Weekend Brings Resort Openings, Winter Storm 1
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

A confluence of events has Mid-Atlantic skiers and boarders anxiously flipping to the Weather Channel and hauling dusty ski racks out of garages. This past week brought the first sustained stretch of cold temperatures, allowing ski resorts throughout the region to fire up snowmaking systems and to blanket slopes with a base layer of snow. At the same time, a winter storm began hitting the area overnight Thursday, bringing a mix of precipitation that could result in many inches of fresh snow higher elevations.

Although the details of the storm were uncertain at the time this article was published, the cold temperatures this week are one certainty that area ski resorts have been exploiting to the fullest. Nearly all Mid-Atlantic ski resorts have now begun snowmaking operations, and this weekend will see a large number of resorts opening for the ski season.

In North Carolina, Sugar Mountain -; the first Mid-Atlantic resort to open this season -; remains open and now has 7 trails available for skiing and boarding and an average base depth of 18-38 inches. Snowmaking continues.

North Carolina’s Beech Mountain will be opening on Friday, December 5. The resort has been making snow on Powder Bowl, Upper Shawneehaw, and Lower Shawneehaw. Later this week, snowmaking will start on Freestyle and Play Yard.

On Tuesday, The Homestead announced its plans to open on Friday, December 5. The Virginia resort installed a brand new snowmaking system over the summer, allowing it to open slopes with just a few days of snowmaking. For opening day, The Homestead expects to have four trails open with an 18-36 inch base. Snow tubing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snowmobile tours are also expected to be open. Three lifts will be in operation.

“We are so enthusiastic and pleased about the performance of our new system and the beginning of our best ski season ever,” said Gary K. Rosenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of the resort. “We now have the capability of making enough snow to be open on Friday and run right through the season with the best conditions possible.”

The Homestead’s brand new snowmaking system, shown in action Tuesday morning, will allow the resort to open trails on Friday. Photo provided by The Homestead Resort.

This weekend will see the opening of several other Virginia resorts. On Friday, Massanutten Resort plans to open. Snowmaking is currently underway at Massanutten on Easy Street, Southern Comfort, Geronimo, Lower Rebel Yell, and the Terrain Park. Southern Comfort and Geronimo are the first two trails expected to open. Five lanes of snow tubing should also be available.

Virginia’s Wintergreen Resort is making snow on Dobie, Potato Patch, Eagles Swoop, and Cliffhanger. Wintergreen plans to open on Friday, December 5, with skiing and boarding on Dobie and Potato Patch. Bryce Resort, also in Virginia, is targeting December 6 for its opening date.

West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort plans to open for its 30th winter season on Friday, with thirteen trails open and three lifts in operation. The Spruce Glades Terrain Park will also be open with 10 rails set up and two table tops.

“We’re looking forward to a great winter,” said Bruce Pittet, vice president and general manager of Snowshoe Mountain. “With all the activities and competitions planned, and the celebration of our 30th anniversary, this will be one eventful winter and we’re ready to get it under way.”

Snowshoe will open on Friday with thirteen trails. The shot above was taken on Monday. Photo provided by Snowshoe Mountain Resort.

Snowshoe received 9 inches of natural snow last weekend, and has already built up a base of 36-40 inches in anticipation of Friday’s opening. The Silver Creek area of the resort, where snowmaking operations are now concentrated, is slated to open on December 12. Snowmaking has not yet begun in the Western Territory.

Canaan Valley Resort plans to open for the season on Friday, December 5. By Saturday, the resort should have three beginner trails and one chair lift open.

“This past weekend’s snowfall and the cold temperatures that came with it allowed us to begin making snow,” said Chuck Trader, Managing Director for Canaan Valley Resot. “We’ve been making snow since last Friday.”

Canaan Valley Resort has been making snow since last Friday. The shot above is from Wednesday morning. Photo provided by Canaan Valley Resort.

Timberline Resort has been busy making snow, and is targeting an opening date of Thursday, December 11. West Virginia’s Winterplace Resort has begun making snow and plans to open on Friday, December 12, conditions permitting.

Snowmaking was underway Tuesday morning at Timberline. Photo provided by Janette Bennett.

Maryland’s Wisp Resort opened with one beginner trail last weekend, and plans to re-open on Friday with additional terrain. Snowmaking is underway on Squirrel Cage, The Face, Boulder Run, Grouse Way, Muskrat, and Belly Flop.

Many Pennsylvania resorts have also launched snowmaking efforts, with numerous resorts slated to open this weekend.

Seven Springs Resort announced on Tuesday that it will open on Friday. Seven Springs has been making snow on Upper Phillip’s Run, Fawn Lane, Wagner, Stowe, Avalanche, and Tyrol.

Whitetail Resort cranked up its snowguns around 1 a.m. early Tuesday morning, and has continued to make snow throughout the week. On Thursday, Whitetail announced that it plans to open for the season on Saturday, December 6, with skiing and boarding on Velvet and possibly Snowpark. Snowmaking has also begun on Upper Angel Drop and Home Run, although they are not expected to be open for the weekend.

Whitetail began making snow early Tuesday morning. Photo provided by Whitetail Resort.

Ski Roundtop and Liberty Mountain Resort have also begun snowmaking. Ski Roundtop plans to open beginner terrain on Saturday. As of Thursday night, Liberty had not yet decided whether it will open this weekend.

Pennsylvania’s Elk Mountain Resort has begun making snow and is looking to open with five trails sometime between December 10 and 12, conditions permitting.

Montage Mountain began snowmaking on Tuesday night, and had hoped to open on December 5. Earlier this week, Montage pushed the opening date back to December 6, but as of Thursday night, Montage notes that opening day will be in mid-December.

Shawnee Mountain is making snow and plans to open December 6, conditions permitting.

Camelback plans to open December 11, and has been making snow on Coolmoor, Sunbowl, Honeymoon Lane, The Meadows, Marc Antony, Laurel Glade, and the Laurel Glade Halfpipe.

DCSki Early Season Tips

  • The opening dates given on this page are rough estimates believed to be true at the time this article was published (Thursday night, December 4, 2003). We recommend contacting a resort directly before making a trip to verify operating conditions and to see what terrain will be open. Opening dates can change at the last minute due to variable conditions.
  • The effects of the current winter storm on road conditions and slope conditions were unknown at the time this article was published. Be sure to check road conditions before heading to the slopes.
  • Check the DCSki Conditions page for the latest slope conditions at area resorts.
  • When temperatures are cold, expect snowmaking to be underway on open slopes early in the season. Be prepared with goggles.
  • Many resorts offer limited hours early in the season. Some resorts are initially open only on weekends.
  • Many resorts offer discounted rates and specials early in the season.

  • About M. Scott Smith

    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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    Reader Comments

    December 6, 2003
    .... I'm so happy for you all! You've been waiting for it and now you can ski/ride it! Hope it is a great season for the Mid-Atlantic .... best snow-wishes from UT!

    Ski and Tell

    Snowcat got your tongue?

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