A blast of arctic air last week fueled snowmaking at resorts across the mid-Atlantic region, allowing several resorts to open for the season, while others began laying down a base in anticipating of an opening date. Some natural snow also helped out.
The first resort to open in the mid-Atlantic region was North Carolina’s Cataloochee Ski Area, which opened two slopes on November 17, 2005. Other resorts were quick to follow; Sugar Mountain, also located in North Carolina, opened on November 18.
West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort opened on November 23 with an 18-32 inch base on eight trails. Since then, the resort has expanded the open trail count to 14. In Pennsylvania, Seven Springs Resort opened on November 25 with ten trails. Maryland’s Wisp Resort also opened six trails on November 25, and has also begun making snow in the new North Camp area. Virginia’s Wintergreen Resort kicked off its season on Saturday, November 26 by opening two beginner slopes. West Virginia’s Canaan Valley Resort also began its season on Saturday.
Colder-than-normal temperatures in late November, along with continued improvements to snowmaking capacity throughout the mid-Atlantic region, helped propel these resorts to a historically early opening date.
Other resorts in the region are hoping to capture opening dates soon, and many that have not opened yet have begun aggressive snowmaking operations.
In south-central Pennsylvania, Liberty Mountain, Ski Roundtop, and Whitetail all fired up their snowmaking arsenal on Thanksgiving night. The resorts kept making snow until the mercury dipped above freezing on Sunday morning.
“While we aren’t prepared to announce an opening date at this time, we are certainly encouraged by the long range weather forecast, and anticipate an early start to the 2005-2006 ski and snowboard season,” said Eric Flynn, Liberty’s General Manager.
Pennsylvania’s Hidden Valley Resort also began snowmaking operations, and hopes to open slopes soon.
Temperatures early this week will be milder, putting a hold on snowmaking as some rain moves through. By midweek, temperatures will again begin to drop, dipping into snowmaking range at night by the end of the week.
“If the week ahead isn’t too mild and wet, we might be able to open the first few slopes this coming weekend,” said Hidden Valley Resort’s Keith James.
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.