Snow-Making Opens Western NC Slopes Before Thanksgiving

Snow skiers are getting an early start this season in North Carolina's mountains.

Cataloochee Ski Area bustled during the weekend thanks to machine-made snow packed 8 to 20 inches deep on two slopes.

Cataloochee spokeswoman Tammy Brown says resort officials decided several years ago that they wanted to try to open as soon as possible. They say that makes the season longer for everybody.

Cataloochee opened last week and will operate on a limited schedule until Saturday. It opened Nov, 4 last year.

Cataloochee uses several retaining ponds to supply water for snow production. The stream-fed ponds fill during the summer, then catch runoff from slopes in the winter to provide water needed to produce machine-made snow as soon as the right mix of temperature and humidity occurs.