SnowBlast organizers prepare for wet one

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What a week!

Sunny, spring-like weather last weekend, subzero temperatures this week and rain in the forecast for today.

It wasn’t what Hidden Valley had in mind when it scheduled its annual Family SnowBlast celebration in conjunction with KDKA and the Pittsburgh CW.

Jon Burnett’s live broadcasts from the resort Thursday and Friday gave viewers an opportunity to see how much snow Hidden Valley’s snowmaking system generated during the polar vortex.

If the weather cooperates, Jennifer Antkowiak and her family will be the hosts of a snow-tubing party from noon to 1 p.m. today. And hardy skiers and snowboarders can join the CW’s “Green Team” on the snow from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. after meeting them in the Alpine Room in the lodge.

Rick Dayton will be the host of “Family Feud” beginning at 2:30 p.m. in the Alpine Room. And Susan Koeppen will welcome young artists for a coloring contest beginning at 4:30 p.m., also in the Alpine Room.

Hidden Valley wisely closed its North Summit slopes and trails Monday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon so it could cover them with a prodigious amount of snow with its TechnoAlpin snowmaking system.

Seven Springs closed its North Face terrain to enable its patented snowmaking system to generate “a snowstorm of epic proportions.” It used more than 400 snow guns to create whale-sized mounds of snow. Ten snowgrooming machines spread it around.

Blue Knob, Oglebay Resort and Canaan Valley closed their slopes and trails because of the brutally cold weather and took advantage of the downtime to operate their snowmaking systems at full capacity.

All that snowmaking will pay dividends by enabling local and regional resorts to confront this weekend’s weather and the warm and wet weather yet to come.

Telepalooza Festival

Although January has been designated Learn to Ski/Snowboard Month, telemark skiing will be the focus of the 12th Annual Telepalooza festival Feb. 8-9 at Seven Springs.

The festival, sponsored by the Western Pennsylvania Ski Council, includes how-to sessions for all ages and abilities. The sessions will be taught by certified members of the Professional Ski Instructors of America, who will conduct morning and afternoon clinics on both days.

There will be opportunities to navigate the NASTAR race course Feb. 8 and to participate in the Uphill/Downhill Fun Race Feb. 9.

The cost for one day is $90 cash or check ($95 credit card and Paypal) and $130 cash or check for both days ($135 credit card and Paypal). Members of the Appalachian Telemark Association will receive a $10 discount. There is no charge for children 16 and younger.

Telepalooza founder Jim Kapp said the price includes clinics, races, demonstration equipment from Scarpa, food, beverages and “awesome” prizes. Although it doesn’t include rental equipment and lift tickets, discounted lift tickets can be purchased at the registration table in the lodge.

There will be prizes from Clymb, Cloudveil, Rocky Mountain Underground, Leki, Black Diamond, Ramp Sports, Volie, Ski Logic, Kiss My Face and others.

For information: www.telemarker.org; www.wpsc.net

Corporate Cup

Registration opened for the 30th Annual Corporate Cup Charity Ski Race and Sporting Clays Competition Feb. 28 at Seven Springs.

Individuals and teams of three can sign up for the Corporate Cup competition, a giant slalom race on the Avalanche slope. Five member teams will participate in the sporting clays competition.

The event, a fundraiser for Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh, also welcomes skiers and snowboarders who just want to enjoy a day on the snow. Olympic gold medalist Diann Roffe and world champion ski competitor will welcome the participants.

Contact Cindy Smith at 412-368-4400, Ext. 2208.


Larry Walsh writes about recreational snow sports for the Post-Gazette.

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