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Gunbarrel at Roundtop Surprise
18 posts from 11 users
Updated 4 months ago
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5 months ago

Just back from first ever visit to Roundtop and was pleasantly surprised to see a real double diamond-type run here in Mid-Atlantic.  But was unpleasantly surprised to discover the upper headwall portion with my 6 year old in tow.  He can ski anything/everything at Whitetail and Liberty, but was pretty scared trying to navigate the upper section.  The varied mix of hardpack/ice/blown didn’t help.  He managed to traverse a couple lines back and forth before losing his edge and sliding about 40 feet midway down.  I did a quick search of dcski forum history and the consensus seems to be the upper portion is approx 135 feet length at about 31 degrees.  So it is obviously short but is legit steep - only a handful of inbound runs in New England are comparable. 

So on one hand - kudos to Roundtop for blowing snow and getting/keeping the run open.  On the other hand, some better signage would be appreciated.  To classify both Upper Ramrod and Gunbarrel “Double Diamonds” is misleading.  They should at least have some kind of  ”expert only/steep terrain ahead” sign before you head skier’s right and over the crest of Gunbarrel.  Or if they do, it needs to be in better spot, because I didn’t see one!   

5 months ago

I suspect this is partly why RT got the winchcat to groom Gunbarrel- risk mitigation for folks who don’t expect to find that sort of steepness there.  The nearest close-by contender would be Upper Strata when it gets solid and the bumps get chopped.

Their video showing a groomed-over Gunbarrel specifically mentions trying to make it safer.

I heard they’ve been keeping a side of it groomed over- was it not, this weekend?

5 months ago

I thought that entire lift is still labeled Expert Only? For a variety of reasons.

Simplest solution: don’t take a six year old down a double black without having first skied it yourself.

There are plenty of other trails in the Mid Atlantic that are probably tougher/scarier than Gunbarrel. (It is a short pitch that requires no speed control at all - you can slow down on the flat below, which is what most people do.) Tougher trails: Extrovert, Lower Shays, Lower White Lightning at Montage, Lower Wildcat since it is longer, maybe even Off The Wall at Timberline since Denis measured the head wall at 30-35 degrees, and probably a few more I’m forgetting.

And as to the New England comment, I’ll let that one go.

 

 

 

 

5 months ago

Extrovert at Blue Knob.  Whoopdeedoo, Boulderdash, and Tom Terrific at Sugar Mountain are also about 30ish for a little while.

 

I have a slope meter in my boot bag.  I’ll try to remember to bring it out and look at OTW when we are at Timberline next month..

5 months ago

It’s been awhile since we had a “steepest slope in the Mid-Atlantic” thread. Would be a nice break from the weather talk.

5 months ago

Interesting set of comments.  My main point was the lack of signage about the headwall.  Labeling the trail a double diamond is misleading, because Upper Ramrod, Upper Strata, Upper Eastwind, Upper Ultra and Bold Decision are also categorized as “double diamonds”.  Most intermediate skiers can ski these “double diamonds”, which I think is great, it’s how you get to be a better skier.  But most intermediate skiers can’t navigate Gunbarrel’s headwall.

Good point about the winch cat - all of the trail was groomed, even up and over the headwall.

Not sure I agree about Extrovert - if memory serves correct, maybe there is a pretty steep pitch of about 20-30 yards halfway down on skiers right?

Whether one thinks Gunbarrel is “hard” to ski or not is beside the point.  The TRAIL has a gradiant that is top ten East Coast.  Maybe top five if you don’t count Jay’s shorter chutes. This is a fact.

 

5 months ago

RodneyBD wrote:

Interesting set of comments.  My main point was the lack of signage about the headwall.  Labeling the trail a double diamond is misleading, because Upper Ramrod, Upper Strata, Upper Eastwind, Upper Ultra and Bold Decision are also categorized as “double diamonds”.  Most intermediate skiers can ski these “double diamonds”, which I think is great, it’s how you get to be a better skier.  But most intermediate skiers can’t navigate Gunbarrel’s headwall.

Good point about the winch cat - all of the trail was groomed, even up and over the headwall.

Not sure I agree about Extrovert - if memory serves correct, maybe there is a pretty steep pitch of about 20-30 yards halfway down on skiers right?

Whether one thinks Gunbarrel is “hard” to ski or not is beside the point.  The TRAIL has a gradiant that is top ten East Coast.  Maybe top five if you don’t count Jay’s shorter chutes. This is a fact.

In saying that “most intermediates’ can ski the above mentioned “double blacks” I completely disagree.  On any given weekend at Whitetail ride the expert chair and watch these “intermediate” skiers on Exhibition.  I would guess that 50% of the skiers/boarders on it are merely getting down it rather than actually skiing it.  

 

5 months ago

RodneyBD wrote:

 

Not sure I agree about Extrovert - if memory serves correct, maybe there is a pretty steep pitch of about 20-30 yards halfway down on skiers right?

 

BLUE KNOB
Extrovert @ Blue Knob, PA: 634 vertical over 1317 length = 25.71*.
124 vertical over 188 length = 33.41*. Upper Extrovert (assuming it ends when intersecting with Lower Route 66). PA steeps?
510 vertical over 1092 length = 25.03*. Lower Extrovert (assuming it starts when intersecting with Lower Route 66).
324 vertical over 567 length = 29.75*.

http://ski-degrees.synthasite.com/pennsylvania.php

 

It’s deceptive because it is one of the few pretty steep trails that is also nice and wide east of the Mississippi.

