Charleston, WV – Two West Virginia ski resorts will be welcoming natural snow this weekend enabling skiers and snowboarders time on the slopes. Canaan Valley in Tucker County opens for the first time on Saturday. Winterplace in Raleigh County will reopen on Friday after being open for Thanksgiving weekend after the season’s first winter storm system helped coat the trails for some early season runs. Timberline Resort, also in Tucker County, plans to open for the season on December 12.
The temperatures have been on the mild side this week in the higher elevations after a strong cold November, which allowed the resort’s snowmakers to cover the slopes as quick as possible. The snowmakers at all of the resorts are working around the clock whenever possible to provide the early season skiers and snowboarders as much open terrain as possible. When snowmaking conditions were at their best this week (in the teens), over 20,000 tons of snow was being produced in West Virginia per hour, that’s enough snow to cover 20 football fields with a foot of snow made each hour.
Early season reservations have been strong as the resorts are again projecting to attract around 800,000 visitors to the mountains. “It’s great to get open and operating for the season,” says Terry Pfeiffer, President of Winterplace and the West Virginia Ski Areas Association. “If the current weather conditions continue, we will be in very good shape for the upcoming critical holiday season.” The top states providing skiers and snowboarders to West Virginia slopes are Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida.
The ski and snowboard season traditionally, weather permitting, continues 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.