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Area Improvements during Summer 2019
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Updated 13 days ago
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3 months ago

Never too early to get thris thread going. 

3 months ago

Does receivership of T4SR count as an improvement?

msprings wrote:

Never too early to get thris thread going.

 

2 months ago

I remember seeing that Snowshoe was supposed to renovate the Boathouse at some point. Is that still happening?

2 months ago

msprings wrote:

I remember seeing that Snowshoe was supposed to renovate the Boathouse at some point. Is that still happening?

Not this year.  I can’t remember if it was scrapped or kicked down the curb a few years.  
 

Other SS owners may have some intel.

2 months ago

Blue Don 1982 wrote:

msprings wrote:

I remember seeing that Snowshoe was supposed to renovate the Boathouse at some point. Is that still happening?

Not this year.  I can’t remember if it was scrapped or kicked down the curb a few years.  
Other SS owners may have some intel.

Frank had it in his top 5, but that was prior to Alterra etc.  Hopefully Patti will hold a “state of the Shoe” address this summer and include some captial improvement news.

2 months ago

Bonzski wrote:

Blue Don 1982 wrote:

msprings wrote:

I remember seeing that Snowshoe was supposed to renovate the Boathouse at some point. Is that still happening?

Not this year.  I can’t remember if it was scrapped or kicked down the curb a few years.  
Other SS owners may have some intel.

Frank had it in his top 5, but that was prior to Alterra etc.  Hopefully Patti will hold a “state of the Shoe” address this summer and include some captial improvement news.

Thank you!

2 months ago

Roundtop/Peak just tweeted this morning “equipment for our massive snowmaking upgrade is beginning to arrive and work has already begun on the slopes”.  Which is interesting because Roundtop already had the best snowmaking of the three Snowtime resorts… perhaps just clever marketing for what is just typical lines and guns repairs/upgrades?

2 months ago

Any word on the Blue Knob plans? I’ve never been there, but have always been interested in going. The lack of open terrain always keeps me away.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

RodneyBD wrote:

Roundtop/Peak just tweeted this morning “equipment for our massive snowmaking upgrade is beginning to arrive and work has already begun on the slopes”.  Which is interesting because Roundtop already had the best snowmaking of the three Snowtime resorts… perhaps just clever marketing for what is just typical lines and guns repairs/upgrades?

Doesn’t Roundtop open relatively early and stay open relatively late compared to Liberty and Whitetail?  I wonder if the idea is to make sure it has the longest season for DC/NoVA folks who go for a Peak Pass of some sort.

Having observed the improvements for snowmaking infrastructure at Massanutten over the last 5-6 years, it takes a few years to really make an obvious difference even starting with good pipelines and a reasonable number of snowguns.  Adding a few big fan guns every year really made a difference in the long run.  The other improvement done early on involved automating existing pole guns.  The amount of snow that Mnut can generate during the first multi-day cold spell in December makes a huge difference in how deep the base is before mid-January.

2 months ago

RodneyBD wrote:

Roundtop/Peak just tweeted this morning “equipment for our massive snowmaking upgrade is beginning to arrive and work has already begun on the slopes”.  Which is interesting because Roundtop already had the best snowmaking of the three Snowtime resorts… perhaps just clever marketing for what is just typical lines and guns repairs/upgrades?

They bought a lot of new snowgun heads that are supposed to be more efficient. If you took a close look at RT’s guns, they had a lot of the old school heads on them.  They’re supposed to be replaced with much more efficient HKD heads that will allow for better snowmaking in more marginal temps.

I don’t know that RT had the best snowmaking system - I think WT did as they had a lot more of the TechnoAlpin fan guns and more automation.  RT tended to rely more on the lance guns. I think RT was the most aggressive at making snow.  They had the quickest recovery of the 3.

2 months ago

msprings wrote:

Any word on the Blue Knob plans? I’ve never been there, but have always been interested in going. The lack of open terrain always keeps me away.

I had a long conversation with a guy who owns a condo at BK and has been a season pass holder for quite a while.  He had a lot of intersting insight to what’s going on there and with what happened this past season.  Let’s just say he had a lot of concerns and he told me to wait until Black Friday if I really wanted a pass there. I don’t want to say more than that publicly.  It was enough for me to put off buying the early bird passes.

