CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s ski and snowboard season began Friday, Nov. 22, when Snowshoe Mountain Resort, in Pocahontas County, powered up three of its 14 lifts and opened 11 trails and a terrain park in its Snowshoe Basin area.

“The cold snap is giving our resorts a great opportunity to make snow, and they have been taking advantage of it,” said Joe Stevens, spokesman for the West Virginia Ski Areas Association.

Canaan Valley Resort, in Tucker County, with 41 trails served by three chairlifts and one surface lift, plans a Dec. 14 opening for skiing and snowboarding, but will offer outdoor ice skating from Thanksgiving Day through Dec. 1 and snow tubing from Nov. 29 through Dec. 1. Canaan Valley has added nine fan guns, four tower guns, five portable guns and multiple water pumps to its snowmaking arsenal this season, and added a new ticket window at the end of the ski area parking lot farthest from the lodge to accommodate skiers and snowboarders not needing rental gear.

The ski lodge parking lot has been paved and expanded to add 75 to 100 parking spaces, and the main lodge at Canaan Valley Resort has added a ticketing kiosk, allowing guests to buy tickets before boarding the shuttle for the mountain.

Winterplace, in Raleigh County, tentatively plans a mid-December opening, but could open earlier if snowmaking temperatures continue.

“Winterplace and Canaan Valley could open now, but they’re letting their snow whales (huge piles of machine-produced snow) build up to make trail conditions better for when they do open,” said Stevens.

For the first time since it opened in January 1987, Timberline Four Seasons Resort, in Canaan Valley, will not be among the state’s ski areas operating this season.

Timberline ended the 2018-19 season early last season after experiencing difficulties with snowmaking, lifts and financing, and filed for bankruptcy. However, Perfect North Slopes Inc., of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, plans to reopen the Tucker County resort for the 2020-21 ski season after it was the second-highest bidder at an auction last week.

High bidder First Asset Holding LLC agreed to assign its bid of $2.2 million to Perfect North Slopes in exchange for $30,000 cash.

Meanwhile this ski season, the West Virginia Ski Areas Association is offering a new program that makes it possible for fourth- and fifth-graders to learn to ski or snowboard at the state ski area of their choice for an all-inclusive fee of $25.

The new Passport Program includes rental gear, a day of instruction and a beginner’s lift ticket, plus an additional three junior lift tickets when accompanied by a paying adult.

The Passport can be obtained through the West Virginia Ski Areas Association website at www.goskiwv.com.

Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelhammer@wvgazettemail.com, 304-348-5169 or follow @rsteelhammer on Twitter.