When do ski areas give up on opening more terrain?
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wfyurasko - DCSki Supporter 
January 12, 2023
Member since 07/27/2014 🔗
353 posts
It's almost mid-January and the weather forecast throughout DCSki region is really discouraging. 

This has me wondering -- at what point in the season do ski areas start thinking "let's just not bother making snow" for certain trails?

To put it in context, a friend of mine, who lives near Hershey, Pa., and I plan an annual daytrip. The last two times, we went to Elk Mountain and are thinking about doing Montage/Elk in consecutive days. They don't have a lot open, even though though they are further north. My concern is that even if the weather starts cooperating a little, the slopes/lifts will be so crowded that we don't have as good a day if there are not more trails. I figure we're at least two weeks out from the next opportunity. 

I gather further Northeast isn't doing much better either. 

Also, what about Massanutten? They never get the old Lift 6 runs open until January which has frustrated me because I would have gone there in December pretty regularly.

Now, if I could convince him to meet me at T-Line...
marzNC - DCSki Supporter 
January 12, 2023
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
3,231 posts

Massanutten in 2022-23 compared to before the 2.5 mile pipeline from the valley was built is NOT the same in terms of snowmaking power during cold snaps that allow 24-hour snowmaking for 2-3 days, or all-night snowmaking for 4-5 nights.  Mnut has covered more terrain in the last month than ever after opening two upper mountain trails.  Mueller's Mile (blue) is must take as much snow as Paradice, if not a bit more because it's longer.

If you don't want to wait until January because no place in VA is 100% open, go to WV.  If you need 100%, go to Wolf Creek in December or anything after that.

Unless a VA/MD/PA resort decides to spend money on a box for snowmaking in temps over freezing, Mother Nature is the most important factor for whether or not trails can be open with a decent base by mid-December.  Beech in NC opted to get such a box.  They only use it for snow tubing.  Having tubing open by Thanksgiving is a money maker.

January 13, 2023
Member since 01/11/2016 🔗
192 posts
It really has been another depressing Winter so far, but luckily resorts were all able to open due to some cold spells in December, though conditions at many are not great and it often isn't cold/dry enough at night to freshen up the slopes that are open at the more local resorts.   I would hope that given that we've been able to have resorts stay open until mid-March the last few years that even in early Feb it could make sense for many to try and open more terrain at that late point should it get cold enough (and look to stay cold), though with the 3-4 forecast models not looking very good not sure if that will happen.    It used to be that CV and Timberline would stop making snow before President's Day Weekend not too long ago, but of course with the new ownership at Timberline that is an issue of the past.  
January 13, 2023
Member since 10/25/2020 🔗
177 posts

same as last year Liberty JAN 7 BAReLEY OPEN on Jan 29 had 98% open. La Nina year. February will be better.

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