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Snowshoe - First Impression
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Updated 9 months ago
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9 months ago

I have been meaning to make it to Snowshoe for a long, long time, but the long drive always gave me second thoughts. Well, our company ski trip this year was Snowshoe, so I decided to make use of this opportunity to ski and hang out with my co-workers. I offer my observations on our beloved Mid-Atlantic giant:

The Drive - My main concerns was the 5.25 hour drive from my Hunt Valley, MD office. I must say I’ve got to give you Snowshoe homeowner’s credit for dealing with this long but scenic drive. The scenery from Frederick, MD all the way to Snowshoe can be spectacular. The drive through Smoke Hole and the Seneca Rocks area is expecially beautiful. The drive begins with the traffic of suburbia and then gradually changes to a drive with no traffic. WV Route 28 is one of the most sparsely populated roads I’ve ever driven on. I’d swear I drove at least for 20 minutes, at one point, without seeing another car. I am glad I left work at 1:30PM on Thursday, so I could ad another night stay and ski Friday. It probably is not fun to deal with the NOVA traffic on Friday night. After nearly 5 hours, I finally made it to Cass, WV an old company town that looks like it was transported from New England. From there you start climbing on Route 66 until you come to the Snowshoe entrance road. I cannot imagine driving on this road in a snow storm without 4-wheel drive. It is obvious that this high country area has it’s own climate with a decent looking snow pack. It was nice to finally arrive since I did not stop for the entire 5.25 hour drive.

The Skiing -    After driving on empty roads, I thought Snowshoe would be empty of people. Wrong. This place is hoping with a vibrant village area. I met my trip organizer co-conspirator at my Tree Tops Townhouse rental and we then had dinner in the busy village area. Friday February 9, was my first ski day. My roomate, a level 3 ski instructor with strong legs, and I took one of the buses up to the village to start skiing the main mountain area. This part of the mountain is populated with many people who have a southern twang. We called them ‘the hat people’ since few of them had on helmets. We did a few runs on the main face but since we had no trail map we ended up on the easy side of the mountain with the triple lift and long lift lines. I was amazed that a weekday would have lift lines. We decided to head to the Western Territory to ski the famed Cup Run with the 1500 feet of vertical. There were less skiers at the WT and we did our first run down Shay’s Revenge. The steep part of the trail was skied off and icy but we did it several times and then did laps on Cupp Run. A nice feeling to ski these long runs after skiing the short runs at HV and 7S. With my ski buddy being a level 3 ski instructor, he was wearing me out. We then had a nice lunch in the village before heading over to the Widowmaker and Camp 99 trails. We did some laps on those and found them to be icey, but fun never the less. He grew bored quickly and wanted to head back over to the WT trails. Since I knew I could not keep up with him, I told him to I wanted to check out more of the trails on the main face. So I meandered along some green trails toward the “Ballhooter” lift area. The lift line there was one of the longest I had ever seen. Thus that wait end my ski day around 3:00 PM. For dinner we went to the Appalachia Kitchen which was quite good. We then went and partied with some of the 46 company ski trip particpants. On Saturday, we made it to the WT early to ski nice courderoy on Shay’s making the steep part a blast. We did laps on Shays and Cupp Run unitl my legs cramped up around 11:30. On to lunch at Tuque’s Bar and Grill for some lamb sliders. Since it started to rain, and it rains every time I ski in WV, and the main face was too crowded, we headed over to Silver Creek. I did laps on Bear Claw and Flying Eagle, the Silver Creek black diamonds, with my buddies, one a ski racer and the other a level 3 instructor. These guys ski as fast as they can on every run. I cannot keep up with them altough I tried. Around 3:00 PM it is raining too hard to make skiing fun. So we head back to our townhouse. Dinner is a pizza and salad group dinner at Shaver’s Center with our group of 46. We then head to one of group’s towhouses to have a party which got a little too wild for this old geezer resulting in drinking games and a hangover on a rainy Sunday morning. I decided not to ski in the rain and packed up for my 5+ hour drive back to north Baltimore.

Snowshoe is a busy place with some nice terrain. I now understand it’s popularity and why there are many DCSki Snowshoe fans. I had a great time skiing laps on Shay’s and Cupp. I also enjoyed Silver Creek’s better snow, and less crowded lifts and trails.  I hope to make it back one day.  However, we decided that the company ski trip for next year is heading to Vermont.

9 months ago

Glad you visited the SHOE!  My first trip there was early in 1979 later that fall I moved to South Lake Tahoe.   When I look back to that first time there it was a blue jeans and beer crowd.  The ski wear and people have changed but when the spruce trees are caked with snow the resort feels like a magical place almost like your skiing out west.  My family and I enjoy it very much now having invested in a condo spending 30-40 days on the snow the past 4 years.  Come on back I will give you some tips on how to ski more efficiently and lessen the burn as I use to ski regularly with Level 3 instructors and racers. 

9 months ago

Snowsmith, Really enjoyed your post!  You need to get back sooner than later; take a couple days off and ski midweek.  Try not to bring rain with you next time😎

9 months ago

Great post, thanks for the insights, two comments:

-You work for an awesome company….  Annual Company Ski Trip?  Outstanding!

-Hat People!  Hilarious

9 months ago

snowsmith wrote:

I hope to make it back one day.  However, we decided that the company ski trip for next year is heading to Vermont.

