Wolf Ridge and Sapphire CLOSED FOR THE SEASON and Ober Gatlinburg is Closed today…and may be next.

First Trax

Update by Mike Doble – [email protected]  

Well it’s official – Wolf Ridge Resort in North Carolina has officially closed for the season. Although this is not confirmed, this had to be one of the shorter ski and snowboarding seasons for Orville and his crew in many, many years. Unfortunately they simply didn’t have a lot of weather to work with all season long and we’re thinking that they never saw more than 11 trails (of their 22 slopes) open at any point in the season. They only saw 13" of natural snow all season long which is only 20% of their normal 65" annually.

Cataloochee Ski Area updated their report to reflect that they are NOT open for night skiing tonight. That is PROBABLY weather related as Cat looks pretty good at their base and only a little "discolored" from Upper Omigosh looking down at the lodge area. There’s a lot of snow/base on the sides there. Their powerful snowmaking plant (and team) have done an awesome job of making and maintaining snow as their 12 of 16 open trails attests to.

That leaves Cataloochee as the only ski area open in the Western-MOST part of the state and the Smokies as Sapphire Valley already closed for the season earlier in the week and Ober Gatlinburg in Tennessee closed today.

Sugar Mountain is holding up "O-K-A-Y" although they are down to 13 of 20 trails with bare areas and a lot of thin coverage. Several people have emailed asking about skiing Big Red. That trail is closed and you guys would KNOW that if you hit up the LIVE STREAMING cams. See: http://www.highcountrywebcams.com/webcameras_SugarSki.htm

Beech Mountain Resort is actually open with 10 of 15 trails. Has anyone else noticed that the TITLE to Beech’s website is "Blue Skies, Great Conditions!" (That’s way up on top of your browser, not on their actual website. Maybe they jinxed this season!)

Just kiddin’ because it’s amazing that the resort south of West Virginia have been able to keep the slopes that they have open – operating non-stop this season! One look at Beech’s base will show you two thing – first they have the camera back running, and second they have pretty decent SPRING CONDITIONS…considering. A look up top from Shawneehaw shows some thin coverage and gnarly conditions. There’s nothing they can do about it so that’s not a crack on those guys. It just IS what it is…and things don’t look pretty right now.

Word from a couple of insiders up there is that Beech is TRYING to remain open longer but it’s looking like next weekend might be their last one of this season. We’ll keep you posted on that.


As I’m typing this update I’m hearing news of all of the tornados that are punishing parts of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. As of 3:20pm just north of Louisville is getting hit by a large tornado. Guess we shouldn’t complain about a little rain across the region.

Speaking of rain I’m also watching a line of heavy rain that is currently hitting back home just outside of the High Country although the King Street Cam in Boone is showing that the SUN is currently shining!

It looks like the sun is shining in Banner Elk as well…but there is a steady rain falling right now at Timberline, Canaan and here at Snowshoe.

As I was arriving atop Snowshoe Mountain the steady rain hit here. Kenny and Lisa from our office staff and Lisa’s husband, Ben all had been out making six runs or so and they said that things were really quite nice here. There’s a huge difference in conditions here compared to back home – I can confirm that. It’s wet now and about a half-inch of rain is forecasted for tonight. I had three people email me for the latest in what we’re seeing. Honestly I put a lot of stock in Weather.GOV and here’s the forecast there:

Tonight: Showers and thunderstorms likely, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 1am. Some of the storms could produce small hail and gusty winds. Low around 40. Windy, with a west wind between 21 and 26 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Saturday: A chance of showers, mainly before 8am. Cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly sunny, with a high near 44. Breezy, with a west wind between 18 and 22 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Saturday Night: A slight chance of snow showers after 3am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. Breezy, with a west wind between 16 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Sunday: Snow showers likely, mainly after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 25. Breezy, with a west wind between 17 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Sunday Night: Snow showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around 19. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Monday: A chance of snow showers before 3pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 27. Chance of precipitation is 50%.


I ran into Parker and John (John is Twister on the messageboard) and I have to tell you that these guys are devoted messageboard peeps. They are now living in Chicago and they actually flew in JUST to be here with us this weekend. Now how cool is that!?!?!

Kenny Griffin ran into Mark Glickman from Snowshoe earlier today and Mark emailed me as well and is impressed with the last big push that got us to 81 attendees for the three day fun fest, despite rain in the forecast for today and early Saturday. It looks like we MAY be rewarded for making this trip as the rain may move on out by 8am Saturday giving us a great day on the slopes and then SNOW Saturday evening and Sunday.

That’s it for now. We’ll do some vids and pics and update you guys pronto.

SkiMail me if you feel the need at [email protected]  or [email protected]

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