No Local Resorts Blowing Snow?
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7 users
913 views
chuckie
November 20, 2000
Member since 12/29/1999
77 posts
It's hard to beleive that none of the local resorts (NO SNOWSHOE aint local!) are blowing snow yet. Temperatures are at 19 degrees for resorts like LIBERTY and WHITETAIL, yet they are not taking advantage of it. I guess they're waiting for some natural snowfall? :P
MichaelB
November 20, 2000
Member since 11/20/2000
61 posts
I agree, Chuckie. I logged onto the local ski web pages and no one is blowing snow.....unbelievable!!! I hope we don't hear them continue to complain about poor ticket sales. Maybe since the little mini-monopoly of Whitetail-Liberty-Roundtop has been developed, there is less of a rush to compete for opening dates?
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
November 20, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Can you give us your definition of local?

Lou

Scott - DCSki Editor
November 20, 2000
Member since 10/10/1999
1,091 posts
Hi folks,

I should have an article soon talking about the current snowmaking situation and expected opening dates for area resorts.

Snowshoe isn't the only resort blowing snow right now; Seven Springs has been making snow and may open later this week. Seven Springs and Hidden Valley both received several inches of natural snow today.

But, to address your question - why some of the closer resorts (Whitetail, Liberty) aren't making snow yet. These resorts are in warmer terrain than some of the more distant resorts, and the long-term forecast shows temperatures that are borderline in terms of snowmaking and keeping any manmade snow on the ground.

It really takes a few days of solid snowmaking to open a couple trails, with daytime temperatures staying at or below freezing, and no threat of mild temperatures looming on the horizon. On top of that, it is enormously expensive for resorts to open. The day that they open, they basically have to put a huge staff on payroll (lift operators, food service, ski school, ski patrol, etc. etc.) and handle all of the associated logistics. Once these wheels start turning, you don't want to stop them by having to shut down a few days later. So resorts are usually very cautious to pick their opening day so it will be their first and *only* opening day for the season.

Not only that, but note that many resorts are holding job fairs right now. If they havent reached their staffing requirements, they can't open.

Making snow is also very, very expensive. Three or four great days of snowmaking might not be enough to open the slopes (for good), and if the temperature warms even a bit, the snow you made - with its razor-thin base - will disappear in a day.

And finally, even with great slope conditions, historically skiers don't like to ski before late December or after late February. It's a mental thing. In past years, some of the resorts in the area had fantastic spring skiing conditions but shut down with large bases simply because people stopped coming.

So these are probably some of the reasons why most resorts in the area haven't started the snowguns up yet, even though they're lining the slopes and ready to go. They're being conservative and looking for a long enough window to reach critical mass in terms of snowmaking. In recent years, a lot of resorts got burned because an early-season blast of cold air evaporated into warm and mild temperatures through December and into early January. (That's not as likely this year, since El Nino is gone.)

- Scott

(Anonymous)
November 20, 2000
Chuckie,
Liberty, Whitetail, and Roundtop all began making snow this evening, and will continue be making snow throughout the week (as long as the temperatures permit - but the nights are a pretty sure bet). The three resorts are trying to open ASAP - hopefully for the weekend. Sometimes, the websites may not be updated when conditions suddenly drop. The long term weather forecast just changed today and is forecasting lower temperatures for the 10 day outlook than earlier predicted (that is where the hesitation may have been). There is a slight warm up on Sat/Sun, but it looks like it may return to the very cold (for this time of year) weather at the beginning of next week. As soon as weather allows them to open with a suitable base, all three resorts will.
Otto
November 21, 2000
Member since 11/19/1999
176 posts
Liberty is making snow... a pretty gutsy move IMHO given the history of early december weather. Liberty had its snowboard area open on Thanksgiving several years ago. That snow (i.e.$$$$$)vanished real fast.

As far as Snow Time, Inc. - owner of Liberty, Whitetail and Roundtop, being the Microsoft of local skiing, I just don't think there has been any slackening of the desire to serve local skiers. Each area draws from a different population and I know Liberty has not slacked off. Lots of $$$ went into the snowmaking system over the summer. Besides, as is obvious from the posts here, the local skier has lots of choices on where to spend their dollars...

If they call me in, I will have to teach on rentals. .

chuckie
November 22, 2000
Member since 12/29/1999
77 posts
o.k., now I'm impressed! I see reports that some of the local resorts may open this weekend!!!! I'm hoping Liberty will open, but I'll hit whichever resort has the most trails open.

Credit to Eric Flynn of Skiliberty, for seeing that the resort will open soon (and for letting me ride my All Terrain Board up there during their picnic in the fall!).

...last minute shopping spree tomorrow for gear I've been putting off buying.. DOH!

Jim
November 23, 2000
Member since 11/22/1999
317 posts
Yup, for the first time in four years, Liberty is opening BEFORE December 1st. Pretty gutsy move in my opinion - given the near 60 degree weather forecast for next week. Kudos to Liberty for trying. For the record, they have been making snow since last week on and off. Hope to see you guys there on Friday!!
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