CHARLESTON W.Va. — The ropes are dropping at ski resorts across West Virginia this week.
Ski and snowboarding season is officially here as resorts will open in the traditional time frame of Thanksgiving week.
Spokesperson for the West Virginia Ski Area Association, Joe Stevens, said the recent weather has helped.
“It’s a traditional opening on the Thanksgiving holiday,” he said. “Now we are off and running as the traditional West Virginia ski season will probably weather permitting, if mother nature allows, last until April. But we are off to a good start.
“We got some early snow, which is always beneficial because it gets the people thinking about it. Especially if it snows in their backyard, even flurries get people thinking. But snow also means cold temperatures and with the cold temperatures comes snowmaking.”
Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Pocahontas County has increased snowmaking. Stevens noted that Snowshoe put an infrastructure capital investment of nearly $5 million in the summer that has paid off.
The resort will open at 9 a.m. on Wednesday as the resort has 42 acres of trail ready to be used. Part of the 42 acres includes 11 trails, three lifts and a terrain park. Stevens said the 42 acres is the most in the area of any resort.
Snowtubing will be available at the ski area at Cannan Valley State Park this week. Skiing will be available at resorts such as Cannan Valley, Timberline and Winterplace in the coming weeks.
White Grass Touring Center in Davis has already opened their cross-country skiing and snowshoeing due to natural snowfall in the area.
“We have a reliable product and that’s where snowmaking comes in,” Stevens said. “As long as we have the cold temps in the mountains of West Virginia, we can put the product out there. With technology now, with webcams available at all resorts, people can get on their computers and phones and they can see what is available at the resorts and most of the time, it’s a lot of snow.”
In a release by Stevens, he stated that West Virginia attracts around 800,000 visitors a year to ski resorts. The visitors stretch the eastern seaboard from Florida to Pennsylvania, according to Stevens, and brings an economic impact to the state of over $250 million. Ski season also provides 5,000 jobs at resorts.
“There is a lot of tradition when it comes to opening on Thanksgiving,” he said. “People do plan their holidays around making their first turns of the season, skiing or snowboarding.”