Mother Nature delivered an early holiday gift to mid-Atlantic ski areas, dumping up to three feet of fresh snow the weekend before Christmas and keeping temperatures low enough to fire snowguns around the clock. As a result, many ski areas should have close to 100% of their terrain open in the coming days.
“If the forecast and our snowmaking equipment cooperate, we should have almost perfect skiing for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays,” said Hank Thiess, general manager of Wintergreen Resort. The Virginia ski area currently has a base depth of 24 to 36 inches, and plans to have 100% of its terrain open by the weekend.
West Virginia ski areas are also digging out of ample snow, and plan to head into the holidays strong.
“The snow storm was exactly what we needed with the busy Christmas season beginning this week,” said Terry Pfeiffer, President of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association.
“The Department of Highway crews have done a great job in clearing the roads, allowing skiers and snowboarders to safely arrive at the resorts across the state.”
West Virginia ski areas are expecting over 200,000 skier visits during the next three weeks.
On Christmas Eve, Canaan Valley Resort had 30 of 39 trails open, including the Darkside of the Moon. The West Virginia resort plans to open the Gravity and Timber Run trails in time for Christmas, as well as the tube park.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort has nearly 200 acres of terrain open, and just opened Cupp Run, its 1.5-mile long expert slope that has a 1,500-foot vertical. Adventure activities at Snowshoe, including snowmobiling, are also open.
Pennsylvania ski areas benefitted from the recent snowstorm and have been making snow aggressively over the past week. Liberty Mountain Resort is now 100% open just in time for Christmas, with an average base of 28-36 inches and groomed packed powder conditions. Sister area Ski Roundtop is 98% open.
On Christmas Eve, Whitetail Resort opened the expert Far Side trail and also opened its brand new Half Pipe. Every trail at Whitetail is now open except for Fanciful, which should open soon.
Seven Springs Resort had 33 trails open on Christmas Eve, with a base depth of 18-30 inches and packed powder conditions. Hidden Valley Resort had 12 runs open with a base depth of 16-40 inches.
In western Maryland, Wisp has opened over 70% of its trails and plans to open more soon with continued aggressive snowmaking.
The combination of snow and cold has brought some of the best December skiing conditions in many years to the mid-Atlantic region. The natural snow has also allowed cross country skiers to get in on the fun. For example, the White Grass Touring Center, located in Canaan Valley, West Virginia, has 31 miles of cross country trails open.
The forecast calls for continued cold temperatures. Friday may bring some mixed precipitation to the region, so check weather forecasts before venturing out. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the forecast calls for continued cold temperatures, allowing snowmaking to continue. DCSki recommends bringing goggles in case resorts are making snow on your favorite trails.
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.
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