(Ghent WV) – West Virginia Tourism in collaboration with the West Virginia Ski Areas Association brought attention to the state’s ski industry at a Tuesday news conference at Winterplace Ski Resort in Raleigh County. The season, which began in November, so far has progressed nicely for the resorts as thousands of skiers, snowboarders, snowtubers visited West Virginia’s slopes over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday.
With the return of seasonable temperatures snowmaking is taking place at all of the resorts in West Virginia. All of the resorts will be adding trails daily as the slope conditions improve, thanks to the cold temperatures for snowmaking and natural snow.
Early on cold temperatures allowed the resort’s snowmakers to cover the state’s slopes providing the most acreage in the region for skiing and snowboarding.
New this season to attract younger skiers and snowboarders to the mountain state’s slopes, a program was implemented to 4th and 5th grade students. The West Virginia Passport Program allows the students to ski and snowboard on 11 occasions and take a lesson at the resort of their choice. The cost of program has only been $25 and nearly 500 passports have been purchased, meaning over 6000 possible skier visits could be experience through the incentive.
Annually the association’s four alpine resorts, Canaan Valley in Tucker County, Oglebay Resort in Ohio County, Snowshoe Mountain in Pocahontas County and Winterplace and the association’s two Nordic areas, White Grass in Tucker County and Elk River in Pocahontas County, experience nearly a million skier visits. The economic impact from the five-month-long industry is over $250 million, employing 5,000 on and off the resort properties.
The 2019-2020 season began on time this year a week before the Thanksgiving holiday, thanks to excellent snowmaking conditions in the higher elevations of the state’s mountains. West Virginia Ski Resorts have invested millions of dollars in snowmaking equipment which assures skiers and snowboarders in the region reliable conditions through the end of March into early April. The superior snowmaking infrastructure will allow all of the resorts to rebound quickly from the recent unseasonable temperatures.