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Porte Crayon Ski Resort Considered
By John Sherwood, DCSki Columnist
September 30, 2003

Winterplace owner Bill Bright hopes to begin developing a new ski resort and second home community called “Almost Heaven” soon. If built, the new resort will be in the Laneville-Dry Fork area of Randolph County, West Virginia. Mr. Bright has pursued the project for several years and has considered multiple sites in the northern Monongahela National Forest area of West Virginia. The slopes below Mt. Porte Crayon, the highest point on the Roaring Plains, appear to be the most probable location.

Almost all the Roaring Plains, on top of the Allegheny Front between Dolly Sods and Haystack Knob, is National Forest land. It is wild, exceedingly scenic, and unique. The slopes below the northwest end of the Plains above Bonner Mountain Road are privately owned. Here, Bright has secured rights to at least three of five tracts on Big Run of Red Creek. One of the three includes a 0.2 mile-wide strip extending almost to the top of 4,770-foot-high Mt. Porte Crayon. It’s a 2,500-foot drop from the top of Porte Crayon to the Red Creek. If Bright utilizes the full extent of this drop, only a handful of resorts on the East Coast will exceed Almost Heaven’s vertical: Smuggler’s Notch (2,610), Sugarbush (2,650), Sugarloaf (2,820), and Whiteface Mountain (3,430). However, it is more likely that the new resort will cover approximately 2,300 feet of vertical. Still, 2,300 feet of vertical will place Almost Heaven on par with Stowe in Vermont.

If the project succeeds, area skiers will benefit from having another large, destination-style resort close to home, and local residents will find employment and opportunities for ancillary businesses. Success, however, is by no means assured. As the current financial troubles at Pennsylvania’s Laurel Mountain indicate, the ski market in this region is competitive. Almost Heaven would likely need to attract the same number of skiers that Seven Springs or Snowshoe brings in an average year to survive.

The mountain also faces potential opposition from environmental groups. Helen McGinnis is chair of a West Virginia Highlands Conservancy action committee dedicated to monitoring this new development. In a recent interview with DCSki, she expressed concerns over the following adverse impacts that Almost Heaven may bring:

  • Threats to Mt. Porte Crayon, a Forest Service Research Natural Area established to protect the habitat of the endangered Cheat Mountain Salamander and a mosaic of high altitude plant communities.
  • Encroachment on Roaring Plains, leading to degradation of wonderful wilderness recreational opportunities.
  • Threats to water quality on Big Run and Red Creek.
  • Change in the character of the area - now beautiful and sparsely populated - to a place of excessive commercialism, attractive only to customers and residents of the development.

    Despite concerns that Bright may have wanted to use public land on the Roaring Plains for access, transmission lines, or other development, it has been reported that he has given some indication that he would not be using public lands. Instead, he plans to focus on acquiring rights to approximately 2,000 acres of private land along Big Run.

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    JohnL
    15 years ago
    Can’t wait to see the responses on this story…

    For the stat junkies out there, what is the approximate snowfall at and driving time to Porte Crayon?

    I’d love to see an minimal-instrusion ski area like Mad River Glen or Alta/Snowbird @ Porte Crayon, but I’d hate to see another Snowshoe or Seven Springs. Just because the publicly-traded ski companies have adopted a business model where real estate drives the business, it doesn’t mean this is the only business model out there.
    jb714
    15 years ago
    I usually don’t post any replies here, but the thought of 2,300’ less than 4 hours from DC just makes me salivate.
    I don’t entirely agree with the author’s comparison between Porte Crayon and the financial problems at Laurel Mtn in PA.I skied Laurel a of times back in the 70’s, and I skiied it again last winter, and I didn’t think that all that much had changed…..it seemed to me that the group that had re-started Laurel really didn’t have enough financial resources to go at the job properly.Seven Springs is the 800lb gorilla in that area, and Laurel just didn’t have what it takes to compete there.
    Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Bill Bright’s plan for Porte Crayon comes to pass.
    gatkinso
    15 years ago
    While I would love to see Almost Heaven succeed, the ill fated Tory Mountain project immediately comes to mind. The WHC has a valid point - that area is pristine and should be protected.

    If more skiing in the area is needed (and I am not so sure there is demand for it) then perhaps Timberline could expand into Whitegrass - did WG used to be an alpine skiing area? To me it looks like the old trails are still visible.

    WV skiing is in a tough situation: basically it is too far away from large population centers to make it extremely popular. This is also its strength (in my opinion).

    Alta and Snowbird work because it is a 30 minute trip to Salt Lake City. You can (and I have!) catch a city bus complete with ski racks on the side right to the lodge to both resorts. And there is plenty of real estate along Little Cottonwood Canyon Road - the only difference is that they are year around homes. I have never been to MRG, so I can’t really comment on that.
    jj
    15 years ago
    from an admittedly not so environmentally sensitive city slicker: bring on porte crayon ski area! i have trouble disregarding the recreational interests of thousands of nonlocals and the economic benefit of thousands of locals just to protect a salamander. much of WVA seems to remain semi-impoverished from what i’ve seen. it seems hard to believe that the majority of the local populous would not view development of another resort as a positive.
    JohnL
    15 years ago
    I disagree that there is a lot of real estate development in Little Cottonwood Canyon; it’s certaintly not untouched wilderness but it’s an attractive drive up. The avalanche danger really limits development in the canyon.

    Agree that the proximity to SLC helps Alta/Snowbird to survive economically. However, there are 10 areas within a hour’s drive of SLC (lots of competition) and a Porte Crayon area would be a fraction of the combined size of Alta/Snowbird (should need less skiers to survive).

    As to MRG, Vermont is one of the most rural states in the country (Burlington excepted). Helps that the state government is very active in maintaining the rural character. There are a lot of small towns along Route 100 (down in the valley), but the ski area itself is in a state park with no development at the base. MRG pretty much works because it’s a coop and it’s owners are adverse to development.

    Taos would be another example of smarter development. Minimal development at the base area and along the access road, with development concentrated at a town (25-30 minutes away). Don’t know what the nearest small town to Porte Crayon is.

    Clearly the ideas I’m talking about don’t appeal to the masses, but we’ve got enough destination resorts (Wisp, Seven Springs, Snowshoe) to appeal to the masses. By not emphasizing real estate development, you may be able to construct an area where the local workers may not be priced out of living where they work. West Virginia will eventually become developed, it’s really a matter of what type of development emerges.
    gatkinso
    15 years ago
    I dunno about salamanders - but I do know that WV and KY have had dozens of mountains literally destroyed - as in they no longer exist - by mining operations (mountaintop removal).

    That area is a natural treasure - one of the reasons WV is so beautiful. While a ski resort has about 1000000 times less impact than something like blowing the top off of a mountain, it seems to me like that is an area best left alone.

    Canaan and Timberline are already under used (that is why I ski there)! Why did Tory mountain not go forward?
    John Sherwood
    15 years ago
    I received some more information and insights via e-mail that are worth sharing with DCSki community.

    Doug Keith, the owner of Keith Realty at Snowshoe, has been involved in the West Virginia ski industry for many years. He was with the original investor group that tried to develop Tory Mountain in 1983 (slopes were cut, but the resort never opened because of problems with financing). Keith made the following comments about Porte Crayon project.

    This is one of the sites we looked at pretty closely when we eventually decided on Job Knob for the Tory Mountain project. The vertical was really exciting, but the Northwest aspect meant lots of wind (icy slopes and uncomfortable skiing) and there was no really good spot for a base village like we found at Tory. We also knew we couldn’t get the lifts to the top because the top is government property I believe, and protected, so unlikely to be leased. The base would be well below 3,000’ elev. and presents a problem holding snow in this latitude. There is plenty of water for snowmaking in Red Creek though, and that’s a big plus, if you can be sure not to degrade the stream.

    Note: According to the WVHC, both Red Creek and Big Run are EPA designated Tier 2.5 trout streams that are protected to some degree by Federal Law.

