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Snow business booming despite lack of natural snow

Whitetail Resort in Mercersburg, Pa., reports 25 percent increase in overall visits this year over last year

February 21, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Skiers make their way to the top of a trail on a ski lift Wednesday at Whitetail Ski Resort in Mercersburg, Pa.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — Two area ski resorts are reporting strong seasons thanks to cold temperatures and state-of-the-art snow making equipment.

Compared to last year, Whitetail Resort in Mercersburg and Liberty Mountain Resort in Fairfield, Pa., are reporting excellent seasons.

Don MacAskill, president and general manager at Whitetail Resort, said the resort is up 25 percent in overall visits this year over last.

“That’s quite significant,” MacAskill said.

“Although we haven’t had a great deal of natural snow, we have had excellent temperatures for making snow,” MacAskill said.

The staff at Whitetail has been making snow three to four nights a week, MacAskill said.

“This season has been far superior to last year,” he said. “Last winter was mild without much natural snow.”

Since Whitetail opened Dec. 28, it has been running 100 percent of its 23 trails.

MacAskill said the cold temperatures enable the snow making equipment to be more efficient.

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“The colder the temperature, the more snow we are able to make in a 24-hour period,” he said.

With the amount of snow on the mountain, he is optimistic about staying open until the third or fourth week in March.

Last year, the resort closed in early March.

“I’m kind of a weather junky, and it sounds like March is going to be chillier than average,” MacAskill said.

That’s music to Michaela Seigo’s ears.

She could barely wait to hit the slopes with her friend and novice snowboarder Hillary Nebhut of Fairfax, Va., on Thursday.

“I can’t wait (for the season to begin),” said Seigo of Annandale, Va.

She could barely wait to try out her brand new snowboarding gear.

“This is the first time I actually got to use my new gear, and I got it last Christmas,” she said.

Bertram von Moltke of Washington, D.C., and his son, Caspar, tried out the slopes at Whitetail on Thursday.

“It’s the first day (for us), and we were surprised to find snow and see that it’s OK,” von Moltke said.

Even though it was manmade snow, von Moltke said it worked just fine.

“It’s not the Alps, but who would expect the Alps this side of the Atlantic,” he said with a smile.

Liberty Mountain

Marketing Director Anne Weimer said things are going strong at Liberty in Adams County, which is a short drive from the Waynesboro, Pa., and Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., areas.

“We got off to a slow start, but since then we’ve really turned it around and things have been going very, very nicely,” she said.

Liberty opened Dec. 30, about two weeks later than usual.

“We have a very nice snow base and lots of cool temperatures. We are continuing to make snow and we’re looking forward to it being a season that’s heavier on the backend rather than on the front end,” Weimer said.

Despite the lack of natural snow, Weimer said the cold temperature has been the saving grace for the resort.

“The cold has been really ideal for snow making. So, we’ve been able to make a lot of snow and have 100 percent of our terrain open for many weeks now,” she said.

She anticipates being open until the end of March or possibly beyond.

“One of the challenges that we face is if people don’t have snow in their yard then they don’t think about us having snow in our yard. They don’t quite realize the power and the strength of our snowmaking capabilities,” she said.




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