Charleston, WV – The mountains of West Virginia continue to receive more natural snow this week as the state’s fifth resort Oglebay opened for the 2012/2013 season. Skiers and Snowboarders started sliding down the Ohio County resort on the final day of 2012. The other resorts in the Mountain State, Winterplace in Raleigh County, Snowshoe in Pocahontas County and Canaan Valley and Timberline in Tucker County opened earlier in November and December. The natural snow has also provided excellent conditions at White Grass Touring and Elk River Touring Centers for cross country skiers and snowshoers.
In addition to this and last week’s natural snow, the temperatures in the higher elevations have been excellent for snowmaking, allowing the resort’s snowmakers to cover the slopes as quickly as possible and provide the most open terrain in the southeast region. 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.
Holiday visitation at all of the resorts has been strong. “Skiers and snowboarders from the south know if they want a white holiday, the mountains of West Virginia will be covered,” says Terry Pfeiffer, President of Winterplace and the West Virginia Ski Areas Association. “We are seeing lots of skiers and snowboarders from Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.” One of the state’s premier trails, Cupp Run at Snowshoe Mountain, opens today, weeks ahead of last year, due to last season’s mild temperatures.
The ski and snowboard season traditionally, weather permitting, will continue 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.