This weekend: Winter!

Will this be the scene this weekend at Cataloochee? (Photo courtesy Cataloochee)
Will this be the scene this weekend at Cataloochee? (Photo courtesy Cataloochee)

Yup, that’s right: winter arrives big time in North Carolina’s mountains this weekend, with heavy snow forecast for higher elevations. More important, cold overnight temperatures should support prolonged snowmaking, signaling the start of the Southeast ski season.


Though it will dip down to freezing overnight and precipitation is in the forecast, daytime highs in the 50s will forestall winter from covering up the emerging fall color at Merchants Millpond State Park.

No, fall color isn’t confined to the Piedmont. It’s starting to trickle into the coastal plain. On Saturday, a park ranger will lead a hike starting from the millpond boathouse to check out signs of fall in this swamplike park.

Logistics: Saturday, 8:30 a.m., Merchants Millpond State Park, Gatesville. For more info call 252.357.1191.

Saturday forecast: High of 59, chance of rain.


Tuesday, we did a little scouting along the shores of Lake Brandt, one of the Greensboro Watershed Lakes. Our scouting was sufficient to convince us that this weekend should be great for checking out fall color along the lakes. You can do this in one of two ways:

WPPOne, on the 40 miles of trail (some of which is open to mountain biking) along the lakes. Or two, on one of four pontoon boat rides scheduled for Saturday. (Though both options would give you two perspectives on what likely will be the peak weekend for fall color in the Triad.)

Logistics: Saturday, Nov. 1, at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., Lake Townsend Marina, 6332 Townsend Road, Brown Summit. $5 per person. 336.373.3694. For more on trails along the lakes, go here.

Saturday forecast: High of 49, chance of rain.


Boone-based is speculating that with 3 to 6 inches of snow forecast and with overnight lows dipping into the low 20s making for prime snowmaking conditions, that Cataloochee and Sugar Mountain will both open this weekend. Those potential openings carry an asterisk:
Opening, but with minimal terrain — perhaps a slope or two.
Opening, but perhaps just for a day or two, until the cold weather moves out.

Still, it’s skiing! And you could make first tracks by keeping a close eye on developments, as mentioned below.

Logistics: To find out if any slopes do open, check in with More specifically, you can check with the two prime candidates themselves, Cataloochee  and Sugar Mountain.

Weekend forecast: Winter storm watches are posted for the weekend in nine North Carolina mountain counties. Follow the latest developments at Ray’s Weather.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).


Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar



Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.


Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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