Charleston, WV –The Mountains of West Virginia received another coating of snow this week, just in time for the opening of the 2011/2012 ski season. Snowshoe Mountain opened today (Friday) with six trails and three lifts at the Snowshoe area and three trails and one lift at the Silver Creek area. Three other of the state’s alpine areas, Canaan Valley, Timberline and Winterplace are all planning to open for the season on Saturday, December 17. The natural snow allowed one of the state’s Nordic areas, White Grass Touring Center to begin providing cross-country skiing last week.
Along with the natural snow, the temperatures in the higher elevations have dropped so that snowmaking operations can resume this week, allowing West Virginia areas to provide excellent season opening conditions. The snowmakers at all of the resorts will produce man made snow whenever temperatures permit, allowing the industry’s unsung heroes to cover the slopes for skiers and snowboarders. When snowmaking conditions are at their best (in the low teens), over 20,000 tons of snow is being produced in West Virginia per hour, enough snow to cover 20 football fields with a foot of snow each hour. That’s a man made blizzard for skiers, snowboarders and snow tubers to enjoy in the mountains of West Virginia.
The mountain state’s resorts annually attract over 800,000 skier visits and that number is still attainable despite a two week delay due to the recent mild temperatures. “It looks like winter is finally arriving and our snowmakers are ready to get the slopes covered,” says Terry Pfeiffer, President of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association. “Mother Nature has thrown us a bit of a curve ball this season, but we can handle it with the upcoming cold temperatures for our snowmaking systems.”