The drive to VT may not have the isolation WV has, but the NJ/NY traffic and tolls are a hassle.  Throw in bad weather and it’s a real drag.  From WV I can be at Sugarbush in less than 12 hours with dry roads.  It’s taken me as long as 21.

9 months ago

Bonzski wrote:

snowsmith wrote:

I hope to make it back one day.  However, we decided that the company ski trip for next year is heading to Vermont.

The drive to VT may not have the isolation WV has, but the NJ/NY traffic and tolls are a hassle.  Throw in bad weather and it’s a real drag.  From WV I can be at Sugarbush in less than 12 hours with dry roads.  It’s taken me as long as 21.

The New Jersery Turnpike has very little in common with WV Route 28, that is for sure. The drive times from my office are:

- Mt. Snow - 6hrs - 49 minutes

- Stratton - 6hrs -39 minutes

- Okemo - 7 hours - 9 minutes

So add one hour (+) drive time as compared to Snowshoe and I can be at these resorts. And they are close enought to each other I can ski all three. For me, I am a home owner in the Laurels and thus can ski 7Springs, Hidden Valley, Laurel Mtn, Blue Knob and Wisp which are all relatively close to each other. None have the vertical of Snowshoe, but it does give me some variety. Also, I typically leave work at 3:30 PM on Friday to get to the Laurels, a 3hr-10minute drive. I guess there are trade offs for every decision we make. I am just glad I don’t live is some ski-less god-for-saken place like Texas. Not sure why anyone would want to live there??

9 months ago

snowsmith wrote:

Bonzski wrote:

snowsmith wrote:

I hope to make it back one day.  However, we decided that the company ski trip for next year is heading to Vermont.

The drive to VT may not have the isolation WV has, but the NJ/NY traffic and tolls are a hassle.  Throw in bad weather and it’s a real drag.  From WV I can be at Sugarbush in less than 12 hours with dry roads.  It’s taken me as long as 21.

The New Jersery Turnpike has very little in common with WV Route 28, that is for sure. The drive times from my office are:

- Mt. Snow - 6hrs - 49 minutes

- Stratton - 6hrs -39 minutes

- Okemo - 7 hours - 9 minutes

So add one hour (+) drive time as compared to Snowshoe and I can be at these resorts. And they are close enought to each other I can ski all three. For me, I am a home owner in the Laurels and thus can ski 7Springs, Hidden Valley, Laurel Mtn, Blue Knob and Wisp which are all relatively close to each other. None have the vertical of Snowshoe, but it does give me some variety. Also, I typically leave work at 3:30 PM on Friday to get to the Laurels, a 3hr-10minute drive. I guess there are trade offs for every decision we make. I am just glad I don’t live is some ski-less god-for-saken place like Texas. Not sure why anyone would want to live there??

Those are nice options and have a better chance of good weather compared to Laurels and WV alps.  Last time I visited Mt Snow was to watch the X-games.  Amen for no Texas!

9 months ago

Just another reminder of how large the dcski coverage area is…I am glad to be within 3 hours of the WV areas, but I would rather be within 7 hours of Vermont.

9 months ago

When I speak to snowshoe first timers, I tell them about the drive: If you feel like you must be lost, you’re going the right way. The feeling of isolation is unbelievable with the drive.

9 months ago

On the way to Snowshoe, my Google map function worked fine. On the return trip to Baltimore it would not work until I got to Morefield. I was told that was because of a 50 mile zone around the National Radio Observatory. I almost got lost on the way home.

Also try communicating and coordinating with 46 ski trip participants who have no cell phone reception!

9 months ago

Shotmaker wrote:

Glad you visited the SHOE!  My first trip there was early in 1979 later that fall I moved to South Lake Tahoe.   When I look back to that first time there it was a blue jeans and beer crowd.  The ski wear and people have changed but when the spruce trees are caked with snow the resort feels like a magical place almost like your skiing out west.  My family and I enjoy it very much now having invested in a condo spending 30-40 days on the snow the past 4 years.  Come on back I will give you some tips on how to ski more efficiently and lessen the burn as I use to ski regularly with Level 3 instructors and racers. 

“The Spruces were caked with Snow and was magical”…….Thats why I fell in Love with the WV Alpps….SS is the Vermont of the South..they drive 5 to 18 hours to get there and the southeners are tickled White…but uall would rather use your driving hours heading north which is very understandabe..but..If the Dream of “Almost Heaven” ski area had panned out with The Corrdor H complete many of you would have rather driven the few hours to the “Stowe” of the south…..oh well….back to reality….

Reality is still sweet though and as Snowsmith brought up the Snowpack observed at the higher elevation of the Shoe ..the Canaan area has plenty of Elevation to play with too…
one day a week or so ago it was raining at my House at 2900’ and I told my Half that I was heading up to higher elevations to Find the snow line…2 minutes later at the welcome to Canaan Valley sign at 3300’ the windshield was getting pelted with slush…I took a right onto the Canaan ski Road and headed up to the Tubing area parking lot at 3550’ where the slush had turned to wet snowflakes…there was enough snow base there to put on my Snowshoes and so I headed up Bald knob trail…..up at 3800’ deep into the woods with the first towering Spruce sprinkled with the Hardwoods the snow was much lighter and accumulating nicely…I kept heading up….snow getting about 11 inches deep on the path and getting fluffier…it was quiet And I was making first tracks but then I heard some voices higher up and over thu the woods..Ahhh…must be the whitegrass folks!….Moment was so specially sweet for a Dude that has Florida as a winter home now….sweetness is all relative…

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