Most of North Carolina may be experiencing a drought – and 7,100 acres of the mountains have been burned to a crisp by wildfires – but that’s not getting in the way of Sugar Mountain Ski Resort opening for the holidays.
Snow there ranges from eight to 18 inches thick, resort officials say.
In years past, the resort opened a little earlier for the season, anywhere from Nov. 2 to Nov. 15. But the drought and less than frigid temperatures have made things tougher this year. Avery County, where the resort is located, is one of eight N.C. counties experiencing severe drought conditions. The drought worsens the higher you go into the mountains.
Skiers can thank the weekend’s cold snap for the new snow. Cold temperatures blew in mid-morning on Saturday, then dropped to a penetratingly cold 16 degrees overnight and into Sunday, which Sugar Mountain says is optimal snow-making conditions.
Snow machines roared for 40 hours over the weekend, creating enough man-made snow to cover five slopes, as well as beginner runs, said resort officials.
Visit www.skisugar.com/cams for a real-time look at slope, ice skating and weather conditions.