By Jesse Wood
Winter resorts in the High Country plan to make snow as early as Saturday and hope to open in time for Thanksgiving weekend and as early as this coming Monday.
This certainly seems crazy with temperatures at nearly 74 degrees on Friday afternoon in Boone, but snow flurries are in the forecast for this weekend. RaysWeather.com is expecting temperatures to drop into the 20s on Saturday, which would represent a swift 50-degree swing.
“It looks like the weather is going to cooperate starting tomorrow and we’ll start blowing snow,” Sugar Mountain Resort Vice President Kim Jochl said on Friday morning. “Hopefully, we’ll get open by Monday.”
Jochl said that if enough snow is on the ground from the top to the bottom of the mountain, the resort will open the following slopes: Northridge, Switchback, Upper Flying Mile and Lower Flying Mile.
Sugar Mountain Resort officially kicked off the resort’s winter season today with ice-skating sessions in its 10,000-square-foot rink. On Saturday, the resort’s Sports Shop and Annex opens for the season.
Appalachian Ski Mtn. spokesman Drew Stanley said that the Blowing Rock ski resort operators are watching the temps and snowmaking crews are on standby, hoping to fire up the snow guns on Saturday through Monday morning.
“Oh yeah, we are real excited. It looks like some cold [weather] is coming this weekend,” Stanley said. “With the forecast and if everything comes to fruition and goes as planned, we will hopefully be opening on Tuesday, Nov. 22.”
This will be Appalachian Ski Mtn.’s 55th season, and to celebrate the start of ski season, the first 100 guests to the ticket cashier window on the opening day, which is tentatively set for Tuesday, will receive a free ski ticket.
Beech Mountain Resort started testing its lights on the slopes and is still playing it by ear – like essentially everyone else.
Ski Beech spokeswoman Talia Freeman said that snowmaking will begin as soon as temperatures allow and, so far, a definitive opening date has yet to be set.
“Our hope is to open this week,” Freeman said in an email. “We will likely have further information earlier in the week. As always, our goal is to produce a consistent and quality product before we open. I do think the weather patterns seem promising and we should see some nice windows of snowmaking temperatures.”
Click to Beech Mountain Resort’s Facebook page to signup for the resort’s newsletter to stay on top of the updates at Ski Beech.
Hawksnest Tubing is also waiting to make any definitive announcements.
On Wednesday, the tubing resort posted this update: “It looks like the weather is turning colder for snowmaking to begin this weekend. If all goes well we should be open for Thanksgiving weekend. Please check back next week for updates or watch our webcam to see our progress. We will not be open this weekend, Nov 19 or 20 for snowtubing. Zipline tours will be available, weather permitting. Hope to see you soon.”
This looks to still be the case. A receptionist said that the plan is to start making snow this weekend and open sometime during Thanksgiving weekend, possibly the Friday after Thanksgiving. This, of course, is all based on the ifs and buts of the weather.
In any event, the weather is starting to feel like winter. Not quite yet as of Friday, but it will nonetheless on Saturday. With Thanksgiving weekend being one of the major weekends of the ski season, this is a good sign. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.