Boone Area Nordic Ski
and Natural Snow Report—
Last winter's last report is below—but get set folks—October 24th and 25th, 2013 brought the Boone Area's first natural snow of winter 2013-'14. Elk Knob is recommending 4WD. Anyone heading up to the peaks and backcountry of Roan Mountain or Grandfather Mountain or the Appalachian Trail should be able to find some early snowy walking... Get out there.
Winter has left the building! This is the last report for winter 2012-13...
Check back here for updates on natural snow conditions for cross country skiing, winter hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering in the Boone area. Be a part of our network of reporters—e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know about the snow.
IN BRIEF: Updated Saturday March 30, 2013/ 5 PM
Nordic Alert—Great Cross Country Skiing—In "Almost April"!
Nordic has been great at the highest elevations. After a sunny warmup on Friday—today (Saturday), surprisingly, the snow was hanging tough on Roan Mountain. Plenty up there. Sunday's predicted rain won't help—but it sounds light and with luck could (to be read: could) just soften up a nice snowpack for a sunny afternoon tour. Returning cold mid-next week might keep Roan worth considering for another four or five days (if you're, as they say, serious)... Bring sunscreen and a glide prep for your skis.
When Grandfather Mountain and the Appalachian Trail between Round Bald and Hump Mountain are prime for winter mountaineering snowshoes and crampons/YakTrax-style devices are recommended (in some places, essential).
It'll be easy to satisfy your appetite for winter scenery and snowy mountaineering this week at the highest elevations (albeit with warming temps). Hikers or backpackers heading higher up will have winter conditions.
Sugar Mountain is open for skiing through this weekend for telemarkers.
Bottom Line: Think snow—and check back here. Please send reports to email@example.com.
Join the Locals: Keep in touch with the Boone Area cross country ski scene through the new High Country Nordic Association's facebook page. The Boone Area group's second annual Film Fest was held November 16, 2012, and the third Annual High Country Tele-Fest happened on January 12, 2013 at Beech Mountain Resort.
Keep in Mind: Knowledgeable local skiers fuel this report, but don't expect the detail found in ski resort snow reports. We'll update our info as it becomes available. (After you've sampled local trails, please send snow reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Look further below for where to rent skis, suggested ski etiquette, and a video cross country ski lesson filmed at Moses Cone Park.
Roan Mountain: Roan and the adjoining Round Bald to Hump Mountain area was deep and very doable through today—but the warmup will really hit tomorrow if the rain moves in. Today Roan was awesome, great road coverage, skiable AT—with some melted water channels, but no biggie. (Hikers, please use snowshoes to preserve snow conditions.) Please keep the reports coming if you go Sunday.... Check the Roan trail guide and view this Roan Mountain ski video.
Hikers aiming at Roan under heavy snow are asked to take snowshoes to preserve ski conditions and create a separate hikers path on the road. Even when meadows on the Appalachian Trail to the north over Round Bald have thin snowcover, drifts can be big on lee slopes. Check out our new trail guide to Roan Mountain.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Moses Cone Memorial Park, Julian Price Park: Nope
The carriage paths that wander through the towering white pine forests of Moses Cone Park are a favorite Nordic ski destination. Same goes for paths in Price Park, such as the Price Lake Trail and the campground and picnic area loops.
Check out our guide for the Bass Lake Trail, one option. Click here to download a Moses Cone Park trail map. The trails at Linville Falls are other good options when the snow is deep.
Gated Portions of the Parkway: Nope
Gated sections of the road from Mount Mitchell to Doughton Park are good when snowcovered. One of the Boone Area's best gated Parkway ski spots—the Grandfather Mountain/ Linn Cove Viaduct portion of the Parkway—runs north at the gate from US 221 near Linville close to the entrance of Grandfather Mountain, and south from the gate at Holloway Mountain Road/ US 221, south of Blowing Rock. For a map of that section, click here to download the Tanawha Trail map.
If gated or snow-closed portions of the Parkway are your destination—call the Parkway's automated road closure line (828-298-0398) or visit the Parkway Web site.
Beech Mountain: Emerald Outback has a lot of snow. But Beech Mountain Resort is closed.
Elk Knob State Park: Elk Knob's snow, says the park's latest report, is slushy and icy. Conditions are not very good for cross country skiing but snowshoeing can still be enjoyed (get out there!). The park road has been plowed but is snow/slush covered so four wheel drive is recommended in the park. The trails are snow covered so traction devices are strongly recommended when hiking. Please note that downhill skiing and snowboarding are not allowed at Elk Knob. Check the Elk Knob trail guide and call the park—828-297-7261.
Where to Rent Skis—
The High Country Ski Shop at the Pineola Inn south of Linville on US 221 (828-733-2008 or 4979) offers most everything a beginner or expert skier would need—including skis, boots, and poles, rental equipment, and lessons. For winter 2011/12, the High Country Ski Shop has new light weight retail ski packages and backcountry ski gear (as well as snowshoes for sale). 1st Tracks in Boone also sells Nordic skis, and the Mast Store Annex in Valle Crucis and Footsloggers in downtown Boone have snowshoes for sale.
Where to Ski
More recommended trails are listed on our Cross Country Skiing page. Our extensive Hiking Guide contains in-depth information on great places to ski and hike in the snow. There's also a winter hiking page. Also check out the map at the bottom of our Blue Ridge Parkway Guide. Zoom in to find the Parkway's many ski and hiking trails and even get directions to the locations.
1/ Walkers, please don't walk in ski tracks—it ruins the smooth stride and glide. Please establish a separate walkers' path and/or use snowshoes that compact but do not destroy the snow.
2/ Dogs are frowned upon in the most popular Nordic ski settings. They run in ski tracks and destroy snow conditions. Best bet: Find your favorite, out-of-the-way pet-friendly spot that's not a primary destination for skiers.
Where to Learn
Take the video nordic ski lesson below and sample the scenery at Blowing Rock's Moses Cone Park, one of the Boone area's best cross country ski sites. Or contact the High Country Ski Shop in Pineola for lessons (828-733-2008 or 4979).