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Snowshoe... "Hawthorne" 1983-1984 -- Expansion?
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Updated 14 years ago
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14 years ago
I’ve heard something about an old Hawthorne trail system at Snowshoe in the 83-84 season, and supposedly closed. Does anyone have any information on it, like a map possibly?

Also, I remember seeing a plan on a large sign at the Inn at Snowshoe awhile back. It detailed 6 or so phases of a Snowshoe Expansion Plan. One phase involved a Hawthorne lift… suspicious. Can anyone shed some light on this? Are they still following this plan?
14 years ago
I have a picture of what looks like an old abandoned trail at Snowshoe. It’s on the western face of the mountain about 1/2 way between the main village and the Top of the World. Maybe that’s it?
14 years ago
That might be it!

Can you scan the picture and send it to me maybe?
mackrocks@gmail.com
14 years ago
hawthorne is on the same side of the mountain as the Western Territory. The lift and a trail were put in but rarely if ever used due to a total lack of snowmaking. Eventually the chairs were removed and placed elsewhere on the mountain. Intrawest expansion models and diagrams show several trails at the smae place as the old hawthorne. If they ever go in I am sure there would be adequate snowmaking, and more than a 1000 feet of vertical, more like Cup Run. However, I think Intrawest is planning that the next major expansion will be slopes across the lake going up the other side of the basin, with a number of blue trails. But who really knows. if hawthorne were replaced I believe it would provide access to the golf course, etc., the real purpose when first put in.
One can see the old top station kattycornered from Top of The World, at least the pad is left, and the base of the towers.
The Colonel
14 years ago
Hey Colonel…did the lift end where they sometimes land helicopters? There’s a small turn-out on the opposite side of the road from the parking lot and I’m wondering if that’s where it was at.
14 years ago
I am not sure, but the site is easily found, somewhere across the road from TOW and a little bit down toward the rest of the village.
The Colonel
14 years ago
Hmm, that’s so strange. Seeing as they have made the lake approximately 10X bigger, I would think they could handle Hawthorne now.

Yes, look at this… I’ve marked where the trail appears to be in blue.
14 years ago
Just the other day I asking my dad about snowshoe and he brought up this section of the resort. He only went there once and it was here that left the biggest impression on him. I guess the snowmaking wasn’t that great and the wind hit the slope head on. In fact my dad said that even when he was in a tuck the wind would still slow him down to a craw. So I guess it was pretty hard to keep any snow on the slopes out there and that is why they closed it. If this is the case I imagine Snowshoe would be better off spending its money on other trails then trying to resurrect this system.
14 years ago
I managed to ski Hawthorne a couple of times before it was abandoned; there were very few skiers besides myself. The conditions were OK although the base was a little thin, which wasn’t really a problem since I practically had the slope to myself. At the time I thought that having an additional lift and slope on the Cup Run side of the mountain would provide an alternative to Cup Run (should the lift-lines get bad) for many years to come. Unfortunately, Hawthorne didn’t seem to hold snow as well as Cup Run, and therefore stretched Snowshoe’s snowmaking system (at the time) too thin. Today, with all the crowds at The Shoe it would be nice to see an additional lift and slope complex with 1,000 plus vertical, perhaps located somewhere other than the original Hawthorne lift/slope area.
14 years ago
If you look at the topography of Cupp and the Hawthorne system they have pretty much the same direction, West NW. Seems like they could hold snow there as easily. As far as the wind goes, if you’ve ever skiied Cupp on a windy day you know what weightlessness feels like too. I’ve hovered in the air near the top of both Cupp and Shay numerous times. Seems to me like the key to both holding snow and keeping the wind minimized is to cut narrow trails. I think these trails could be really successful and get at least 1000’, probably more like 1200’. As far as snowmaking goes I don’t think Western Territory uses Shaver Lake anyway. I believe they have their own lakes just like Silver Creek. Looks like Hawthorne has a lake there already.

I don’t understand the idea of expanding accross the lake. The area around Widowmaker could certainly use some expansion and add some black and blue trails but the other side looks flat and has a western face. Now if only Cass railroad wasn’t historic or anything and we could just drop off that side it’d be a 2000’ continuously steep double black extraveganza. Plus, we could stay in the town of Cass for under 100 dollars and hop on the lift down there
14 years ago
Looking at my photo of what I think is the Hawthorne area, the trees look a little immature. I suspect they were just saplings in the early 80’s. They probably didn’t provide much protection from the wind.
14 years ago
That picture is excellent, that is definitely it.

Yeah, the other side of the ridge across the lake is very steep, but the damn Cass railroad is on it.
14 years ago
Cass is southeast of the mountain top (Bald Knob). The sun would hit any hypothetical ski trails on that side of the mountain pretty hard. Anyway, there will never be any trails there because the Cass railroad is vital to tourism in Pocahontas County during the spring through fall.

