Charleston, WV – Skiers and snowboarders have started to head to the mountains of West Virginia today as the first downhill area opened today for the 2013/2014 season. Snowshoe Mountain opened its trails this morning, kicking off their 40th season with 3 lifts and about 10 trails available for skiers and snowboarders.
Meanwhile Winterplace Ski Resort in Raleigh County opened today, Friday, November 29, two weeks ahead of their scheduled December 14 opening. After providing skiing this weekend, Winterplace will rope off the trails next Monday through Thursday for early season trail maintenance and then open for the rest of the season beginning Friday, December 6.
Opening on Saturday, November 30 is Oglebay Resort in Ohio County, marking the first time in the history of skiing in West Virginia that three-resorts were open for the Thanksgiving holiday. Also announced on Friday, officials at Canaan Valley Resort plan to move their opening day up to December 7, a full week ahead of schedule.
The other alpine area in the state, Timberline plans 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 are see an awesome amount of snow we opened up with,” says Dave Dekema, Snowshoe Mountain’s Marketing Director. “We are also expecting natural snow this week so that is helping 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.