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Some think winter is more fun when it's snow fun

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 10:00 p.m.
Riders join together to take on the snow tubing slope at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Sean Stipp / Tribune-Review

Attention, snow fans!

It's time to go totally tubular.

Mother Nature had been stingy with snow through much of December, but that changed last week and over the weekend, when she decided to drop several inches on Western Pennsylvania.

And that means snow-tubing and sledding fans, and the resorts that serve them, are gearing up to thrash the slopes.

“It's easy ... fun and doesn't take a lot of practice,” Anna Weltz, communications manager for Seven Springs Mountain Resort, says of tubing. “On any given weekend, tickets go pretty fast.”

Snow enthusiasts likely are eagerly checking weather websites for when chances are best for them to get the most powder and air.

Seven Springs got a jump on the season by cranking its snow machines earlier in December to meet the demand of the Christmas holiday rush.

Last week's snow was good news for resorts, lodges and ski areas all over the state, some of which have so far made due with machines to make snow to offset the scant precipitation.

At Boyce Park in Monroeville, ski slopes and snow-tubing runs remain closed, despite the Christmas week storms. County officials there were hopeful to open the runs soon.

A combination of snowfall and man-made snow helped Nemacolin Woodlands Resort kick off its snow-tubing season on Christmas Eve, even when daytime temperatures were still slightly above freezing. There, they need temperatures that are consistently in the upper 20s to produce the minimum of 2 feet of snow needed for tubing.

Crowds this season already have been heavy at Nemacolin, mainly because of the re-opening of the Sundial Ski Resort, which was destroyed by fire in February. Still, visitors and guests already have gobbled up each reservation slot on the snow-tubing lanes.

“It's busy. People are everywhere now,” says Grace Shaffer, marketing manager for the Farmington-based resort. “We're sure more people will come as the snow begins to fall.”

Chris Ramirez is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at cramirez@tribweb.com or 412-380-5682.

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