By Jack Tobias
Are skiing enthusiasts going to have the chance to hit the slopes during the Thanksgiving weekend?
Maybe, but like everything else involving skiing this time of year, it's "weather permitting."
Shawnee Mountain Ski Area in Monroe County announced on its Web site that opening day will be Black Friday—weather permitting.
Big Boulder in Lake Harmony (Carbon County) actually had a trail open last week—in keeping with a tradition of being the first Pennsylvania ski resort to open for the season, an employee told Patch. But no trails were open Monday, according to the recorded message on its main telephone number. Patch is awaiting word on Thanksgiving weekend.
Big Boulder's sister facility to the east is Jack Frost in Blakeslee (Monroe County).
The bottom line is that unless winter really arrives early—and with a vengeance—Thanksgiving is simply too soon for most area ski resorts to open.
But snowmaking has been going at area facilities.
Camelback was making snow last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday—the earliest the Tannersville resort has ever started making snow in its 50 years of business, Camelback official Brian Bossuyt said.
Camelback is shooting for a Dec. 6, opening, Bossuyt said. A Thanksgiving weekend opening is not out of the question, he said, but based on the long-range weather forecast, it seems unlikely.
A Thanksgiving opening is "extremely slim" at Blue Mountain Ski Area & Resort in Carbon County's Lower Towamwnsing Township, according to an employee of Blue Mountain's guest services department.
The resort is shooting for an opening during the first week of December, the official said. Like Camelback, Blue Mountain was making snow last week until warmer temperatures forced the machines to be stopped.
Farther to the north, Elk Mountain in the northern tier community of Union Dale (Susquehanna County) is shooting for a "tentative opening" in early December, its Web site says.
Farther south, meanwhile, no information was immediately available on a tentative opening day at Bear Creek Mountain Resort & Conference Center in Berks County's Longswamp Township, just over the line from Lower Macungie Township. Bear Creek plans to use highly treated effluent in the snowmaking process starting in the 2014-15 season, according to a report in The Morning Call.
Spring Mountain Ski Area in Montgomery County's Upper Salford Township started making snow Nov. 12, according to its website. Spring Mountain's target opening day is Dec. 14.