Bluebird day and a solid base up in the high country at Snowshoe, W.Va., on Thursday. (Snowshoe)

Snow conditions across the Mid-Atlantic are not too shabby since Mother Nature laid down up to half a foot of powder in the mountains this week. Compiling the ski resort table was a joy Thursday morning as many resorts are reporting packed powder.

Ski conditions on Thursday.

Perusing the web cams, the skies appear sunny across the central Appalachians. It looks like a great day to be on the slopes.

The only thing keeping the SlopeCast, our new 0 to 10 rating of ski conditions, from being higher is the lack of more open terrain. Most resorts have only about half of their slopes open. Below are our SlopeCast average ratings for two different elevation ranges (shown on map below):

  • Front range = 5/10 (run of the mill, average)
  • High country = 7/10 (carving up the slopes, above average)

(SlopeCast categories: 0-2, chilling in the lodge or poor; 3-4, at least we’re making turns or below average; 5-6, run of the mill or average; 7-8, carving up the slopes or good; 9-10, skipping lunch/powder time or excellent)

(Jordan Tessler)

This winter has been warm, and another balmy weekend is in store, so I was wondering how resorts maintain their snow bases when temperatures torch.

“It’s our groomers that really shine during the mild stretches,” wrote Shawn Cassell, public relations manager at Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia. “During cold spells, we try to strategically stockpile snow near the tops and bottoms of all of the lifts so that each night they can patch the thin spots up."

Cassell said the secret to grooming is “to move snow around and groom things out with as few passes of the groomer as possible, as the tracks tend to churn up the snow and speed up the melting of it.”

So thanks go to the grooming crew members, who often spend the middle of their nights preserving the snow for the next day.

Snow guns are blasting Thursday morning at Liberty Ski Resort in south central Pennsylvania. (Liberty)

Weekend weather forecast

by Jason Samenow

While the recent snow and cold have elevated our SlopeCast ratings compared to last week, conditions take a bit of hit this weekend thanks to unseasonably mild conditions and possible rain on Saturday night. Still, skiing in short sleeves on Saturday sounds awfully inviting.

Saturday: Slight chance of a shower. Highs: 60 to 65 in front range, near 55 in high country.

Saturday night: Rain. Temperatures falling into the 40s.

Sunday: Becoming partly sunny. Highs: 50s in front range, holding in the 40s in high country.