Charleston, WV –The Mountains of West Virginia have received nearly two feet natural snow this week, as all five of West Virginia’s ski resorts are preparing to open for the upcoming season this week including Canaan Valley and Timberline in Tucker County, Oglebay in Ohio County, Snowshoe in Pocahontas County and Winterplace in Raleigh County.
Snowshoe is planning to open tomorrow (December 8), Oglebay and Timberline on Thursday, while Canaan Valley and Winterplace will be opening Saturday. The natural snow has allowed the state’s Nordic areas, White Grass Touring Center in Tucker and Elk River Touring Center in Pocahontas County to begin providing cross-country skiing.
Along with the natural snow, the temperatures in the higher elevations have been perfect for snowmaking operations this week, allowing West Virginia areas to provide excellent season opening conditions. The snowmakers at all of the resorts began to work around the clock when temperatures dropped, allowing the industry’s unsung heroes to create the excellent early season conditions. When snowmaking conditions were at their best this week (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. That’s a manmade blizzard for skiers, snowboarders and snow tubers to enjoy in the mountains of West Virginia.
The mountain state’s resorts annually attract over 800,000 skier visits and that number is again attainable since the start of the season is coming at a traditional time. “The weather is perfect right now for covering the slopes at all of the resorts,” says Terry Pfeiffer, President of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association. “We are off to a very good start, we just need Mother Nature to keep the winter conditions coming.” 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 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. For more information on skiing and snowboarding in West Virginia go on-line at www.goskiwv.com .