Tom
14 years ago
Actually, there’s a nice NE face of that slope. Looking across Shavers lake to the left, just drop off the back side from there. They could just fill in the train tracks were the trails cross like they do that rode that crosses the western territory (I think). Or they could just put plywood across the tracks in the winter Hey, I know it’ll never happen but itd be a pretty cool slope system.
14 years ago
Mack- I think that “trail” you outlined was actually a creekbed; check the underlying topo map. It also looks like from the topo that the trail system ran from 4800 feet at the Widowmaker lift down to right around 3300 feet, so it has the same vertical as Cupp but a slightly higher elevation (given that it starts from the peak of Cheat Mountain, that probably explains the seemingly stronger wind as well).

I’ve always had a hard time accepting Snowshoe’s 1500 foot vertical at face value. Yes, there is a run (now two runs) that cover this distance, but the vast majority of the mountain has a vertical equivalent to Roundtop. That said, it seems that they need to either a) add a couple more slopes in the Cupp trail system (including a top-to-bottom blue); b) reopen the Hawthorne system; or c) do both. Given the vast improvements in snowmaking technology over the last 20 years, it doesn’t seem inconceivable (“you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means”) to have a system of trails that might someday interconnect between Hawthorne and Cupp- maybe eight to ten runs for a variety of options to ski a 1500 foot vertical.

This would be particularly important if MPC (aka Mount Andy) ever gets up and running, since they would have a 1700 to 2000 foot vertical. As to whether or not it can be done- this has always been the region on the cutting edge of technology. Intrawest is the kind of investor that could push skiing to the next level in the south, if they have the willpower to do it. Perhaps Bill Bright is another one of those visionaries; we’ll see. Regardless, I hope your sitings of Hawthorne on the future land use maps at Snowshoe prove true!
14 years ago
The problem with interconnecting Hawthorne and Cupp would be the slope face. You have to play with ridges over there like both Cupp and Haw did in order to get a NW face as opposed to W or SW.

I actually saw on their website a few years back their original plans before they added Shay’s. They called for 3 high speed quads. 1 on the basin (ballhooter) 1 on Cupp, and a second on the western face with a new trail system which was proposed to be where Hawthorne is I’m guessing. I’m guessing that the salamander and other environmental studies are holding them up on that, or maybe they just abandoned that idea. I wish they would have updates on their plans on their website, I love looking at development plans and such.
14 years ago
I sat in on investor relations meeting that Intrawest put on at Snowshoe this past October. Its sounds like they do have plans to cut more trails on the western territory but they have been having a hard time getting their plans approved by the DNR because a few endangered species found around he mountaintop. They have taken their master plan and have broken it up into several phases with the expansion of the western territory being one of the later phases. I beleive the first phase is to widen the trails on the basin side and also cut more trails around widowmaker to support new condos being built next spring next to TOTW and Snowcrest. That said, I wouldn’t expect to see any improvements on the western terrirtory for another 3-5 years.
14 years ago
That being said, do we really think that MPC will ever get built if Snowshoe can’t even add a few trails without DNR problems.
14 years ago
From a business standpoint you have to wonder if expansion on the Western Territory is the best for Snowshoe right now. I’ve only been to Snowshoe a few times but I’ve noticed the Basin side seems much more busy than the Western Territory. From what I’ve seen, the average DCSki poster is not very representative of the average Mid-Atlantic skier. Most are less skilled, content with the shorter blues and greens of the Basin side. Maybe once they’ve alleviated some of the congestion over there, they can start working on making you vert junkies happy.
14 years ago
I’d also like to see some more intermediate/ advanced terrain around Widowmaker. The fact that (early season) daytrip requires one to park and purchase lift ticket at TOTW and then catch a shuttle to the ski area seems unfriendly to me. Maybe more terrain in the area would give them a reason to open Widowmaker lift? So much terrain to open, I guess the bus ride is better than walking.
14 years ago
IMHO … There is no way to alleviate congestion on the Basin side without adding more intermediate runs.

The blues at SS are severely limited and terribly over-crowded. We were at SS this last weekend and did -not- have fun on the one middling length blue (SkipJack) available. It seemed to us that the basic skiing techniques employed were either high speed straight lining or individuals totally out of control and over their skill level. I love to ski an interesting blue but not at the expense of getting creamed because of serious overcrowding. [At one point a boarder came screaming up behind me, lost control and tried to balance himself by grabbing onto my jacket. Needless to say, he crashed and I careened out of control, defied the laws of gravity but was able to remain upright.] I think it would be a great idea for SS to open up some more top to bottom blue runs. Adding a few blue runs to WT where the lift is totally under-utilized would be a great addition.