    Building a ski area from scratch is a huge undertaking and requires really big capital and a lot of experience and talent. Imagine building a town from a piece of raw land. That’s exactly what you’re doing. Roads, water/sewer, buildings, power, telephone, on and on. The engineering, legal, accounting, environmental consultants, architectural costs alone would be in the millions. Add the lifts, slopes, snowmaking, and all the support equipment, and you have to have a highly successful real estate development program for it to make any economic sense. You just can’t get a return on capital on lift tickets and hamburgers alone. I wish him the best. It would be great to have a resort like that in Randolph County (I call Elkins home) The eventual completion of Corridor H would virtually assure the DC, Northern Va. markets would be strong supporters of a first class ski area. He’s just going to need a lot of time and money to get it done.
    JohnL
    15 years ago
    First of all, I wouldn’t expect someone who owns a realty business to think that a project that didn’t include heavy real estate development was feasible.

    The key thing here is the return on investment you are willing to settle for. If you are only building a ski area for monetary gain, then you will probably need substanital real estate development to make the project comparable to other possible investment choices. (One very bad implication of publicly-traded ski companies.) If you are building an area based on a vision (see the Blakes & Taos), then you will be willing to accept a lower return on investment. I agree that there is a large amount of infrastructure needed to build even a simple base area, but Taos Mtn. was much less accessible than Mt. Porte Crayon.

    I would personally oppose any project that would utilize substantial real estate development, especially in a wilderness area.

    The more people think the same way, the less they think.
    aandy
    15 years ago
    I’m tripping ! Somebody pinch me! I just wrote 2 comments in the message forum exactly about this very subject about a week ago.I urged everybody to demand a new ski area on this mtn. If the people want it the people shall have it! This mtn gets more snow on it than any other in west va. Close to 200” a year.I have prop at its base & can not remember ever looking up there & not seeing some white even late in the season like early may! This is what west va needs to fullfil its destany as a true mountain state. Thumbs up to all you dreamers out there!
    Sean
    15 years ago
    I in Cannan Valley at some restaraunt called, I think, the Golden Anchor, a month ago and asked the waitress who owned the mountain at which I was staring. She said Bonner something or other. I think I was looking at the slopes of Mt. Porte Crayon. Whatever mountain it was it was idealic. It was sparsely treed and had a constant pitch all the way down. I can’t wait to go back in January and take another look.

    I think Mitch does a lot of tele skiing up there. Maybe he’s poached it before. If not I think we need to make a trip out there and sample the goods. It would be a long hike skin up but it looks awesome from the deck of that restaurant.

    I would love a big mountain with big veritcal more then anyone but I don’t agree with the developement here. You’re talking about building a massive infrastructure on the border of a Wilderness area. I’ve been backpacking up on Roaring Plains in the summer and it’s beautiful. Granted you would be able to see the ski resort but there would surely be adverse effects to Red Creek.

    I think what they need to do is put in some high speed quads at Timberline and Cannan and maybe cut more trails. Or just run a shuttle bus up Bonner mountain in the winter. Charge $50 a head for fresh tracks. Ski at your own risk type stuff. This area is too beautiful to ruin by another base “village.”
    JohnL
    15 years ago
    What about a back-country snowcat operation? 200” may be a bit marginal for it, but mebbe not.
    JR
    15 years ago
    John S.,
    I was thinking a lot of the same things that were in your post. The base would be so low that you would have to either shuttle people up from the base lodge or just be closed early and late in the season. Anyone who’s been on Cupp in the spring knows just how much of a difference altitude makes. Ice up top, slush on bottom. And the bottom of cupp is still much higher than the Crayon lodge would be. Cupp is also a west facing slope like you said crayon would be. Anyone been on Cupp on a windy day? You can’t see, can’t move (i think the wind has pushed me backwards on Shay before), and all the powder is in the trees. It would be great in ideal conditions, but just like Cupp, it has to be ideal conditions. Still pretty cool to think about though. :)
    andy
    15 years ago
    Check out goldenanchorcabins.com there is a nice shot of the mtn you can link thier luxury cabins & there is another shot taken from one of thier cabins. This shot will also show my prop which if the ski area is built I will be probally renting to one of you all!! I bought the land because of mt porte crayon & its potential 8 yrs ago. Awesome views
    JohnL
    15 years ago
    For reference:

    For reference:

    Snowshoe
    Summit: 4848
    Base: 3250

    Timberline
    Summit: 4268
    Base: 3294
    Adam
    15 years ago
    I am new to this website, but love it now that I found it. I probably ski near 30 days a year in Canaan Valley and Mt. Porte Crayon would just add that much interest to the area. However, I am not sure also whether a base at Almost Heaven is where its at. I have never been to Taos, but the setup sounds ideal for the Valley/Mt. Porte Crayon. My suggestion is that Tucker County focuses on redeveloping Davis and Thomas into a Village themed center for all to enjoy. Granted it is a little far from Mt. Porte Crayon, but isn’t too bad from the Valley. I would suggest linking all though with bike trails and add shops, bars, etc. to Davis and Thomas. It is clear that they are well positioned with the advent of Corridor H. and already have the municipal infrastructure to support expansion/redevelopment. The Blackwater also positions the towns good for any summer events, plus I have heard talk about a golf development in the near future too. Taos aside, Davis and Thomas could be the Dillon/Frisco of the east. Besides Breckenridge the surrounding resorts in Summit Co. do not have large base areas (Copper, Keystone, A-Basin). Timberline and Canaan are positioned to be like Copper/Keystone with Mt. Porte Crayon copying A-Basin.
    JohnL
    15 years ago
    Adam,

    My points exactly. A-Basin was another area that came to mind. The Dillon/Frisco & A-Basin/Copper example is maybe the best one.
    snowsmith
    15 years ago
    Given the economics of resort development, the recent near bankruptsy of Whitetail and Laurel Mountain, the environmental issues, the water required for snow making and the poor job that the ski industry does in promoting growth in the ski industry, I’ll bet a brand new pair of skis tbat I won’t see this new resort happening in my life time. I have mixed feelings about it. It would be nice to have 2,000 feet of vertical to ski near Canaan and I have a condo at Hidden Valley so I could drive there is 1.5 hours. However, Mt. Porte Crayon is also one of the last great unspoiled areas the Mid-Atlantic and your dreaming if you think that a Mad River Glen is economically viable in todays environment. We’ll get condos, golf course, hotels, subdivisions, etc with the skiing or we’ll get nothin’.
    andy
    15 years ago
    Hey fellas why don’t we dam up the red creek flowing thru the area & turn it into another tahoe!! JUST JOKING wait a minute could we??
    concerned citizen
    15 years ago
    This would be a disaster in the making - and it is doubtful any fly-by-night realty wheeler-dealers could make it through the HCP process to deal legally with Federally endangered Cheat Mtn salamanders and northern flying squirrels. And with the underlying limestone there are several cave systems on the property which probably mean there are multitudes of water issues. Moreover, with Canaan Valley and Timberline flat on visitor-days, everyone in the conservation community and ski community should leave this side of Mt. Porte Crayon alone. There is no real demand, except to enrich a few speculators. It would be just that much more land not available for wildlife, forestry,etc. I say leave to the top to the salamander and the fine second-growth red spruce forest, the middle of the slope to grow sawtimber black cherry and northern red oak and the bottom for the locals’s sheep pasture.
    JohnF
    15 years ago
    There are already at least two real estate developments on the lower slopes of Mt. Porte Crayon, with hundreds of lots sold, and probably close to a hundred homes built already. (Canaan Crossing is I think the larger of the developments) Land there, and in the nearby Canaan Valley is already selling well. My guess is that when the big real estate investors run their numbers they’ll find that the value they add to the property just won’t justify the tens of millions they would spend on creating a new ski area. In the end they will probably just carve up the land into more 5 acre vacation home parcels and sell them without the investment risk of a ski area.
    JohnL
    15 years ago
    So much for paradise.
    andy
    15 years ago
    The best place really for the ski area is just to the east se of porte crayon a summit of 4702’ there is a true north facing slope it holds snow like no other place in west va. the spruce is thick BUT it is state forest. every hiking article i have ever read states that mt porte crayon is to thick with growth & they steer way around it.with this said quit the negativaty be happy the area will be on the harsh side of the mtn. there is plenty of room for these salamanders.Why are these creatures so important anyway i will prob never see one in my lifetime along with 99.9% of everybody else!! Do they feed the spotted owl?? every time there is any kind of dev the salamander comes up they must be everywhere!!!
    Tucker County Taxpayer
    15 years ago
    I wonder if people realize that the area will not support three ski resorts and a new development with better slopes and amenities will doom the existing ski resorts of Timberline and Canaan Valley. Why not limit development, pump some money into what is there and maximize existing potential.
    The added employment will probably turn into less jobs in the end if the other resorts are forced to close.
    Mitch
    15 years ago
    I could see a new resort increasing visits to Timberline and Canaan by encouraging more vacation home and lodging development in the area and making it a more attractive place for visitors from DC, Baltimore, Ohio, etc. Especially with the new highway which will make the trip easier for the folks from the DC/Baltimore areas. With the new highway completed, day trips to Canaan Valley will be feasible for many people for the first time. Not that I would be looking forward to any of this, but take a look at areas like North Conway and the Catskills where a number of ski resorts seem to happily co-exist.
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    Dumb idea, this resort. There are probably 5 or 10 good mountains that could be built on still in WV and this bozo has to pick one of the most environmentally sensitive ones in the whole state. If he has half a brain, he could acquire the land and then offer the feds a swap for development rights to Tory Mountain. He could reface the base lodge and up the vertical to 1300-1500 feet there, which would be enough to draw skiers away from Snowshoe, particularly with a consistent fall line. Similarly there are some nice mountains at the head of the Tygart River valley, a straight shot south of Elkins. Tory would get 120-150 inches of snow a year. Expansion in Canaan Valley is off limits because there are water restrictions… maybe a couple more runs and lifts and that’s it.

