Appalachian Ski Mountain delays opening of slopes due to above-average temperatures
El Nino has been building for months, and could lead to warmer-than-normal temperatures this winter.
WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - As temperatures continue to stay above average across the Carolinas, a popular North Carolina ski resort is pushing its opening day back.
Appalachian Ski Mountain made the announcement on social media on Monday, stating that the originally planned opening date of Friday, Nov. 17, will no longer be its first day of the ski season.
“Mother Nature is making us be a little more patient this season,” the resort said. “Opening day will be not be 11/17, but we will keep you updated as temperatures allow for snowmaking.”
It is unclear how long that date could be pushed back, but it is the result of warmer temperatures.
According to WBTV Chief Meteorologist Al Conklin, El Nino, a pattern of warmer-than-normal sea water in the Pacific Equatorial region, has been building for several months.
Roughly speaking, a strong El Nino usually equates to a warmer-than-average winter in the Carolinas. El Nino can also bring more precipitation, but in the Carolinas, that often results in rain.
As for resorts outside of Appalachian Ski Mountain, travel information provided by the Village of Sugar Mountain suggested it too could have a later opening of the ski slopes.
“No snow making yet due to warm weather,” the village said on Facebook. “The ski slopes may have the latest opening since 2009.”
Sugar Mountain Ski Resort opened on Nov. 27 in 2009, compared to Nov. 14 in 2022. An exact opening date for 2023 has not been publicly released, but it is tentatively set for mid-November.
Beech Mountain Resort is set to open its ski slopes on Friday, Nov. 24.
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