I don’t need ‘vert’ for bragging rights … I need longer runs for the sake of more pleasure.
14 years ago
If you want some good blue cruisers at Snowshoe go to Silver Creek. They try to pull all the families there and claim it has gentle terrain but most of the blues and the 2 blacks are very cruisable, have fairly consistent fall lines, fairly long compared to trails like Spruce Glades, Gandy Dancer, and Skip Jack, and usually empty. I know they take a bit to open them up but they are without a doubt the best intermediate runs you can make on the mountain. J-Hook over by Widowmaker is a fun and typically low crowd.
14 years ago
JR, I agree. The solution to the overcrowding problem seems to already exist. It’s called Silver Creek. Why do you think it is that people are so resistant to going there. I admit I’ve never gone but I’m a mid-week skier. Is it the fact that you have to ride the bus? Lack of parking? Lack of ammenities?
14 years ago
We try not to be resistant.. but every time we head up to SS we say this time we are going over to Silver Creek. The problem comes with the spotty transportation system. Only once we didn’t stay in the village center and it was a big mistake. We stayed at Powderridge expecting to uses the buses to get us hither and yon … never again. You wait for what seems an eternity in the friggin cold and then it seems to take even longer to get to your destination. I understand they have upgraded the transfer service but I have yet to hear much positive feedback about it, just complaints that mimic the experience we had with the service.
We are heading back up 2nd week in Jan for a couple of days, maybe we will give it a try … again!
14 years ago
Because it’s so inconvienant to go to Silver Creek.
14 years ago
snowcone, I’ve always said next time…Made my first trip to Silvercreek last Thursday. Skied at SS til about 2:00 pm and decided it was either time to go or try out SC. I was impressed with the way the shuttle drivers communicated to get us from SS to SC (understand that the busses weren’t packed like they probably are in high season). Silver Creek is a good place to cruise. It had that recently groomed look at 2:30 in the afternoon. I don’t know how patient I’d have been if it wasn’t a beuatiful blue sky day but SC is a fun place to ski. Give it a shot!

jimmy
14 years ago
I’m snowed in at home here in Ohio with nothing to do…yeah, Ohio gets a foot of snow and any place with so much as a hill gets nothing but rain but I’ll not go on a rampage here. Anyway, I was bored enough to write Snowshoe and ask why they don’t offer discount tickets for half day etc, why they don’t offer discounts for local residents, and why they don’t have a page to show future expansion plans. They wrote back within an hour. Pretty good customer service I’d say, especially with it being this near holiday rush.

Anyway, he said they have a twilight ticket for 12:30 to close for $10 cheaper but I don’t see it on the website. He said he’d relay my idea of keeping us updated on expansion plans to the people higher up. When it came to why they charge so much for holiday lift tickets he basically said, they’re booked solid up there. Simple supply/demand I guess. If people keep booking the place up paying 60 bucks why should they lower it.

I’m really impressed that they responded.

As for the inconvenience of Silver Creek, I really don’t understand the problem unless roads are terrible. I’ve been there 3 times during day trips and just drove from the TOTW to Silver Creek with no problems other than slick roads. The parking was always plentiful both places.

Trust me, Bear Claw is my favorite run besides the Western Terr. Its long, lonely (in a good way), and last year it was bumped up slightly when I was there. I could have ran it and Flying Eagle half the day. You could hit powder stashes on both of them days after the basin was skiied off. The biggest problem with those trails is that they aren’t open for night skiing and hardly anyone ever gets to go on them.
14 years ago
Silver Creek originally had major expansion plans, too, to keep pushing down the ridge and offering a little more vertical in the process. Does anyone know if anything is in the plans to push SC’s boundary out further?

As far as vert goes, one of the reasons I think that Cupp and Shays aren’t enough is precisely because there isn’t an official intermediate run (or two or more) going from top to bottom in the Western Territory. Imagine it- if Cupp is 8000 feet a good intermediate run back there could probably approach the two mile length! Back when there used to be a triple chair they had a mid-station loading/unloading so intermediates could ski down at least that far. Wonder how long a novice run in the Western Territory would be- 12,000, 15,000 feet or so? Man, that’d be pretty sweet for around here.

Anywhere there’s an endangered species there’s going to be problems expanding, but it can be done. One of my contacts in the ski industry said that, despite the length of time to get an EIA complete (Environmental Impact Assessment), they are- as far as development approval processes go- relatively inexpensive. So while it’s killing a lot of time to get an expansion in the Western Territory, it’s probably not consuming a lot of cash and Snowshoe has a strong argument in that trails have already existed there. It probably shouldn’t be too bad of a hold-up.

ps- great intermediate terrain: front face of Whitetail and Heavenly and Dew Drop over at T-line. Probably two of the best intermediate runs in the Mid-Atlantic. Can’t wait to see what their new run looks like next year!
14 years ago
They were actually going to put the mid-station in the new detachable, but it was scrapped. You can see where they were putting it up on the “bail-out.”
14 years ago
The mid station that you see now is actually the old one that was never removed when they upgraded the old fixed grip quad to the new high speed quad several years ago. Basically the mid station not only allowed overmatched skiers to avoid lower cup (which I don’t think is any worse than the top) but also let people avoid some of the wind on espcially windy days. I also don’t buy the EIA excuse. They keep building private houses on the western side of the mtn. and those seem to get approval just fine.
14 years ago
A ski trail/lift is a lot more major than a house.
14 years ago
Well I don’t think that Snowshoe would add another lift to the western territory for some time and would at first just add trails to feed into present lift. This would involve cutting trees and adding water and electricity lines for snowmaking. It would not ivolve the issues of dealing w/ sewage (I would guess via septic) that the new houses also pose.
14 years ago
I was there yesterday and yes, Lower Cupp is WAY steeper than upper. Can you imagine a midstation with a high speed quad? That thing would shoot you half way back up the mountain
14 years ago
Back when the had the fixed quad on Cupp, the Ski Patrol use to sit and watch people come down Upper Cupp. They would pull less experienced/skilled skiers and send them back up to the top using the mid station. This was also back when Snowshoe use to let Cupp bump up from top to bottom.

