By Paul T. Choate
Nov. 23, 2012. Brace yourself, High Country residents and visitors alike. Ray’s Weather Center is calling today a “transition day” and by that they means transitioning into much colder weather in the coming days. This is, however, great news for the local ski resorts preparing to make some snow.
With Sugar Mountain Resort as the only open ski area in the High County, both Appalachian Ski Mountain and Beech Mountain Resort are anxious to get their snowmaking machines fired up when the cold snap hits tonight.
Moretz said Appalachian Ski Mountain had not made any snow thus far in the year, saying that the one significant snow storm the High Country has received so far this year appeared “isolated” and that it was followed by “a week of nothing.”
Moretz said he is hoping to get the ski area open for skiing and snowboarding by Friday or Saturday, Nov. 30 or Dec. 1., but added that the dates are tentative and it all depends on what the weather does. Appalachian Ski Mountain already missed their originally scheduled opening date of Nov. 16, with their website stating, “Although the weather has been somewhat seasonal for early November, sustained temperatures have not yet dropped in the range needed for productive snowmaking.”
“Beech Mountain Resort is anxiously awaiting a cold snap to continue their snowmaking efforts. … Weather reports show that the Thanksgiving weekend and following week will provide consistently cold temperatures for snowmaking,” reads a statement on Beech Mountain’s website.
“As soon as the weather allows, the resort will aggressively produce snow to prepare the mountain with hopes of opening soon,” the statement continues.
As for the High Country’s lone open ski area, Sugar Mountain Resort is bustling with people today, as evidenced by scenes from the resort’s live base cam. Several people have been on the mountain since this morning, many likely enjoying one last weekday off from school or work in observance of Thanksgiving.
On Wednesday, Oct. 31, Sugar Mountain Resort opened historically early. Prior to the Halloween opening, Sugar Mountain’s earliest opening in their 43-year history was on Nov. 5, 1976. The resort’s early opening, allowed in part due to the blizzard-like effects from Superstorm Sandy in late October, was big news not just in the High Country but also in the national press and even internationally. Sugar Mountain was mentioned on CNN, NPR, in the Huffington Post and even in The Guardian newspaper in England.
Ray’s Weather Center is forecasting a low of 25 degrees tonight and a high of only 33 degrees tomorrow with a chance of snow flurries in the morning. Saturday night’s low will plummet to 21 degrees. Temperatures will rebound — slightly — heading into Sunday and the start of the work week but low temperatures will remain near or below freezing through at least Thursday, Nov. 29.