Skiers and snowboarders have started heading to the mountains of West Virginia for the 2019-20 season.
For visitors at Canaan Valley State Park snow tubing began during the Thanksgiving holiday at the ski area.
Snowshoe Mountain opened for the season the Friday before Thanksgiving. The Pocahontas County facility provides skiers and snowboarders with 42 acres of available terrain that includes 11 trails, 3 lifts and a terrain park.
For Canaan, Winterplace and Oglebay, skiing is opening as the temperatures drop enough to support manmade snow, regardless of what Mother Nature is dropping.
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 West Virginia Ski Areas Association has announced a new program this year that will allow any child in the 4th- or 5th-grade to ski or snowboard for free. All of West Virginia’s ski areas — Canaan Valley, Oglebay, Snowshoe and Winterplace — are accepting the association’s Ski Free 4th- and 5th-Grade Passport Program.
The passport may be used to obtain 1 child’s first-time ski/snowboard package (beginner lift, lesson and rental package) at a participating resort of choice and up to an additional 3 junior lift tickets at participating resorts during the 2019-2020 season. Resort benefits determined by each ski resort.
The Mountain State’s resorts annually attract over 800,000 skier visits, but that figure depends on winterlike conditions. 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 5-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.