After a relatively mild November, ski areas across the mid-Atlantic region welcomed the arrival of cold temperatures and natural snowfall, taking the opportunity to fire up the snowguns and push towards opening dates. Warm temperatures in November stalled snowmaking operations all the way to New England, with resorts across the East pushing back opening dates.
In the southeast, North Carolina’s Sugar Mountain Resort began its 40th winter season on Friday, November 27, 2009 with limited terrain. Sugar Mountain began snowmaking on Thanksgiving Day on the Upper and Lower Flying Mile slopes. Beech Mountain and Cataloochee Ski Areas have also opened for the season.
West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort anticipated opening on November 24, but milder weather prevented effective snowmaking, and the date was pushed back. Snowshoe dropped the ropes for the first time on Saturday morning, December 5, opening 38 acres across 10 trails in both the Snowshoe basin and Silver Creek areas. Snowshoe reported a 14-24 inch base for opening day conditions.
Winter finally arrived in a tangible way on Saturday, as a cold front delivered 3-5 inches of snow across the mid-Atlantic region. The arrival of cold temperatures has allowed mid-Atlantic ski resorts to begin snowmaking operations in earnest. Saturday night, snowguns could be heard firing across resorts. Opening dates should not be far behind.
“Our crew will work to get the mountain open as soon as possible,” said Dick Barron, Director of Ski Operations at Pennsylvania’s Seven Springs Resort. Seven Springs began making snow on Friday night.
“We are committed to providing our guests with quality snowmaking and grooming,” Barron added. Seven Springs has not yet set an opening date.
Also in Pennsylvania, Whitetail Resort fired up its snowguns for the first time overnight Saturday.
Closer to Philadelphia, Bear Creek Mountain Resort began snowmaking last night.
“We are looking forward to another great winter season with or without natural snow from Mother Nature,” said Bear Creek’s General Maager, Mark Schroetel. Bear Creek can cover all of its slopes with two feet of manmade snow with three to four days of round-the-clock snowmaking.
Continued cold temperatures for the next week should allow snowguns to remain firing, at least during the night. The National Weather Service has predicted a colder- and snowier-than-normal winter season in store for the mid-Atlantic region, which is welcome news to area resorts and wintersports enthusiasts.