It’s another holiday weekend perfectly timed with a cold front barreling down from Canada that is going to dump snow in the high terrain. Conditions will be the best of the season on the slopes in West Virginia, western Maryland and southwest Pennsylvania, with deep bases and fresh powder in the forecast.

Far less snow will cross the Allegheny Front into south central Pennsylvania and Virginia, where conditions won’t be as optimal, but slope bases have held steady this week thanks to subfreezing nights.

In the favored higher-elevation spots such as Canaan Valley and Snowshoe in West Virginia, up to a half foot of powder is possible by Sunday, with more predicted Monday. This is music to the ears for Chip Chase, owner of White Grass Ski Touring Center in the southern portion of Canaan Valley. He said it has been over a week since any fresh snow has fallen.

To the uninitiated, White Grass is one of the few dedicated cross-country facilities in the Mid-Atlantic, with 30 miles of trails and 1,200 vertical feet of elevation change. So it’s not what most people imagine when they think of cross-country skiing through flat woods. When you get to the top, you’ve got more than 1,000 feet of gravity to take you back to the lodge.

While blessed with 160 inches of annual snowfall, White Grass also “farms” snow. No, frozen water crystals don’t pop out of the rich soil (which actually supports a herd of Black Angus cows in the summer). Instead, the facility uses a series of plastic snow fences to trap blowing snow.

If you’ve ever driven in the western U.S. and seen the long, tall wooden fences along the interstate and the big mounds of snow on its downwind side, it’s the same concept. In the case of White Grass, a berm of snow forms along the fences, creating up to three miles of trail.


Capital Weather Gang’s rating of the skier experience on a scale from 0 to 10.

High-country: 9/10 (skipping lunch, excellent)

Front-range: 4/10 (at least were making turns, below average)

(SlopeCast categories: 0-2, chilling in the lodge or poor; 3-4, at least we’re making turns or below average; 5-6, run of the mill or average; 7-8, carving up the slopes or good; 9-10, skipping lunch/powder time or excellent)

Slope conditions

Weekend forecast

Disturbances swinging through the region mean frequent snow showers Saturday and Monday, some heavy, in the high country west of the Allegheny Front. More scattered, intermittent snow showers and flurries are possible Sunday. Several inches of snow are likely to fall through Monday, perhaps between six and 12 inches in a few areas.

To the east, into the front-range ski areas, some widely scattered snow showers are possible Saturday, with just a coating or so accumulating, if that. A few more flurries or snow showers can’t be ruled out Monday.

High-country resorts

Saturday: Frequent snow showers with morning lows of 20 to 25 and highs near 30.

Sunday: Scattered snow showers and flurries with morning lows near 20 and highs near 30.

Monday: Frequent snow showers and flurries with morning lows near 20 and highs of 25 to 30.

Front-range resorts

Saturday: Scattered snow showers or flurries with morning lows of 25 to 30 and highs of 35 to 40.

Sunday: Partly cloudy, with morning lows in the 20s and highs of 35 to 40.

Monday: Partly cloudy with a few flurries possible. Morning lows of 20 to 25 and highs of 33 to 38.