Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

Learn more about HD Media

20200205-gm-flip-ski (copy)

Skiers hit the slopes as snow blowers lay down a base at Winterplace.

West Virginia skiers and snowboarders will be able to hit the slopes for a free day of spring skiing Sunday at two state ski areas and a resort March 22.

Lift tickets will be free Sunday for West Virginians at Canaan Valley Resort in Tucker County and Winterplace resort in Raleigh County, while Snowshoe Mountain in Pocahontas County is offering the same perk March 22, according to the West Virginia Ski Areas Association.

To take advantage of the offer, West Virginia skiers and snowboarders must show proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or utility bill.

Although mild temperatures and an absence of snow prevails across the Appalachian foothills in the western side of the state, most trails remain snow-covered and open at each of the three participating resorts.

On Monday, 27 of Canaan Valley’s 47 trails were open atop 15 to 30 inches of packed powder. Two chairlifts and two surface lifts were operating.

Winterplace had four of its nine lifts running, providing access to 22 of the resort’s 27 trails, covered with a base of machine-groomed snow ranging from 28 to 48 inches.

At 4,848-foot Snowshoe Mountain, 51 of 61 trails were open on an average base of 45 inches of snow, and all but one of its 12 chairlifts was in use.

“For the most part, the weather has been challenging for snowmaking purposes this season, but upgraded snowmaking systems have allowed all of the resorts to stay open during the mild weather periods,” said Terry Pfieffer, president of the West Virginia Ski Areas Association and Winterplace.

This month’s natural snowfall augmented snow produced through snowmaking systems and gave skiers and snowboarders an incentive to make some additional late-season turns, Pfieffer said.

Canaan Valley Resort plans to close its ski operation for the season at the end of Sunday’s free ski day for West Virginians. Snowshoe Mountain plans to pull the plug at the end of the day March 29. Winterplace will evaluate its snow conditions and upcoming weather to make a closing date determination at a later time.

Reach Rick Steelhammer at, 304-348-5169 or follow

@rsteelhammer on Twitter.