Thanks to a recent stretch of cold temperatures, the number of open ski resorts in the Mid-Atlantic is about to increase dramatically. Snowmaking has been underway at all local resorts for the past few days, allowing a selection of resorts to claim opening dates today or this weekend. Milder temperatures will arrive this weekend, putting a temporary hold on snowmaking until colder temperatures return early next week. Many resorts not opening by this weekend are shooting for a December 10 opening date.
What types of conditions can you expect at the beginning of the season? With the exception of West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort, which began its season on November 19, all of the resorts listed in this article will be opening limited terrain - usually a small handful of trails geared towards beginners. Thanks to concentrated snowmaking, coverage on the open trails should be good. The early season is a great time for beginners to head to the slopes, taking advantage of discounted ticket rates and (usually) uncrowded conditions. It’s also a tempting time for die-hard skiers and snowboarders to make their first turn of the season.
Now that all local resorts have begun snowmaking operations, they will concentrate on making snow whenever possible to increase trail openings in time for the Christmas holiday, which is traditionally a busy time for resorts. If cold temperatures don’t evaporate, this season is shaping up to be one of the best in years.
The following resorts will open for the season either today or this weekend:
Blue Knob, Pa.: Blue Knob opened for the season yesterday by opening one trail with a base depth of 18-20 inches.
Canaan Valley, W.Va.: Canaan Valley will open four slopes this Friday, serviced by two chairlifts. Base depth is 18-42 inches. Beginners B Slope, Sissy Schuss, Bunny Buster, and intermediate Valley Vista will be the first to open. Through December 25, lift tickets will be $20. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m.
Massanutten Resort, Va.: Massanutten will open the Snow Tubing park on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Pricing will be $10 per 2-hour session. Skiing and snowboarding are slated to open on December 10.
Seven Springs, Pa.: Seven Springs begins its season Friday morning at 9 a.m as Wagner Slope, Fawn Lane, Upper Phillip’s Run, the Beginner Bowl, and the Santa’s Beard rope-tow teaching area open. Lift ticket rates will be $20 for adults and $15 for children age 11 and under. Hours Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Beginning today and continuing through December 23, the resort will be offering a Beginner’s Package at a rate of $17 for skiers and $27 for snowboarders. This package includes rentals, a 90-minute group lesson, and a lift ticket for beginner terrain and limited chairlifts.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort, W.Va.: Snowshoe captured its opening date on November 19. The Pocahontas County resort has had snowmaking equipment on full throttle the past few days, converting nearly 40 millions gallons of water into snow. Additional terrain will be opening today. At the Snowshoe area, Spruce Glades, Tail Tree, Stemwinder, Grab Hammer, and Dinky will be added to the roster of open trails on Friday. On Saturday, the Whiffletree trail will open, allowing the Ballhooter express quad to begin operation. At the Silver Creek area, the Ruckus Ridge Tubing Hill will open on Friday at 1 p.m., and the kids area at Silver Creek - served by a new Magic Carpet lift - will open on Saturday. (Night skiing at Silver Creek is slated to begin on December 10.) By Saturday, 14 trails will be open at Snowshoe, serviced by 7 lifts.
Wintergreen, Va.: Wintergreen will claim its opening date this Saturday. Base depth will be 16-30 inches on Potato Patch and Upper Dobie.
Wisp Resort, Md.: Wisp will begin its season Friday by opening three trails. The rope tow and chair 3 (through the mid-station) will be in operation from 12 noon to 9 p.m. on Friday. The resort is reporting a base depth of 10-28 inches.
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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