Hitting the slopes

Outside

December 01, 2005|By SAM SESSA | SAM SESSA,SUN REPORTER

Looking for a downhill rush?

The mercury finally dropped enough to make snow stick last weekend, and a handful of ski resorts here and in surrounding states are open. Most of the rest plan to open this weekend or next, weather permitting.

While there are plenty of new slopes and expanded terrain parks and lodges this year, the wildest new sport is snow bodyboarding. Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center in West Virginia devotes slopes and a whole terrain park to the activity. You lie on the inflatable board, grab onto the handles and cruise down the trails. Grooves on the bottom allow for basic steering, said Bryan Brown, Canaan Valley's spokesman.

Here's a list of ski resorts, when they plan to open and what's new this year.

Maryland

Wisp at Deep Creek Mountain Resort, 296 Marsh Hill Road, McHenry: Wisp's added 10 slopes and two quad chairlifts that seat four in a row. The new area is called North Camp, and one of the best weekends to test it out will be Dec. 11-12, when the resort celebrates its 50th anniversary by reducing prices to 1955 rates. Wisp opened last weekend. Call 301-387-4911 or visit skiwisp.com.

Pennsylvania

Blue Knob, 1418 Overland Pass, Claysburg: Blue Knob plans to open its 34 trails the second weekend of December. It will also debut a Nordic Center, which will offer cross-country skiing rentals and lessons. Call 800-458-3403 or visit blueknob.com.

Eagle Rock Resort, 1031 Valley of the Lakes, Hazelton: In addition to skiing, Eagle Rock also offers a snowboarding area, two new slopes, a fitness center and spa. Its target opening date is Dec. 17. Call 570-384-3223 or visit eaglerockresort.com.

Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort, 1 Craighead Drive, Hidden Valley: You can ski down 28 slopes on the main mountainside or snowtube on six lanes at the Outback Park. The park is also the headquarters for 30 kilometers of cross-country trails ranging from beginner to expert levels. Hidden Valley plans to open mid-December. Call 814-443-8000 or visit hiddenvalleyresort.com.

Liberty Mountain Resort and Conference Center, 78 Country Club Trail, Carroll Valley: You probably know this resort as Ski Liberty. This year, it's got a new lift for tubers, an expanded loft and new lighting on some trails. Ski Liberty also has a mountain hotel and tavern, and intends to open early this month. Call 717-642-8282 or visit skiliberty.com.

Seven Springs Mountain Resort, 777 Waterwheel Drive, Champion: Snowtime activities at Seven Springs include skiing and snowboarding down 31 slopes and tubing down 12 chutes. It opened last weekend. Call 800-452-2223 or visit 7springs.com.

Ski Denton, Route 6, Coudersport: Ski Denton plans to open this weekend. The facility has 21 slopes, snow tubing and a snack bar. Call 814-435-2115 or visit skiden ton.com.

Ski Roundtop, 925 Roundtop Road, Lewisberry: This season, Ski Roundtop renovated its third-floor lodge, adding a coffee bar and cafe. Roundtop also upgraded its snowmaking equipment to produce more powder for its 15 trails, three terrain parks, half pipe and superpipe. Weather permitting, Roundtop plans to open this weekend. Call 717-432-9631 or visit skiroundtop.com.

Ski Sawmill Family Resort, 383 Oregon Hill Road, Morris: This resort hopes to open its 13 ski runs the weekend of Dec. 10. Snow tubing usually isn't available until later in the year at Ski Sawmill, which also has a new motel. Call 800-532-7669 or visit skisawmill.com.

Tussey Mountain Winter Resort, 301 Bear Meadow Road, Boalsburg: By mid-December, Tussey's seven slopes, two lanes of tubing and terrain park should be up and running. The resort also has a cafe, restaurant and bar. Call 800-733-2754 or visit tusseymountain.com.

Whitetail Mountain Resort, 13805 Blairs Valley Road, Mercersburg: Most of Whitetail's 19 slopes are lighted and should be open early this month. One of Whitetail's two terrain parks is for beginners and one is for the more advanced. This year, Whitetail expanded its rental building, which now offers new skis, boots, bindings and other equipment. The resort also features snow tubing lanes, snack shops, a food court, restaurant and a wireless Internet cafe. Call 717-328-9400 or visit skiwhitetail.com.

West Virginia

Canaan Valley Resort and Conference Center, HC 70, Davis: Activities at Canaan resort, which opened last weekend, include skiing and snowboarding on its 37 slopes, snow tubing in the five-lane park, cross-country skiing on 18 kilometers of trails and snow bodyboarding on the new terrain park. Call 800-622-4121 or visit canaanresort.com.

Snowshoe Mountain Resort, 1 Snowshoe, Snowshoe: It opened last week with vastly expanded facilities. There's a huge new family fun center called the Big Top, a high and dry zone with a carnival tint where you can play video games, skee-ball and basketball and shoot billiards. Showshoe revamped its terrain parks, dedicating eight more trails to them. There's also a new rental shop complex. Call 304-572-1000 or visit snowshoemtn.com.

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