Temperatures are dropping and snow is starting to fall in ski resorts across the region, allowing skiers and snowboarders to relive the exhilaration of the cool, cold air and hurtle down the fresh powder on the slopes.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort – which is about 90 minutes from the Steubenville area – will open its slopes at 8 a.m. on Saturday for its first skiers and snowboarders of the season.
These slopes will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Alex Moser, director of marketing and communications for Seven Springs, said the resort is thrilled with the crowds it expects over the weekend. Last season began in the midst of the vaccine-free period of the COVID-19 pandemic, when outdoor activities were among the safest people could enjoy.
People have been out in the open and on the slopes last year – maybe for the first time, or maybe for the first time in a long time – and they can’t wait to come back.
“There is a carry over from last year where people got the ski and snowboard bug,” Moser said. “It’s pretty huge. Our season ticket sales are very high. Our “Super 7”, which is on the lower level, also sold very well this year.
“I know the interest is on the rise. I think people are a little less worried about going out and I think they are looking forward to an even more complete experience than they had at Seven Springs.
Part of that fuller experience is the return of indoor dining, which was not available in Pennsylvania at the start of last ski season. Take-out windows will always be available for those who feel more comfortable staying outside.
Another addition the resort thinks guests will appreciate is a new, energy-efficient chairlift – a Doppelmayr Alpen Star fixed-grip quadruple chairlift that replaces the Avalanche chairlift. Skiers will appreciate the speed, safety and location – they will now be dropped off closer to the top of the Tyrol chairlift, allowing better access to Stowe Slope and Trail.
“It brings us to where we should be” Moser said. “… We’ve been doing this for 15 years, taking the resort where it should be and surpassing it in many areas.” “
While customers probably feel less anxious about getting out and going these days, anxiety has decreased at ski resorts as well. Last year, they opened their tracks in the face of many unknowns. They had never been through a pandemic before.
Now, with vaccines and better overall knowledge of the virus, along with a season of experience in handling a new normal, the stations have a more solid game plan for the season ahead.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia opened last week, and spokesperson Shawn Cassell said the crowds were strong and the resort felt better prepared this time around.
“Entering this season seems a lot more normal than entering last season” Cassell said. “Last year, at the start, there were so many unknowns. This year we have a much better idea of what to expect. We have a little more of the impression that we know what we are getting into.
According to the Timberline Mountain Resort website, the trails were scheduled to open on Friday. Canaan Valley and Winterplace are scheduled to open on December 18.
The availability of the Oglebay Park trail depends on weather conditions.