CHARLESTON — Snowshoe Mountain Resort welcomed skiers and snowboarders to hit the slopes last week, marking the beginning of ski season in West Virginia.
Snowshoe will offer skiers and snowboarders 42 acres of available terrain, including 11 trails and three lifts this season. The resort sits 4,848 feet above sea level and averages more than 180 inches of annual snowfall.
Canaan Valley Ski Resort, Oglebay Resort and Winterplace Ski Resort are expected to open their slopes in the upcoming weeks -- Canaan Valley Ski Resort and Winterplace Ski Resort are set to open Dec. 14.
“West Virginia is a true four-season travel destination, and I’m thrilled to see our winter season underway,” Gov. Jim Justice said. “West Virginia’s natural beauty during the winter is unmatched, and we have some of the best ski resorts and seasonal recreation along the East Coast.”
With world-class slopes and amenities to match, West Virginia ski resorts host more than 800,000 skier visits annually, according to the West Virginia Ski Areas Association.
“Ski season is a great way to bring people to see the snow-covered beauty of Almost Heaven and show them how to experience winter the right way, in the perfect place,” Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby said.
“Winter travel in West Virginia is unlike anywhere else. Here, travelers can experience magical winter hikes, hit the slopes or cozy up in a mountainside cabin. The best part about winter in West Virginia? The warm southern hospitality you’ll receive throughout your entire stay.”
Recent temperatures across West Virginia have been cold enough for snowmaking operations to commence. When snowmaking conditions are at their best, more than 20,000 tons of snow are produced in West Virginia per hour.
While West Virginia certainly has steep slopes for those looking for high adventure, it’s also a great state to learn to ski. For years, youth groups and families have come to West Virginia to teach children the skills needed for these popular snow sports. The West Virginia Tourism Office, in conjunction with members of the ski industry, are now working to spread that message far and wide to attract new travelers to the mountains of West Virginia.
To help with this effort, the West Virginia Ski Areas Association announced a new program for the 2019-2020 season that will allow any child in the fourth or fifth grade to learn to ski or snowboard free of cost. All of West Virginia’s ski areas, including Canaan Valley, Oglebay, Snowshoe and Winterplace, are participating in the Ski Free 4th and 5th Grade Passport Program.
The Passport may be used to obtain one child’s first-time ski/snowboard package (beginner lift, lesson and rental package) at a participating resort of choice and up to an additional three junior lift tickets during the 2019-2020 ski season.
“We’re excited to bring this program to West Virginia,” Ruby said.
“Ski season is a significant economic driver for tourism, and this program stands to help us grow that impact even more. By teaching our kids how to learn to ski at such an early age, we stand to light a spark that will last for generations and result in multiple return trips to West Virginia over the years.”
Ski and snowboard season in West Virginia traditionally occurs from November through April. The five-month ski season in West Virginia has an estimated economic impact of more than $250 million and creates 5,000 jobs at resorts and other related companies.
To learn more about the Passport Program and for additional information on skiing and snowboarding in West Virginia, visit www.WVtourism.com/Winter.