Resorts Are Weathering the Warm Temperatures

Article excerpt

You know we've been having lousy weather in Washington and environs the past week - a little rain, some fog, warm temperatures. Has it hurt the ski areas? Not on your life. It's colder in the mountains, so the snow isn't disappearing nearly as fast as it is around here.

"It's still in the 30s at night, so we can groom up the snow," said Massanutten marketing director June Brinkman. "Those 55- and 60-degree days you hear about on D.C. television aren't happening out here [in the Shenandoah Valley]. It's in the 40s during the day."

Brinkman says Massanutten is ready to make more snow as soon as the temperatures drop below freezing at night, which might happen next week.

"We've had 77 inches of natural snow this year, double our normal rate," said Brinkman, who indicated that Massanutten only received 22 inches of snow all last winter.

For skiers and snowboarders in the know, this is the beginning of the spring season - and it doesn't get much better. The days are longer. The sun is brighter when it shines. The temperatures are warmer. And the snow is soft and easier to ski on.

Folks who pack away their skis and boards March 1 are missing the best skiing of the year. Brinkman hopes to keep Massanutten open through the fourth weekend in March, but it depends on how many skiers come to the mountain.

"We'll run out of skiers long before we run out of snow," she said.

To usher in spring skiing March 2, Massanutten will host an obstacle-course race. Participants receive prizes, and the proceeds benefit United Way.

At Ski Liberty and Ski Roundtop in Pennsylvania, there are still "tons of snow," said marketing director Mike Cobb. Both Liberty and Roundtop will hold their last Great Late Night events this weekend. Skiing from 9 p.m. to midnight will cost less than $10 at the ski areas, and there are special prices for rental equipment.

DISABLED GAMES SET - About 100 local skiers with disabilities are expected to converge on Whitetail Ski Resort from March 4-7 for the fifth annual Disabled Sports USA Ski Spectacular. Most participants will take part in learn-to-ski clinics. Disabled persons who ski will compete in races.

Whitetail, in Mercersburg, Pa., has an extensive adaptive ski program that will augment lessons from Disabled Sports adaptive instructors. For information about the Ski Spectacular, contact Disabled Sports/USA at 301/217-0960. …