Skiing, tubing to open during frigid temps

Christopher Dornblaser
  • Officials say with the wind, it will feel like zero degrees on Thursday.
  • The cold is expected to last until Friday, when a wintry mix is expected to hit Friday night.
  • Ski Roundtop and AvalanceXpress will open for the season this week.

Local snow-sports enthusiasts will be in for a treat this week, as Ski Roundtop and AvalancheXpress are set to open for the season.

However, anyone looking to get to the slopes early might want to bundle up. Temperatures are expected to exceed 20 degrees below average for Thursday and Friday, according to officials.

Ski Roundtop will open the slopes Thursday morning, and AvalancheXpress will open its snow tubing to the public Saturday afternoon.

Cold: Craig Evanego, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in State College, said Wednesday that arctic air will spill over the area late Wednesday night.

“You’re probably looking at high temperatures a good 20 degrees below normal (Thursday),” he said.

The last time the York County area felt this cold was in mid-February, 10 months ago, according to Evanego.

He said that with the wind on Thursday, it will feel even colder.

“(The wind chill) could be as low as 5 to 10 degrees below zero tomorrow night,” he said Wednesday.

Jonathan Sprenkle checks the output of a snow cannon on Fife & Drum at Roundtop Mountain Resort,  Monday, January 4, 2015. (John A. Pavoncello - The York Dispatch)

David Samuhel, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather in State College, shared similar thoughts. AccuWeather is projecting a high of 23 degrees for Thursday and 28 for Friday. The wind, Samuhel said, will primarily hit Thursday, making it feel much colder.

“We’re looking at it, it’s going to feel like it’s near zero all day,” Samuhel said, adding that overnight it will likely feel like 5 below.

“It's going to be brutal, that’s all you can say,” he said.

Samuhel said this weekend will bring a reprieve for the cold weather, but a wintry mix might still put a damper on things come Friday night.

“It’ll start as snow Friday night, and that’ll transition to sleet and freezing rain," he said, adding those conditions will likely stick around throughout Saturday. He said any snow the area gets Friday would be small but could still cause trouble.

“It’s going to be so cold, everything's going to stick to the roads,” Samuhel said. He said that things will warm up Saturday and Sunday before cooling down again Monday, which has an anticpated high of 32 degrees.

Stay smart in low temps, snow and ice

Snow sports: The colder weather this December is beneficial for skiers and tubers because both Ski Roundtop and AvalancheXpress are opening a little earlier this season.

Sam Krepps, marketing coordinator for Ski Roundtop in Warrington Township, said Wednesday that the resort had been making snow off and on for almost a week.

“We started making snow just under a week ago, and we’re able to put down a lot of snow on a lot of terrain very quickly,” he said.

Krepps said the colder weather this year allowed Roundtop to make snow earlier, allowing an earlier opening than last season.

“This is fairly regular, I would even say it’s actually even sooner than we can hope for sometimes,” he said.

Those first to the mountain will be able to start skiing at 9 a.m. Thursday, and season pass-holders can hit the slopes as early as 8:30 a.m.

Don Beardsley, vice president of golf and snow tubing for AvalancheXpress in Springettsbury and York townships, said typically the facility aims to open its tubing hills to the public a week or so before Christmas. He said in 12 years of operations, that has only happened three times, with this weekend being the fourth.

Last year, the snow tubing area didn't open until after New Year's Day.

“With the temperatures tomorrow and Friday, it’s going to allow us make snow 24 hours a day," he said.

Tubing will open to the public at 4 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s going to be a good weekend to get started and get us primed up for the holiday week,” Beardsley said.

For more information on Ski Roundtop, check here. Information on AvalancheXpress can be found here.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.