Charleston, WV – Skiers and snowboarders have started to head to the mountains of West Virginia as the first downhill and nordic skiing is available for the 2013/2014 season. Snowshoe Mountain opened its trails last week, kicking off their 40th season with 3 lifts and about 12 trails available for skiers and snowboarders.
Meanwhile Winterplace Ski Resort in Raleigh County opened for the season last Friday, November 29, two weeks ahead of their scheduled December 14 opening. After providing skiing last weekend, Winterplace will rope off the trails today (Monday) through Thursday for early season trail maintenance and then open for the rest of the season beginning this Friday, December 6.
White Grass Touring Center in Tucker County is offering cross-country skiing and snowshoeing thanks to natural snow.
Oglebay Resort in Ohio County is also open for the season. This wass the first time in the history of skiing in West Virginia that three-resorts were open during the Thanksgiving holiday as the season begins in a very strong fashion.. Canaan Valley Resort officials have announced that they have moved their opening day up a week to December 7.
The other alpine area in the state, Timberline is planning to open for the season December 12. The recent cold temperatures throughout the mountains of West Virginia have allowed the resort’s snowmakers to work around the clock covering the slopes for skiing and snowboarding.
“The skiers and snowboarders here for the Thanksgiving holiday saw an awesome amount of snow we opened up with,” says Dave Dekema, Snowshoe Mountain’s Marketing Director. “The natural snow last week helped the conditions.”
The snowmakers at all of the state’s ski resorts can produce manmade 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
The mountain state’s resorts annually attract over 800,000 skier visits, and last year that figure was reached. “It’s great to open for the season, all of the resorts are ready for the skiers and snowboarders,” says Terry Pfeiffer, President of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association and President of Winterplace. The top states providing skiers and snowboarders visiting West Virginia slopes are Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida.
The ski and snowboard season traditionally, weather permitting, continues from Thanksgiving through early April. The five-month long ski season in West Virginia has an estimated economic impact of over $250 million and 5,000 jobs at the resorts and other related companies.