This weekend, that count is going to grow. And thrifty skiers and boarders will find a selection of bargains available.
Thanks to a sustained stretch of snowmaking temperatures (and, to a lesser degree, some help from Mother Nature in the form of natural snow), many resorts in the region are planning to open this weekend. DCSki expects that a majority of Mid-Atlantic resorts will be open by December 11, 2005, launching an uncharacteristically strong early season.
Pennsylvania’s Blue Knob Resort plans to open on Friday, December 9 with skiing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On this opening day, Blue Knob will be sponsoring “Toys for Tots.” Skiers or snowboarders bringing an unwrapped toy with a $10 value will receive a free lift ticket.
“Toys for Tots is a great organization to get involved with. Last year we collected over 300 toys and we hope to surpass that total this year,” said Andy Himes, Mountain Manager of Blue Knob All Seasons Resort.
Pennsylvania’s Hidden Valley Resort has been making snow and plans to open the ski area on Friday, December 9 at 4 p.m.
Ski Roundtop aims to open on Thursday, December 8 at 4 p.m. Liberty Mountain and Whitetail plan to drop the ropes on Friday, December 9. Through December 23, Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail will be offering free group lessons, as well as a Learn to Ski or Snowboard Package (including beginniner lift, lesson, and rental) for $19.
On Saturday, December 10, Maryland’s Wisp Resort will open its brand new North Camp area for the first time. The North Camp has expanded Wisp’s terrain by 30%, adding ten new trails and 2 new lifts to the backside of the mountain. Grand opening festivities will include a torchlight parade, music, and games. Wisp will offer a combined Saturday/Sunday/Monday lift ticket for $30, valid December 10-12, 2005. A Sunday/Monday lift ticket (Dec. 11-12), rental, or group lesson will be $7 each in honor of Wisp’s 50th birthday.
The season continues to go strong at West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort, where 14 slopes were open on Monday. By this weekend, Snowshoe’s Andrea Smith reports that the resort could have as many as 27 trails and 5 lifts open. Snowshoe has a Demo Day scheduled for this weekend.
West Virginia’s Timberline Resort plans to begin its season on December 8. From December 9-11, active military personnel will be able to ski free at Timberline when showing ID.
If you’re interested in cross country skiing, head over to West Virginia’s White Grass Touring Center. 3 kilometers of trails are groomed with upper trails and the snowfarm open. White Grass’s snow report on Monday was refreshingly honest: “dust on crust.”
Opening day plans can change, so DCSki recommends contacting a resort directly before making a trip to verify operating conditions. You may also browse current conditions on the DCSki Conditions page. Many resorts start the season with a limited number of trails open. If temperatures are low, expect aggressive snowmaking to be underway; bring goggles.
The current long-term forecast shows temperatures remaining favorably cold for the next couple of weeks. This will allow snowmaking conditions to continue, and should allow local resorts to rapidly expand their open trail count and offer additional activities such as snow tubing.
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.