The Shoe needs to cut some new slopes. Maybe some steep narrow chutes that would hold the snow better and be less exposed than Shay’s. The snow making piping could be run above ground and they would need less piping/water to cover a narrow trail. This would also disturb less of the salamanders habitat. The trail would be for experts only, Ski patrol could pull people if they weren’t skilled enough. Tree lined narrrow trail with big bumps? This sounds too good/fun, Snowshoe would never do this!
14 years ago
They make detachables with mid-stations, you just slow down in them just like the load/unload stations.

Take Alta’s for example.
14 years ago
BUMP
Quote:

If you want some good blue cruisers at Snowshoe go to Silver Creek. They try to pull all the families there and claim it has gentle terrain but most of the blues and the 2 blacks are very cruisable, have fairly consistent fall lines, fairly long compared to trails like Spruce Glades, Gandy Dancer, and Skip Jack, and usually empty. I know they take a bit to open them up but they are without a doubt the best intermediate runs you can make on the mountain. J-Hook over by Widowmaker is a fun and typically low crowd.




OK Since the season is ALMOST over,
How many who’ve been to Snowshoe have NOT skied the Silver Creek area and WHY NOT?
We know they’re listening
14 years ago
To be honest .. the only reason we haven’t skied Silver Creek is the bus service is abominable. We almost always stay at Rimfire ‘cause of the indoor parking and don’t move our truck for the duration … so if we want to go somewhere other than village center it means walking or taking the bus. Silver Creek is a bit of a walk!

J-Hook is one of my favorite trails too. It’s a fun run at speed with practically zip traffic. Its a rarity for me to see more than one other person on my pass. This season Widowmaker was a great run too … lowish traffic, no moguls and some great surface conditions.
14 years ago
You stay at Rimfire and you think the bus service stinks. Try staying at Summit when on busy weekends jackholes park so poorly that buses can’t even get down to the condos. Seriously you’ll spend more time waiting once for the ballhooter lift on Saturday than you will on the bus to Silver Creek.
14 years ago
Quote:

We know they’re listening




Snowshoe is listening? OK here it goes. First if you want people to ski at Silvercreek, put in a gondola to take them there. Sugarbush put in the Slidehill Express and it worked great to get to Mount Ellen. Snowshoe is too cold for a lift so make it a gondola. Second, make the village go through the condo’s. It would block the wind at night and make it warmer. I can walk for hours in Whistler (and spend $$ in the bars), but not at the Shoe! It’s like an artic expedition if you try to walk even a short distance from a place like Leatherbark. Third, add some trails on the western side, specifically Hawthorn. The east side of the mountain is 400 feet of slope and 1000 feet of runout.
14 years ago
The bus system is very nice, IMO. They run frequently enough, so that you’re never waiting more than 5-10 minutes (at least every time I’ve ridden the system). Snowshoe does a poor job of marketing Silver Creek. “Everything” is AT Snowshoe: condos, restaurants, Cupp/Shays, Ballhooter, on-slope restaurants. Snowshoe needs to step-up the game at Silver Creek.

I understand for some time the two areas were separately owned and Snowshoe flourished, but when I learned to ski my parents hauled me to Silver Creek (there ya go… a 4 year old over Point Mtn.). because it had great learner terrain and Snowshoe was poorly managed (in part due to its size). Silver Creek was cheaper and offered later skiing which was great for day trips.

Snowshoe simply needs to build-up another Village at Silver Creek. Develop the area along the access road (the ski shop was a great start!), put in some independent restaurants and such… basically offer Silver Creek as a cheaper area. Honestly, when I go to Snowshoe I feel like my wallet needs a rape whistle. If they could market Silver Creek as a chepaer day-trip friendly (its fact: daytrippers are considerably “poorer” than overnighters. The park at Silver Creek was insane this year… it was the original park of the entire area… and they really stepped it up… there’s another great marketing opportunity.

Silver Creek needs to become the “budget” piece of Snowshoe… chaper lodging (Spruce-esque), group housing (Timberline RAKES in a FORTUNE on groups), fast-food joints (cheap food, restaurant makes good $$, just a fairly expensive lease/rent). I would like nothing more than to drive HALFWAY up Snowshoe mountain, ride Silver Creek’s great park and their great cruising runs for several hours (another point: SC tickets could be cheaper w/o access to Snowshoe), grab a quick and inexpensive bite to eat and head home around dusk.

