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Storm left a good base for a strong ski season

Dec. 01, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Superstorm Sandy caused a lot of hardship in many states, including West Virginia.

It dumped a few feet of snow on parts of the state, knocked out power to tens of thousands and was blamed for the deaths of seven Mountain State residents.

But now that more than a month has passed since the ferocious storm struck, there is a snowy lining, if you will. The ski industry is primed for a good start.

Boosted by some 50 inches of snow, West Virginia's five downhill ski resorts have opened or are on course to open as scheduled later this month. With a substantial amount of snow on the ground, they are looking to have a much stronger winter than last year, when relatively paltry amounts of snow and a warm winter posed serious challenges.

That's good news for ski enthusiasts as well as the state's economy.

The Mountain State's big ski resorts attract more than 800,000 ski visits a year, employ more than 5,000 people and pump about $250 million annually into the state's economy, according to the West Virginia Ski Area Association. The impact is not only felt by the resorts, but also by nearby restaurant operators, hotel owners and small businesses.

While Sandy didn't bring much good news to West Virginia, it at least set the stage for a stronger ski season, which will benefit the state.

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