Weird Temps, Notes and Quotes today!

First Trax

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Temperatures are all over the place this morning and some of them are pretty crazy so we thought we’d give you guys a tour across all of the resorts of the Southeast today. As an example of the crazy temps, the low this morning over in some of the valleys of Western North Carolina was 18° while up at the 5506’ elevations of Beech Mountain it was 40°. That’s a 22° difference in just five miles!

The variances in temperature meant that some resorts were not able to make snow overnight. The good news is that a lot of resorts made snow all Monday night and all day on Tuesday. Many made snow last night until temps went weird on us! Here’s a quick rundown and some resort notes.

Appalachian’s low was 38° and they did not make snow last night, although they did Monday night. The temps were too mild to make snow on Tuesday at the Blowing Rock, NC mountain, while just a few miles away, Sugar, Beech and Hawksnest were making snow most all day! App has nice conditions for Wednesday on 6 trails, including their award winning terrain park.

Cataloochee’s low was 20° and they did make snow overnight although we’re not seeing the guns on at 8:30am. They have 6 trails open today as well.

Hawksnest is reporting 38° and no snowmaking. They have 40% of their mountain open and Wednesday is Ladies Day! Ladies receive a free lift ticket! Come and enjoy! Thursday is Free Lesson Thursday! Anyone renting their equipment from Hawksnest will receive a free lesson on Thursday. Snow tubing is closed until colder air arrives.

Sapphire Valley’s report this morning is confusing. They made snow and their own reports shows base depths and 2 slopes open, yet their detailed comments submitted states, “Sapphire Valley Ski Area and Frozen Falls Tube Park will open Thursday, January 4th at 5:00 pm, weather permitting. Call ahead 828 743 1162. So call ahead if you’re thinking of heading that way!

Ski Beech is reporting 40° this morning! Happily they made snow all day yesterday. The guns were firing early and as of 3pm we saw guns still blasting the slopes. We also watched some skiers coming down the newly reopened Lower Shawneehaw slope and even though the guns were still blazing, it was obvious that there was still thin coverage and bare areas to fix. They did manage to coat the Lower Shawneehaw slope enough to vastly improve it and the Powder Bowl looks very nice this morning. Today is Retro Rate Wednesday with $16 lift tickets.

Sugar Mountain made snow all day Tuesday and even though the temp at 8:45am this morning is 37° on Sugar, they still have some of the guns blasting the slopes. The temp must be hovering slightly colder in some sections of the mountain for them to be making snow. Expect the guns to stop soon. Sugar does look pretty nice this morning.

Wolf Laurel made snow and they are looking nice this morning on their 3 open trails.

Bryce Resort made snow according to their report. They too have 3 open trails and groomed conditions for Wednesday.

Massanutten reported 40° this morning and therefore no snowmaking went down. They have 2 trails open and tubing has 4 lanes available.

Wintergreen Resort is showing 42° this morning and no snowmaking. They have 4 trails open today.

Canaan Valley is reporting 41° this morning and some snowmaking on Tuesday. They have 7 trails open.

Snowshoe Mountain has some crazy temps this morning! How about 25° at their base and 39° atop their 4848’ elevations. They made snow all Tuesday and some last night. Expect very nice conditions on their 33 open trails.

Timberline Resort reported 36° this morning and they made snow on Tuesday and last night. They have 11 trails open and nice conditions. Be aware that Timberline celebrates a “Wild West Weekend” January 5-7th. Pam Long writes, “The Timbers Grill and Pub and the Timberhaus Cafeteria in full swing to serve the guests for the Winter Wild West Weekend. The Saddle Tramps, becoming one of Timberline’s favorite groups, is back. Joe, Willis, Bill and Dee will be appearing at the Timber’s Pub 4 pm to 9 pm Friday and Saturday. JB Tenney and Macho Willie will perform from 9 pm to 1 am Friday and Saturday. There is no cover charge for any performance.”

Winterplace Resort made snow Tuesday as well and they too are enjoying nice conditions today on 7 groomed trails.

Wisp Resort at Deep Creek did not report any snowmaking. Their temp this morning was 27° at the base of the mountain and 32° up top and yet no guns were shown running via their numerous live cams. Probably had something to do with the dew point or something technical, because their Star Wars-like system senses when those guns can fire and something must have kept them from going. Wisp is reporting bare spots on several trails, but does have 14 open on Wednesday.

Ober Gatlinburg reopens at noon today. They had to make snow Monday night and into Tuesday and they have 3 trails open today.


