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Warmer Temperatures Keep Snow, Skiers off North Carolina Mountains

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RALEIGH — This is a winter sports wakeup call for people out West. Snow is paving the way for ski season. But there's no snow in the North Carolina mountains and none coming any time soon.

When is the last time you can remember evening temperatures this warm at this time of year?

It feels great now, but you may not be so happy if you're hoping to go skiing any time soon.

On the slopes ofSugar Mountain, just about all you see is green. At Appalachian Ski Mountain, there is hardly any snow to be found. At both resorts, the snow guns are silent. It's too warm to make the white stuff.

"It's got to be below 32 degrees to make snow, and it hasn't been in the last couple weeks," said merchant Alex Itenson.

When avid skiers head in to Raleigh's Alpine Ski Center, Itenson breaks the news they'll have to go far to hit the slopes.

"Either west, north or Europe," Itenson explains.

So why are so many customers like Lisa Bennett loading up with latest gear? "We always go to Canada," Bennett said, "out west somewhere, far away from North Carolina."

And until La Ni&#241a stops blasting the warm air across the mountains, the lift lines will be short, and the skiers will be awfully lonely.

There is hope, since it's still early in the season. Right now, they say the only place to ski close to North Carolina is West Virginia, and that is a good six hours away. Reporter: Todd HauerPhotographer: Doug Renner