 8” +

The West Virginia resorts are looking at a rain to snow event today.  Expect wet conditions early and then snow late.  None of the resorts made snow in WV either even though one reporting service is saying that they did.  The snowguns WILL crank up later today though! Though the West Virginia resorts are in better shape right now, they too have had to close a trail or two. Canaan Valley closed 5 trails since yesterday.

Most resorts are showing slightly less base this morning than yesterday and with the moderate rain that was falling overnight and as of 6:45am this morning, you can bet that some thin coverage and bare areas are showing on some slopes and that the base depths should reflect more of a drop.  HOWEVER, the GREAT news is that this may be the last of the mild air for awhile!  Yahoo!  Cold air returns around lunchtime today and along with it some natural snow.  All of the snowguns will be firing as well and we should see some amazing conditions shortly.  We’ll see improving conditions with each passing hour!  The next two weeks features COLD, snowmaking temps and you can bet that resorts will be taking great advantage of it.
Gil Adams of Ski Beech even hinted that The Oz Run may be opening soon.  Maybe Top Gun at Hawksnest may get opened.  I was up at Hawksnest yesterday and spoke with Duggan up there and he said to expect the guns to be blasting as soon as temps allow.

We’re expecting to see some decent natural snow beginning today and overnight tonight so conditions will be good today, very nice tonight and GREAT for Sunday and beyond.

Check back later today for updates on the snowfall, some updated photos and comments as we’ll post updates as warranted.

Good Skiers and Riders here in the High Country –

I was blessed to be able to hang out with the 6th, 7th and 8th graders of Valle Crucis as they made a class day, field trip to Hawksnest yesterday and it is amazing to see the good skiers and snowboarding among the 11, 12, 13 and 14 year olds in that group.  Cody Bauer who is in the 6th grade at Valle Crucis and a member of my soccer team (The Appnet Little Dots), and daughter to a mom and dad instructor team at Sugar Mountain, is a good little snowboarder.  The amazing part is that she was only snowboarding yesterday because she just got new race skis and her dad didn’t want her skiing on them at Hawksnest yesterday.  The point is that she’s an even better skier and snowboarder.  Cody competes on the race team at Sugar and skis three to four times a week.  There were others in the group yesterday, including a young boy named Christian who could FLY, and Carrigan Doble (yes my daughter) who was probably the best form skier out there yesterday.

I also watched as several 7th and 8th graders were throwing down to nice moves on the snow hits, boxes and rails on Sock Em Dog.  It was really cool to see the kind of quality riders we have in the area and they were doing it for no reason other than the fact that they love to ski and ride.

Here’s some more notes around the area:

Cataloochee Resort is expecting 2-4” of snow today and they are also wanting everyone to know that The Cat Cage Terrain park is open making them 100% open from 8:30am- 10pm with day, twilight and night skiing only. Weekend rates in effect. Tubing open from 10am until 10pm today. Ski Country Sports Demo Day is on Sunday, February 5 and US Ski Team Day on February 10, our kickoff for the Olympics, when we will donate $1 out of each lift ticket sold that day to help the Olympic Team GO FOR THE GOLD! Look them up on the web at  for more information.

Ski Beech is expecting to crank up the snowguns first today as temps will drop quickest at the high elevations of 5,000+ feet!  They are self-reporting some thin spots (way to go Ski Beech) and they are running 12 trails today on a 12-24” base.

Sugar Mountain has been doing a nice job of reporting base and snowfalls this season. However they need to kick in with the self reporting of thin coverage and bare spots which they are not reporting this morning but they do have plenty of. Nevertheless Sugar is looking pretty decent with good snow in the main trail area and a base of 12-49”. If you’re into watching some really good skiers and riders you should check out the USSA Races this weekend-9am till 12 noon on Sugar Slalom only.  Sugar will be firing up the snowguns the moment the cold and snow hits today so take your goggles.

Wolf Laurel is still operating with 12 trails although their base depth is wrong.  They haven’t changed the base depth on their report in two weeks and snow melts down there as well.  So expect variable conditions…but also expect some thin coverage and bare spots there.  Until we see their base depth adjusted we’re just reporting “good snow”.

In closing, it will be a pleasure not to have to worry about base depths for a few weeks (other than to hope that resorts will keep it real) because some snow and plenty of COLD temps should kick in today and stick around for the next two weeks AT LEAST. Looks like this TIMELY WINTER that I keep writing about has made it such that our resorts have weathered the hard part, remained in decent shape and NOW THE FUN BEGINS!!!!
THINK SNOW AND COLD…maybe we can get a foot of snow out this just yet!

Until Next Time!

Be sure to email photos, snow reports and comments to: [email protected]

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