    2500 feet of vert sounds nice but look at it— at most one or two runs off the summit and the bottom 800-1000 feet would not only be slushy but virtually flat. Look at the topo maps— you’re skiing through cow pastures (like in Switzerland, but with no snow). You’d only have about 1000-1200 feet serious skiing and the rest would be runoff. Tory could have a base of 3000 feet and still log 1400 vertical. It’s not the Olympics but it makes more sense dollarwise and with respect to the local climate, plus it’s not environmentally sensitive land.
    gatkinso
    15 years ago
    Not only that, but Tory has trails already cleared AND has a good road.

    I am sure there is significant growth in the intervening years, but for the most part it is clear.

    Starting up Tory again would be a much better idea all around. Cheaper for him, better all around skiing, less environmental impact. Everyone is happy. Sure we don’t get the “2K vertical number”, but we all know that number is somewhat misleading (in this case).
    sharkcity
    15 years ago
    I think Snowshoe should jump the gun and cut a slope down the east face of Cheat to the Greenbrier river. This could provide 2800 vert. The problem is holding a snowbase below 3000ft in this region is marginal at best. Fun to dream though!!
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    They’d have to expand across the lake first. One thing I’ve always wondered about is the old Hawthorne slope system. You can see it to the south of the “Western Territory” as you drive up the mountain. Same vertical as Cupp but a whole different slope system. Does Intrawest have the money and/or the interest to reopen those trails? Anyone know?

    Along with Tory Mountain, I saw another ghost ski area in West Virginia recently and was wondering if anyone knew about it. Sits maybe 10 or 15 miles southwest of Snowshoe. I know some resort developer was trying to build a private resort in the 80s and I was thinking these might have been the first slopes they cut. Does anyone have any info about what those trails might be?

    Finally… has anyone here been following the developments at Tenney Mountain in New Hampshire? Apparently they’ve installed a snowmaking system that can make snow up to 60 degrees F. If that thing actually works it could revolutionize skiing in the south. You could build along the Allegheny Front or the VA/WV border, where verticals easily run 2000-2500 feet. And how about North Carolina— you could cut about 3000 or more feet down there! It’d be slushy a lot but the milder temperatures would be attractive to the booming population of the deep south and could potentially open a new market for skiing. I wonder if the system at Tenney actually works or is economic…
    Jarrett
    15 years ago
    Here are a few links on Tenney’s summer snowmaking:

    http://www.dcski.com/news/2003/05072003/briefs.php3

    http://www.skipressmag.com/2001/usa/index.asp?centrearticle&recno2524

    http://www.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2003/07/28/snowbusiness/
    Adam
    15 years ago
    If the resort is the one that I am thinking of too it was developed as a real estate skam for lots. The developer cut the runs and that was it. The one I am thinking of is near the head waters of the Williams River, near Marlington I think. Looks like some fun backcountry skiing.
    Darren
    15 years ago
    Could this have been your mystery resort? Its located in Pocohontas County. Interesting link about WV skiing history: http://www.wvagency.com/wvoutdoors/skiing/skihistorystory.html
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    Yeah Adam this was up near the headwaters of the Williams. Saw it from Route 150— the Highland Scenic Highway or something like that. And I think Darren has the name— I knew it was Laurel something. Remember an advertisement in a ski magazine back in the 80s for the club, picture of this huge ski resort with 1400 vert and 50 trails. Good old marketing hype… maybe the owner started a dot com business in the 1990s? :)
    andy
    15 years ago
    Whitetail is a south facing ski area with a BASE of about 800’.whats the worry about a 2500’ base with modern tech?? has anybody heard of inversion? that base area will be cold enough to make snow many times in the season when it can not be made up on top.timberline & canaan have had all the chance in the world to modernize & improve You snooze you lose!!! I will allways ski both resorts even if almost heaven is built. even take the ride to snowshoe once in a while variety is the spice of life. Peace in the middle east! the mid atlantic area I’m talkin about!
    Joe
    15 years ago
    Sliding down a mountain on skis may be fun but if the cost of doing so on the slopes of Mt. Porte Crayon is that a a relatively huge development will be built then I’m against it. I thought skiers loved the outdoors. Can skiers live with themselves if the cost of sliding down the mountain is a huge impact as Bill Bright and company are planning?

    This mountain is very special and lets not forget that many people are enjoying Roaring Plains already as a remote backpacking, hiking, hunting, fishing, running, cross country skiing destination and more. I think the impact cost of this resort is too high and certainly don’t want to see it! The Roaring Plains area is Wild and Wonderful just as it is!
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    Right Andy and no one is taking three or five day ski vacations to Whitetail, nor are they expanding beyond a hundred acres. Last I heard they had gone bankrupt twice with their 800 foot elevation and southern exposure. And as I said before water restrictions (as well as a remarkably petty state legislature vis-a-vis the State Park) in the Valley have limited expansion and real estate opportunities there.

    Joe you are right the price isn’t worth it. Tory could be built and the Roaring Plains preserved. Since this is all about fantasy imagine this: two pristine trout fishing streams with Red Creek and Big Run. A swath of open space extending virtually unbroken from Route 32 at Canaan Heights south to Porte Crayon and Long Run, encompassing almost 40,000 acres of land for hunting, hiking, xc skiing, etc. Three ski resorts (Tory, Canaan, and Timberline) two of which with consistent 1000 foot vert fall lines. Three towns with concentrated economic development (Davis, Thomas and Harman) in terms of boutique shops, restaurants, and local artisan venues. Insane whitewater on the Blackwater river— calmer waters on the Potomac 30 minutes east. Westvaco logging near Harman and coal mining/light industrial north of the valley in Mt. Storm to provide sustainable local jobs. Agricultural programs that encourage the local population to buy local produce. Championship golf in Davis and down toward Harman. A tax base through real estate and tourism to improve local schools and perhaps establish a technical/community college.

    Would it be perfect? No. Would it be the best darn outdoor destination in the South? Yes. Would it provide economic viability for Tucker County? Definitely. Would Andy’s home value go up? Yes. And would Porte Crayon and the surrounding creeks be ruined? Nope. Every side would get 80% of what they want. Everyone would benefit.
    andy
    15 years ago
    Good comment roger z. Looking at the topo map of tory mtn its a little hard to figure out the layout. It looks like they could have a lodge area a 3rd of the way up from the base the way the mtn slides off to the the east.my comment on 10/3 at 19:35 is trying to say that actually the area picked for almost heaven would have the least impact as far as the mtn goes(18 square miles of highlands up there!)as far as the trout streams go I have no idea of the impact…. I got ahead of myself. What about brierpatch mtn this mtn is easy to read on the topo map solid north facing mtn with all the vert of tory. Ski right down into harman
    DCSki Reader
    15 years ago
    I live right in the middle of where this new ski area will be built. I hunt, fish, and hike on this mountain all the time. I think it would be horrible if they develope this place into a big ski area. I’m about tired of these stupid people that don’t live around here coming in and trying to develope our land. There is not enough demand for three ski areas in less than 10 miles. People just see a quick way to make money and that is all they want. They don’t even care about the hundreds of locals and the way it will effect them. If they want to be in big modern developments then stay the hell in their big cities, and leave us alone. This will never go through so you should just give up.I don’t like environmentalist but i pray to God that they find something to keep the stupid people out!
    CharlesM
    15 years ago
    The “Almost Heaven” merchandise has been for sale for some time at Winterplace (Brights other resort).

