While the forecast of heavy snow for Maryland from early tonight through tomorrow afternoon threatens closures for school districts and public offices around the state, it could mean a resurrection for Wisp Resort in Garrett County.
Two weeks ago, Wisp called off the rest of the skiing season, citing “historic, unseasonably warm rainy weather” and correspondingly poor conditions for snowmaking on its slopes in McHenry, Md. This morning, resort management said they plan to reverse that decision in light of the pending snowfall.
“The weather was pretty uncooperative this winter,” said mountain operations director Artie Speicher in a statement posted on the resort’s website. “Mother Nature was testing our resolve, just like she is now. She’s given us another window this week, so we’re going to make the most of it.”
Which day the resort will reopen depends on the amount of natural snowfall from the storm system and how much powder Wisp’s snow machines can produce. A resort spokeswoman said in an email that it will be “probably towards the latter part of the week,” though a date hasn’t been set.
This past winter was historically dry for Wisp. The resort’s slopes were open for only 72 days leading up to the closure, the fewest of any skiing season in the last decade. Despite all of its efforts — management said they had more than 160 million gallons of water pumped up the mountain for snowmaking, the third most of any season since 2007 — the resort decided Mother Nature had made up her mind.
A resort spokeswoman told Baltimore Fishbowl two weeks ago that the announcement marked the first time Wisp had closed in February during her general manager’s 40 years working there.
Wisp, Maryland’s only dedicated ski resort, is located near Deep Creek Lake, about three hours west of Baltimore and two hours south-southeast of Pittsburgh, near Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County. In addition to dozens of skiing and snowboarding runs, the resort also operates areas for family-friendly outdoor activities like archery, ropes courses, mountain biking, geo mining and more in its Mountain Park section. Upon deciding to close early in late February, Wisp didn’t offer refunds or credits to any season-pass holders, but continued allowing them access to areas of Mountain Park.
The resort said in its announcement this morning that five inches of snow already fell at nearby Deep Creek Lake on Friday. Today, Wisp’s mountain cams show the mountain is already covered with snow. With more on the way, Maryland’s skiers should get some much-desired time on the slopes by next weekend.
This story has been updated with comment from a Wisp spokesperson.