The 2004-2005 winter season has officially begun as resorts throughout the region open their slopes to skiers and boarders. A balmy November and early December prevented snowguns from firing at all but the highest-elevation resorts. That changed last weekend, as a cold front settled over the mid-Atlantic region and brought chilly temperatures. Most resorts in the mid-Atlantic had snowguns going 24/7 for most of this week, and some natural snow fell on many resorts in western Pennsylvania, western Maryland, and West Virginia.
North Carolina’s Sugar Mountain Resort and West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort were the first two resorts to open for the season. Sugar Mountain opened briefly on November 26, while Snowshoe opened on December 3. Sugar Mountain now has 8 trails open, while Snowshoe has 19 trails open.
Several other resorts clocked in with season openings this week, and by the end of this weekend, nearly every resort in the region plans to be open.
North Carolina’s Ski Beech has five trails open. In Virginia, Bryce Resort and the Homestead plan to open on December 18, 2004. Massanutten and Wintergreen both plan to open on Friday, December 17.
West Virginia’s Canaan Valley Resort opened on Thursday, December 16.
“We’ve received more than a foot of natural snow over the past two days and more snow is in the forecast,” said Chuck Trader, Managing Director of Canaan Valley Resort, on Wednesday. “We’ve also been making snow since Saturday,” he added.
Timberline Resort opened two trails on Thursday and plans to open additional trails this weekend.
The White Grass Touring Center is open for cross country skiing with a 2-19 inch base.
The Winterplace Resort, also in West Virginia, plans to open December 17.
Maryland’s Wisp Resort will be opening on December 17 with 6 trails. More trails are expected to open over the next several days.
In Pennsylvania, Blue Knob has two trails open. Snow tubing is expected to open on Saturday, December 18, 2004.
Blue Mountain, Hidden Valley Resort, Montage, and Shawnee Mountain plan to open December 17. Seven Springs will be opening on December 17 with 8-10 trails available.
Ski Roundtop is opening December 17 and expects to have Minuteman, Fife & Drum, Fanny Hill, the Discovery Area and the Incubator Park open.
Liberty Mountain Resort plans to open on December 18 with its largest opening day trail count yet, thanks to snowmaking improvements over the summer that allow snow to be made simultaneously on the front and back sides of the mountain.
Whitetail Resort will also be opening on December 18. On opening day, skiing and snowboarding should be available on Almost Home, Velvet, Northern Lights, Snowpark, Stalker, Upper and Lower Angel Drop, and the Jib Junction Terrain Park.
Big Boulder, Camelback, and Jack Frost also plan to open on December 18.
Mystic Mountain plans to be open on Saturday and Sunday.
Laurel Mountain, now known as the Springs at Laurel Mountain and operated by Seven Springs Resort, will re-open this season after being closed last season. December 21 is the targeted opening date for Laurel Mountain.
Many resorts will be offering discounted lift tickets during the beginning of the season; contact a resort directly to find out what specials may be available. DCSki also recommends contacting a resort before planning a trip; opening date information can change, and some resorts offer limited hours early in the season.
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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