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Whitetail begins snowmaking

November 26, 2005|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

MERCERSBURG, PA. - It was beginning to look a lot like winter Friday afternoon at Whitetail Mountain Resort.Snowmaking machines were in full fury at the ski resort on Blairs Valley Road as they began filling the slopes and grounds to set the base for this winter's ski season. The resort was taking advantage of this week's cold temperatures to start shooting the white stuff, said Chris Black, marketing coordinator for Whitetail. The snow guns starting cranking Thanksgiving evening. They will operate around the clock for the next few days.

"We'll be putting down a phenomenal amount of snow," Black said.

"We don't have a solid opening date yet," he said, especially with warmer weather predicted for next week. "We're just working out the bugs."

Skiers are advised to "stay tuned" on the resort's Website at www.skiwhitetail.com or by calling 717-328-9400 for the opening date and ski conditions, he said. In recent years weather has cooperated to allow Whitetail to open for the season as early as Thanksgiving, if only for a weekend, as it did in 2002, Black said. The resort's normal opening weekend usually occurs around the middle of December.

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So far about 500 of the resort's normal contingent of 850 seasonal workers have been hired. Job fairs were held Nov. 17 and Nov. 19 with two more scheduled for Dec. 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to noon.

"We still have a handful of departments to fill," Black said.

New this year is a $2 million addition to the ski and snowboard rental building which combines the two operations for the first time. "They're all in the same building now," he said.

Renters will be able to choose from an inventory of 3,000 new shaped skis, along with a like number of new ski boots, he said.

Whitetail opened for the first time for the 1991-92 ski season and struggled through its early years until 1998 when Snow time Inc. of York, Pa. bought the resort for about $11 million.

Snow Time also owns Liberty Mountain Resort in Fairfield, Pa., and Ski Roundtop near Harrisburg, Pa.

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