    It is my opinion that this operation is going to go ahead and I am all for it. It is being made to attract the same crowd as Snowshoe and put some pressure on that resorts (lets be honest, canaan/ timberline have lower ‘s because of Shoe). Bright will develop this, the state of WV will permit it (struggling economy lesson 1) — and it is going to really improve the state of skiing in WV.

    Tory mountain had TONS of problems — the largest reason for failure was a lack of funding due to awful planning and development. The developers did not secure funding… alas they ran into trouble.

    Tory also has issues with being easily accessibly — people are not going to drive to a remote resort unless it offers an experience unlike any other IN THE REGION (ala SNOWSHOE). Bright must develop in an area that is going to be attractive to drive through… after talking to people that have actually SKIED on TORY, they say it is not worth the time (yes, you can take a heli to the top and make runs).

    So I say a definite GO on this project, best of luck to Bright.
    gatkinso
    15 years ago
    DCSki Reader: I am sure the natives of WVA thought the same thing about you and your decendants.

    CM : I really am clueless about the dynamics of ski resort economics, but I expect that Snowshoe doesn;t draw too much from Canaan and Timberline. A bunch of southerners go to Snowshoe I have noticed. Personally, Snowshoe isn’t that great in my opinion: from DC Killington is about 1.5 hours further and blows Snowshoe right off the map.
    jeff
    15 years ago
    Who would take a helicopter to the top of Tory mountain when you could drive? There is a road that goes right to the top. even if it isn’t plowed a 4x4 or snowmobile could make it. Sounds like BS to me.
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    Andy— You’re right Brierpatch would be a good mountain terrain-wise too. And, like you, I like the idea of skiing right to Harman. That would be a unique experience in the South, skiing into a town. Not sure you’d get all the way there but Harman would be what, at most a mile from the base area. That’s about 1400 feet of vertical right there with consistent fall line— would outshine Snowshoe any day!

    And let’s face it— Snowshoe doesn’t win any accolades for its skiing. People go there for the resort atmosphere, it’s skiing is second rate. As far as economics of skiing go— every ski resort in WV has been bankrupt at least once, Snowshoe all the way to Chapter 7. Why would Porte Crayon avoid that when every other resort, even Bright’s Winterplace, has failed? Bright bought Winterplace on the aftermarket. Tory has gone through the magical first bankruptcy and could be relatively inexpensive to develop, which is why it’s a good alternative to Porte. The permitting process should be less expensive, as would be the initial build out on the infrastructure. And it would encounter a heckuva lot less opposition.

    I was wondering if it’s possible to do a backcountry downhill rally this winter (assuming it snows). Rent some heel adapters, slog up Weiss Knob and either drop Laneville Pipe or possibly drive to Laneville, free heel up to Thunderstruck Rock or something and ski down the northwest face. That’d be a helluva ride and it would prove that real skiers don’t need a developer to turn that mountain into a ski hill. You’d have to get permission from the private land owners on the mountain, of course…
    JohnL
    15 years ago
    Tory also has issues with being easily accessibly sic

    ?????????????????? For 99.999999999 percent of the world, that’s a plus, not a negative.

    As Jeff pointed out, the helicopter story seems dubious, at best…
    sallydude
    15 years ago
    So why are the developers so concerned with the Cheat Mountain Spotted Salamander? Because its endangered. It only lives in the high-elevation red spruce areas, most of which are in that area of WV. They don’t have lungs, have to stay moist to absorb oxygen from the air. So, basically, if you start cutting roads and trails and developing, their communities will split and their numbers will further dwindle until they’re EXTINCT.
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    Less than 200 acres of virgin forest remain in West Virginia. At the turn of the century Red Creek looked like the aqueduct (sp?) that runs through the center of Los Angeles. Yet somehow, although the spotted salamander managed to survive the logging binge of the millenium, it’s going to go extinct if a chairlift gets built on Porte Crayon? My, that little critter has gotten awfully wimpy in the last 75 years.

    Incidentally, I hear the salamander is doing quite well over at Timberline. It’s really digging the snowmaking systems there— helps keep the ground moist. If our only concern is saving the spotted salamander, perhaps we should install a massive snowmaking system on the Roaring Plains. That would help keep the ground moist during dry summers, and create an ideal habitat for about 10 million salamanders. Then we could take them off the endangered species list and start serving them at local restaurants as a Highland delicacy!

    I just read an article on the return of the Marsh Arabs in Iraq. The land was dessicated there for almost a decade. The marshes, only having been restored three or four months ago, have already seen a return of a number of migratory birds and mullet fish. It was the fishing villages and people who lived there who were almost wiped out in the desertification of their land. If there is a moral to the story, it is that nature is more than capable of handling our most rapacious tendencies; we preserve nature for our benefit, not hers.
    T-dog
    15 years ago
    Just build the ski-resort. I love to snowboard so let’s just do it.
    andy
    15 years ago
    You are the man roger z!! & I cant wait to see you on the slopes T-dog Just dont shave off all my snow & cut me off you 1 planker!
    davis dweller
    15 years ago
    I admire your enthusiasm as well as your plans for our mountains. The windfarm to the north supplies your power so why dont we entertain you as well. Get enough neo-hippie suburbanites as it is—-willing to tolerate you on the weekends in the present numbers but please no more.
    canaanman
    15 years ago
    1 plank 2 plank

    red plank, blue plank…

    baah… who cares about the number of planks on your feet? It’s all about the fun and enjoyment of the experience of winter!
    gatkinso
    15 years ago
    davis dweller,

    Maybe if you cruise over to Black Mountain Kentucky you will see what kind of plans some city slickers have for “your” mountains (if you actually own more than a dozen or so acres of land on that mountain I will smootch someones butt).

    When you see the devastation that has been wrought on the mountains in that area you will welcome a few Volvo drivin’, coffee sipping democrats who simply want to play in the snow.

    I grew up in Cumberland and I laugh at the spectacle of city meeting country. Both sides seem to have their own selfish use for the other and no more.

    Well, I say leave the mountain the way it is. There is already a ski resort cut and unused. IF one day the demand for more skiing in the area becomes great enough (it certainly isn’t now) then perhaps someone will ressurect it. Then the folks can drive their Volvos up and ski to their hearts content, and the locals don’t have to feel intruded upon because someone is enjoying themselves on land that isn’t theirs (but happens to be close to where they live).
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    Say, does anyone know if Bill Bright is a native West Virginian? How about Helen McGinnis?
    John Sherwood
    15 years ago
    FYI: Bill Clapper wrote an article on the new resort in this Sunday’s Washington Times:

    http://www.dcski.com/news/2003/10132003/award.php3
    John Sherwood
    15 years ago
    Washington Times Article on MPC:

    http://www.washtimes.com/sports/20031012-123716-8330r.htm
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    Thanks for the link John. Considering three sites? Hmmmm… wonder what the other two are. Tory would be at the top of anyone’s guess list. But the third? Brierpatch? Something closer to Elkins? I’m stumped…
    John Sherwood
    15 years ago
    The three sites:

