The arrival of colder temperatures in mid-November hinted that winter might be arriving early, prompting ski resorts such as Wisp and Seven Springs to bring the snow guns out of hibernation. Unfortunately, the return of warmer weather has put snowmaking operations on hold for most area resorts, pushing opening dates well into December.
Currently, the only area resort open is West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Snowshoe had anticipated opening November 13, but was unable to open until Wednesday, November 25. Snowshoe has seven trails open with thin conditions; large Thanksgiving crowds are competing for these trails, and temperatures are too warm for sustained snowmaking.
In the Baltimore area, temperatures may climb to 70 degrees on Monday, settling down to highs in the 50’s by mid-week.
To make artificial snow effectively, ski resorts require temperatures in the low- to mid-20’s with low humidity. Most area resorts have enough snowmaking capacity to open some trails after 3 days of sustained, round-the-clock snowmaking, but suitable conditions are not in the short-term forecast.
This summer’s extended drought may also have an effect on this winter’s skiing. West Virginia’s Timberline Resort is facing a water shortage, which could hamper snowmaking. Although snow is generally the precipitation of choice, Timberline wouldn’t mind seeing some rain.
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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