Pocono resorts say they hope skiers can hit the slopes early

Author: , Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published: Nov 14 2013 06:08:47 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 15 2013 12:27:20 PM EST

The official start of winter may be more than a month away, but ski resorts all around our area look like they've been hit by a blizzard.

Blue Mountain started making snow Wednesday night. About five new snowmaking guns are in place, and officials said the mountain could be open as early as next weekend.

"We have the opportunity to have one of our earliest openings," shared Jim Dailey the general manager. "About five years ago, we opened on Nov. 29. We're on track for that."

And if they don't open by the end of November, Daily said certainly by the first week in December.

"It feels good. It feels like winter is back," he smiled.

Blue Mountain is not alone. Almost every local ski resort fired up the snow guns to take advantage of the frigid overnight temperatures this week.

"We're really excited we get to make snow this early in November," added Brian Bossuyt, director of sales and marketing, Camelback Mountain Resort.

This year, the mountain is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Workers are welcoming winter with an arsenal of brand new, high-powered, high-efficiency snow guns.

"What used to take up two weeks to make a certain amount of snow, now takes us four or five days," explained Bossuyt.

Camelback is shooting to open for the season Dec. 6.

Big Boulder opened its first slope at 3 p.m. Thursday, making it the first to open in Pennsylvania. Officials are optimistic the early kickoff means a great season on the mountain.

"We're always hopeful because we're dependent on the weather," said Heather Schiffbauer, director of marketing, Jack Frost, Big Boulder ski areas. "So we definitely want it to be a great winter, and it seems like we're off to a great start."

But don't pull out your skis and snowboards just yet. While it's extremely difficult to accurately forecast the weather long term, meteorologists said the chilly temperatures may not stick around.

"Right now, it looks like the first half of this upcoming winter season might be a little warmer than normal, which may not be favorable," described Ed Hanna, 69 News chief meteorologist.

That, however, might turn around closer to February and March, when colder air could roll in, Hanna said. Average snowfall for our area is 33 inches, but Hanna explained the snow we get each winter is widely different from year to year.

"You could have a winter where there are below normal snowfall amounts, but as long as it's cold enough you could be talking about a really good season," Hanna said.

It's something the local resorts are definitely keeping an eye on daily.

"We have high hopes it's going to be a normal winter," shared Dailey.