Temperatures at Snowshoe Mountain Resort dipped into the mid 20’s early Tuesday morning, allowing the West Virginia resort to fire up its snowguns for the first time this season. Snowshoe is targeting a November 21st opening date - little more than two weeks away. To reach that goal, Snowshoe will make snow at every available opportunity.
That may be difficult, with daytime temperatures forecast to remain above freezing for the next 5-10 days. However, Snowshoe’s experienced snowmaking team is up to the task, and the resort itself is up pretty high, itself - with a peak elevation of nearly 5,000 feet, temperatures at Snowshoe can be considerably lower than surrounding areas. Nighttime temperatures should be conducive to snowmaking.
It doesn’t take long for Snowshoe to make a lot of snow. When conditions are right, the resort can convert millions of gallons of water to snow each night, blanketing the slopes.
Pre-season temperatures this year haven’t dipped to the levels of last year, when a number of resorts were able to claim a November opening date thanks to a sustained stretch of sub-freezing temperatures. Last year, Snowshoe was able to open a record-breaking 95% of its terrain by mid-December, and virtually every resort in the region was open with respectable conditions by mid-December.
Mother Nature will have to turn the thermostat down soon for resorts to experience similarly excellent conditions at the starting gate. But in a sign of what may be coming, natural snow has already fallen in the mountains of West Virginia. In October, Snowshoe received a total of 6 inches of snow. And El Niño and La Niña are now distant memories, removing two wildcard variables that tinkered with winter weather in past years.
The following pictures were taken at Snowshoe Mountain Resort early on Tuesday morning. Photos provided by Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
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.