A mini-Villiage which isn’t so… snobby (for lack of another term) would BOOST Silver Creek higher than ever. Group loding, fair-priced food, more ski time, and less driving (GAS IS EXPENSIVE) would for-certain attract more visitors to Silver Creek.
14 years ago
Quote:

Quote:

We know they’re listening




Snowshoe is listening? OK here it goes. First if you want people to ski at Silvercreek, put in a gondola to take them there. Sugarbush put in the Slidehill Express and it worked great to get to Mount Ellen. Snowshoe is too cold for a lift so make it a gondola. Second, make the village go through the condo’s. It would block the wind at night and make it warmer. I can walk for hours in Whistler (and spend $$ in the bars), but not at the Shoe! It’s like an artic expedition if you try to walk even a short distance from a place like Leatherbark. Third, add some trails on the western side, specifically Hawthorn. The east side of the mountain is 400 feet of slope and 1000 feet of runout.





Agreed on all points.

Western territory is begging for more trails — great vertical and underutilised lift (which is also the best lift on the mountain at this point). That lift could handle a couple more trails for sure.

Basin side gets crowded, most lifts are slow with lines, the trails are flat at the bottom, and the terrain is limited (except the green trails, which are excellent for beginners). Skiing the basin side on a busy weekend is frustrating to me — the trails get really crowded with lousy skiers.

We skied at Silver Creek for the first time this year, and I loved the trails. I enjoyed the blues, and the diamonds were really nice (spend hours on Flying Eagle). Next year, I will head there on busy weekends. We got a parking spot right next to the snow, which made it convenient.

I think SS has lodging covered very well with all the condos and the restaurant situation is good too. But really, they need faster and more modern lifts, and longer trails. By far, I think these are the things holding it back.

But I wonder — does Intrawest really want to improve the skiing aspects of the mountain?? The place is packed during most weekends in peak season, and the typical crowd is not going to care about better trails and lifts. I don’t think better trails/lifts will make them more money (in fact it would cost them a lot). It would improve the mountain’s standing in this (and other) ski enthusiast communities, but that may not be enough of a business case.

Regardless, it is clear to me that SS could become so much more of a skier’s mountain if they wanted to. They could be as good as a Sugarbush if they opened up more terrain and started catering to the expert crowd, and they would be unique in the area.

Craig
14 years ago
Quote:


But I wonder — does Intrawest really want to improve the skiing aspects of the mountain?? The place is packed during most weekends in peak season, and the typical crowd is not going to care about better trails and lifts. I don’t think better trails/lifts will make them more money (in fact it would cost them a lot). It would improve the mountain’s standing in this (and other) ski enthusiast communities, but that may not be enough of a business case.

Regardless, it is clear to me that SS could become so much more of a skier’s mountain if they wanted to. They could be as good as a Sugarbush if they opened up more terrain and started catering to the expert crowd, and they would be unique in the area.

Craig




I think you nailed it. It’s gonna take some serious competition before this situation changes.
14 years ago
I think Snowshoe will eventually expand terrain both around the basin and with a blue on the Western Territory. I don’t see this for another 5 years though. Simply put, Intrawest is going to get as much $$ out of real estate as possible before they put any of the money back into expanded terrain.
14 years ago
What makes you think Interwest will upgrade the slopes until after they max out the property sales? Think about it. Interwest is not in the business of ski resorts per se, they are in the real estate business primarily and business services secondarily. I don’t see them doing anything other than basic maintenance until lodging starts dropping off because of crappy ski conditions or they expand the real estate around the rim of the basin and need to peddle ski in/out condos.

There already seem to be issues retaining instructors and the ropes-down this season was moved forward to 9:00am [from 8:30 years past] to save money. If Interwest is already counting pennies on lifties salaries I don’t think they are going to spend the beaucoup bucks needed to expand terrain. Just my opinion. If anyone knows otherwise I am sure we would welcome the input.

Sorry to seem so negative but I am beginning to be disappointed in SS. Every year we have taken 4-5 long weekends there, but unless there is significant new terrain next year, we will only go a couple of times and spend that money on additional trips out west. SS ain’t cheap!
14 years ago
You sort of answered part of your question. They will extend buildings around the rim of the basin so as to promote and sell more lodging. Also, they’ll be generating large amounts of free cash soon from the property mgt. side of the business as the bulk of the village condos finish being built. I think they will plow some of this cash back into facilities via expanded terrain.

BTW, the ropes down delay is pure BS. I agree w/ you 100% on that.
14 years ago
I think the idea of extending around the basin ridge has been taken off the table because of environmental reasons and the fact that ridge borders national forest. Plus there is just not much vertical.

I have seen plans to develop the Camp Four (called Red Spruce) area including some green and blue trails - that looked like glorified connector trails to me. I was told by sales that this idea had been pushed back 5 years.

There are probably one or two trails that could be cut on either side of the widowmaker lift - which is relatively under-utilized. The new Soaring Eagle Lodge plan at the Top of the World - may support the speculation about Hawthorn and possibly the Widowmaker.

