Area skiers eager to hit the slopes can look forward to a wintry weekend, as two regional ski resorts - Snowshoe Mountain Resort and Seven Springs Mountain Resort - are now open for business.
Helped along by more than 2 feet of snow from Hurricane Sandy, Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Pocahontas County opened its slopes last week in time for Thanksgiving. Snowshoe currently has five open lifts and 11 open trails. The resort reports more than 30 inches of snow this season with a packed powder base.
"The skiers and snowboarders here for the Thanksgiving holiday found the amount of snow we (opened) with to be great," said resort spokesman Dave Dekema. "After last season's delayed opening, it's great to open on time for the first time in a few years."
Skiers once again will be hitting the slopes today at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, Pa., as the resort opens for the 2012-13 ski season.
Snowshoe is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs, Pa., is set to open its slopes for skiing and snowboarding today. Initial snowmaking began Nov. 23, with the resort's snowmaking crew churning out fresh white snow on the Front Face of the mountain and the snow tubing park. After nearly a week of snowmaking, the resort has an average snow base of 16 inches.
"The entire team here at Seven Springs is excited to welcome back our guests as we gear up for another wonderful ski season," said Eric Mauck, Seven Springs' chief executive officer. "Our snowmaking crew was able to make a tremendous amount of snow this week and we thank them for their tireless efforts."
Eight slopes and trails are open today, as well as the Santa's Beard terrain park with at least six features. All areas will be serviced by three chairlifts.
The slopes will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Sunday. Open terrain will include Tyrol, Stowe, Stowe trail, Cortina trail, Wagner, Phillip's Run, Fawn Lane and Stowe Beginner Area.
Seven Springs said it once again will partner with the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program to help make the holidays a reality for some local youths. On Sunday, the resort is offering $10 off ski/board tickets with the donation of a new unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots campaign. The five-year partnership with Toys for Tots has resulted in the collection of nearly 1,250 toys for children in the region.
Paul Exley, owner of Alpine Skis & Boards in Wheeling, urged those heading to the slopes this weekend to have their equipment in proper working order.
"It's great to see some of the resorts opening this early," Exley said. "Before you head out, it's very important that your skis are tuned and waxed and the edges are sharp so you can enjoy a fun and safe day on the slopes."
Other West Virginia alpine resorts - Canaan Valley in Tucker County, Oglebay Park, Timerberline in Tucker County and Winterplace in Ghent - are all planning to open next month, with Canaan tentatively set for Dec. 21; Timberline, Dec. 13; and Winterplace, Dec. 14. Oglebay Park has not yet set an opening date, resort spokeswoman Caren Knoyer said.