5 months ago

LOL on Gunbarrel having top 10 gradient on East Coast. The 30 degree pitch is for all of 100 vertical feet as your original post states. If you don’t realize there are dozens upon dozens of similar gradients on the East Coast (at similar short length), then alrighty. Trail gradients are often stated as the average gradient for the entire trail…

5 months ago

Upper Extrovert 

and

Lower Wildcat 

Got my vote for steepest in the mid atlantic.  The very top section of extrovert is really steep. 

5 months ago

ParkCrewDrew wrote:

Upper Extrovert 

and

Lower Wildcat 

Got my vote for steepest in the mid atlantic.  The very top section of extrovert is really steep. 

Ever ski Lower White Lighting at Montage? A lot tougher and steeper than Lower Wildcat. Extrovert is steep and tough.

5 months ago

Extrovert is usually a sheet of boiler plate moguls!

5 months ago

The Colonel wrote:

Extrovert is usually a sheet of boiler plate moguls!

That too! One tough trail to actually ski with any degree of grace.

5 months ago

Laurel Hill Crazie wrote:

The Colonel wrote:

Extrovert is usually a sheet of boiler plate moguls!

That too! One tough trail to actually ski with any degree of grace.

I am sure I overestimated the steepness, but using the gpsvisualizer site I calculated the steepness to the rt 66 intersection to be 38 degrees. Even if the steepness of this part is only 35 degrees that is still more than respectable. It’s the one trail in the mid-atlantic where I felt maybe a hint of the butterfiles in my stomach that you get when you stand at the top of steep terrain. But that probably says more about my skiing than the steepness of the terrain… 

Would like to try some of the other Mid-Atlantic trails mentioned in this thread.

 

5 months ago

I suppose anyone could jump off a rock at Devils Fiddle or hop off the ledges at Paradise and then stop and announce they just skied a 70 degree section of the trail.  As for sustained pitches, Gunbarrel’s 135 drop at 31 degrees is very unique, as others have capably demonstrated.  Neat list of trails in the following-

http://ski-degrees.synthasite.com/vermont.php

http://www.skibum.net/do-it-up/comparing-steepness-of-ski-trails/

http://www.epicski.com/t/29735/hardest-trail-in-the-east/60#post_342694

 

    

5 months ago

RodneyBD wrote:

I suppose anyone could jump off a rock at Devils Fiddle or hop off the ledges at Paradise and then stop and announce they just skied a 70 degree section of the trail.  As for sustained pitches, Gunbarrel’s 135 drop at 31 degrees is very unique, as others have capably demonstrated.  Neat list of trails in the following-

http://ski-degrees.synthasite.com/vermont.php

http://www.skibum.net/do-it-up/comparing-steepness-of-ski-trails/

http://www.epicski.com/t/29735/hardest-trail-in-the-east/60#post_342694

 

    

BLUE KNOB
Extrovert @ Blue Knob, PA: 634 vertical over 1317 length = 25.71*.
124 vertical over 188 length = 33.41*. Upper Extrovert (assuming it ends when intersecting with Lower Route 66). PA steeps?
510 vertical over 1092 length = 25.03*. Lower Extrovert (assuming it starts when intersecting with Lower Route 66).
324 vertical over 567 length = 29.75*.

http://ski-degrees.synthasite.com/pennsylvania.php

4 months ago

Although I haven’t seen your child ski, I would be willing to bet that he does not ski any double black particularly well.  Get down it, certainly, but probably with his shins in a different area code than his boot tongue and in a wedge or an approximation of parallel skiing characterized mainly by a locked and rigid outside leg.  Almost all 6 year olds will ski this way on steeps because their bodies are very different from adult bodies and this is what works for them.

You have to do whatever it takes to keep the child engaged with skiing and to make sure he has fun.  It is, however, a mistake to create expectations that wedging down a double black is “better” than skiing a blue with the best technique a six year old is capable of.  Otherwise, he is going to be locked in the wedge with his butt behind his heels when he is 9 or 10.  He will be capable of much better and more effective movements by that age but will have bad habits that are almost impossible to break.

Keep him on the blues as much as he will tolerate.  It isn’t what you ski, it is how you ski what you are on.

4 months ago

Otto wrote:

Although I haven’t seen your child ski, I would be willing to bet that he does not ski any double black particularly well.  Get down it, certainly, but probably with his shins in a different area code than his boot tongue and in a wedge or an approximation of parallel skiing characterized mainly by a locked and rigid outside leg.  Almost all 6 year olds will ski this way on steeps because their bodies are very different from adult bodies and this is what works for them.

You have to do whatever it takes to keep the child engaged with skiing and to make sure he has fun.  It is, however, a mistake to create expectations that wedging down a double black is “better” than skiing a blue with the best technique a six year old is capable of.  Otherwise, he is going to be locked in the wedge with his butt behind his heels when he is 9 or 10.  He will be capable of much better and more effective movements by that age but will have bad habits that are almost impossible to break.

Keep him on the blues as much as he will tolerate.  It isn’t what you ski, it is how you ski what you are on.

 

I am with Vince K right now and he says, “spoken like a true level III ski instructor!”

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