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Winter Weather Week: Ski Slopes and Skiing

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — Every year the Western Carolinas have snow in the forecast at least a few times, but the North Carolina ski resorts have to have fresh powder on a regular basis to keep the slopes safe and fun.

When the weather doesn’t cooperate, ski areas like Cataloochee in Haywood County fire up the snow making machines!

Not only does the air temperature need to be close to freezing, but the wet bulb temperature has to be at least 28 degrees or lower. The wet bulb temperature is the coolest temperature reading when water is evaporated into the air.

This enables the machines to spray water into the air, cause it to evaporate and then cool the temperature to freezing. Particles in the air act as nuclei so the snowflake can develop.

So far this year, though, the snow making machines have gotten a break. Cataloochee Ski Area workers say this season has been a phenomenal one for the natural snow skiers love to see.

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