I have been told that topographically, a connector trail/lift to Silver Creek would not work.

A long winding blue on the Cupp side makes a lot of sense to me.

Snowshoe sales is still selling “extensive trail expansion” to condo buyers.

What happens if they sell all the condos (no problem there so far) and cut and run? What’s thier incentive to continue investing in infrastructure after the condos are sold? Well possibly 1) to re-up for another generation of condos (they have 11,000 acres to develop), 2) because for $50 a ticket plus 25% of every rent + retail sales, trails = occupancy = revenue. But for now, as long a condos are being completely sold out over a weekend for $300,000 a pop - the market is not giving then any incentive to make additional investments.

However, some of the newer projects (Soaring Eagle) are actually not being developed by Intrawest, but by a third party. Intrawest is marketing them and Snowshoe will manage them. Therefore at some point thier only source of income is rents. And again trails = occupancy = revenue.
14 years ago
I wonder if there’s a way for us to open a dialog with SS and hear about their plans while giving feedback?? They do seem to read DCski from time to time — I know Joe Stevens quoted my trip report last week. After years of skiing in Vermont, I sure have a lot of suggestions for SS.

Craig
14 years ago
I was told by a Patroler at SS that they were trying to cater to families, not Expert skiers. I told him that our family had two expert skiers (my wife can hammer 98% of the skiers at the Shoe, including the Patroler) and four future expert skiers. They need to start catering to the skiers, not the Floridians.

The family and I skied nine days at the Shoe. Nine nights at Mountain Lodge plus, 18 adult lift tickets, & 18 junior tickets. Do the math, thats a lot of cabbage. Luckily my two youngest kids are still free. I would think that they would be catering/marketing to skiing families like mine!

They need to keep the lodging and lift tickets costs down and expand the terrain or I’m gonna start going else where.
14 years ago
I think Snowshoe/Intrawest is very dialed in to the market and for now the market is saying “I want condos for my beginner/intermediate skiing family, with a good ski school for the kids, some non-skiing activities for the wife and kids, while dad is over on Cupp”.
14 years ago
I wonder what the market difference is between catering to expert versus casual skiers is. The experts are the die-hard fanatics (read: this board) who are going to show up come heck or high water— and if there is high water, they’ll just ride the Ark back to the top of the mountain for another run. The casual folks show up once or twice a year when the weather is nice just as another vacation alternative. The casual folks to the extent they own condos are ripe pickins on management and rental fees. The experts are probably more likely to buy real estate. Also, I doubt the experts make up more than 5% of the total ski market in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

Still, it seems that what we’re asking for is more terrain in the Western Territory. Isn’t the “simple” solution to build a novice and intermediate run on that side? Maybe add another advanced run after that? Doesn’t that wind up serving everybody’s interests?

Assuming, of course, that adding terrain is in the economic interests of Intrawest, which seems to be the other main question here…
14 years ago
If Interwest is trying to cater to families why the high ticket prices? … why the serious lack of more moderately priced family dining facilities? [other than greasy fast food] … why the outrageous prices on condo units for sale? More and more, SS is pricing itself right out of the local market. Or … maybe they are trying to turn it into Stratton-South [big ICK factor] with the proximity of DC replacing NY? I really don’t know, but more and more I get the impression that SS isn’t for skiers anymore, which is truly sad.
14 years ago
“If Interwest is trying to cater to families why the high ticket prices? … why the serious lack of more moderately priced family dining facilities? [other than greasy fast food] … why the outrageous prices on condo units for sale? More and more, SS is pricing itself right out of the local market.”

There are no signs of SS pricing themselves out of the market - yet. That market being less than an 8 hour drive. Entire condo buildings are being sold out over a weekend. There is 100% occupancy in the village on every big weekend. The restaurants are packed. When supply and demand are in balance, and the market clears - the prices are right. You could even argue economically that the prices are not high enough. Now there certainly could be a bubble situation, based on irrational investor and consumer behavior, that could burst at some point. But for now, according to the market, the price is right.

My sense is that expert skiers are less likely to buy new condos vs. beginner/intermediate familys. From the posts here, it sounds like many experts look for basic and inexpensive accomodations. Experts also tend to keep thier options open and not be tied to one ski resort. Loyal (to SS) experts can take advantage of a season pass, bought early for $300. Intrawest studies indicate that the typical condo buyer is a family with younger kids - maybe pre-teen, that plan to hold the condo for 5 years and sell, when the kids go off to college.

