Never underestimate the power of cold. Natural snow? Who needs it? As long as temperatures stay below freezing, local resorts can convert hundreds of millions of water into artificial snow, and that’s exactly what they’ve been doing over the past few days. With cold temperatures expected to continue throughout the week, resorts will be making snow around the clock in an effort to open more trails and improve surface conditions.
Trail counts are beginning to expand in the region as base depths grow. This past weekend was a busy one for local resorts, as skiers and boarders flocked to the mountains to experience some of the best conditions of the season - possibly of the past several seasons. Crowds shouldn’t be as big of a problem if you can make a trip midweek. As always, it’s a wise idea to bring goggles, as snowmaking is likely to occur on some open slopes.
West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort just wrapped up the most popular three-day holiday weekend in the history of the resort, with 24,000 skier visits between Saturday and Monday. On Saturday alone, there were 9,785 skier visits, a single one-day record.
“It definitely helped that we were 100% open,” said Joe Stevens, Communications Director for the resort. Snowshoe has converted over 150 million gallons of water into snow, running the guns for 800 hours so far this season.
Stevens reports that Snowshoe may break past its busiest season to date, the 1997/98 season, which had a record 445,000 skier visits. Snowshoe is currently running a “4 for 3” promotion, throwing in an extra night of lodging and an extra day of skiing for 3-day midweek bookings during January and February.
Thanks to aggressive snowmaking and some natural snow, New York’s Hunter Mountain is the first resort on the east coast to build up a base hitting triple digits. Hunter is reporting that most trails have a base depth up to 100 inches, with 90% of the resort’s terrain open.
A number of events are planned to take advantage of the great conditions, including a specialized Women’s Camp from January 28-29, a Speed Weekend from January 29-30, and the Budweiser East Coast Police Winter Games, scheduled for January 26-28.
If you visit Ski Liberty, Ski Roundtop, or Whitetail this week (through January 21), you can add two extra hours to your flex lift ticket - if you know the Code. As part of National Slope Safety Week, the three Pennsylvania resorts will extend lift tickets by two hours for any skier or boarder that successfully recites the “Responsibility Code” to a ski patroller.
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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