Kim Jochl of [R434R, Sugar Mountain Resort] in North Carolina said 31 inches of fresh snow have fallen there since Jan. 6, with more on the way.

Jochl suggests coming out to Sugar Mountain to enjoy all the snow, and buying a learn-to-ski package of lesson, lift ticket, and gear for $60, midweek.

This kind of wintry weather - with ice in Georgia, and power outages in much of the Southeast - is unusual, although not in the ski country of Avery County, where Sugar Mountain is.

Jochl said "unusual" or "unpredictable" are good words to describe the weather this winter, and last.

"This season the weather here has been, well, winterlike. For the local people who have grown up here, who are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, they say this cold and snow is not unusual. They say that the cold and snowy weather we've had the last two winters, big snowstorms like we're having this year and last, takes them back to what they saw growing up. In the late ‘80s and ‘90s when I came here from New England, we had some very warm, wet winters, which were discouraging. That was short-lived. The winters have been dry but cold recently, and the past two years for sure have been cold in the single digits and teens, and lots and lots of snow," Jochl said.

"The five years before that were hit or miss, typical East Coast winters, cold, warm, rain, and snow but just not huge dumps of snow," she said.

"The weather's been unpredictable, not predictable except maybe a day before, anywhere.

"Coming into this season, predictions from meteorologists at every level were saying that we were going to see a warming trend in January, a January thaw, but we haven't see it. The weather has been unpredictable, and in our favor," Jochl said.

One result was the second-earliest opening in Sugar Mountain history -- Nov. 6, one day later than the earliest ever, although a warm spell shut down ops for six days from Nov. 14 to 20. Jochl said it's been uphill, or downhill -- she wasn't sure which term was correct for a ski area -- ever since.

More information. Or call 828-898-5737.