- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 14, 2004

The end of the ski season is rapidly approaching, thanks to the annual warming trend known as spring. For some resorts in the region, it already has arrived and the last day of skiing is today.

For other areas, spring means up to four more weeks of skiing. With temperatures rising, longer days and softer snow, this is the best time of year to get out on the slopes and get in that last bit of skiing before switching over to warm-weather activities.

Because conditions at a given resort can flucuate dramatically from one day to the next, visit a resort’s Web site and/or call before making a trip. That way you can determine what the conditions are and if the resort is open. Some resorts go to reduced schedules as the season wanes.

Traditionally, the first resort in the region to open and last to close is Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. Snowshoe will continue full-bore until April and celebrate Easter Sunday (April11) before shutting down winter operations. Hiking, golf and other warm-weather activities will begin once the snow is off the mountain, probably sometime in May.

But before the end of the season, Snowshoe will have its Mountaintop Beach Party and Music Festival, March26-27. Included in the beach-themed weekend are on-slope games, fireworks and music. The event highlights Snowshoe’s Spring Value Season, when two-day/night packages start at $118 a person. From March29 to April11, two or more nights’ lodging will get you free lift tickets. Contact: 877/441-4386; snowshoemtn.com.

Two other West Virginia mountains, both in Davis, will remain open for a while. Canaan Valley has set March28 as its last day. Contact: 800/622-4121; canaanresort.com.

Neighboring Timberline Four Seasons Resort plans to remain open until April4. Timberline’s biggest weekend event of the year, Snowy Luau, is scheduled next Saturday and Sunday. Contact: 800/766-9464, snow phone 304/866-4828; timberlineresort.com.

Situated between the two alpine areas in the Canaan Valley sits White Grass Touring Center, which picked up another 10 inches of snow last week to push its total for the year to more than 100. White Grass will stay open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing as long as it can. If White Grass has to shut down and then a late March snowstorm comes through, the area would reopen. Contact: 304/866-4114; whitegrass.com.

Wisp at Deep Creek Mountain Resort in McHenry, Md., has targeted March28 as its last day. Late-season rates are in effect at Wisp, with $20 lift tickets and rentals. Through the end of the season, Wisp is offering a $36 learn-to-ski package that includes a lift ticket, class lesson and rental. Contact: 301/387-4911; skiwisp.com.

In Pennsylvania, Liberty Mountain Resort, Carroll Valley (717/642-8282, skiliberty.com), Whitetail, Mercersburg, Pa. (717/328-9400; ski whitetail.com) and Ski Roundtop in Lewisberry (717/432-9631, skiroundtop.com) will close after today. The three resorts will celebrate the season finale today with buy-one-get-one-free specials on most lift tickets, lessons and rentals.

Seven Springs (814/352-7777, 800/452-2223; 7springs.com), in Champion, Pa., will give up night skiing during the week to save its snow. Depending on the weather, the resort will continue to have skiing on a daily basis until sometime in April. Next weekend is the Mon Valley Spring Carnival at Seven Springs. Featured are ski and snowboard races, games and activities for children and adults on and off the slopes.

In Virginia, Massanutten in Harrisonburg (540/289-9441, 800/207-6277; massresort.com) plans to keep the ski hill open through March21. Massanutten will offer $12 lift tickets and rentals to holders of season passes from other resorts that have closed.

Elsewhere in Virginia, Wintergreen (434/325-8180, snow report 434/325-2100; wintergreenresort.com) will stay open until March28. Bryce, in Basye (540/856-2121; bryceresort.com), will close after today’s session.

Snow Sports appears on Sundays in The Washington Times during the winter.

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