You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Baby. Ski Resorts Experiencing Snow, High Winds and Harsh Wind Chills

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Welcome to Winter and welcome to Christmas Eve – Eve…and Winter Storm (Bomb Cyclone) Elliott

Check the Snow Report for full details.  Photo of the Day (above and down below) is of Snowboard phenomenon and local Cataloochee rider, Zeb Powell, who was on the mountain on Thursday.

As I always do this time of year, last night as I was about to turn in, I checked the temperature. It was 38°. I woke at 5am and checked it. It was still only 32°. That surprised me because all of the Thursday forecasts called for it to be nosediving into the teens by 5am. I got up at 6am and it was 20°. It is now MINUS 1 (-1°) at 8am at 6° in Boone.

That, my friends is, is the effects of a Bomb Cyclone.

Quick Shout Out: Thanks to The Weather Channel for Featuring ResortCams on national television this morning.

The Weather Channel featured our LIVE King Street, Boone NC camera on this morning.

Temperatures and Snowfall as of 8am: (Official from NOAA and CoCoRaHs)

There ARE some reports of natural snowfall that are not official and a bit exaggerated this morning, so we pulled the official numbers and they are posted below:

AM Temp Resort 24 hr Snowfall Season Snowfall
– 5.2°





Appalachian Ski Mountain
Atop Beech Mountain Resort
Bryce Resort
Canaan Valley Resort
Cataloochee Ski Area 
Massanutten Resort
Ober Mountain
Sapphire Valley
Snowshoe Mountain
Sugar Mountain Resort
Omni Homestead Resort
Timberline Mountain
Wintergreen Resort
Winterplace Resort
Wisp Resort
Wolf Ridge Resort

As you can see, the coldest temperatures this morning were in the North Carolina Mountains. The WV mountains were surprisingly a notch “milder” (if 0 to 9° can be considered mild) and the Virginia mountains are in the teens and 20s.

Lots of snowmaking is happening although several ski areas have announced that they will NOT make snow on open terrain while guests are on the mountain.

Some Quick Shots:

Snowboard phenomenon and local Cat rider, Zeb Powell @zebpowelll came out to ride and show off some of his world class skills. He is an amazing human and we all love the smiles he brought to the mountain.

Zeb Powell was riding at Cataloochee on Thursday. Click to Enlarge

Lots of Chatter About Additional Closures, but no Takers at Least Just Yet

Only Beech Mountain Resort and Timberline Mountain remained CLOSED for today and tomorrow. (Timberline is also closed Christmas Day.)

There is also a lot of chatter from snow-loving, experienced mountain peeps who are equally singing the praises of those resorts that opted to close – and equally chastising them and choosing to label this as another example of the “whimpification” of our population.

I kind of understand both sides. I’ve always wanted to challenge myself against extreme weather conditions as I’ve personally skied at Beech Mountain Resort when the natural temperature was -3° and the winds were creating windchills of -40°. I can tell you that my “challenge” lasted all of THREE runs down the mountain from top to bottom before I turned it in.

So I “get” why some, die-hards are calling the mountains out a bit. However, there’s a lot more to these kinds of decisions than just summarizing things as the “whimpification” of society. We live in a “litigation prone” world these days where people look for ANY opportunity to hold someone else responsible for anything to generate a payday. Ski areas have to access the risk of litigation at every turn.

So let’s have a look at the risks of venturing out on a slick ski slope today.

Sustained winds of 20-30 mph and gusts over 40 mph, with some reports of 55 mph already.
Blowing snow causing decreased visibility
Temperatures already in the SUB ZERO degree range, and wind chills in the Minus 35° range
High risk of power outages all over the area and ski resorts. No power, lifts stop.
Hypothermia can be a major issue.

So all of these things and MORE apply. Any one of these things could occur, spelling danger or harm to guests on the mountain.

Want more?

Lawsuits arising from accidents occurring within resorts’ property have risen in the last few years.
People alleging damages or injuries as a result of negligence or imprudence on their part.

There is also the negative publicity that reaches a huge audience in the mass media whenever serious accidents occur.

All reasons that make risk management in ski resorts a crucial issue.

So, there IS an argument for closing. It’s a business, and Timberline Mountain and Beech Mountain Resort decided the risks were not worth the revenue they would have brought in today and tomorrow when the slopes would be far less crowded anyway.

However, I DO have to agree with the resorts that are open and braving these risks and the weather today. As Snowshoe shared yesterday, “We’re a ski resort. Cold and Snow is kind of our thing.”

Here are some pretty captures from earlier:

Winterplace was grooming early
Calm and waiting on the storm of people to play at Winterplace.


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