He did say he thought the wrong people bought the resort.  Apparently there was another buyer interested that really knew what they were doing for development and stuff, and had the money to turn into something special.  However, their offer was too low (they offered what it was worth vs the current owners offering a premium) and they supported Gov Wolf’s opponent, so things got hamstrung with government approvals.  PA’s unfortunately very political that way.

Good news is they’re still interested if anything changed there.

2 months ago

marzNC wrote:

RodneyBD wrote:

Roundtop/Peak just tweeted this morning “equipment for our massive snowmaking upgrade is beginning to arrive and work has already begun on the slopes”.  Which is interesting because Roundtop already had the best snowmaking of the three Snowtime resorts… perhaps just clever marketing for what is just typical lines and guns repairs/upgrades?

Doesn’t Roundtop open relatively early and stay open relatively late compared to Liberty and Whitetail?  I wonder if the idea is to make sure it has the longest season for DC/NoVA folks who go for a Peak Pass of some sort.

Having observed the improvements for snowmaking infrastructure at Massanutten over the last 5-6 years, it takes a few years to really make an obvious difference even starting with good pipelines and a reasonable number of snowguns.  Adding a few big fan guns every year really made a difference in the long run.  The other improvement done early on involved automating existing pole guns.  The amount of snow that Mnut can generate during the first multi-day cold spell in December makes a huge difference in how deep the base is before mid-January.

Going back to that aggressive snowmaking stance, yes they make a lot and try to have a good opening.  It really caused a firestorm in December when they had a ton of snow but weren’t opening.  They wanted to keep it in whales so it stayed better with the warm up that came shortly thereafter.  They had the depeest base over the season (50-60” base) but they closed early like WT did.  Liberty stayed open the latest.  Why I’m not sure because I thought they had the least amount of snow and most marginal conditions over the season.

And with Peak trying to push traffic north for the late season, all 3 closed despite still having snow - irritating their pass holders (me included).

So I think they’ll have decent snow when they make it, but I won’t be counting on an early or late season just because it’s a way of forcing people north.

2 months ago

RodneyBD wrote:

Roundtop/Peak just tweeted this morning “equipment for our massive snowmaking upgrade is beginning to arrive and work has already begun on the slopes”.  Which is interesting because Roundtop already had the best snowmaking of the three Snowtime resorts… perhaps just clever marketing for what is just typical lines and guns repairs/upgrades?

Just a marketing ploy. publicizing upgrades they were already planning on making. 3.5 mil doesn’t sound like any more than what the 3 resorts together would likely spend in annual reinvestment.

Re: snowmaking, most rate Liberty to have the best snowmaking  especially technology wise, almost the whole resort other than the bunny hill and park are fan guns, think RT+WT are only about 50/60%.  At night the difference between fan guns and hydrant snow is noticeable. Lib does have more people relatively to acres, so stuff gets skied out sooner.

Roundtop might have a better early season climate many years, and whitetail obviously has a higher quantity of fan guns but a much lower percentage. In the past couple years Lib has stayed open the longest 4/6 years.

2 months ago

zag33 wrote:

RodneyBD wrote:

Roundtop/Peak just tweeted this morning “equipment for our massive snowmaking upgrade is beginning to arrive and work has already begun on the slopes”.  Which is interesting because Roundtop already had the best snowmaking of the three Snowtime resorts… perhaps just clever marketing for what is just typical lines and guns repairs/upgrades?

Just a marketing ploy. publicizing upgrades they were already planning on making. 3.5 mil doesn’t sound like any more than what the 3 resorts together would likely spend in annual reinvestment.

Re: snowmaking, most rate Liberty to have the best snowmaking  especially technology wise, almost the whole resort other than the bunny hill and park are fan guns, think RT+WT are only about 50/60%.  At night the difference between fan guns and hydrant snow is noticeable. Lib does have more people relatively to acres, so stuff gets skied out sooner.

Roundtop might have a better early season climate many years, and whitetail obviously has a higher quantity of fan guns but a much lower percentage. In the past couple years Lib has stayed open the longest 4/6 years.

