Snow has been falling faster than the stock market, which explains the crowded slopes and hotels, especially on weekends.
So ski during the week, if you can get away from work. Veteran skiers know the benefits: cheaper lift tickets and accommodations, shorter lift lines and easier parking, less damage from the unsure of foot and fewer beginners. At some areas, ski schools were be smaller. That should spell more individual attention from instructors.
With a little bit of luck, not everyone will take heed.
BIG BOULDER -- Lake Harmony, Pa., 225 miles. Big Boulder's base, 36 to 60 inches, did not change during the week. The surface is groomed with machine, packed powder. Four lifts and 10 trails are open. Conditions are said to be excellent. Night skiing until 10. Vertical drop, 475'. 717/722-0104.
BLUE KNOB -- Claysburg, Pa., 150 miles. Mambo Alley, Bunnyhop, Upper 66 and the beginner's slopes are open. The minimum base jumped 18 inches and now stands at 30 to 36 inches. Powder surface. Thirteen or 14 trails, two lifts and two rope tows in operation. Vertical drop, 1,052'. Night skiing 6 till 10. 800/458-3403.
BRYCE -- Bayse, Va., 120 miles. No new snow. Storms predicted for the weekend. Base 20 to 50 inches. Granular surface. Redeye, Bootlegger and Revenuer open. Two double chairs, two rope tows and the Mighty Mite tow open. Night skiing from 6:30 till 10. 703/856-2121.
CAMELBACK -- Tannersville, Pa., 230 miles. Base 40 to 70 inches, a sharp increase. Machine, packed-powder surface. Twenty-two trails are open. Eight to 10 lifts functioning. Night skiing 5 to 10. Vertical drop, 800'. 717/629-1661.
ELK MOUNTAIN -- Union Dale, Pa., 270 miles. The base, 24 to 40 inches, increased by an average of four inches during the week. All slopes and four or five lifts in operation. Night skiing Monday through Saturday, 4:30 to 10. Vertical drop, 1,100'. 800/679-2611.
HIDDEN VALLEY -- Somerset, Pa., 191 miles. No fresh snow reported. Snow machines going. Surface is packed powder. Base 5 to 45 inches. Six trails, two lifts and one rope two functioning. Cross-country skiers have 28 kilometers to travel. Vertical drop, 400 feet. 814/443-1414.
THE HOMESTEAD -- Hot Springs, Va., 200 miles. A brush of new snow. Base 20 to 30 inches. Conditions reportedly fair to good. Corn snow surface. Five trails and four lifts open. No night skiing. Vertical drop, 700'. 703/839-5079.
JACK FROST -- White Haven, Pa., 250 miles. No fresh snow, plenty of machine-made. Base, 38 to 62, up two inches from last week. Machine, packed-power surface. Thirteen trails and five lifts open. Cross-country skiing. No night skiing. Vertical drop, 500'. 717/443-8425.
LAUREL MOUNTAIN -- Boswell, Pa., 190 miles. Groomed powder surface. Depth of base shifted. Minimum is higher, maximum lower for a base of 12 to 32 inches. Eleven slopes and two lifts open. Night skiing, 4:30 to 10:30. 412/238-6688.
SEVEN SPRINGS -- Champion, Pa., 190 miles. Base six to 12 inches in natural areas, six to 44 in machine-made zones. Packed-powder surface. Ninety to 100 percent of the trails open and six to eight lifts open. Night skiing until 11. Vertical drop, 997'. 814/352-7777.
SKI LIBERTY -- Fairfield, Pa., 65 miles. Four to 10 inches of man-made snow. Base 18 to 48 inches. Primary surface is powder, secondary is packed powder. Fourteen trails, four lifts and one J-bar open. Night skiing from 5 to 10. Night skiing lift ticket is $9, rental gear $7. Vertical drop, 575'. 717/642-8282.
SKI ROUNDTOP -- Lewisberry, Pa., 121 miles. No fresh snow. Base 20 to 40 inches. Primary surface is powder. Secondary is packed powder. All 11 trails, five lifts and two J-bars operaring. Night skiing every night from 6 to 10. Vertical drop, 600'. 800/233-1134.
SNOWSHOE -- Snowshoe, W.Va., 245 miles. Heavy snowfall anticipated during the weekend. No new snow. Surface is machine-made, frozen granular. Six lifts and 20 trails, from novice to expert, open. Base, 40 to 50 inches. No night skiing. Vertical drop, 1,500'.304/799-6630.
WINTERGREEN -- Wintergreen, Va., 168 miles. No new real snow, but the guns were going all week. Base 36 to 72 inches. Machine-made, granular surface. Seven trails and three chairs are open. Night skiing Tuesday through Sunday from 7 to 11. Vertical drop, 525'. 804/325-2200.
WISP -- Oakland, Md., 185 miles. Base 32 to 54 inches. Surface is groomed, loose granular. Sixteen trails, two double-chairs, one poma lift and one rope tow available. Night skiing Tuesday through Friday, 6 to 10. Night lift tickets cost $9. Vertical drop, 610'. 800/638-1070.