    MPC, Tory, and ?
    John Sherwood
    15 years ago
    MPC, Tory, and ?
    Teter
    15 years ago
    I stumbled across this site and was suprised to see the article on Porte Crayon. My family is one of three landowners who have not signed an option for purchase with Mr. Bright. We have owned the top third of this mountain, including Porte Crayon since the early 1950’s. Our decision whether or not to sell will determine the fate of the proposed ski area. The comments I have read on this site will be extremely helpful in this decision making process. I will share your comments with the other two landowners. Any further comments are encouraged and appreciated. Thanks!
    andy
    15 years ago
    Mr teter Please sell the prop & make WV a true ski state.West va is selling itself short in the ski dept.Please do not listen to the negativities out there.I grew up in the dc area & along with everybody else in the metro area we consider the wv mtns our home base for mtn operations. The us fish & wildlife has bought all the rest of canaan vly your mtn sits between 2 wilderness areas & the rest of the monongahela nat forest.Driving up to the highlands we cross ridge after ridge of undeveloped land.The ski area would only take a very small % of even the flatrock & roaring plains area let alone the rest of wv. To not build this ski resort would be a shame.Ski areas have proven over time not to hurt the envirement so take the money & be proud of the fact that you will be employing some fellow wv ers & making a ton of peoples lives more the better.Oh for that hunter that likes to hunt on that mtn I’ll let you know of a few spots to hunt right in beltsville md. right on the dc beltway the deer are much bigger & tastier than the mtn ones Thanks for your support!!!
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    Mr. Teter, if this is Mr. Teter (forgive the skepticism but this is the web),

    I will not make an argument for or against this resort for you, other than to state that I am against it. However it is not my land. If Mr. Bright is serious about building Porte Crayon, you stand to make a lot of money on the sale of your land and that must create a great amount of temptation on your part, which no one ought to hold against you. But I do not envy the pressure that will be brought to bear against you in the coming months.

    That said, there are a lot of questions regarding the possibility of whether this resort can be built or not. My sense is even with the land acquired, the odds are against Mr. Bright succeeding in building this resort, which would leave 2500 acres of land with a bank lein against it, rendered much less usable for recreation, labor, or residence.

    Consider instead that as a land owner, you have an option. Right now, it is reasonable for you to hold the land until more certainty surrounds the resort process. First, Mr. Bright needs to commit to which mountain he wishes to develop. Second, should he commit to Porte Crayon, I would structure a deal with him. Mr. Bright’s biggest concern will be the cost of acquiring your land, your concern in addition to your own financial state would be ensuring that the land does not fall into disrepair. A contract should be negotiated where you agree to sell your land at a set price provided certain criteria are met for the resorts’ development. I’m not an expert in resort development so I don’t want to guess at what those criteria might be, but consult those who are. Ensure that the resort has a reasonable chance of being successfully built and opened before you transfer ownership. If and/or when the threshold of reasonability is met by My. Bright, then sell him your land at the previously set price.

    Maybe someday, having done the right thing, a tract of wilderness on the Roaring Plains— or a great ski trail rolling down from Thunderstruck Rock— can be named for you: Teter’s Option. Just don’t short sell yourself and your land on a speculator’s greed.
    Greg T
    15 years ago
    How about some help i found Porte crayon mt
    but where on a topo map is troy. thanks
    andy
    15 years ago
    Tory mtn is really job knob.You have brierpatch rising up from the town of harman on the southside with job knob the next mtn to the sse of that.Roger z did you stay at a holiday inn express last nite?Keep hearing replies & comments from people with suggestions of new ski areas all over the place.rocky mtn gap md one of the latest i heard. You cant get up into the spruce trees at the top of that mtn!!!There would be somthing about that feeling of entering into a true alpine envirement towards the top mt porte crayon that you can never exp in pa,va,or anywhere south of vermont.we dont need another run of the mill ski area we need a place so special it will be called “ALMOST HEAVEN”
    John Sherwood
    15 years ago
    Here’s another article on the project:

    http://wvhc.drw.net/VoiceOct03.pdf
    DWW
    15 years ago
    Do not sell. I visit the area from Cincinnati and find plenty of skiing. I also come in the summer (you know, the other 9 months of the year) for hiking (lodging, dining, shopping) because of the expansive wilderness. The new resort is a pipe dream. It would fail. Anyone who participates in this ill-fated venture will look back and say - that was a stupid idea. The skiers will be disappointed in the quality, the hikers and hunters will lose something special - and the locals will likely get taken for a ride.
    28yr WV ski resort worker
    15 years ago
    I have spent years looking at north aspects of our local mts. Porte Crayon, Brierpatch, and Tory are nice. Also consider Pond Lick and Hawflat, knobs of Cheat Mt, privately owned, in sight of Elkins. Haines Knob near Job and Elk Mt near Mingo, mt-tops already removed. Yes, Tory Mt (Job Knob) has been heli-skied, the winter after the slopes were cleared. These slopes are now a thicket of brush.
    Helen McGinnis
    15 years ago
    Tory Mountain is shown as Brierpatch Mountain on the topographic and Forest Service maps. Its west of the Roaring Plains on the other side of US Hwy 33, above Harman.

    I am almost certain Bill Bright is a native of West Virginia. I come from California. I discovered West Virginia and the Monongahela National Forest in 1968 when I was working in Washington DC. It was love at first sight. I spent all my spare time in the Forest until mid 1970s. I wrote the proposal for the Dolly Sods Wilderness. Then I moved out of the area. Approaching retirement age, I inherited some money. I immediately knew I wanted to live in West Virginia.

    I come from a state that is continually growing—more freeways, more towns, and always more immigrants—so I have my own perspective. Some natives may not realize what a precious thing they have in the WV Highlands. I favor the preservation and growth of towns such as Harman, but it will take careful planning to create jobs and maintain the beauty and undeveloped character that makes this area so special. The Roaring Plains is a unique wild area that should be left alone.
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    Was I at a Holiday Inn Express? No, I was home and bored. You can get the “alpine experience” at Snowshoe but a better way to feel it is to hike into it and camp there. There’s nothing better than tenting under the canopy of some mature spruce or hemlock: nice soft forest floor, sweet smell off the trees and reflectively quiet. Cheaper than a Holiday Inn Express, too.
    gatkinso
    15 years ago
    Feeling cynical today, but somehow I am getting the feeling that this is all BS meant to pump up the real estate market in the area in anticipation of the completion of Corridor H.

    Once that road is done the character of the area changes forever, regardless of what anyone thinks about it. Land prices will really skyrocket then - all the better if they are artifically inflated by rumors of a huge new resort opening. When AH is “cancelled” then they will say “Oh well, not to worry as there are two under used ski resorts already!”

    I hope I am just being paranoid - but I could see it happenning that way.
    Helen McGinnis
    15 years ago
    I just finished talking with Jack Teter on the phone. He is the owner of that key tract of land just below Porte Crayon. He says he did not write that post entitled Selling Porte Crayon, and does not know who wrote it. He did verify that he has not signed an option for purchase with Bill Bright.
    andy
    15 years ago
    Now can we verify that post was from Helen McGinnis? Snowshoe is to far roger z & How many people have hiked to mt porte.I hear you cant even get there, Its to thick. Just sitting there lonely waiting for the 1st sounds of the happy skiers!! Look what is the big deal Just dev the best mtn WV has to offer & be done with it!@ Has anybody checked out the topo’s of the area just to the east ne of the porte? 3 chairlifts one to a top of 4348’ one to a top of 4600’ & one to a top of 4702’ this to me looks like THE spot.Keep your beloved mt porte! PS I saw 2 dead coyotes ON the side of the road 2 miles from the city line They were gone for years & nobody has reintroduced them back into the area.Just a thought
    Scott (DCSki Editor)
    15 years ago
    Hi folks! Because there is some question about whether the comment made by “Teter” was actually made by a Teter family representative, I have temporarily removed that comment while we investigate further. If the comment was a legitimate comment, the author should contact me via e-mail (scott at dcski.com). If the authenticity of the comment is verified, I’d be happy to re-post it. This is a story that is generating much interest and constructive debate. Please note, also, that I have verified that the above comment by Helen McGinnis is authentic.
    Estin Teter
    15 years ago
    Helen - FYI, I wrote the “Selling Porte Crayon” comment. I am Jack Teter’s youngest son.
    Scott (DCSki Editor)
    15 years ago
    Hi folks. I have re-posted Estin Teter’s original comment. Sorry for any confusion — we wanted to double-check since there was some concern.
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    Well, this wouldn’t be a West Virginia story without a “family feud.” Har har. :)
    CharlesM
    15 years ago
    Yes, Tory Mt (Job Knob) has been heli-skied

    Thank you very much WVSkiEmployee — shows you how much the “know it alls” on this board actually know.

