Low temperatures in early December have allowed mid-Atlantic ski resorts to fire up the guns and prepare for their season openings. Some natural snow may even fall on Friday, December 8, 2006 at mountain resorts. Several resorts have already opened for the season, and many more will begin opening this weekend. By December 16, DCSki expects the majority of mid-Atlantic resorts to be open. This article sweeps through the mid-Atlantic region and provides a snapshot of local resorts and their current status.
During the early season, many resorts offer discounted ticket pricing or other specials. If you are planning a trip, please contact the resort directly to find out what specials might be in place. You can also browse the DCSki Bargain Tracker to view some specials. Also note that early-season conditions can be variable. Thin cover can exist, although most resorts are good at making sure there is plenty of base depth before opening a slope. Resorts usually open a few trails initially, expanding the count as snowmaking continues. Contact the resort to verify operating hours and which trails will be open, as plans can change at the last minute.
Wisp Resort: Wisp began aggressive snowmaking on December 2, 2006 at 3 a.m., when the temperature dropped to 27 degrees. In the next four hours, Wisp used 600 gallons of water per minute to begin laying snow on Belly Flop, Wisp Trail, North Camp, and the Bear Claw Snow Tubing Park. Then, when temperatures fell further, Wisp cranked up the snowmaking system so that 1,400 gallons of water per minute were turning to snow. Wisp will be opening for the season on Friday, December 8, 2006. Wisp will also be holding its Annual Birthday Celebration December 10-11, with discounted lift ticket pricing.
Beach Mountain: Beach Mountain opened this morning, December 7, 2006, with 5 of 15 slopes open and 3 chairlifts in operation.
Sugar Mountain: After opening for the season on November 20, Sugar Mountain had to close after rain and warm temperatures. After the warm weather moved out, Sugar Mountain resumed snowmaking on December 1 and was able to re-open on Saturday, December 2. Sugar Mountain currently has 6 trails open with 2 lifts in operation. Snowmaking continues, so additional trails could open soon. Sugar Mountain will be offering its SugarFest ‘06 celebration from December 16-17, 2006.
Alpine Mountain: Snowmaking is in progress, but as of December 7, Alpine Mountain has not formally announced an opening date. Alpine’s Schedule of Events shows “free clinics” tentatively scheduled for December 10, so it’s possible Alpine Mountain will open this weekend.
Bear Creek: Bear Creek began making snow on December 4, and is currently planning to open for the season on Tuesday, December 12, 2006. According to the resort, it only takes 75 hours of snowmaking to blanket the mountain with enough snow to open for the season. “Bear Creek Mountain Resort is looking forward to another great winter season with or without natural snow from Mother Nature,” said Mark Schroetel, General Manager of the resort.
Ski Big Bear: Ski Big Bear has announced tentative plans to open on Saturday, December 16, 2006.
Big Boulder / Jack Frost: Big Boulder opened for the season on Tuesday, December 5 at 3 p.m. Jack Frost plans to open on Saturday, December 9.
Blue Knob: Blue Knob plans to open for the season on Friday, December 15, 2006. Snowmaking is currently underway. On December 15, Blue Knob will provide a free lift ticket to anyone bringing a toy valued at $10 or higher to its “Toys for Tots” campaign.
Blue Mountain: Blue Mountain plans to open on Friday, December 8, 2006.
Camelback: Camelback originally began snowmaking on November 21, and resumed snowmaking on December 2. Camelback has not announced an opening date yet, but is tentatively planning on opening on or around December 15, 2006.
Ski Denton: Ski Denton has not formally announced an opening date, but may open as early as December 9, 2006.
Elk Mountain: Elk Mountain began snowmaking on December 2. The resort has not announced an opening date yet, but is targeting a mid-December opening, on or around December 15, 2006.
Hidden Valley Resort: Hidden Valley Resort is currently planning on opening on December 15, 2006, conditions permitting.
Liberty Mountain: Liberty Mountain has been making snow and plans to open for the season on Saturday, December 9, 2006. Through December 22, Liberty (along with Ski Roundtop and Whitetail Resorts) will be offering a $29 First Class Beginner Package, including rentals, beginner lift ticket, and lesson. Also through December 22, $10 group lessons will be offered to all skiers and boarders. Liberty will be holding a Winter Solstice Carnival December 16-17.
Mystic Mountain: Mystic Mountain plans to open for the season on Friday, December 15, 2006. Located at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Mystic Mountain plans to offer weekend skiing (Fridays through Sundays) throughout the season.
Ski Roundtop: Ski Roundtop will be opening for the season on Saturday, December 9, 2006. The resort plans to open Minuteman, Fife & Drum, Fanny Hill, Discovery Area, and Incubator park. Ski Roundtop will offer midweek lift ticket rates for its opening weekend. Roundtop will also be offering $29 Learn to Ski or Snowboard packages and $10 class lessons through December 22.
Ski Sawmill: Ski Sawmill has not formally announced an opening date, but has tentative plans to open on December 15, 2006. For its opening weekend, Ski Sawmill plans to offer a “buy one get one free” lift ticket special.
Seven Springs: Seven Springs will open for the season on Friday, December 8, 2006. The resort plans to open 7-9 trails on the front face only with 3 chairlifts and 2 surface lifts in operation.
Shawnee Mountain: Shawnee Mountain plans to open for the season on Saturday, December 9, 2006.
Sno Mountain (formerly Montage Mountain): Sno Mountain began making snow using its newly-installed snowmaking system on December 4, 2006. The ski area has not formally announced an opening date yet, but plans to open on or around December 15.
Spring Mountain: Spring Mountain has not formally announced an opening date yet, but plans to open on or around December 16, 2006.
Tanglwood: Tanglwood has not yet announced an opening date.
Tussey Mountain: Tussey Mountain may be able to open on Saturday, December 9, 2006, but has not yet made a final decision. The ski area should decide by Friday.
Whitetail Resort: Whitetail will open for the season on Saturday, December 9, 2006. For opening date, Whitetail plans to have 8 trails open with 4 lifts in operation. Some features may also be available in the terrain park.
Bryce Resort: Bryce Resort plans to open for the season on Saturday, December 9, 2006.
The Homestead: The Homestead is currently planning to open on Friday, December 15, 2006.
Massanutten Resort: Massanutten will open for the season on Friday, December 8, 2006. Snowmaking has been underway on five trails.
Wintergreen Resort: Wintergreen will open on Saturday, December 9, 2006 for day sessions only. Night skiing and riding will begin on December 15. For this weekend, Wintergreen plans to open the Upper and Lower Dobie, Eagles Swoop, Lower Cross, and Potato Patch trails.
Canaan Valley Resort: Canaan Valley Resort plans to open on Friday, December 8, 2006. On December 9, Canaan Valley Resort will have its 35th Anniversary Celebration, with $15 lift tickets and $35 lift/rental combos. Contact the resort for additional details.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort: Snowshoe opened for the season on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2006. Snowshoe plans to expand its open terrain this weekend, December 9-10, as it holds its Demo Days and King of the Mountain competition. Snowshoe plans to have at least 12 trails open by this weekend. Also, West Virginia youths age 18 and under will be able to receive a free lift ticket, half-off rentals, and half-off lessons on Sunday, December 10, 2006. Proof of residency is required.
Timberline Resort: Timberline will be opening for the season on Saturday, December 9, 2006. Timberline has been making snow around the clock. For its opening weekend, December 9-10, Timberline will be providing free lift tickets to all active military personnel.
Winterplace Resort: Winterplace is planning on opening for the season on Saturday, December 9, 2006.
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.