Weather – and whether we’ll see cold air anytime soon.


We received a lot of emails this weekend asking about the weather. Everyone obviously wants to know when will ski areas without "Snowshoe" in their name be able to make snow again and get open. Thanksgiving is November 26th and that is the traditional starting date for a lot of the ski areas. We’ve posted the startup dates for the ski areas over on the Snow Report page.

Appalachian Ski Mountain has previously announced Friday, November 20th as an opening date. Ski Beech hopes to be able to open on the following day. If you’ve been planning to attend those opening dates we’d suggest that you keep checking back here daily and we’ll keep you up to date with any changes in weather that might enable them to get open. Barring some crazy change in the forecast neither App nor Beech will be able to get open until later in the month.

Snowshoe Mountain has an announced opening date of November 25th – the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving day – and there is an outside chance that they could still make that date, but it’s looking more likely that Snowshoe will be delaying their startup date as well. This is NOT an official statement coming from Snowshoe, but our estimation based on what we’re seeing. Snowshoe is great about keeping their fans informed and they will no doubt be updating us as soon as they make that call.

Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, NC and Sugar Mountain Resort in Banner Elk both have been sitting on ready to make snow and open on a day’s notice. Only Cataloochee and Snowshoe have made snow thus far and only Snowshoe has done so for more than a day or so. (Snowshoe made snow for 48 straight this past Thursday/Friday.)

Ski resort snowmaking crews have to have some sustained cold temps in the 20s to around 30° (or colder) to make snow and one glance at the weather forecast tells us that ski areas will be pushing back their announced opening dates to reflect "opening as soon as weather permits".

Here’s the forecast for the next several days:

Western NC:
We’re looking at highs in the 50s and as high as 66° today. (50s for the rest of the week). Overnight lows are only forecasted to dip as low as 38-39° all the way through Sunday the 22nd. According to the NWS we’re looking at some chances of drizzle and slightly cooler temps with highs in the upper 40s and lows in the low 30s (32-33°) for Monday-Wednesday, November 23-25th.

Tweak the forecast above UP a degree or two through the period and you have the forecast for most of the Virginia ski areas. A closer look at Massanutten’s forecast shows the lowest temp at 36° for Wednesday, November 25th. Ditto that forecast for Wintergreen Resort in Nellysford, Virginia.

Ober Gatlinburg doesn’t usually look to crank up until the first of December so the forecast isn’t all that important for them just yet. However, they are looking at slightly milder temps than those in North Carolina and Virginia with lows dipping into the mid 30s around the 25th of November. No snowmaking prior to that.

As mentioned earlier, Snowshoe Mountain has made snow perhaps as many as five to seven days thus far and as late as late last week. The snowguns are off for now and the long range forecast looks like there will be no snowmaking until a week from today, Monday or Tuesday (November 24th-25th) when temps are forecasted to dip into the upper 20s and low 30s. The forecast for Canaan and Timberline are basically the same with only a degree or two tweak milder.

Ditto Canaan and Timberline’s forecast for Wisp Resort in Maryland.

So as you can see, the weather forecast isn’t looking condusive for snowmaking through at least Monday, November 23rd and it is borderline for the next day or two past that. So Thanksgiving skiing and snowboarding isn’t looking like a viable reality right now for most all of the ski resorts of the region. Obviously with the unbelievable advances in snowmaking technology our resorts can make snow and open in a day or two with the right weather conditions.

Of course the weather can turn on a dime at the highest elevations of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic, but the consensus of most of our weather guru unput is telling us that we might want to adjust our opening day expectations for something closer to the end of the month or the first of December.

So get on your treadmill, work on those ski and snowboarding muscles and be ready because sooner or later we’ll be hitting the slopes!

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