Skiers get to enjoy extended season
Skiers can hit the slopes until April 7 at two local ski resorts, a week shy of matching the record for the latest winter closing ever recorded at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.
Winter sports enthusiasts can thank a stubborn, snowy winter that dumped significantly more snow on the region — 20 inches more — than last year. In fact, it has snowed on 70 percent of the days in 2013, according to National Weather Service records.
“The conditions are as good as at any other time this winter,” said Alex Moser, director of marketing at Seven Springs, where more than 50 inches of snow fell in March alone — nearing the record of 70 inches that fell in March 1996, the year the resort closed later than ever on April 14.
In all, more than 140 inches of snow has fallen at the resort this season, Moser said.
Seven Springs will be open for skiing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this weekend and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Next weekend's hours have not yet been set.
Nearby Hidden Valley Resort will remain open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, according to a news release.
Hidden Valley officials did not return phone messages seeking comment Friday.
Winter sports normally end at Seven Springs the last weekend of March, Moser said. But this year, 37 of the resort's 40 slopes and trails remain open.
And there's more wintry weather on the way.
“Next week, we have snow in the forecast once again — snow showers,” said Pat Herald, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Moon.
While snow has been plentiful, temperatures in December and January were slightly warmer than usual and February and March were colder, Herald said.
“That's kind of normal,” he added.
At Seven Springs next weekend, Moser expects to see skiers cruising the slopes in shorts and T-shirts because temperatures are expected to reach the 60s.
“Compared to last year, this is very different,” he said. “We were playing golf on March 16 last year.”
But even last year, the weather played tricks when April golf was interrupted by more than a foot of snow, allowing the resort to briefly reopen to skiers.
Although Moser loves the extended ski season, there is one downside, he said.
“There's tons of people pining away to get on our golf course,” Moser said. “We're getting really close to (the snow) actually putting us behind and getting ready for our summer business.”
Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.