The restaurants at SS, while maybe inconsistent quality, and a choice or two in number short, are not that expensive - if you choose from the menu wisely. Also, the condos provide full kitchens, which can really offset some of the high resort costs - if planned properly.
14 years ago
Ok, I can’t resist a comment on this one. As a skier who has been wearing the shoe for over twenty years, I have seen incredible changes, mostly good for the mid-atlantic ski region. The shoe is the only true destination resort south of New York, and yes, they cater to families, singles, beginners and experts. All skiers can find something to like or dislike about the shoe and all reasons are valid.
Will they expand terrain? Eventually. Will it be green, blue or black? Yes! If this area is developed like Tremblant, it will be a skier’s mountain. The only problem is that it is within an easy day’s drive of most southern states which is where their largest promotion bucks are being spent. That means more never-evers and intermediates with a sliver of expert wanna-be. These folks don’t mind paying rack rate for a long weekend or ski week since they only do it once a year and in most cases, it will be the only snow they see during the winter. If the bottom line is making money, the shoe will continue to cater to mostly beginners and intermediates. THAT is where the money is!
Then again, (let me dream) with their better snowmaking….Hawthorne’s double fall line slope could remain covered and keep the experts happy all winter.
14 years ago
Quote:

They need to keep the lodging and lift tickets costs down and expand the terrain or I’m gonna start going else where.




Start? I’m done. This was my last year as a season ticket holder, and my last year going to SS. Only destination resort south of NY? So what? I drove to VT this year and spent a week in the Mad River Valley for less then I spent at SS. The year before I flew to Whistler and spent a week there for less than my trip to SS. I don’t need another destination resort around here, I can go somewhere else and it will still be cheaper!
14 years ago
Ullr - I here that argument alot - atcually both ways 1) its cheaper/better skiing to go out west or north east and 2) its cheaper all-in and convenient going to Snowshoe. Is there any way to quantify who is right? Everything depends on when you go, where you stay, what you eat, how you get there, season pass or no, family or individual, own skis or rent, how often, etc., etc., etc.

I think you can probably make an argument either way. There is certainly some combination at Snowshoe that works for many folks. There is also some combination at SS that is at least as expensive as any resort in America.
14 years ago
Kind of was looking for what Snowshoe could do to entice more people to slide at Silvercreek, but since we’re here….SS is a destination resort for most…I find tline & CV more to my liking but always get two or three days at the shoe per year, mid week as a rule, lodging there a rare exception…the basin side isn’t anything special, Cupp/Shays very special for mid atlantic, I like the terrain at silver creek. Bought lift tickets for five days in Utah for 248.00 this March, snowshoe can’t match that value. My brother had a nice family ski trip at shoe last year but went to Smuggs this year. Did I mention i think the basin side is boring? I realize that snowshoe is a business but when i’m there i can’t help feeling that the place is about the money, not skiing. This post sounds like the free beer is kicking in?

jimmy
14 years ago
DWW- we had a discussion about this last winter. If I remember correctly, the conclusion was “it depends.” Seriously, though, I think a lot of people mentioned how much you found the airport to be a hassle or not- people with babies would probably have a much easier time getting to SS than out west, for instance. Another consideration is the amount of time you go. A two or three day trip out west is pretty expensive; generally the rates fall on a per day basis the longer you stay. So by the time you get up to a week out there the rates are pretty competitive… still a little more expensive but not by much.

Add to that the quality of skiing and I think a lot of people say “I’d rather spend seven days out west and pay an extra hundred or two hundred bucks than ski here seven days.” Sometimes you don’t even spend more.

ps- Johnfmh probably has some experience with Europe. Before the dollar slid, the cheapest place to go by far were the Alps. You used to be able to do a seven day trip- including a day in Venice or Geneva or some other really cool city- for seven hundred dollars. Rates are probably higher now though.
14 years ago
Ullr,

You’re right. On a number of occasions, I’ve taken the family to Okemo for spring break. Okemo has a ton of ski in/out accommodations. I checked into prices at Okemo and they were the same if not cheaper than SS. There were some differences between SS & Okemo. Okemo has more slopes, more vertical, more glades, more bumps, and more snow. The only down side is the extra 3-4 hours worth of driving. We would have gone to VT this year, but I had to ski T-line for the 1st two days of spring break and then we had to go to VA Beach for the last two days of spring break. So it only made sense to go to the Shoe during the week. Next year we’re going to Vt!

Snowcone - Stratton, yuk! $73 Saturday and $60+ midweek lift tickets for a glorified Snowshoe? Won’t ever ski Stratton again. Hopefully, SS will make some changes. I would hate to add SS to the never ever again list.
14 years ago
Quote:

Quote:

They need to keep the lodging and lift tickets costs down and expand the terrain or I’m gonna start going else where.




Start? I’m done. This was my last year as a season ticket holder, and my last year going to SS. Only destination resort south of NY? So what? I drove to VT this year and spent a week in the Mad River Valley for less then I spent at SS. The year before I flew to Whistler and spent a week there for less than my trip to SS. I don’t need another destination resort around here, I can go somewhere else and it will still be cheaper!





You’re definitely right that SS is pricey during peak season (it’s more reasonable after March 6). I think it’s on the order of 20% more expensive than a Vermont trip (for lesser skiing). The shorter drive to SS is compelling for weekend trips, but for a week-long trip, my dollars are driving the 11 hours to Sugarbush.

