ELLICOTTVILLE – Thanks to cold temperatures and artificial snow, Holiday Valley opened for skiing on Sunday with a limited number of runs and trails.
“The last ski resort opening for the season in the past 20 years is December 22,” said Jane Eshbaugh, Marketing Director for Holiday Valley. “It’s a record – set in 2001 – that we can’t wait to beat.”
In 1957, the first year the resort opened, it didn’t snow in December, Eshbaugh said. There was no snow making equipment so there was no skiing until January when the snows came.
“We initially opened on Sunday with the Yodeler chairlift,” Eshbaugh said.
Which served the Yodeler and Candy Cane trails. At midday, Schoolhouse opened its doors to the learning-to-ski crowd.
“(Monday) we opened Mardi Gras,” Eshbaugh said. “We were able to get a lot of snow over the weekend. We were lucky.
Three ski lifts and four pistes have been opened, with plans to open more if snow conditions allow, she said.
Not wishing to wait for natural snow, Holiday Valley has an enormous snowmaking capacity, of which more than 600 snow cannons, a third of which are automated. However, they do need cold temperatures.
Starting at 8 p.m. Friday, the Holiday Valley mountain team turned on the snowmaking equipment and didn’t shut it down for nearly 36 hours, Eshbaugh said.
“Sunday was such a beautiful day,” she said. “There was a lot of white snow and blue skies.
“This snow is durable. Much will withstand this next period of hot weather. There is still snow on all of our trails and we snowed on 10 trails.
The skiers descended on Mardi Gras under a light drizzle Monday at noon. Temperatures will be above zero until Sunday, with a risk of showers every day except Christmas.
A trend towards cooler weather is coming this weekend, Eshbaugh said, referring to a projection from Precision Weather Co.
“I hope a little colder weather is on the way,” she said.
Holiday Valley has more than 1,000 employees which it hopes to recruit as soon as time permits.
“The people of the village are trying to keep going” until winter begins, Eshbaugh said.
Weather permitting, Holiday Valley plans to offer skiing on Christmas Eve.
There will be a New Years Eve party for the whole family open to the public at the main lodge. A ventriloquist, Mackenzie Bart, the 2014 Miss Ohio, will entertain in the main lodge.
The resort’s groomer will organize a parade of groomers on the Mardi Gras trail visible from the lodge.
There will be a torchlight parade of skiers on Mardi Gras and fireworks at midnight, Eshbaugh said.
Holiday Valley – with 13 lifts, 58 runs and trails, and three base lodges – is ranked third best ski resort in the East for 2015-16 by Ski Magazine.
“We are very grateful to our guests who choose Holiday Valley as one of their favorite resorts,” said Dennis Eshbaugh, resort president and CEO. “And being one of these highly respected resorts in the East is very exciting.”
How does Holiday Valley manage to make the top 10 year after year?
Eshbaugh responded, “It’s about making our customers have fun and enjoy winter with their family and friends. We work hard to provide the type of resort they want. Each year, we improve and reinvest in the resort to stay one step ahead.