Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley is off to another strong start to its season.
“We’ve been open since Nov. 6,” said Cataloochee General Manager Chris Bates. “We have a base of anywhere between 18 to 80 inches. And the weather for snowmaking looks great for the next couple of weeks.”
Currently there are 11 trails and three lifts operating over a groomed surface.
Despite a lot of equipment upgrades during this offseason, Cataloochee ticket prices will remain the same for this season and all of the ski area’s great programs like Family Day, which starts Jan. 12, will be in place.
According to Bates, last Sunday’s partnership with Haywood Christian Ministries drew its largest crowd ever.
“And we are happy to be able to partner with them to make a difference in the community,” he said.
Additions to enhance skiing at Cataloochee this year include 30 new snowmakers and two new grooming tractors. Bates said the advance in equipment and computerization since Cataloochee revamped in 2004 has been amazing. “It’s like going from a car that gets 18 miles to the gallon to one that gets 35 miles to the gallon.”
The new equipment and dip in temperatures are really aiding Cataloochee’s snowmaking abilities. “We can make snow at 28 degrees,” Bates said, “but with the new equipment and technology, when the temperature falls to 7 degrees, like now, our capacity increases 25 fold.”
Cataloochee also boasts over 4,000 sets of snow sports equipment. According to Bates that includes 700 new pairs of rental skis.