Craig
14 years ago
As we talk about driving, I drove to Hunter Mtn, NY in about 5 hours. All interstate except the last 30 minutes (and the 4 miles leaving my house). Let’s look at the stats:

Snowshoe - 1500 Vertical, 224 Skiable acres, 57 Trails

Hunter - 1600 Vertical (most of the mountain, not just 2 runs), 230 Skiable acres, 53 Trails

Hunter does not have the Intrawest designed village but the town is 2 miles from the mountain and there is just as much to do.

The drive is much easier than getting to Snowshoe. From now on, I’ll choose Hunter over the Shoe.
14 years ago
When we did the shoe, it was in the final years prior to the large corporate buy out by the Japan firm. That was the same time that S-creek went belly-up, wasn’t goint to open, was bought by the same firm, and reopened by Christmas. Prices there for lifts, food, and lodging were not too pricey at that time. They even had nice shuttle busses, not glorified school busses for guests. When intrawest bought the shoe and the creek, the golf course was already built and some minor improvements were already made. However, the expense for regular season didn’t really start adding up until recently. The market drives the costs and if they couldn’t sell a $60 lift ticket, they would be out of business. But since they do sell pricey lift tickets (lots of them) and rent overpriced condos, and serve costly entrees, they will keep on doing it, making money, and will cater to those who don’t wnat to go to new england, the west, or europe for a few days of snow time. If it wasn’t for the lack of transportation infrastructure, the shoe would probably be larger, and there would even be a few other resorts in the area. You gotta admit, WV skiing is not all that bad for the south.
14 years ago
Man, you flatlanders are killing me I’d rather drive 4 hours of curvy driving than 2 hours of interstate myself. You are right though that the trip out there is one of the things holding it back. The thing is though, I really do think it adds to the mystique of the place that you have to work at it to actually get there. It makes you feel like the skiing and snow quality were the number one priority when they chose the mountain rather than convenience to the interstate like Winterplace. I have fond memories of Sunday drives to Pocohontas county as a kid too so its always neat to drive back into those mountains.

Overall, I love the place but I usually day trip it so its rather cheap. It still blows my mind that Floridians and Texans drive up there but hey, it just speaks volumes about how good Snowshoe’s marketing department is. Thanks to the crowds of midseason, us locals get November skiing on occasion and are usually skiing Cupp in April for super cheap.

I think Timberline/Canaan really need to find a way to cash in on all of the Snowshoe hype. I mean we have people travelling from all over to ski Snowshoe for a week trip. These people already frequent WV for skiing but many, according to my conversations on the lift, don’t even know about Timberline. I always do my best to plug TL when people don’t know about them. It would be really easy and alot more interesting to split a week trip to WV into a trip to both places. I can’t imagine spending an entire week at any place in the Mid Atlantic, especially if you’re there when conditions aren’t steller.

Basically, Snowshoe might not be the best deal for those a good ways out who have shopped around for other deals but for the local day tripper and the family down south that can’t fly the whole family out west or NE its really a great experience. Prices are higher than other places in the are but for the amount of snowmaking they do its kind of the trade off you get. Consistently open slopes in the Southeast OR cheaper prices. Thats the beauty of having options. Mid season, when Snowshoe gets expensive, Timberline typically has pretty consistent snow and is much cheaper. Early and late season, Snowshoe is very consistent with slope counts and is relatively cheap. Win Win.
14 years ago
JR … Sorry but SS is not a daytrip for us. 4.5-5 hours depending on conditions is some serious driving, and we have done the trip so much over the last 5 years that the road is tedious and boring. Frankly there isn’t much choice in routes; you either go for the shortest via Corridor H at 4.5 hours or you take one of the ‘scenic’ routes clocking in at 5.5-6 hours and more tight switchbacks than I care to count.

Nope … I agree with Ullr, I don’t think we are going to ante up for season passes for 2005-06. The break point for me was $1000; with the new rates, the total for the 3 of us is $1130 .. not peanuts. The pass pays for itself if you ski eight or more days during the season but I don’t think we will be doing that any more. There are other mountains and it’s time to move on.
14 years ago
Yeah, i realize its not a daytrip for most, I considered myself lucky to have lived within 3 hours up until this year. Like I said, I’d probably have different opinions if I had to pay for lodging mid season and drive 4+ hours.

As for season passes, I never really cared to get one since I was always so close to so many different areas for day trips and I mostly went mid week. From Morgantown you can potentially daytrip Wisp, Canaan, Timberline, Snowshoe, Blue Knob, Laurel, Seven Springs, and Hidden Valley, even possibly Whitetail but I’ve never actually checked the mileage. Morgantown was like the perfect mid atlantic skiing hub, and supposedly has some good cross country at Coopers Rock.

As for the price of season passes, its only $23 cheaper to buy early at 7springs, but MAN, Snowshoe’s passes make a huge jump after July 1st. $629 compared to 7 Springs’ $530. If I lived near DC I’d probably do that SnowTime pass that covers all three resorts and just make some 2-3 day trips to Timberline, Snowshoe or try the NE.

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