- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2003

The sunshine, longer days, daytime temperatures well above freezing and the greening of shrubs and trees give us license to say that spring has finally arrived at the region's ski resorts.
Face masks and goggles have been replaced by sunscreen and sunglasses. Sweaters and ball caps have supplanted insulated parkas and wool hats. Shorts and T-shirts soon will become the uniform of the norm on slopes that are able to stay open into April. This is the best time of the year to ski or snowboard because dusk comes later and the snow is soft and manageable. It doesn't get any better than this.
Many of the resorts in the region close this weekend, but a handful will remain open for two weeks and one, Snowshoe, may get three more weeks out of the season. But because the end is drawing near, we'll put Snow Sports in cold storage for the summer. It will return in October.
Timberline, Canaan go into April West Virginia's two alpine areas near Davis, Timberline Four Season Resort and Canaan Valley Resort, plan to have skiing until April6.
At Timberline, all trails and slopes on the mountain are open, and the resort is going ahead with full operations. Information: 800/766-9464; timberlineresort.com.
Canaan will shut down after skiing next Sunday but will reopen April 5-6. Lift ticket and lodging prices for the additional weekend will be steeply discounted. Information: 800/622-4121; canaanresort.com.
Girls snowboard clinic at Liberty The Op Girls Learn to Ride series of snowboard clinics arrives at Liberty Mountain, Carroll Valley, Pa., today. The clinics are for girls (from 8) and women; the day includes a two-hour beginner snowboarding lesson, a full-day lower mountain lift ticket, full-day snowboard and boot rentals, a goodie bag, and entry in a raffle for skateboards, shoes, clothing and other merchandise. Lessons start at 10 a.m. Cost is $52, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Boarding for Breast Cancer Fund, which supports breast cancer research. Pre-registration is available on the series Web site, girlslearntoride.com.
Temperatures in the 60s and rain much of last week really cut into the snow base at Liberty. At last report, the resort was going to stay open through today, but after that the decision will be day-by-day. Information: skiliberty.com; 717/642-8282
Snowshoe settles down for final push
The snow that was everywhere a few weeks ago is pretty much gone from the valleys and hollows around Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia. But on the slopes and in sheltered, secluded places of the back country, it lingers.
"To tell you the truth, most of us here have enjoyed the clear days," said a winter-weary Joe Stevens, communications director at Snowshoe. Weather permitting, most of the slopes at the resort will remain open through Sunday, April13. The Silver Creek area will close today at 4:30 p.m.
Plans call for four lifts and at least 15 trails on the basin side of Snowshoe and Western Territory to remain open through the final week of the season. Last year Snowshoe closed Cupp Run on the Western Territory side of the mountain during the last week to save the snow for the final three days of the season.
Snowshoe is hoping to attract spring skiers with a $75 Spring Pass, lodging packages at reduced rates and deals for season passes from other resorts. Information: 877/441-4386; snowshoemtn.com.
Still skiing at White Grass
High elevation (close to 4,000 feet) is helping White Grass cross-country ski area in Davis, W.Va., stay open. "We are staying open until the fat lady sings, and we have never, ever closed if there is natural snow to ski," said spokesman Chip Chase.
Chase projects another three weeks of skiing and snowshoeing in the Canaan Valley wilderness. "Our Nordic trails have been graced with the best snows and cold we have ever wildly imagined," he said. "Region by region, we are surely the seasonal winners. Too dry out west, too cold in New England, and just right in the Alleghenies. Sometimes the elevator, sometimes the shaft." Information 304/866-4114; whitegrass.com.
Wisp plans for April skiing
With the huge amount of snow that has fallen on Maryland's Garrett County this winter, Wisp at Deep Creek Resort plans to stay open for skiing and snowboarding until April6. To accommodate the eroding snow, Wisp has adjusted its hours and rates. Monday through Friday, all-day lift tickets are $17.50, $15 for multiple days. Saturday and Sunday lift tickets are $20. The resort will be open 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays and Mondays.
Wisp is offering a Core Riders Student Pass, good through the end of next season for skiing, snowboarding, street and skate park, for $349. Information: 301/387-4911; skiwisp.com.
Looking ahead Now is a good time to lock in low rates for next season. Resorts generally offer deeply discounted season passes in the spring. In some parts of the country, there have been season pass price wars in the spring with passes sometimes dropping to $199 and less. Check the Web sites of your favorite resorts and see what deals are available.
Snow Sports appears on Sundays in The Washington Times during the winter. Contact: bclapper@washingtontimes.com.

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