Dreaming of a White Christmas: Opening Day Status for Snowshoe 11
Author thumbnail By John Sherwood, DCSki Columnist

Photo provided by Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
At 6:15 a.m. Sunday morning, Snowshoe Mountain Resort’s snowmakers began covering the slopes again - the third time the resort has launched snowmaking operations so far this season.

Despite this flurry of snowmaking activity, however, Snowshoe has once again moved its opening date forward - this time from Friday, December 14 to Monday, December 17 - conditions permitting.

“We’re tired of putting down dates,” claims Joe Stevens, the Snowshoe communications director. “We’re trying as best as we can to open but Mother Nature is just not cooperating.”

In an attempt to make up for lost ground, Snowshoe is renting additional air compressors for 30 days and stationing them on flatbed trucks next to the compressor house. These mobile compressors will allow the resort to increase capacity on the main mountain by 20 percent, and at Silver Creek by 15 percent during marginal snowmaking weather. If the temperatures dip down to the low twenties, these percentages rise to 40 and 30 percent, respectively.

Another factor in Snowshoe’s favor is, believe it or not, the weather. Snow may be on tap in West Virginia for this Thursday. This storm and one just behind it will usher in a cold snap later on next week with low temperatures possibly dipping down to the single digits. Herb Stevens, the Skiing Weatherman, describes the changing weather situation as follows:

“The first storm and cold front will move through the region later this week, with the second to pass through late in the weekend/early next week. Behind this second system, it appears that the cold shot will be real, and have staying power, as a trough establishes itself in the East for the first time in more than a month. It is interesting to note that the warm spell will have a silver lining for resorts that are reached by lake effect snow (and those resorts are located as far south as the central Appalachians). The water temps of the lakes are well above normal, and the greater the contrast between the water temp and the air temp at 5000 feet, the more intense the lake effect snows. When arctic air passes over those open waters sometime next week…look out!!! In the broader sense, next week the weather pattern will have changed in favor of EASTERN ski resorts…and not a moment too soon.”

In short, there may be hope yet for a white or at least partially white Christmas.

“We’d like to have Cupp open on Christmas,” explains Stevens. “We’re going to give it a shot, but don’t bet the mortgage that it will happen.”

A more realistic prediction is that Snowshoe will have significant terrain open on the main mountain with limited terrain over in Silver Creek, but if this cold snap really does come, anything is possible - especially with Snowshoe’s increased compression capability.

About John Sherwood

John Sherwood is a columnist for DCSki. When he's not hiking, biking, or skiing, he works as an author of books on military history.

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Reader Comments

December 11, 2001
thanks as always for keeping us updated on the shoe. between dcski.com, and rsn.com, i stay very updated on whats happening at the shoe, even though i live in fl! keep it up!
John Sherwood
December 11, 2001
Thank you for the kind words. Hope to see you at Snowshoe when it finally opens.
December 11, 2001
I am bringing my younger brother to ski for the first time ever for him at Snowshoe. Thanks for keeping me updated with the weather conditions.
December 11, 2001
my buddies and me will be headin the moutian in January - i just bought new skis and i hope the weather'll be nice! We thought goin' early Jan would be great, but now I ain't sure with the weather and all!
December 11, 2001
the cold weather will be here soon. when it comes, its gonna change fast
warm weather will disappear! yay!
John Sherwood
December 12, 2001
Latest from Joe Stevens at Snowshoe:

"The mild temperatures continue to hamper any substantial snowmaking efforts by Snowshoe Mountain's veteran snowmakers. The next shot of snowmaking should occur Friday night. Weather forecasters are now saying that winter is going to arrive Tuesday. Let's hope so! "
December 12, 2001
hey john, im just curious, but did that update come in your email? i got somethin from snowshoe, then asked to be put on the snow report email too, but i think i might have been deleted by the shoe. Just wonderin. thanks.
john Sherwood
December 12, 2001
I got this off the website, but I also got a call from Joe today. Snowshoe is determined to open for the holidays. With all the rain (good for filling snowmaking ponds) and the added compressors, Shoe could get a lot of terrain open in a hurry. All they need now is some cold air (which should come next week).
December 12, 2001
John Sherwood
December 13, 2001
"The mild weather continues through the weekend. In fact, this unseasonable air will bring more showers on Monday with gusty winds and then the situation changes quickly. The outlook for Tuesday and Wednesday is a favorable one for snow. The coldest air of the season is set to dive southward which will likely bring snow squalls with measurable accumulation during the period. Most of next week should be in the 20's and 30s."
Scott Sabol, Meteorologist, WSAZ-TV, Charleston, WV.
December 17, 2001
Hoping for snow on Christmas Day.

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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