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Whitetail prepares for ski season

December 05, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Temperatures at Whitetail Mountain Resort dropped to 25 degrees early Thursday, creating excellent snow-making conditions, perhaps an indication that the resort near Mercersburg is in for another banner skiing season.

Chris Black, marketing coordinator for Whitetail, said trails could open for the season as soon as this weekend, especially if snow falls on the area.

If Whitetail does open this weekend, it will be a week or so ahead of schedule, Black said.

Whitetail's slopes opened over Thanksgiving weekend last year, which was one of the best for the resort, Black said.

"Last year was phenomenal," Black said. "We opened Thanksgiving, we had plenty of natural snow and cold temperatures that kept up the skiers' enthusiasm. People were telling us that conditions here were better than out west or up north."

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Skiers and snowboarders still were on the slopes in mid-March when Whitetail closed for the season, Black said.

The same number of slopes, 19, will be open this year, Black said. There has been discussion about adding slopes in the future, he said.

About 32 percent of the slopes are for expert skiers, 42 percent attract intermediate level skiers and 26 percent are beginner slopes, he said.

Last year, Whitetail opened its first snow tubing runs, about 1,000 feet long including 700 feet downhill, that have met with surprising success, Black said.

"It's become very popular," he said. Unlike skiing or snowboarding, snow tubing takes little or no skill.

Riders sit on tubes, much like those going down a river on a tire tube. They are hooked to a rope tow for a ride to the top and slide down the slope.

Improvements to the snow tubing facilities this year include a new storage building for the resort's 300 rental tubes. The resort also has improved dining facilities and a new party room for private parties in the lodge.

Also significant this year, Black said, is the addition of 20 percent more water capacity in the snow-making system.

"Before we could only make snow on three or four trails. Now we can do five or six," he said.

For information on ski conditions, call 717-328-9400 or visit www.ski.whitetail.com.

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