Cold causes some ski resorts to limit activity

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The subzero weather today has prompted several local and regional ski resorts to close and others to limit the number of slopes and trails they have open to enable them to operate their snowmaking systems at full capacity.

“It’s minus-18 (with) strong winds. It’s not safe to open,” Blue Knob Resort reported on its website. The resort, located on the border of Bedford and Blair counties, said it will reopen at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, W. Va., said on its website that it was closed “due to extreme cold temperatures.”

Canaan Valley in Davis, W. Va., where the temperature was minus-17, reported that it was closed “for public safety due to extreme weather conditions.”

Hidden Valley, which received five inches of natural snow in the last two days, opened all of its slopes and trails on the front side of the resort for skiing and snowboarding.

But, “due to the adverse weather conditions,” it closed its North Summit terrain today and tomorrow for “intense snowmaking and grooming.”

Seven Springs welcomed skiers and snowboarders to enjoy all the slopes and trails on the front side of the resort while its extensive snowmaking system “creates a snowstorm of epic proportions” today and tomorrow on its North Face terrain.

The resort said the “historic cold front” gave its mountain operations team the opportunity to turn on more than 400 snow guns last night to create whale-sized mounds of snow.

It said 10 snowgrooming machines will spread that snow around tomorrow to provide “awesome conditions” for skiers and snowboarders.

It’s only the second time that adverse weather prompted Seven Springs to close some or all of its terrain. A mix of rain, freezing rain and thick fog in late January 2009 forced the resort to shut down all of its slopes and trails one afternoon and early evening.

Jane Eshbaugh, marketing director at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, N.Y., said it closed some of the lifts on the back of the resort so its guests would have close access to the lodges on the front side of the resort.

All the resorts encouraged their guests to wear multiple layers of clothing, protect all exposed skin, take frequent breaks indoors and stay hydrated.

Lawrence Walsh writes about recreational snowsports for the Post-Gazette.

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