There's joy in the Laurel Highlands for snow sports enthusiasts.
Hidden Valley, Mystic Mountain and Seven Springs, and their southern (Wisp) and northern (Blue Knob) neighbors, all benefited from more than a foot of natural snow in the past week.
That snowfall, combined with the output of their respective snowmaking systems, enabled the resorts to open more terrain for Christmas and New Year's.
Although none of the resorts have opened all of their slopes and trails, they said they would do so as soon as they make a good base for them. In response to numerous requests, Seven Springs will groom Fawn Lane and Phillip's Run at 3 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays to make it easier for beginners and novices to snowplow and make their turns.
Here are a few all-inclusive discounted packages the resorts are offering for the new year.
• College Fest: Blue Knob, which received 12 inches of natural snow in 24 hours this week, will have its first College Fest Jan. 2-6. The package includes four nights lodging, lift tickets, breakfasts and a variety of on- and off-mountain events. The cost is $250 per person based on six persons in a two-bedroom condo that also has a sofa bed. The registration deadline is Jan. 1. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org; 1-800-458-3403 and 1-814-239-5111.
• Hero's Day: Wisp will honor members of the military, law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians with a complimentary lift ticket Jan. 4. Members of their immediate family can buy lift tickets for $10. Information: www.wispresort.com; 1-301-387-4000.
• College Daze: Snowshoe, which received 28 inches of natural snow, is inviting college students to take advantage of discounted lodging rates Jan. 4-12 at the Inn at Snowshoe and other accommodations in the village. The cost of a standard room is $49 on weekdays, $79 on weekends and includes breakfast. Junior studios in the village are $79 on weekdays, $99 on weekends. A two-night minimum is required. Information: www.snowshoemtnresort.com; 1-877-441-4386.
• Family memories: Although Seven Springs' Winter Family Memories package usually is valid only Sundays through Thursdays, excluding holiday periods, it is offering it Jan. 11-12. The package includes two nights of accommodations in the Main Lodge, unlimited skiing/snowboarding from 4 p.m. the day of arrival to 7 p.m. the day of departure, two breakfasts, one dinner, snow tubing, bowling, miniature golf, roller skating and access to the indoor swimming pool and fitness center. Up to two children 11 and under sharing a room with two paying adults will receive free lodging, free skiing/snowboarding and the other items included in the package. Information: www.7springs.com; 1-800-452-2223.
• Weekday package: Beginning Jan. 1, Hidden Valley will offer a Stay and Ski/Snowboard Free Package that includes a standard room in the Four Seasons Lodge. It also includes free skiing/snowboarding the day of arrival and the day of departure, a continental breakfast, discounted rental equipment for $10, discounted group lessons for $10 and a 10 percent discount at the resort's sports shop. The per-room price, which doesn't include taxes, is $109 on Sundays and $99 Mondays through Thursdays. Children 17 and under stay free in a room with two adults. Information: www.hiddenvalleyresort.com; 1-814-443-8000.mobilehome - ski - outdoors
Larry Walsh writes about recreational snow sports for the Post-Gazette.