Charleston, WV – Skiers and snowboarders have started heading to the mountains of West Virginia as the first downhill area plans to open for the 2018/2019 season, tomorrow. Snowshoe Mountain will be opening for the season Wednesday morning (November 21) at 9 am. The Pocahontas County will be providing skiers and snowboarders with 42 acres of available terrain, that includes 11 trails and three lifts and a terrain park.
For visitors at Canaan Valley State Park during the Thanksgiving holiday, snowtubing will be available at the ski area, Thursday – Sunday.
For the other alpine areas in the state, slopes at Timberline, Winterplace and Canaan Valley Resort will be opening in the weeks to come. The natural snow that fell earlier this month allowed one of the state’s Nordic areas, White Grass Touring Center, to begin providing cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Recent seasonal temperatures across West Virginia 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 mountain state’s resorts annually attract over 800,000 skier visits, but that figure depends on winter like conditions. “It’s always important to open as soon as possible and thank goodness we are on schedule this season,” says Terry Pfeiffer, President of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association and President of Winterplace. The top states providing skiers and snowboarders to 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. For more information on skiing and snowboarding in West Virginia go on-line at www.goskiwv.com or www.skisoutheast.com.