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Early Snow Provides Hint of Strong Ski Season
By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor
November 1, 2008
Rick Wolfe, chef of the Elk River Restaurant near Snowshoe, was one of the first cross country skiers to enjoy snow in the southeast. “We received 8-10 inches of snow from Monday through Wednesday morning,” said Elk River Touring Center’s Gil Willis. Photo provided by Elk River Touring Center.

In this campaign season, voters may have been wary of an “October Surprise,” but mid-Atlantic skiers and boarders were treated to an October Surprise that they probably have no quarrel with. During late October, nearly a foot of snow fell over the higher elevations of West Virginia, and some Pennsylvania ski areas also reported receiving their first dusting of snow. The natural snowfall allowed cross country skiers to get an early season start at the White Grass Touring Center near Canaan Valley, and even allowed North Carolina’s Cataloochee Ski Area to open two slopes for downhill skiing on October 28. And cold weather also allowed Snowshoe Mountain Resort to fire up its snowguns.

“Our snowmakers are reporting the guns have put out something like 4-5 feet of snow since Monday,” October 27, 2008, said Snowshoe’s Laura Parquette, although she noted a lot had been blown around.

Snowshoe’s guns have been pumping out snow for the past few days. Photo provided by Snowshoe Mountain Resort.

Snowshoe planned to make snow through today, November 1, when temperatures were expected to rise. Snowshoe will be making snow throughout November whenever temperatures allow. Snowshoe traditionally aims to open slopes before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Kudos go to North Carolina’s Cataloochee Ski Area, which snagged one of the earliest opening dates in the nation when it opened two beginner trails for downhill skiing on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 1 p.m., thanks to a concerted snowmaking effort. This was the first time Cataloochee had made snow in October. Cataloochee remains open this weekend, but will not be offering skiing from November 3-7.

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