Cold temperatures throughout the region have allowed many resorts to fire up snowmaking efforts as they head towards an opening date. On Saturday, November 15, North Carolina’s Sugar Mountain resort will become the first Mid-Atlantic resort to open for the 2003-2004 winter season. Sugar Mountain will open at 9 a.m. with skiing and snowboarding on the Upper and Lower Flying Mile slopes, providing a combined run of about a mile and a 1,000-foot vertical drop. Lift ticket prices will be at weekday rates.
In Virginia, The Homestead resort began testing its brand-new multi-million dollar snowmaking system last night. The system, installed this past summer and fall, includes a new holding and cooling reservoir, a large capacity pumping station, and fan-style snow guns.
Michael Valach, the Director of Outdoor Activities for The Homestead, reports that the new system has made an obvious difference. Even with marginal temperatures last night, the resort was able to operate more guns and flow more water than ever before, he said. The Homestead is planning to open in early December with the best manmade snow conditions the resort has offered, thanks to the new system.
West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort has been taking every available opportunity to make snow, as the resort aims to open prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. On Thursday, Snowshoe had 50 guns running on trails including Skidder, Cross Cut, Grabhammer, the Spruce Glades Terrain Park, Powder Monkey, Whistlepunk and Lower Flume.
In Pennsylvania, snowguns could be seen in action through live webcams available on Seven Springs’s web site. The resort has not yet announced an opening date.
A warming trend over the next few days will temporarily silence snowguns, but cold temperatures are slated to return towards the end of November. DCSki expects several additional resorts to open around the Thanksgiving holiday, with the majority of Mid-Atlantic resorts coming on-line in early December.
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.