DAVIS, W.Va. — This weekend, snow bunnies will be able to enjoy the tubing and ice skating areas at Canaan Valley Resort State Park from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday.
The resort’s media liaison Justin Harris said opening early for the holiday weekend is something they like to do each year, though it’s always been weather-dependent.
“The past couple years the weather has not cooperated around thanksgiving. It’s usually a lot warmer,” Harris said. “We do have to have a good weather window for preparation on it. We need to have cold air so that we can blow snow and build that tube park up, and this year we’ve just happened to have a really good weather window.”
Harris said the snow-making team has done such an exceptional job that they’re already way ahead of schedule for the upcoming year.
Last week’s 7+ inches of snow was certainly a help, too.
“But we don’t really rely on our natural snow forecast as much to get the resort open because we have a really good snow-making operation,” Harris said. “What we need is cold temperatures, and we’ve had a ton of cold temperatures, especially at night that have been well-below freezing.”
Over the last three weeks, Harris estimates about 75 percent of the nights at Canaan Valley Resort have been below freezing — perfect for making snow.
“We’ve also had a lot of days when it never got above freezing, and we were able to keep the snow-making process cranking for 24-straight hours, and that makes a huge difference on the amount of snow we’re able to produce this early in the season to get the tube park open,” he said.
The popular 1,200-foot-long tube run is the longest in the Mid-Atlantic and has a lift that zips riders back to the top of the hill.
“Once you get to the top, you have a great 360-degree view of the entire Canaan Valley area, plus our ski mountain is right there for you to look at as well,” Harris said. “It’s just a really cool winter atmosphere, and it has been a huge attraction. People just love our tube park. It’s amazing.”
Harris said there’s also a small lodge at the bottom of tube run with a fireplace and hot chocolate for guests to enjoy.
“It’s just a great social atmosphere, and the kids absolutely love the hot chocolate and the fire,” he said.
The skating rink, meanwhile, will be just across the street at the Canaan Valley Resort Lodge.
“It’s got a covered pavilion over top of it, but it’s still an outdoor atmosphere,” Harris said. “The ice skating down there gives you a really good sense of winter time. It’s a really good place to go for kids and adults alike who just want to get some of that ice skating and that winter feel to get ready for the holiday season.”
While Thanksgiving weekend can be hectic with visiting family, shopping and everything that comes with the holidays, Harris said he thinks they enjoy having the option to enjoy the resort.
“I know that with my own family, we always have a big Thanksgiving dinner right in the middle of the day, and then usually everybody may fall asleep around the TV watching football in the afternoon or something like that,” he said. “But to have this opportunity after your Thanksgiving meal to get out and say, ‘Hey, let’s go tubing as a family,’ we felt that’s a great option for families in the area to come on out.”
Having that family atmosphere is what’s most important, Harris said.
“We really want to create that family environment and that family feel,” he said. “We just look at it as being a great family environment opportunity, so if you’ve never done it before, it would be a great thing to try with the family to say, ‘Hey guys, let’s get our winter gear on, go out to Canaan Valley and hit the tubing hill because it sounds like a blast.'”
The tubing park will be open 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22; 2 to 4 p.m., 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23 and Saturday, Nov. 24; and 8 to 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25. The outdoor covered skating rink will be open each day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
After the last session on Nov. 25, the tubing and skating park will be open on weekends until the opening of Canaan Valley Resort’s ski areas in mid-December.