NC Ski Resorts Welcome Cooler Weather

BLOWING ROCK, NC — A recent report shows the North Carolina ski industry contributed nearly $200 million to the state’s economy last year. But above average temperatures this year have kept local resorts closed for the most part.

WCCB meteorologist Michelle Rotella went to the high country to see how they are taking advantage of this colder weather.

Local ski resorts are getting ready, hoping to take advantage of a quick cold snap and open back up for business. Appalachian Ski Mountain in Blowing Rock has been waiting for a major cool down like this.

“This year we opened almost on time,” said ASM President Brad Mortez. “We opened before Thanksgiving, but we opened on 32 hours of snow making. We skied six days over Thanksgiving, and then since then, we’ve sort of been waiting on cold weather.”

Lately temperatures have been so above average it’s been hard for people to make snow in the ski resorts. Employees here say the perfect conditions are temperatures in the 20s with little moisture in the air.

“If we get temperatures in the 20s, that’s snow making weather,” said Mortez. “And looks like we’ve got some good snow making weather the next couple of days. We’ll turn it from green to white overnight.”

And snow was the only thing on Lenny Cottom’s mind just about 40 miles up the road at Hawksnest Snow Tubing and Zipline in Seven Devils.

“We plan to make snow now until Sunday some time, as soon as the temperature warms up,” said Cottom. “We’re in snow making; we’re wide open right now. We plan to go all weekend long, as long as we can.”

Cottom says with the weather warming back up after this weekend, they could be closed for Christmas for the first time in decades.

“Last year we opened for Thanksgiving and were open till the middle of March, so it’s been a big difference,” he said. “Typically, I’ve been here 25 years now, and this would be the first Christmas we weren’t open.”

And with millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs on the line, North Carolina ski resorts are hoping for a long cold winter.

Appalachian Ski Mountain is hoping to open on Sunday, while Hawksnest plans to open its doors on Monday.

And we checked with both Beech and Sugar Mountain. They will be open this weekend as well.