Mid-Atlantic ski slopes expand snowmaking, upgrade facilities

Ronald Leiser

With last December’s snow drought still fresh in memory, operators of Mid-Atlantic ski resorts are preparing for the 2016-2017 season with expanded snow-making. Other changes include equipment upgrades in rental shops, and the debut of a ski resort closed for more than a decade. Expected openings of selected resorts range from mid-December to early January, weather permitting. Here’s what many of the resorts reported as new for the upcoming season.

Pennsylvania

Big Boulder/Jack Frost

Jack Frost will be configuring some of its gladed trails for those challenged by skiing through forested areas.

Blue Mountain

One of the Poconos resorts in eastern Pennsylvania, Blue Mountain has expanded the number of snow-shaped features at its terrain-based learning center. These help students focus on speed control, turning, and body position.

Camelback

For this season, a lighting show has been added to Camelback’s huge 42-lane tubing park.

Laurel Mountain

After an absence from winter sports since 2005, the resort expects to reopen this season. Seven Springs bought a 10-year lease to operate the 75-acre mountain within Laurel Mountain State

Park, and plans to replace a 40-year old double chair lift with a quad to handle 2,400 skiers an hour. The resort is adding 52 snow guns.

Liberty Mountain

One of the three nearby SnowTime resorts that includes Roundtop and Whitetail, Liberty has converted a circle drop-off zone into the Alpine Courtyard Ice Skating Rink. Among other changes, it will provide high-end Volki skis, Marker bindings, and Dalbello boots for its rental shop.

Seven Springs

In connection with its takeover of Laurel Mountain, this westernmost Pennsylvania resort will offer its Highlands Season Pass not only at Hidden Valley, which it owns, but now at Laurel, giving visitors a total of 79 trails, 465 skiable acres, and nine snowboard parks.

The resort has acquired two snowcat grooming machines — one of which will be used to build a super pipe for snowboarders — and has added 30 snowguns.

In addition, it has opened the Seven 10 Bistro next to the lodge’s bowling alley and increased its on-mountain lodging.

At seven springs

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Shawnee Mountain

This resort has built more than 3,000 feet of snow-making pipe on Tecumseh and Lookout trails and added snow guns at the Tomahawk lift base area.

Ski Roundtop

Among the closest slopes to Washington and Baltimore, Ski Roundtop has added a groomer for steep slopes and expanded its beginner’s area.

Whitetail

Also nearby, this ski area in south central Pennsylvania has enlarged its base lodge with a 300-seat full-service restaurant, Solstice.

 

Maryland

Wisp

The state’s only downhill mountain, Wisp has added a new grooming machine and has spruced up the Wisp Resort Hotel with a new check-in area, refurbished six floors, and set up a Rossignol Concept and Demo Center on the upper level of McHenry Lodge for the sale of skis, snowboards, and soft goods.

 

Virginia

Massanutten

Down in Virginia, this ski and snowboard area has improved its snow-making and updated its two snowboarding parks.

 

West Virginia

Canaan Valley

The resort has doubled its snow-making capability with additional snow guns, and bought $80,000 in new rental gear for skiers, boarders, and ice skaters. The tubing hill and skating rink should open over the Thanksgiving weekend for an early start of winter activity.

Timberline

The other resort in the Canaan Valley will be increasing snowmaking by 30 percent from last year.

 

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