Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Your Guide to Ski Resorts in the Region

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Your Guide to Ski Resorts in the Region

Article excerpt

As snowfalls go, the one that highlighted the ridges of the Laurel Highlands late last month wasn't much - 2 inches at the most. But the pre-dawn flakes that fell on Oct. 21 reminded snow-sports enthusiasts that it won't be long before the season gets underway.

Although the region's largest resorts like to open for skiing and snowboarding the day after Thanksgiving, they'll need a week - or more - of below-freezing temperatures before then to make enough snow to cover at least some of their slopes and trails. Natural snow, of course, is always welcome.

Dick Barron, the director of the Ski Patrol at Seven Springs whose voice can be heard on the resort's daily snow reports, said the "short- and long-range forecasts are hinting of an early start to winter and a prolonged end with below-average temperatures and above-average snowfall."

Seven Springs opened Nov. 24 last year, experienced a prolonged period of warm and wet weather in February, was revived by its team of snowmakers and then extended its season to mid-April, thanks to 39 inches of natural snow in March. When the chairlifts stopped running on April 14, the resort had been open for 119 days of skiing and snowboarding. The total natural snowfall was 138 inches, 6 inches shy of 12 feet.

"It was an awesome end to the season," said communications manager Katie Buchan as she displayed a phone photo a colleague had taken of her carving a turn in 14 inches of powder on March 21.

As what happens almost every year, snow-sports enthusiasts will have to pay a few dollars more this season for lift tickets, rental equipment and/or lessons at Blue Knob, Hidden Valley, Laurel Mountain and Seven Springs.

There are no increases at Boyce Park, the Allegheny County area in Plum. It is one of the best and closest to Pittsburgh places to learn how to slide on snow, control your speed and remain upright while doing so. …

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