    I know people that have skied Tory — it is nothing to write home about. Sorry people.
    gatkinso
    15 years ago
    I simply don’t know why someone would pay for a helicopter to ski the place when for the same price you can buy a snowmobile and simply drive it to the summit - but oh well.
    Darren
    15 years ago
    It is my understanding, from talking to someone who skiied there, that they used a modified snowcat and not a helicopter. That would make more sense to me.
    big alpine ski bum
    15 years ago
    Anyone who thinks a new resort at Mt Porte Crayon is a good idea fits that description. The mountain has been skiable for millenia. Get on it if you’re so hot for it. Oh, you don’t want to sweat? You want a heated bus or a snowcat playing cool tunes?

    What makes anyone think that T-Line and Canaan have too many paying customers to satisfy? What makes anyone want another Snowshoe or 7-Springs right behind two perfectly fine ski areas?

    If you want your fresh tracks, they’re already there, you’re just not looking in the right place.

    No chance on this place happening! Even the “impoverished” locals are smart enough to fight this.
    andy
    15 years ago
    Timberline has misused thier funds what have they done for us with all our years of loyalty? sell there cherry trees? rewire the triple. Get rid of a 1950 reject lift after how many years in operation?? Yes there are huge lines at timberline the ski bum must be hiking up to ski for free.& canaan a beautifull mtn that you still have to hike up to get to the chairlift!!! they should have leveled the old lodge dropped the chairlifts down a few hundred feet & put a couple of 1000’ vert runs in.Money talks & bs walks IDIOT
    Local Land Owner
    15 years ago
    I am one of the locals, and I live very close to the 2,000 privately owned acres. I actually own several acres adjoining this property.

    First of all we’re not all “impoverished”. There is poverty in many parts of the United States. There’s probably some poverty in your back door also.

    The locals here have mixed feelings on the matter. Many of the locals do not want to see this take place, just because of the attitude displayed in your comment.

    The local people here are for the most part good, decent, hard working people, that you can depend on. When you need help, you know you’ve always got a neighbor you can count on.

    We do not need more tourists coming to our beautiful State, and looking down their noses.

    Many of the tourists are wonderful people, and it’s a pleasure to get to know them. However, there are some tourists we would prefer had never come to West Virginia!!!!!

    If building this ski area brings more people to this area with your attitude, we definetly do not want it.

    The families that own the 2,000 acres have worked a great many years to maintain the farms, and went through many hardships.

    Please show them as well as the locals a little bit of respect!!!!!!!!!
    John Sherwood
    15 years ago
    West Virginia Public Radio did a story on Almost Heaven. It mentions DCSki specifically. It also mentions the responses this article has receved. For more:

    http://www.wvptv.org/dateline/

    Scroll towards the bottom of the page for the audio clip.
    ET
    15 years ago
    Sorry Z, but there’s no fued. This farm family doesn’t have the time or energy for one.
    Scott
    15 years ago
    The Daily Mail published a story on Monday (10/20) on the speculation over a ski resort:

    http://www.dailymail.com/news/Money/2003102020/

    Bill Bright is quoted in the article, stating that he is still considering the development of a ski resort at one of three potential sites, but that the plans are still in the very early stages and nothing has been decided.
    John Sherwood
    15 years ago
    ET:

    Do you mind e-mailing me offline at johnfmh@yahoo.com? I would like to interview you for another article I am working on about MPC.

    John Sherwood
    tucker county taxpayer
    15 years ago
    I believe that the proposed ski resort is inevitable because of the tourism pressure that will come to bear upon the reqion because of increased accessability provided by Corridor H.
    gatkinso
    15 years ago
    The completion of I-68 eventually had an effect on Deep Creek/Wisp… but it took about 15 years to happen.

    Everyone I talk to when I currently live (Baltimore) NONE have even heard of Corridor H. Some have heard of Canaan - but few know where it is.

    I am not saying H will have no effects - but visions of a torrent of folks pouring into the area are probably unfounded.

    Development up your way is easy enough to control: simply regulate the number of well/septic permits. No new sewer lines.
    Roger Z
    15 years ago
    Couple of thoughts, gatkinso. First, development is always easier to control in theory than fact. Benefits to local governments— particularly where little infrastructure buildout is required— usually far outweigh the costs in terms of tax revenue. Second, there was an article in the real estate section of the Washington Post not long ago talking about the explosion of growth around Lost River and Wardensville in eastern West Virginia. The article went on to talk at length about Corridor H and its likely impact on the real estate market in that area as well as Canaan Valley, Petersburg, and Moorefield, since it would reduce driving time by almost an hour to the area.

    The developments that were mentioned around Wardensville were not the relatively quaint communities of 50 or 100 houses you find south of Canaan Valley right now. They were talking several THOUSAND homes on areas of several thousand acres, sales made by Westvaco (who owns a lot of property around MPC) to real estate developers for a song.

    Third, there isn’t a lot of planning in rural counties because many of them need and welcome development. They don’t have the problems Loudon County has. It’s a lot easier to get things approved when you don’t have formal zoning or planning processes in place. I’m not sure what Tucker or Randolph County have vis-a-vis zoning— most likely little to none.

    So it may take ten or fifteen years for buildout to occur in the highlands, but it will occur and if eastern West Virginia is a leading indicator, it could be explosive growth. If Tucker County has 10-15 years before this hits, they should start planning for it now; if they want to.
    worker 28
    15 years ago
    Don’t you dare mention the Z-word up here in the mts.
    rob
    15 years ago
    i have skied porte crayon. it is one of the best wilderness/backcountry skis this side of upstate new york. and the terrain, if used to its fullest potential, would make for a resort that is far and away the best in wva. however, turning it into another snowshoe would be a shame. i wish they’d leave it alone.
    andy
    15 years ago
    Whats wrong with snowshoe??
    snowsmith
    15 years ago
    Worker28 - I suggest you take a trip to Ocean City, MD if you think that zoning is a bad idea. OC is an environmental disaster because no one had the back bone or will to impose any reasonable zoning restrictions. Once we create a development mess it is near impossible to go back and fix it.
    Andy - What is wrong with Snowshoe? I guess if you like seeing the massive development that accompanies ski resort development, there is nothing wrong with Snowshoe. I am sure that you were also happy to see that cornfield in your neighborhood paved to build the Walmart. I love skiing, but it bothers me sometimes that we end up destroying the wild areas that we love so that we can enjoy our sport. Responsible, planned and well thought out development is the only reasonable answer and yes that usually includes some rational zoning laws. Quality doesn’t come cheap or easy.
    andy
    15 years ago
    Your wrong i did hate to see that cornfield go.But i sure do enjoy that wallmart now.Walking thru that wallmart parking is legal& public. The farmer would have shot me!Look i understand everybodys point about development I just want to see the best ski area to be developed. Send all the subpar areas back to m-nature Remember “ALMOST HEAVEN” is not a franchise this will be the last cornfield & we shall all rest in peace
    JR
    15 years ago
    Ok, maybe you don’t like Snowshoe but it is being developed about as well as a resort of that magnitude can be as far as keeping the wilderness somewhat intact. Ever been to 7 springs? They basically took all the trees off of a hill in Pennsylvania and developed it into a resort. Remember, Snowshoe could be way worse.
    Scott
    15 years ago
    I have to agree with JR about Snowshoe — the region is incredibly scenic and doesn’t seem overdeveloped to me at all. If you look at some of the photos I took on a trip there this past winter, you can see the unspoiled wilderness views that surround the resort:

    http://www.dcski.com/news/2003/02282003/snowshoe.php3

    (Check Part 1 and Part 2.)

    True, Snowshoe has invested heavily in developing the mountaintop village, but almost all of the views you see in each direction are trees and wilderness. In terms of the village, they’ve simply torn down old buildings and built new ones in the same place.

