First Trax

Story by Mike Doble – [email protected]

The lead title to this story is all you need to know about the top question being asked via my INBOX this morning! The answer is still "up in the air" right now but we do our best to answer it at the tail end of today's BLOG. Read on!

For the second weekend in a row, Due to weather the Sugarfest Rail Jam has been rescheduled to Saturday, December 22nd.  Contact Mark Newton at Alpine Ski Center for reschedule details.  828-898-9701 x221.

The weather IS the top story for today, and we provide you the LATEST news on when to expect cold and snow below. So scroll on down for that or take a moment and check out the OPEN resorts right now and what's available at each. We take things in reverse order today…


Ober's Tubing Hill this morning!

These guys are doing some magic over in the Great Smokies. How they've been able to get enough snow to make for SEVEN really, quite beautiful lanes of snow tubing is something worthy of reporting to the Catholic Church. Ober got tubing open early and have been able to keep it open. I watched them grooming the tubing park early this AM. Check out the snow tubing fun at: http://www.resortcams.com/webcameras-ober-gatlinburg.php

WISP RESORT – 43° – Ski Resort is OPEN with 2 trails and 2 lifts as well as ice skating and their fantastic mountain coaster. They also have 2 lanes of snow tubing and ice skating open. Wisp will be offering skiing and snowboarding til 5pm today.

– 41° – They are open with the best conditions in the region. Nobody is going to debate that one right now. Snowshoe has 21 trails open with 7 lifts getting you back up the hill. Conditions are variable and the basin is open til 4:30pm and the Silver Creek trails are being reported as of 8am to be open until 9pm tonight.

ABOVE SEE the bottom of Ball Hooter at Snowshoe from 9:30am this morning showing GREAT conditions!

Snowshoe writes, "We have 78 acres of terrain available today. Progression Session Park and Robertson's Run are open with 16 features including 11 rails and 5 jumps. Skill Builder Park, formerly Cubb Run, is open as a beginner trail. Please be aware of variable conditions across the mountain. Snow is in the forecast for Monday night through Tuesday night. Demo Days will be from 9am – 4:30pm today in the Village. Come check out the latest gear from the best in the business. Groomer's Choice is Powder Monkey."

Sugar is looking pretty thin at the bottom this morning…

SUGAR MOUNTAIN RESORT – 37.9° – 2 trails, 1 lift and a reported thin coverage and some bare spots (4-20" base) and they are open today and tonight…

BEECH MOUNTAIN RESORT – 45° – OPEN for DAY SESSION ONLY with 4 trails and 2 lifts. Wet & Variable conditions with thin coverage and bare areas on a base of 6-24".

The front of Beech's website says they are open for night sessions tonight. They are not so be advised. Ice skating IS OPEN!

CATALOOCHEE SKI AREA – 44.9° – OPEN for day sessions only today with 3 trails and 2 lifts on a base of 10-28" with some thin coverage. Things will be wet and variable today. Cataloochee has the best conditions in the state right now.

…Cataloochee is shown via their webcam this morning looking in decent shape, especially considering the weather.



Frankly with some RAIN in the forecast for today and Monday, I'm thinking that you'll see Sugar and Beech CLOSED again on Monday of this week. We'll update you with that news tomorrow morning. As far as the rest, most of the ski areas are now aiming at Friday, December 21st as the target date to open with a few exceptions to that as shown below. Many of the ski resorts like Appalachian or Massanutten are simply going to open the moment they can. If a freak cold wave hits one day, they'll be open the next.  Right now the cold and snow looks to be allowing for a WEEKEND opening of December 21st or 22nd at those resorts not open now.


Canaan Valley Resort – Plans to open Friday, December 26th. Canaan wrote, "To allow our snowmakers adequate time to develop the best skiing conditions for our guest, the opening date has been extended to Wednesday, December 26th. Visit our website pages for special value season lodging and lift ticket offers available through December 28th."

Timberline Resort – Plans to open Friday, December 21st.
Winterplace Resort – Plans to open Friday, December 21st.


Bryce Resort – Has made some snow and plans to open as soon as possible.

Massanutten Resort – Plans to open as soon as possible. They have some good snow made and only need 2-3 nights of great weather and they could get open. That should come this week. See their LIVE CAMS at: http://www.resortcams.com/webcameras-massanutten-base.php

Wintergreen Resort – Plans to open Friday, December 21st or as soon after as possible.

