Season is over for area ski resorts

March 10, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Unless the area gets an unexpected blizzard in the next few weeks, the local ski season is over.

Whitetail Ski Resort, located on Blairs Valley Road, ended its sixth season on March 2, when spring-like temperatures turned the remaining snow on the trails into slush.

Now there are more patches of bare ground and grass than snow, and the chair lifts stand idle up the steep slopes.


"This was one of our shortest seasons," said Rachel Nichols, communications manager at Whitetail. "It's disappointing, but it's not the end of the world."

Although workers at the ski resort had their annual end-of-the-season party Monday afternoon, Nichols said a change in the weather could open the slopes.

"If we have a major weather event . . . We'll be prepared to reopen and take advantage of the last hurrah," Nichols said. "We're not counting it out yet."

Nearby Ski Liberty in Carroll Valley also closed last Sunday, ending the season prematurely.

"I never, ever remember shutting the season down this early," said Eric Flynn, Ski Liberty's general manager.

In the last eight years, Flynn said ski seasons have averaged about 100 days. This year's season lasted about 75 days.

"This is one of the strangest winters we can remember," he said.

Flynn blames the early warm weather for melting the snow and thawing public interest.

"Skier interest really dropped off at the end," Flynn said. "When you get days with 60-and 70-degree weather, people put their skis away and get out their golf clubs."

Typically, the ski resorts stay open until at least the end of March.

Whitetail opened Dec. 22 and the skiing conditions were good for several weeks, especially from mid-January through February, Nichols said.

The ski season had only had 11 days with temperatures under 20 degrees and only 10 inches of natural snow, Nichols said. That was a far cry from last year - the ski resort's best - with more than 60 inches of natural snow and plenty of cold days for making snow.

"Mother Nature was very manic this year," she said, adding that "by law of averages," next year should be better.

The Herald-Mail Articles