Snowshoe Resumes Snowmaking 7
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

Photo provided by Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
Better late than never. (And it’s not that late.)

Warm temperatures throughout the middle of November may have squashed Mid-Atlantic resorts’ dreams of capturing a November opening date, but with a sudden drop in temperatures Tuesday, snowmaking is finally back on track, bringing opening days within grasp.

West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort first fired up the snowguns on November 6, only to see temperatures rise to unseasonably warm levels. The resort had hoped to open slopes in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, but has now set the official opening date to December 6. (Many off-slope festivities are still planned for Thanksgiving.)

A drop in temperature on Tuesday morning allowed the resort to once again fire up the snowguns, laying a base of snow on slopes such as Skidder and Gandy Dancer. The resort also received about half an inch of natural snow, while light rain fell in Baltimore and D.C. Throughout Tuesday, the temperature at the Pocahontas County resort continued to fall, settling in the low 20’s.

“Nearly one million gallons of water have been converted into snow so far in the snowmaking process,” reported Snowshoe’s Joe Stevens.

“When conditions are absolutely perfect, Snowshoe Mountain’s veteran snowmakers can cover an area equal to four football fields with a foot of snow in just one hour,” he added.

Snowmaking relies on ample supplies of water, and there has been some concern that this fall’s lack of rainfall could stress local resorts in their snowmaking operations.

Snowshoe doesn’t foresee water supply problems, though, relying on a 100 million gallon lake at the main Snowshoe area as its main source of water. Snowmaking will continue around the clock as temperatures permit. The resort recently expanded a lake at the Silver Creek area, increasing the capacity from 12 million gallons to 25 million gallons. Although rain hasn’t allowed that lake to fill to its newly increased capacity, the resort plans to begin opening slopes at Silver Creek on December 14. Cupp Run and Shay’s Revenge, two expert slopes at the Western Territory area, should also become areas of focus once Snowshoe is able to open a number of slopes at the Snowshoe area with strong coverage.

If temperatures remain low, Snowshoe may be able to begin its ski season prior to December 6, but it’s too early to call. The resort - often the first to open in the area - does not plan to open any slopes until they have a solid base. Once the initial batch of slopes opens, Snowshoe will concentrate on expanding open terrain.

Many resorts in the region are now hoping to open by mid-December. Pennsylvania’s Seven Springs resort is planning to have some slopes open in early December. However, continued uncertainty in the forecast for the next couple weeks has prevented most resorts at lower elevations from predicting an opening date. Longer-term, weather models for this winter show favorable ski conditions with the potential for above average snowfall and below average temperatures.

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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

Jimmy Turner
November 21, 2001
Thanks DCSki for keeping us posted on Snowshoes progress..It's good to see the Snow Guns at work!! Keep the pictures coming!!
November 21, 2001
yes, I was surprised to see an article up so quickly. i update my self several times a day on the shoe's progress. try for more info
November 23, 2001
good to see the photos of the snow guns, this place will really be rolling soon...5 hr drive from dc makes it easy...i'm not afraid to fly out west, but w/ low ski rates, cheap gas, and plenty of wild, wonderful, nightlife...i'm there...see ya
Ray Cavanaugh
November 27, 2001
If you are staying at Snowshoe, check out the Shamrock and Powderidge complexes. They are nice units, reasonably priced and right next to the slopes. I hope it gets colder so they can keep the Dec 6th date!
John Carpenter
November 27, 2001
I hope things get to look better, I know its early but I'm afraid I've been spoiled. Last year was my first year at Snowshoe during Jan 1st through the 4th, and that was absolutely amazing snow. Last year's conditions were the best in their 27 or 28 year history. Hopefully this time will be as good or even better! I'll see you all on the slopes, I know they'll make it worth my while with those guns anyway!
November 27, 2001
Made my reservations for 19th and 20th of Dec so I know there is going to plenty of snow by then I can wait. Keep the snow guns going.
December 3, 2001
We have a college trip scheduled for the 17-21. 15 of us are driving up from Gainesville and Orlando, Florida, so we need some snow up there. Keep it coming!!!!

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