NO REPORT from The Homestead Resort


Appalchian Ski Mountain – As soon as possible
Sapphire Valley – Hopes to open December 21st.
Wolf Ridge Resort – NO REPORT


Right now the hoped for COLD and SNOWY pattern isn't QUITE materializing the way that some weather gurus have been forecasting. It IS going to be more seasonable, but if you're looking for pristine conditions, you'll have to pay CLOSE attention to us each and every day beginning right now and through this week.

The latest long-range forecast for the NC Mountain (ditto for Virginia and Tennesseee with perhaps a notch milder temps) is for some snowmaking temps to arrive Tuesday night and THEY SHOULD last through Monday the 24th (Christmas Eve). However there are some models that are showing slightly milder temps arriving around Christmas Day or slightly before as Pacific air continues to keep our cold periods rather short, as has been the case the past few weeks.

We've broken the forecast down for you guys by state and we think you'll get a better idea of what to expect for your favorite vacation spot.


Despite the temps forecasted Tuesday night's low could also be in the 31° range. Wednesday nights may not allow for snowmaking. Friday the 21st looks very nice and should whiten up the slopes! With this forecast it will be a challenge to see significant terrain open up although with SIX potential nights of snowmaking there is no question that things will be GOOD. (Not great and not tons of terrain, but GOOD.)

Monday: Hi 55 Lo 33 – showers
Tuesday: Hi 46 Lo 28 – windy
Wednesday: Hi 54 Lo 30 – sunny
Thursday: Hi 49 Lo 25 – chance of rain then snow
Friday: Hi 36 Lo 24 – Chance of snow (looks good)
Saturday: Hi 45 Lo 26 – Seasonably chilly
Sunday: Hi 41 Lo 25 – Partly Cloudy
Monday: Hi 41 Lo 25 – Mostly Cloudy
Christmas: Hi 45 Lo 29 – ???


Monday: Hi 59 Lo 44 – showers
Tuesday: Hi 53 Lo 33 – windy
Wednesday: Hi 59 Lo 34 – sunny
Thursday: Hi 53 Lo 32 – chance of rain
Friday: Hi 41 Lo 26 – Sunny
Saturday: Hi 48 Lo 28 – Seasonably chilly
Sunday: Hi 46 Lo 25 – Partly Cloudy
Monday: Hi 43 Lo 25 – Partly Cloudy
Christmas: Hi 48 Lo 30 – ???

As you can see, things will be very challenging for the VA resorts to make ANY snow until perhals Friday night. With three to four nights of snowmaking starting only around Friday night, they will be hard pressed to open for Christmas. We'd expect them to all OPEN perhaps around the 24th or 26th.


Monday: Hi 47 Lo 35 – showers
Tuesday: Hi 36 Lo 26 – SNOW!
Wednesday: Hi 47 Lo 31 – sunny
Thursday: Hi 42 Lo 22 – ???
Friday: Hi 25 Lo 18 – SNOW and COLD!
Saturday: Hi 33 Lo 19 – SNOW and COLD!
Sunday: Hi 33 Lo 18 – Partly Cloudy AND COLD
Monday: Hi 31 Lo 17 – Partly Cloudy
Christmas: Hi 36 Lo 23 – ???

IS there is ANY doubt as to why things are looking so good up in West Virginia? SNOW is in the forecast Tuesday, maybe Thursday, Friday, Saturday and maybe on Christmas Day.

There are also near-perfect snowmaking temps on tap for SIX nights with perhaps FOUR day and nights of around-the-clock snowmaking opportunities.

All we can say is "West Virginia is Wild and Wonderful"…and they should be in great shape to be open with VERY NICE conditions and a fair amount of open terrain. Snowshoe is already open with 21 trails and we can only forecast perhaps 2/3rds or more of their terrain being open by Christmas if not more.

That's enough out of me for today. Email me your thoughts and reactions at: [email protected]

FOLLOW US on Twitter for up-to-date news (like when it SNOWS) and for the best chances to WIN our FREE LIFT PASSES, VACATIONS, FREES SKIS, FREE SNOWBOARD and more! We're giving a LOT away this season and all you have to do is FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, Subscribe to our SkiMail list at the bottom of every page of the website OR Join Us on the SnoForum at http://www.skinorthcarolina.com/messageboard/

They're ALL FREE to Join, Subscribe or Follow Us and we promise to keep you well-informed. Share our website with your friends. We'd appreciate it a lot.


Previous Post
Day 15 of our Christmas Giveaway
Next Post
Related Posts