NOTE: Since this story was made, Timberline resort has rescheduled the opening date of its ski area for December 21, 2018.
Fortified by ideal weather, three ski resorts in West Virginia will open for the 2018-2019 season this weekend, according to the state ski areas association.
Ski areas at Timberline, Winterplace, and Canaan Valley are set to open their skiing, snowboarding, and snow-tubing facilities this weekend, according to Terry Pfieffer, association president and president of Winterplace.
Snowshoe Mountain opened its facilities over the Thanksgiving holiday, and Oglebay Resort is set to open its ski slope December 21. The natural snowfall also emboldened cross-country and snowshoeing opportunities at White Grass Touring Center.
“The season has gotten off to a positive start, and our phones are ringing with people eager to get on the slopes,” Pfeiffer said.
“All of the resorts will continue to aggressively make snow whenever possible, guaranteeing visitors to the mountains a white Christmas.”
Pfeiffer said recent cold temperatures have allowed resort operators to make snow covering an abundance of terrain for the skiers and snowboarders.
Snowmakers at all state ski resorts can produce man-made snow, and, when temperatures reach the low teens, more than 20,000 tons of snow may be produced hourly in West Virginia — enough to cover 20 football fields in a foot of snow each hour, he said.
The upcoming three-week holiday season — including the weeks before and after Christmas, Christmas week — may contribute up to 35 percent to each resort’s yearly revenue.
West Virginia’s alpine and cross-country ski resorts attract more than 800,000 visitors annually during a normal weather-related season.
Weather permitting, the five-month ski and snowboard season in West Virginia traditionally continues from Thanksgiving through early April and has an estimated economic impact of over $250 million and creates more than 5,000 jobs at the resorts and other related companies.
Ohio, Georgia, Florida Virginia, and the Carolinas are the top sources of skiers who visit West Virginia annually.