Randy Yohe Published

Cold Snap Proves Hot For W.Va. Ski Industry

West Virginia's snow and slope conditions are at their peak right now.
Phil Duncan, Snowshoe Mountain

Right now, the Mountain State’s ski areas are in the thick of their most profitable season. Joe Stevens, executive director of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association, said the holiday period for the state’s five ski resorts runs for three weeks – the weeks before, during and after Christmas.

“For all five resorts open right now, Winterplace in Raleigh County, Snowshoe in Pocahontas County, Canaan Valley and Timberline in Tucker County and the Oglebay Resort in Ohio County, this is a critical time,” Stevens said. “About 35 percent of the yearly budget comes into the resorts and the surrounding areas during that three week period.”

Stevens said the bitter cold snap last week did not slow down the resort crowds. He said some slope operations at a couple of the resorts were suspended due to the high winds and the windchill factors. But he noted the frigid conditions were also a blessing in disguise.

“The cold temperatures allowed the snow makers at all the resorts in West Virginia to really make snow around the clock,” Stevens said. “That’s what West Virginia ski resorts are known for, snowmaking capabilities. Due to the cold snap, West Virginia is offering the most open terrain of any state in the southeast region.”

Stevens said snow and slope conditions are at their peak right now.

“Conditions right now are excellent for any skier, snowboarder or snow tuber. The bases are quite strong,” Stevens said. “All the resorts are opening up additional terrain each day. In fact, Timberline is 100 percent open now and all the resorts are at least 85 to 90 percent open.”

Stevens said for those who may not seek the thrills of skiing, snowboarding or tubing, there is a more grounded but still adventurous way to enjoy the winter mountain scenery.

“For folks that might want to try out snowshoeing, there’s a couple of areas,” Stevens said. “Blackwater Falls in Tucker County, Whitegrass Touring Center in Tucker County and Elk River Touring Center in Pocahontas County all offer snowshoeing. That would also be a fun way for the whole family to get out and see the beauty of West Virginia during this time of year.”

West Virginia ski season traditionally goes from the Thanksgiving holiday week until the end of March, sometimes into the first week of April. Stevens said upwards of 800,000 visitors come to West Virginia every year for skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. He said those winter adventurers make an annual $250 million economic impact to the state’s coffers.