    Snowshoe is a hike to get to, but there’s something nice about having to drive at least half an hour away to find a McDonalds.
    Scott
    15 years ago
    (Some underscores in the URL above got eaten. It should be 02 underscore 28 underscore 2003 above where it says “02282003”.)
    John
    15 years ago
    One other factoid to remember:

    Snowshoe has 11,000 acres of private land to sensibly develop or set aside as a conservation easement. Mount Porte Crayon, in the best case scenario, would only have 2,000 acres of private land to develop.
    worker 28
    15 years ago
    Snowsmith, I did not say I thought zoning is a bad thing, rather I only report the political reality here. Ran Co recently tried to plan for the growth that is sure to come but almost all land use restrictions were striped from the “plan”.
    Scott
    15 years ago
    I had to edit out a reader comment that had language that was a little inflammatory (it was borderline), but I wanted to make sure the reader’s underlying point was made. He was a resident of Canaan Valley who enjoys hunting and fishing, and did not support the development of a new ski area. (I hate editing out comments and rarely do so, but I need to make sure things stay civil and family-oriented.)
    gatkinso
    15 years ago
    I agree with the edited sentiment, but having seen development overrun rural places with remarkable speed, my advice to him is bow to the inevitable… and go with the ski resort.

    I went to college in St. Mary’s County, MD - in the four years I spent there I saw the place go from one traffic light in Lexington Park to a place almost indestinguishable fom the DC suburbs. This is no exaggeration it was really quite remarkable. And somewhat tragic (albeit good in someways too.)

    I guess what I am saying is that a nature based tourism economy is better than miles of strip malls. Go with the evil that you can tolerate - or move to Montana.

    And I still maintain that when you control the poop pipes, you control the development.
    gatkinso
    15 years ago
    Oh BTW, the story left out a few resorts exceeding the propsed resorts vertical:

    3,050 feet
    Killington - Killington, Vermont

    and

    2,526 feet
    Petite-Riviere-Saint-Francois - Qubec, CAN
    John Sherwood
    15 years ago
    By accident and not design, I did leave Killington out of the list. Sorry about that. However, I deliberately ignored Canadian resorts b/c the focus of the article was on the NE United States.
    Gat
    15 years ago
    I was just being a nitpicky dweeb!
    smedly do right(andy)
    15 years ago
    killington claims 3000 vert but the most you get out of one lift is what 1700”??
    John Sherwood
    15 years ago
    There’s a new story on Almost Heaven in today’s Intermountain:
    http://theintermountain.com/
    andy
    15 years ago
    This is a request to the powers to be.If there should be a almost heaven developed Please give up the best terrain available.dont let mr. bright & the public only go up 3/4 of the way up mt crayon because the top is gov prop.Dont make him dev a tory mtn or some other mtn because that is all that is available GIVE US THE BEST please buy up the rest & let it sit there for eternity. We only need one more ski area in wv .If you dont give us the best terrain now there will be another push down the road for another & final resort.
    andy
    15 years ago
    This morning temps on the 9th of nov are 19 degrees at the base of mt porte crayon(2550’) & 21 at the summit(4770’) Snowmaking from top to bottom!! Check out www.johnathanjessup.com & link on to wilderness shots for a picture of the north facing slopes just to the ne of porte crayon. this pic was taken on may 19th check out the snow!! most people in the cities just dont realize what they have in thier own backyard. I hope you are the man Mr. bright.
    Dodo brain
    15 years ago
    jonathanjessup.com/assorted1.html
    DCSki Reader
    15 years ago
    andy
    15 years ago
    jonathanjessup.com/assorted-1.html The slash between the d & the 1 needs to be level with the bottom of the letters. On my 1st post i pressed shift and the slash button to the rt of the 0 figure on keyboard. It didn’t work.HELP!! Sorry for my incompetence people.Its a great pic TRUST ME!
    wvbushwhacker
    15 years ago
    Andy-You don’t need a developed ski resort to ski Porte Crayon & the surrounding area. Just get telemark skis & go! Don’t ruin the backcountry atmosphere with developement. Have you looked at what is happening at Timberline & at Wisp (Deep Creek Lake)? The ski slopes are being surrounded by monster “hotels”. It’s obscene. Enjoy our mountain as it is - perfect right now. Let it alone!
    andy
    15 years ago
    I totaly understand where your coming from.but it is easier said than done.Its to thick to high & its private prop! like i have said before i just wish the best mtn wv had to offer was developed 1st so we wouldn’t have any disagreement now.It would have been a done deal. That pic of flatrock plains on jonathon jessups web site might just be the best spot.If that is the case we should get the gov to trade that land for porte crayon.wherever it is do it & leave the rest for the deer antelope & the telemark skiers to roam.Dont forget that mtn range has 19 sqare miles of 4000’ & above plateau.That means a lot of sides to drop off. we have otter ck widerness,dolly sods,& the rest of the huge monongahela nat forest let alone the millions of acres of private land that can be bought for public use.If we dont do it right now instead of the best bieng dev you will see 2 or three smaller ones spring up over the years.Immigration & birth control just dont seem to be on the govs prioity list SO THEY WILL COME!
    wvbushwhacker
    15 years ago
    I just got a brainstorm idea. Why not build a totally artificial ski mountain just off the DC beltway? The sky would be the limit for elevation - if you go high enough it’ll be cold enough. Shape the slopes anyway you like, no annoying trees or wildlife to worry about. All the hotels & restaurants you want right next to the slopes. Easy access - just jump out of your hotel bed into your gear & onto the snow. The inside of this mountain could house casinos, parking garages, whatever.
    Maybe it could be built on the Mall & replace the Washington Monument - or perhaps the soon to be abandoned Reagan airport would be a good location.
    Hey Walt(Disney) - wake up - we need you down here!
    OK, so it’s been raining all day & I’m bored.
    gatkinso
    15 years ago
    Believe it or not, I think they do something similar to that in Chania outside of Shanghi.
    blured
    14 years ago
    Please, please, please develope this mountain. I am not sure if the people who are against this developement realize what they are rejecting. 2500 vertical feet is not just a lot for the mid-atlantic, mt porte crayon would have one of the longest continuous vertical drops in the entire east coast.
    The mountain would be a boon for West Virginia and the entire Canaan Valley area. Both Timberline and Canaan will recieve more skier visits as a result of skiers who will come to ski Porte Crayon, but will undoubtedly check out the other areas as well.
    I see no reason why environmentalists and developers couldn’t get together to develop this mountain in an environmentally friendly way. There have to be countless ways to do this. One idea I had would be to develope the mountain’s base area up to three miles from the mountain and connect it via gondola or tramway, thereby keeping the mountain free of condo developments e.t.c.
    I would think there would be added incentive for developers to keep the mountain and the surrounding area as natural as possible. Doing so will attract more people, will instill in those who visit a greater sense of awe for West Virginia’s natural beauty, and will keep skiers coming back.
    If Mt Porte Crayon really has 2500 vertical feet of skiing, West Virginia could get the same national attention for skiing as states like Vermont, New Hampshire (which has no mountain of such size), and Maine. If properly developed, the resort would be a huge money-maker, and some of the money made should be spent on improving and maintaining the natural beauty of not just the mt porte crayon area, but of other areas in West Virginia as well.
    james
    14 years ago
    Better take into account global warming. Most of the areas in WV have a hard enough time as it is now. Add a few degrees and any new area that is below 3000 ft will be a disaster for sure. Go to Colorado!
    blured
    14 years ago
    There is a new company out there now called snowmagic (check out the website). They can produce man made snow at temperatures up to 60 degrees. They were able to open up Tenney Mountain New Hampshire for July 4th skiing, and they opened Tenney for the winter season in October. So far I believe Tenney is the only U.S. resort using the new technology, but I am sure that it will soon be sweeping the nation. Mt Porte Crayon would be a prime candidate. Additionally, it is freezing outside here in Northern Virginia (elevation less than 500) as we speek, perfect weather for making snow, and West Virginia has already recieved a good amount of natural snow this year. Even though the season is still young, “Almost Heaven” would be covered in snow right now.
    Sort of Local
    14 years ago
    ok, first of all, I am in favor of this resort. I dont know any facts about how high Tory or Porte Mountains are.. I dont live that close (Elkins) but i do know.. when you drive over to the Harman/Canaan area, there are loads of tourists on the highways, and also.. look around the Harman area.. it could definetly use money pumped into that area. The money brought in would do so much for that area, and people whine and complain because their kids have to move away to find work because environmentalists nit pick over a salamander. Dont get me wrong, I am a semi-environmentalist myself, but I also know how desperatly this area needs development. The development would bring jobs not only to the Harman area, but it would add jobs to Elkins, Davis and Thomas areas. Another thing.. whoever thinks Timberline and Canaan are underused… your are very wrong.. I know this for a fact. I go to Canaan every weekend, and yes, its not packed shoulder to shoulder, but its not underused. In conclusion… I am in favor of this new resort that would generate jobs for the area and keep the kids here, while giving tourists the time of their lives. Development is going to happen in this area… They cant stop it forever, why not develope it in a way that brings in funds to the local towns and county.. (which is Randolph) not Tucker county for those of you who keep talking about Tucker County not needing another resort.. However.. its very close to the county border. Also.. why cant we also consider Tory, ever heard that saying… if we build it … they will come, or the age old business saying ” LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION.. well.. consider these..Or stop feeling sorry for yourself cause your kids are moving away..Ok.. I’m done… Peace out…. and PLEASE LET THIS RESORT COME IN!!!!
    WV Photog
    14 years ago
    This makes me sick. All some of you think about is your own selfish interest. What do you suppose makes the area desirable? That’s right — its remoteness.

