Ski Resorts Fighting to Open More Terrain for the Christmas Week Ahead

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Groomers were out early at Beech Mountain this morning!

As I was getting up and about my normal routine this morning – I saw that Beech Mountain was blasting away at the slopes with manmade showers of powdery snow. I happened to be watching the live stream during those moments just before the dawn of a new day when things look a little bit magical when I noticed one of Beech’s snow grooming crew coming out of that manmade blizzard. That reminded me yet again of just how hard these guys all work to make our fun on the slopes – that much more enjoyable.

The clouds atop Beech this morning created a mirage of sorts that looked more like a lake below. The image isn’t crystal clear due to cam. Click to Enlarge.

Once I got to my office and sat down to begin the process of touring all of the resorts, gathering my notes, email input, etc… I noticed that Beech’s snowguns were all already OFF and upon checking out the Summit Cam at the top of their 5506′ elevations I caught ANOTHER bit of magic.

If you live or visit the top of Beech often enough, you’ll be blessed to catch the magic that happens relatively often when the “sea of clouds” hover perhaps 1000-1500′ below allowing the peaks of the surrounding mountains to jut out above them as if you were catching a view of some great lake below.  Such was the view from atop Beech Mountain this morning at around 8am.

Another observation from this morning’s look around the region is that while we’re seeing about the same temps this morning as Monday morning for much of the North Carolina mountains (30s) – it is even colder into the WV mountains than it was 24 hours ago.

Interestingly enough, while it is 32° as of 9am at Snowshoe Mountain, the overnight low was just above 20° at midnight. We saw some scattered snow flurries around the High Country and into VA, WV and Maryland, but nothing significant to report. We continue to be in a “snow-deprived” start to the season but at least we are seeing the kind of snowmaking temperatures that are making the slopes look great.

Since snowmaking and slope openings are on the minds of our readers – we thought we would share WHO made snow and who was not able to AND which resorts are winning the “trails race” across the region.

Check out these 7-8am temps: (Unless noted, resorts MADE SNOW.)

13° – Canaan Valley Resort (trace of snow)
13° – Timberline Resort (trace of snow)
14° – Bryce Resort
17° – Winterplace Resort
18° – Wisp Resort
19° – Massanutten Resort
23° – Ober Gatlinburg
23° – Omni Homestead
30° – Cataloochee Ski Area
31° – Beech Mountain Resort
32° – Snowshoe Mountain
32° – Sugar Mountain Resort
33° – Wolf Ridge Resort (did not make snow last two nights)
33° – Sapphire Valley (did not make snow last few nights and are CLOSED)
37° – Appalachian Ski Mountain (did not make snow)
37° – Wintergreen Resort (made snow overnight)

Check the SNOW REPORT for all of the particulars, but suffice to say that most all of the ski areas were able to make snow; they’ve all groomed it to corduroy perfection and if you’re blessed to be able to be on the slopes today, you will have an AWESOME DAY of it.

For today, we thought we’d provide an update on the percentages of all of the resorts trail openings. So here we go.

88% – Bryce Resort – 7 of 8 trails open.
83% – Appalachian Ski Mountain – 10 of 12 trails open.
63% – Winterplace Resort – 17 of 27 trails open.
60% – Beech Mountain Resort – 9 of 15 trails open.
58% – Snowshoe Mountain – 33 of 57 trails open. (121 acres/most in region)
56% – Cataloochee Ski Area – 10 of 18 trails open.
50% – Ober Gatlinburg – 5 of 10 trails open.
43% – Massanutten Resort – 6 of 14 trails open.
43% – Sugar Mountain Resort – 9 of 21 trails open.
40% – Wolf Ridge Resort – 6 of 15 trails open.
38% – Wintergreen Resort – 9 of 24 trails open.
35% – Wisp Resort – 12 of 34 trails open.
28% – Canaan Valley Resort – 13 of 47 trails open. (Added 3 since Monday.)

0% – Omni Homestead – 0 of 9 trails open. Opens Friday.
0% – Sapphire Valley – 0 of 2 trails open. Need cold to reopen.
0% – Timberline Resort – 0 of 39 trails open. Opens Friday. TRACE of snow.

We should see more slope openings with some additional snowmaking temps ahead although there are also some days ahead with some forecast of light rain as well. So we’ll have to see how everything comes together and I’m certain Meteorologist Brad Panovich will bring us the latest as we get closer to the end of the week.

While the weather pattern thus far HAS provided sufficient cold for snowmaking, we sure could use a bit more in the form of consistent cold temps and snow. Someone sent me the latest snowcover map of the United States and it is frustrating to say the least to see how LITTLE natural snowfall we have received so far compared to NORMAL. Perhaps I’ll save that bit of data for another day.

Let’s all THINK SNOW!

That’s going to do it for me. Email me as you prefer at: [email protected]

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