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Brown said that 15 out of 16 trails are now open, with a base of 34-62 inches. The resort is still making snow and plans to keep the snow guns going into March if the temps are cold enough.
But that might not happen, according to computer models. Meteorologist Patrick Moore with the National Weather Service said the weather is going to be “pretty busy” on Friday and Saturday.
“We’re expecting a warm front to go through on Friday, so we will have a fairly high probability of precipitation on Friday night, but temperatures will be warm. Overnight temperatures will be in the low 50s at higher elevations, and it will rain.”
But there is some good news for skiers: Moore said a cold front is expected Saturday night with overnight lows around freezing at higher elevations and even the slightest possibility of some snow.
But even without natural snow, temperatures in the high country will be low enough for snow-making. Sugar Mountain Ski Area in Avery County plans to blow snow through the end of March, said marketing director Kim Jochl.
“We have a base of 28-52 inches and 17 slopes open. We have tubing, skiing and snowboarding, and ice skating is open every day,” Jochl said.
“It might feel like a spring day, but it’s a good time to learn to ski and bring kids up. There’s more one-on-one service. The warmth makes us work harder. It’s real labor-intensive. You have to move the snow around. It’s like snow management.”
The ski area has lots planned for this weekend, including live bluegrass 4-6 p.m. Saturday and Sugar Bear’s birthday party and the annual Big Trundy giant slalom on Sunday. On Monday, March Madness begins with 25 percent off rental and lift tickets and sales in the ski shop.
Beech Mountain near Banner Elk is also still operating seven days a week, at least through the middle of March, said the ski area’s Talia Freeman.
“We still have a lot of snow,” she said. “It’s actually enjoyable skiing weather, some of best skiing conditions we’ve had.”
But this might be the last weekend to hit the slopes at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort in Madison County. The ski area is closed this week but will reopen for the weekend, said lodge manager Charles Stansell.
“It’s been tough. Winter never really came this year,” Stansell said. “Last year we had tons of natural snow and great temperatures for making snow. This year, we had cold temperatures, followed by 60-degree days, rain and even thunderstorms.”
Stansell said there will be eight-10 slopes open at the mountain, with a 4,700-foot summit. The new tube run is also open, with a $10 special until the snow is gone.
Stansell is looking forward to the cold front expected Saturday night but encourages skiers to come out this weekend since it could be the last of the season.
“It’s definitely one of the shortest ski seasons we’ve ever had,” he said.