On average, Massanutten Ski Resort attracts 200,000 tourists each year. It needs millions of gallons of water to keep their facilities open to the public. Ski Area Manager Steve Showalter says, "We pump about 125 million gallons of water for an average year of snowmaking."
The resort pumps it's water from a reservoir further down the mountain, where rain runoff is collected throughout the year. It's later used to make the powdery snow skiers and snowboarders yearn for.
Showalter says, "The recent rains these last 40 days have really helped fill up the snow making ponds and we have some water running down the creeks."
Massanutten will begin making snow in a just a couple of weeks. The first or second full week of December is when the resort is scheduled to open to the public. Showalter says the crowds usually pick up after Christmas. He says, "That early season helps us get our staff together and get them trained to get into the routine of having some bigger crowds come in later."
But the staff seems to be ready for the snow and crowds now. Employee Spencer May says, "Hope we have a good one for them! Think we'll have a deep one (snow). Get all the slopes open maybe."
Last year's warm weather caused the resort to shut down a week and a half early. This year's forecast calls for an average winter and nothing makes the staff smile more than the though of cold temperatures.
Showalter says, "Temperatures so far this fall are very encouraging, but they can also change very quickly so you never know when you're gonna get started or when you're going to close so we'll just hope for the best and we'll be ready to make as much snow as possible with a full length and we're all happy about that!"