    But you have more money than brains, so you can’t understand that once you rape the forest to put in your cheesy timeshares and yet another underutilized ski slope, (and probably a swampy golf course), what you will have left is one more cookie cutter disaster which will go broke.

    You complain about the sameness of the other local slopes in one breath, and in the next, you encourage new development of the same old thing!

    Meanwhile, if you prevail, more of what makes WV worthwhile will be forever destroyed, and for what?

    GREED.
    ol grizz
    14 years ago
    I have had the pleasure to horseback ride on the main property involved. It is very steep to the West, and South sides of the valley where I understand the ski slopes will be located. Most of the rest is pasture land, inhabited by Angus cattle. The owner is an older gentleman who I understand has some health concerns, and placed some restructions on selling. The neighbors had to go along with the idea before he would sell his land. So, if the full time residents approve, then who are “outsiders” to get involved. After all, the locals will work there, build many of the structures, and gain valuable benefits beyond anything a ski visitor will experience. I know many local people who have several jobs, no health insurance at all, and so forth who could really benefit from this opportunity. The state parks in the area are all run by concessionairs and they offer low pay and no benefits to “seasonal” employees. I’m sure the Fed’s will impose enough regs on the new owner to assure protection of the mountain. Besides, if you want a really wooly place to explore, drive up to Dolly Sods and take a hike. Pt. Crayon, and Mt. Storm mountains , as well as Roaring Plains, are no place for the inexperienced weekend hiker.
    Local
    14 years ago
    I happen to live a quarter of a mile from this place and I have hunted and fished on this mountain all my life and i know all the land owners that they keep bugging to sell their land. Some of them are getting tired of being harrassed by these people. If any of you people from washington or wherever you are from had even been up to the mountain you would know how beautiful and nice it is up there, but yet you think you know all about it. It will destroy the whole mountain and area around it. I think you all have enough ski resorts around maybe you should find a real hobby like hunting for fishing. Oh im sorry thats right we wouldn’t want. to harm the little animals because were all tree huggers.
    Big T
    14 years ago
    Please don’t give in to the almighty dollar. West Virginia’s land has been raped and pillaged way too much over the years in the name of greed. Not too many places along the east coast remain in pristine shape. It took many years of recovery, but Red Creek, Roaring and Flatrock plains are returning to forested glory. Keep something for future generations instead of seedy developments where most locals will not be able to afford a night’s lodging, let alone skis and related equipment. Instead, some enterprising landowners should capitalize on their knowledge of the terrain. Open an outfitter’s store in Harman, Laneville or somewhere close. Sell hiking permits. Guide inexperienced hikers. Make that wonderful environment available to everyone, not just the rich.
    56skibum;
    14 years ago
    Yes, yes, yes. This would be a real boon to this area, which it could certainly benefit from. Look around the Canaan area and tell me more money could not be put to good use here. Jobs would be provided as well as a resort that could boast a vertical that would bring in much needed revenue to the area. Most ski areas are beautiful additions to the community, this one would be also, especially since not a large condo development would be a part of it, I’ve heard. It would be a benefit to both existing ski areas, the community, and skiiers/riders from the entire east coast. Wouldn’t this unspoiled beauty be even more beautiful if not spoiled by trailers and hovels because thats all some locals can afford due to lack of employment, which the resort would provide.
    chris
    13 years ago
    Just wondering if there is any new news on Almost Heaven’s prospects. Having read through all the comments on this site I am really on the fence about the whole issue. On the one hand I would LOVE to have a ski area with the size and vertical MPC would offer. On the other hand I understand the benefits of preserving the wilderness. I do have a little trouble understanding how it would have such huge environmental impact on the roaring plains area since it is on the edge of the wilderness. Overall I see alpine skiing as a means for people to enjoy the wilderness. Maybe it could be built with a sensitivity towards minimizing environmental impact?
    chris
    13 years ago
    Is there anybody out there??
    Mike Smith
    13 years ago
    I just got back from Canaan Valley and I heard a number of stories cocerning the probability of a new ski mountain. One guy said it won’t happen because one land owner will not sell,There was a contract and it fell through. The other story is it will happen it is just a matter of working the details.
    skiallwinter
    12 years ago
    just read the comments on Mt. Porte Crayon????? i beleave more money could be put into canaan valley resort to make a larger ski area. atleast there are no homes and cabins setting along side of their slopes. I ski Timberline, Canaan, Snowshoe, and Wisp, and enjoy all four places but Canaan still feels like skiing down through the mountains of trees and you don’t have to look at someones vacation home or “money-maker”. If ‘almost heaven’ does go in please make sure it keeps the natural look that a ski area deserves. It doesn’t hurt people to drive a few miles to ski!
    RGJones
    10 years ago
    Just stumbled across this site trying to find information on this club. I saw the posts from around 2003 but was hoping someone had some more information on the resort. My family owns a house right across from the resort on Woodrow Mtn. and I have always been intrested in the ski slopes I can see from the road but never knew much about them. If anyone can help it would be greatly appreciated. The next time I go up in the spring or summer I might just go hop the front fence and see whats left and if I do I’ll share pictures if anyone is intrested. Again thanks for the help.
    K.
    10 years ago
    It’s Laurel Creek. Planned, but never completed in the 1980’s. Initial trails can be seen in Google images located NW of Marlinton, WV. (Woodrow).
    James I.
    9 years ago
    Hoping this could prompt anyone knowledgeable on this topic to share the news.
    WVLOCAL
    9 years ago
    People from DC will surely destroy the great state of WV. Stay out of Sods, stay out of Timberline, stay out of Canaan. Basically, stay out of the state, we do not want you here!
    Ski, hike, bike and boat in DC and stop ruining everything locals love about the area. Everytime we go out, we are instantly overtaken by rude and inconsiderate assholes from DC, VA and MD.
    andy
    9 years ago
    I feel your pain…So many damb West Va tourists down here at the beach spending all the money that they have made off of those spend happy DC,VA,MD folks!
    David
    9 years ago
    Andy - Isn’t that what the indians said when your great grandpa came across the border?
    David
    9 years ago
    Sorry Andy - Actually WVLOCAL.
    native
    9 years ago
    Actually, David, no indian tribes permanently lived in this area - they were the Seneca tribe and lived (you guessed it) in Seneca, WV where the winters are much warmer. This mountain is twenty miles away and was used as needed as their summer hunting grounds. It is very interesting reading the comments on this subject and I debated whether to comment or not just to continue the drama, but I decided to inform you of the lastest non developments for the mountain. Almost Heaven actually purchased two tracts at the base of the mountain. Three other tracts that were needed were not purchased. Two of the landowners would not sell. Almost Heaven will sell their two tracts when favorable prices for land in the area return. I have been all over WV and believe me, these are by far the most beautiful and pristine mountains to be found. Hopefully that will be preserved.
    John Wuerthner
    9 years ago
    What has happened to Bill Brights plan for a ski resort near Harman, WV?
    Shout it from a mountaintop.
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