Snowshoe Mountain resort is halfway through its ski season and already all of its slopes are open to skiers and snowboarders. The last trail to make its debut on Friday was a double black diamond expert slope, Lower Shay's Revenge.
"Last year we never got to 100 percent open," Snowshoe Mountain Communications Manager Laura Parquette said. "Lower Shay is for expert skiers only. We leave part of it ungroomed to increase the technical difficulty."
According to Parquette, 28 percent of the slopes at Snowshoe are black diamond for expert skiers and Lower Shay's Revenge is the only double black diamond slope at the resort.
Snowshoe offers guests 244 acres of skiable areas for beginners to expert skiers to explore in three different areas: the Snowshoe Basin, the Silver Creek area and the Western Territory. The three areas guarantee visitors a variety of terrain.
"We offer about 42 percent of our slopes for beginner and intermediate skiers," Parquette said. "We have great cruisers in the Northern Trail and the Magic Carpet areas are great for those who are learning to ski."
So far this season, 127 inches of natural snow has fallen at Snowshoe, which accounts for more than 70 percent of the resort's average annual snowfall. In addition to the natural snowfall, Snowshoe's expert snowmaking team has been making snow nearly around the clock for the last two and a half weeks.
"We have some of the best conditions we have had in years," Parquette said. "Warmer weather is not going to affect us. Beginning in February we are going to energy conservation mode where we will only make snow at night."
Today, Snowshoe will host the annual West Virginia Open Rail Jam competition. The event offers a $4,000 cash purse, with the first-place skier and snowboarder each walking away with $2,000.
The spectator friendly event takes place right outside the Shavers Centre building. Practice begins after the slopes close at 4:30 p.m. Registration for competitors occurs today inside The Depot, located in Snowshoe's mountaintop Village.
"Last year we saw 75 competitors," Parquette said. "With our conditions and the $4,000 cash purse, we think it will be a good event."
Parquette said spectators can expect to see creative tricks from the riders who will have a chance to show off their tricks. She said the setup for the competition will include a rail and a jib feature at the end.
"You will see board slides and 180s on the rail. It will not be aerials like what is seen at the X-Games because the features are ground level," Parquette said. "We build a big ramp for them made of snow. They will start about two stories above ground and come down the slope and hit the rail and do a trick and then go to the second feature which is a stopping mechanism that allows them to throw another trick."
According to Parquette, the competition will be judged by members of the terrain park staff who are very experienced riders.
On Feb. 2, Snowshoe will host the Cupp Run Challenge. The annual event allows competitors to race down the black diamond slope.
"It is really fun," Parquette said. "The race is one of the biggest giant slalom races in the East. It is a mile and a quarter long."
Snowshoe also has special packages available, including a new Third Night Free offer.
Guests who book a two or more night package between Jan. 20 and March 1, during a non-holiday period, will get their third night free. The offer starts at $302 per person for three nights of lodging, three days of lift tickets and free day of arrival lift tickets. The offer expires on Feb. 13.
"We had a great start to the season," Parquette said. "We opened five days early. The warmer weather in December slowed us down, but we started ramping it up after the new year."
Snowshoe offers many extras to keep visitors busy during their time off the slopes. The resort features 20 dining options, shopping, a spa, a nightclub and a comedy club. Outdoor activities include guided snowmobile tours, indoor/outdoor heated pools and hot tubs and the 15,000 Big Top Family Entertainment Center complete with arcade games.
For a daily snow report, details on all of Snowshoe's specials and a full list of winter activities, visit www.snowshoemtn.com or call 877-441-4FUN.