Snow Flies at Snowshoe
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

Pictures from Sunday, October 24, 1999.
Early snow at Snowshoe. Pictures from Sunday, October 24, 1999. Photos provided by Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
The sound of snow guns could be heard at West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort this past weekend, as the resort began “making ground” in preparation for a November 19 opening date. The resort’s 4,848 foot elevation resulted in ideal snowmaking temperatures in the mid-20’s, and Mother Nature even lent a helping hand, dropping six inches of natural snow on the resort. Snowshoe is the first resort south of New England to begin snowmaking operations.

According to Snowshoe’s Joe Stevens, snowmaking began at the top of Skidder Slope. Plans are to proceed down Crosscut, Gandy, and Powder Monkey, while beginning snowmaking at the Ruckus Ridge Snow Tubing Hill at the Silver Creek area. Milder temperatures are forecast for early this week, so snowmaking operations past Monday are not guaranteed. The resort hopes to lay down a solid base that will stick around thanks to the natural snowfall and cold ground temperatures.

The resort has set Friday, November 19 as a tentative opening date. This date is dependent on favorable snowmaking temperatures in November, which of course aren’t guaranteed. Last year, Snowshoe received its first measurable snowfall accumulation on October 22, 1998, but milder temperatures followed for much of the fall, frustrating snowmaking efforts. The season picked up in December, with 155 inches of snow falling throughout the season. 68 inches of snow fell between February 28 and March 14, 1999, resulting in excellent spring skiing conditions. The resort’s 10-year average annual snowfall is 180 inches.

If temperatures remain cold throughout November, Snowshoe will open prior to the set November 19 date.

Once the slopes open, visitors will be greeted with numerous changes. Snowshoe is now taking lodging reservations on-line, allowing guests to book every aspect of their trip. Rimfire Lodge opened this past summer, adding new lodging units and nine retail shops and restaurants. Eli’s Tavern, the resort’s newest restaurant, is being headed by Robert Wong, a former Executive Chef at the Greenbrier Hotel. The rental equipment fleet has been upgraded with 1,000 pairs of new shaped skis and step-in bindings for snowboards, and a Kids World facility has been added to Ruckus Ridge. New backcountry adventures include lodging at the Sunrise Backcountry Hut, which guests reach via hiking, snowshoeing, or snowmobile trails. Several eateries have been renovated throughout the resort.

Snowshoe was recently ranked number 17 in the East by readers of Ski Magazine. Last season, Snowshoe received 432,000 skier visits, putting it in the top 5% of North American resorts in terms of skier visits.

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About M. Scott Smith

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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