What a week it has been! Hurricane Sandy, aka Frankenstorm, had a huge impact on the region this week, bringing historical October snowfall to many of the ski areas. Areas up in West Virginia and western Maryland are still trying to dig out from several feet of snow. Here in North Carolina, totals ranged from a couple of inches to over a foot at some of the higher elevations. It’s been a VERY exciting week to say the least.
All of this snowfall has allowed a couple of ski areas in the region to open for the season. It comes as no surprise that Cataloochee and Sugar Mountain were the first two resorts in the region (and two of the first in the whole country) to open this past Wednesday for the 2012-2013 season. I say it comes as no surprise because they are consistently the first two to open each season, but in reality it really is a surprise because they both opened on October 31st! That is the earliest opening date in Sugar Mountain’s history and the second earliest for Cataloochee. They were actually open pre-Halloween four years ago.
Both resorts greeted their customers on Wednesday at 9am for first chairs with arms wide open. With last year’s dreadful winter, this early season snowfall had to be a much welcomed surprise to not only them, but every ski area across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come this winter!
Cataloochee was reporting a 8-12" base and Sugar was saying a 16-30" base after 9" of natural snow fell Sunday night through Wednesday morning. Both resorts looked to be in phenomenal shape for it only being October 31st. The turnouts at both resorts was also impressive. I was out and about at Sugar Mountain and I was highly surprised at how many people showed up for opening day, especially considering it was a weekday.
<<< I couldn’t believe how many people showed up for Sugar’s opening day. This was at 8:45 am on a Wednesday!
I snapped a number of photos and was able to get some pretty good video as well. You can check out the photo gallery on Ski Southeast by CLICKING HERE. You can also watch a little video edit I made on the VIDEO PAGE of the ski site. I must say, that might have been the best day of work I’ve ever had.
Check out an opening day video from Sugar Mountain by clicking the image to the right!
Both resorts continue to be open and will be operating this weekend. In fact, both areas look to have a few opportunities to make snow over the next week so conditions should continue to be solid for this time of year. We’ll hopefully see more ski areas open in the coming weeks once we get closer to Thanksgiving. That’s generally when most areas try to open for the season.