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The Eastern Panhandle is set to have a new winter tourist attraction in the area open starting in February: a snow tubing hill outside of Harpers Ferry.
The operation, called Snow Riders, is owned by local rafting company, River Riders, and will be located off U.S. Route 340.
“We finally broke ground probably about six, seven months ago,” said sales manager Brad McMoran. “And right now we are in the base of the final phases of construction. We’re looking at maybe just a few more weeks, beginning of February, we can actually open up and start taking our first guests.”
The operation is expected to create around 50 new jobs in the area, and add year-round jobs for some of the company’s seasonal employees.
“That’s important for us, just because one of the toughest things in our industry is that we are so seasonal,” McMoran said. “We can offer people in the summertime, we got four months of work for you. And then our season ends.”
For those in the tip of the Eastern Panhandle – Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties – the closest tubing resorts are in Canaan Valley near Davis, and Massanutten, in Virginia. Both require drives of more than an hour. It’s also expected to draw tourists from the Washington, D.C., area, similar to its sister company.
“In the summertime, we’ll get, you know, X amount of interactions,” McMoran said. “And with our snow tubing posts that we’ve been doing recently, it’s that amount times a thousand. The amount of demand that we’ve seen has been very shocking.”
Alongside the hill itself, Snow Riders is planning on constructing a year-round restaurant and extra cabins near the main campground.