Warm weather has plagued the Mid-Atlantic all week long, making ski resort opening dates a thorny and unpredictable issue. DCSki columnist John Sherwood recently spoke with Bob Duppstadt, the Manager of Public Relations and Advertising at Pennsylvani’s Seven Springs Resort, about the factors influencing that resort’s decision about when to open.
There is a very remote possibility that Seven Springs will open on November 24, but chances are more likely that it will open between the 1st and 5th of December. The best way to get the latest snow conditions at Seven Springs is to check their web site: www.7springs.com, or call 800-452-2223.
“Currently, Seven Springs does not have a firm opening date. One model from our weather sources shows cold weather coming in the week after Thanksgiving, so we hope to open between the first and fifth of December,” explained Duppstadt.
“However, next Tuesday and Wednesday (November 20-21) also will bring cold weather. The 21st could potentially be an excellent snowmaking day, but then the weather turns seasonable again late in the week with the possibility of sleet, rain, and snow on Friday,” he added.
In short, there is a very remote chance of an opening on the 24th, but chances are better for an opening between December 1-5.
“With 18 hours of temperatures in the low twenties, Seven Springs can open one slope; with 80 hours, the resort can open the entire front side of the mountain,” noted Duppstadt.
The first slopes the resort hopes to open are Wagner, Fawn Lane, and Phillip’s Run.
Seven Springs has over 900 air-water towers. These guns can operate at temperatures up to 28 degrees, but the optimal snowmaking temperatures, given typical humidity levels, are in the low twenties. Seven Springs also has a sled with 25 guns mounted on it that can be hauled to any slope to augment the power of the fixed gun system.
For water, the resort utilizes 64 ponds and lakes on its property, and relies on a sophisticated system of 2-3 foot pipes to capture run-off and pump it back to the lakes for more snowmaking. The Mid-Atlantic drought, therefore, is not having a major impact on Seven Springs as far as the start date is concerned, but if it continues, Seven Springs -; like all resorts in the Mid-Atlantic -; will have to implement some water conservation measures.
Seven Springs also has a very flexible contract with Somerset County Rural Electric which allows the resort to make snow whenever it is needed.
“We try to make snow off-peak, but when necessary, there is enough flexibility in the contract to blow snow whenever we need it,” said Duppstadt.
Hopefully, that need will arise soon.
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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