Tuesday was one busy day! We received quite a few announcements, press releases and updates and we posted those. If you missed any, feel free to view the archives. It’s easy to catch up on anything that you may have missed. All you have to do is click to read any of the newest articles and you’ll see the archived articles over to the right side of the page.

How Much Does Sugar Pay Us? That was the question posed by “Johnny” on Tuesday. He took one look at the camera that we have posted at the bottom of the mountain, saw that it was turned towards the old convenience store across the road and assumed that we had turned it away since (in his words) “Conditions were so bad at Sugar”. His question read, “So how much does Sugar pay you to turn the cam up the street away from the slopes when conditions are bad and or crowded?”

That’s really funny. It’s obvious that Johnny hasn’t been a long time visitor to this website or he’d know that actually Sugar Mountain is the only resort of the 17 resorts of the Southeast that does not participate or involve themselves in any way with SkiNC or For the record, the cams experience power surges or outages and when they reboot, they don’t default back to the slopes. Often they will aim at the ground, rocks or in this case – a convenience store! We positioned the cam back and zoomed in to Sugar mid afternoon on Tuesday to show Sugar making snow and in pretty nice condition!

People are a HOOT! You guys should see some of the emails that we receive. Yesterday, three stood out. One was from Anita who wanted to know WHY Ski Beech had not yet attempted to make snow on the Oz Run as yet. Another was Paul who asked if we had any news on why Sugar has not attempted to make snow on the Big Red Run as yet. The third was from Tom who stated his disapproval over the fact that Snowshoe had not made snow on The Cupp Run as yet!

WHAT!!! Some people email us daily wondering how in the heck the resorts can have ANY snow, and yet other write and wonder why xyz resort isn’t making snow on second-tier trails???!!!

For the newbies to this site, we will quickly address the questions. Resorts have their basic coverage areas that they MUST have to be open. For Appalachian it’s the main hill that faces the base lodge; for Beech it’s the Powder Bowl area and then up to Lower Shawneehaw and then finally to Upper Shawneehaw. Each resort has their own basic terrain that needs to be open to offer skiing. Once they have been able to create a good, LASTING base on that terrain, then they will venture to other trails. For Beech, that would be trails such as Robbins Run, White Lightning and The Oz Run.

The weather during December simply never gave resorts the opportunity to make snow on “secondary” trails. They were too busy fighting to KEEP snow on the basic terrain that they never got the chance to expand open terrain. Not YET anyway. That WILL happen sometime later this month…we hope!

Another cute email came from “Lynn” who wrote, “We’re new to the area and we’re trying to find the best spot to take the kids to experience snow. Where would be the best place to go on Saturday, Sunday or Monday to see some snow??? Thanks!”

Lynn other than a dusting or two of snow thus far this winter across most of the region, you’d have better odds of winning the lottery than to have experienced snow thus far. Right now, your best chances would be Kansas or Denver!

I’ve personally been pretty lucky thus far…having been on the scene at various resorts to have experienced about six inches of snowfall this season. Of course, that’s off by a whopping percentage that I don’t care to relate right now! Even Snowshoe Mountain, which typically has received 50-80 inches of snow by now…has only seen 13” thus far on the season.

Lynn, that will change sometime later this month. Maybe your odds will be pretty sweet as Old Man Winter will have to be in “catch up mode” for the latter part of January and into February and March!

Record Holiday Numbers!

We’ve had some emails from people inquiring how the resorts fared during the all-important Christmas Holiday period. We haven’t heard from all resorts, but we can tell you that resorts were able to make enough snow just prior to the Holidays to keep snow on the slopes. We have heard from numerous lodging clients who have told us that “people came, despite the conditions”. That is good news!

Pam Long at Timberline Resort in West Virginia wrote, “Timberline Ski Resort had FULL OCCUPANCY over the Holiday Week.”

Andrea Smith of Snowshoe Mountain reported, “Fortunately, we are having a phenomenal holiday season even with only 12 inches of natural snowfall.” I also met with Snowshoe’s Ed Galford during the Holidays and he told me that Snowshoe had more than 6600 people on the mountain each day during the Holiday period.

Cataloochee’s Tammy Brown also shared, "Cataloochee has had record crowds so far this season."

Another Holiday weekend is fast approaching in the four day weekend of Martin Luther King. That is January 12th through the 15th. The Christmas to New Year’s period, combined with MLK and President’s Weekends are crucial to the financial success of every resort. We have some continued roller-coaster weather in the forecast so we can hope that conditions will allow for snowmaking such that resorts can provide a good product for the visitors for those periods.

Email your comments and photos to [email protected]

Until Next Time…


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