A chill in the air has returned on the eve of the official start of winter, and the colder temperatures have signaled the return of aggressive snowmaking at area resorts. In fact, most resorts in the region are now predicting opening dates within the next week, just in time for the all-important holiday season.
The season is already well underway for some resorts. In western Maryland, Wisp Resort remains open and received some natural snow yesterday. Three trails are open while snowmaking occurs on a dozen additional trails; expect more trail openings soon.
In West Virginia, Snowshoe Mountain Resort continues to best some resorts as far north as New England, with 17 open trails and several additional trails opening this weekend. Snowshoe’s Joe Stevens reports that the resort has already clocked in with 200 hours of snowmaking this season, but expects the best snowmaking conditions yet to occur over the next ten days.
“Due to the extended period of cold weather, Mountain Operations made the move to start making snow on Snowshoe Mountain’s Western Territory area. The guns were cranked up [Wednesday] night and are going to be producing snow around the clock until Cupp Run is open from top-to-bottom,” Stevens said. If the weather holds, Cupp Run, a 1-mile trail with a 1,500 foot vertical, may open as early as Monday.
Snowmaking continues at Canaan Valley Resort, which was reporting five open trails yesterday with a base depth of 20-50 inches.
In Virginia, Massanutten Resort plans to open its tubing park this Saturday, but warns that temperature variations might delay the opening by a day or two. Slope openings should follow shortly.
Southern Pennsylvania resorts will soon be checking in with openings dates. Seven Springs will re-open today, and plans to remain open for the remainder of the season. The Snow Tubing Park is slated for a Saturday opening.
Laurel Mountain, which will be re-opening this winter after a ten-year absence, has set December 22 as its official opening date.
Ski Liberty, Ski Roundtop, and Whitetail Ski Resort have resumed snowmaking and are aiming to open by early next week.
The weather forecast for the next week calls for high temperatures to stay in the low 40’s with lows well below the freezing mark. In the mountains to the north and west, temperatures will dip lower, permitting ‘round-the-clock snowmaking at many resorts. As a result, it’s always wise to bring goggles as resorts will be taking every opportunity to expand open terrain as quickly as possible.
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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