Very few resorts in the nation remain family-owned, and Maryland’s only ski resort will reportedly change hands from its founder to a locally led investment and development group. Wisp Resort, founded 46 years ago by Helmuth Heise, will be sold for an estimated $11 to $12 million to DC Development. According to Ski Area Management (SAM) Magazine, the deal includes plans to build a new mountaintop lodge, tubing lanes, and intermediate terrain. Adjacent to the the resort, an additional 55 acres are expected to be developed as an adventure sports center.
According to SAM Magazine, this deal is part of a larger, joint public-private undertaking between DC Development and Adventure Sports Center, a not-for-profit organiztion formed to pursue the development of an international sports center in western Maryland, which could help the Washington-Baltimore’s bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, while attracting adventure tourism to the region. The Center would provide facilities for climbing, kayacking on a quarter-mile-long recirculating whitewater course, and up to 23 additional sports.
Wisp is currently benefitting from the early-season cold temperatures, with 18 of 23 trails open and a base depth of 20-32 inches.
It may have rained this weekend, but that’s already a distant memory for local resorts, as temperatures have quickly plummeted, allowing snowmaking to resume and even bringing some natural snow. As the all-important holiday week approaches, resorts are scrambling to make snow and open additional terrain. Over the next few days, temperatures will be on their side. Highs will barely climb above freezing, with lows in the teens - perfect weather for snowmaking.
Tuesday’s snowstorm dumped a few inches of natural snow on most resorts in the region, with snowguns adding an additional few inches. Although a warm rain fell early Sunday morning, attacking base depths, temperatures quickly dropped. Snowshoe reported a drop of 23 degrees in just two hours Sunday morning. By Monday, six inches of new snow had fallen, helping Snowshoe reach a 100% opening by Tuesday.
Over the next few days, trail counts should steadily increase throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Whitetail has eight trails open and is making snow on seven others. Seven Springs has 25 of 31 trails open, with packed powder conditions on a base depth reaching up to three feet. Virginia’s Massanutten has half of its terrain open.
The ten-day forecast shows cold temperatures continuing, keeping highs around freezing and lows well below. One thing is clear: it will be a white Christmas for all area resorts.
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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