Ski slopes open, hope to weather the weather through Christmas - | WBTV Charlotte

Ski slopes open, hope to weather the weather through Christmas

Snow-making - Photo: Steve Ohnesorge, WBTV Snow-making - Photo: Steve Ohnesorge, WBTV
Photo: Steve Ohnesorge, WBTV Photo: Steve Ohnesorge, WBTV
WATAUGA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

A weekend cold snap and aggressive snowmaking has led to most North Carolina Ski areas to get back in business, just in time for the holidays.

Most slopes have been open only a handful of days this fall, unlike recent years where opening day came before Thanksgiving with no shutdowns until March.

This season has been different. Warmer than normal temperatures have kept the snow guns silent and the slopes shut down on most days. That changed last Friday.

"It's remarkable what 38 hours of snowmaking can do," said Brad Moretz at Appalachian Ski Mountain.

Four feet of the white stuff is piled up in many places and crowds have already come in to take advantage of it.

"I really hope it lasts," said one snowboarder as he finished a run down the slope.

Forecasters, though, paint an unsettled picture over the next few days with the potential for heavy rain and temperatures in the 60's. Officials are hoping it won't turn into a huge issue.

Hundreds work at Appalachian and thousands others have jobs at other slopes or in businesses that depend on the ski industry across North Carolina. The estimated economic impact statewide is close to 200 million dollars say industry analysts.

With the week between Christmas and New Years one of the biggest tourist times of the season, officials are hoping the weather will cooperate this year.

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