Charleston, WV – Skiers and snowboarders will start head to the mountains of West Virginia as the first downhill area plans to open for the 2020/2021 season, this week. Snowshoe Mountain will be opening for the season Friday morning (December 4) at 9 am. The Pocahontas County facility will be providing skiers and snowboarders with 29 acres of available terrain, that will include nine trails, three lifts and a terrain park.
For the other alpine areas in the state, slopes at Winterplace, Canaan Valley Resort, Timberline and Oglebay will be opening in the weeks to come. Some as early as next weekend, weather permitting.
White Grass Touring Center in Tucker County is currently offering cross-country skiing because of the natural snowfall that occurred earlier this week.
Seasonal temperatures across West Virginia this week, have been cold enough for snowmaking operations to commence in preparation of the various opening days.
The snowmakers at all 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 West Virginia Ski Areas Association again this year is offering a program that will allow any child in the 4th or 5th grade to ski or snowboard for FREE. All of West Virginia’s ski areas, Canaan Valley, Oglebay, Snowshoe, Timberline and Winterplace are accepting the association’s Ski Free 4th and 5th Grade Passport Program.
The Passport may be used to obtain up to three (3) Junior lift tickets at participating resorts during the 2020-2021 season and one rental. Resort benefits are determined by each ski resort.
During a normal ski season, the mountain state’s resorts annually attract 800,000 skier visits, but that figure depends on winter like conditions. The top states providing skiers and snowboarders to West Virginia slopes are Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida.
It is recommended for all skiers and snowboarders to check with the resort they plan on visiting, to make sure they are up to date on all COVID-19 safety requirements required of visitors.
The ski and snowboard season traditionally, weather permitting, continues from this point 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.