West Virginia’s five winter alpine and two nordic areas are preparing for the upcoming 2009/2010 season. The mild temperatures this fall have create a few challenges for all of the resorts including, Timberline and Canaan Valley in Tucker County, Oglebay in Ohio County, Snowshoe in Pocahontas County and Winterplace in Raleigh County as the snowmakers at all of the resorts are just waiting for the temperatures to drop.
This time last year the nordic areas had about two feet of snow on the ground giving cross country skiers and snowshoers very nice early season conditions at Whitegrass Touring in Tucker County and Elk River Touring in Pocahontas County. This year Mother Nature has provided less than 10 inches of natural snow so far and all that is gone.
The good news is that temperatures are expected to drop beginning later this week as resorts make opening day preperations. As it stands now, Snowshoe is scheduled to open December 5, Timberline December 10, Canaan Valley and Winterplace December 11 and Oglebay not long after.
When the temperatures finally drop, West Virginia snowmakers can generated a manmade blizzard on the slopes, producing 20,000 tons of snow per hour (when combining all five resort’s snowmaking efforts), that’s enough snow to cover 20 football fields with a foot of snow each hour.
The situation right now is that nobody that West Virginia competes against for skiers and snowboarders in the southeast are open, so all of the resorts from North Carolina to Maryland are facing the same weather challenges.