Still trying to figure out how RT ended up with a base twice as deep as Liberty and WT’s.  I’m thinking they were more aggressive and blew in more marginal weather.

one month ago

Patti Duncan (CEO) didn’t do a “State of the Shoe” address this weekend, instead opted for a more personal dialogue by meeting with the HOA presidents and attending several HOA meetings.  To summarize what I heard wrt capital improvements:

2019 (now): several stores in the village getting shuffled around to better meet customer demand; bike trail improvements including adding one; fleet of ebikes for touring; several deferred maintenance items such as rehab of The Inn; more snow guns and line maintenance.  Hosting the UCI World Cup this Sept is huge, cements the resort as a top-tier MTB destination.

2020 (next summer): POWDER MONKEY LIFT REPLACEMENT! - fixed grip quad; blue trail added on Western Territory side (skiers right of Cupp?); Shavers Center total makeover (gut & rebuild bigger).

one month ago

Thanks for Snowshoe 2019 and 2020 summer replacement plans.  I am not sure how a new fixed quad replacement for Powder Monkey will help with the Ballhooter mob scene?!   Any ideas?!!!  

Rather replacing  Grabhammer lift with a fixed quad extended to the top would help with the incredible Ball Hooter lines.  

MorganB. aka The Colonel

one month ago

The Colonel wrote:

Thanks for Snowshoe 2019 and 2020 summer replacement plans.  I am not sure how a new fixed quad replacement for Powder Monkey will help with the Ballhooter mob scene?!   Any ideas?!!!  

Rather replacing  Grabhammer lift with a fixed quad extended to the top would help with the incredible Ball Hooter lines.  

MorganB. aka The Colonel

My perception is this the driving force is age, not BH crowding.  PM lift is approaching 50 yrs so that naturally puts a priority on it since it’s also a main artery for access to the north-basin and western trails.  The added benefit of course will be increased uphill capacity.  They went with fixed-grip to avoid the downtime from ice/wind events.  Another goal is to improve PM’s off-loading area…maybe by repositioning it up-hill towards WT (my thinking).

A reason for the added blue trail on WT is to pull more traffic to the WT side, thereby reducing the BH line.  Not sure I’m a believer in that reasoning, but I like the idea that it will give 2nd-guessers on Cupp a way out and hopefully more tree-skiing options!

There are several new real-estate developments underway so growth is immenent, which means pressure to increase terrain.

 

one month ago

“Rather replacing Grabhammer lift with a fixed quad extended to the top would help with the incredible Ball Hooter lines.”

Agree but if they kept the tower placement in place for Grabhammer it would interfere with unloading Skidder. Were you to shorten Skidder to accommodate Grabhammer it would severly restrict the beginner area. I like where Grabhammer lift is eventhough it is slow you can easily access the blue terrain.

Always hoped the terrain between Ballhooter and Soaring Eagle was better utilized. A new 4-6 person lift close to Ballhooter’s base extending diagonally up to an unloading area between Treetop & Leatherbark could solve many overcrowing problems. With this new lift it would create new problems redesigning trails in place establishing some new runs and still having access to get back back and forth.

Oh to have solutions to these problems-one can wish!

 

one month ago

Bonzski wrote:

 

A reason for the added blue trail on WT is to pull more traffic to the WT side, thereby reducing the BH line.  Not sure I’m a believer in that reasoning, but I like the idea that it will give 2nd-guessers on Cupp a way out and hopefully more tree-skiing options!

There are several new real-estate developments underway so growth is immenent, which means pressure to increase terrain.

Any word from snowshoe on whether there will actually be more tree-skiing options (I guess between the new blue run and Cupp?), or is this just speculation? Nothing wrong with speculation, of course, but I am curious.

 

one month ago

Bonzski wrote:

My perception is this the driving force is age, not BH crowding.  PM lift is approaching 50 yrs so that naturally puts a priority on it since it’s also a main artery for access to the north-basin and western trails.  The added benefit of course will be increased uphill capacity.  They went with fixed-grip to avoid the downtime from ice/wind events.  Another goal is to improve PM’s off-loading area…maybe by repositioning it up-hill towards WT (my thinking).

>In addition to 5 green runs terminating at or near PM.

A reason for the added blue trail on WT is to pull more traffic to the WT side, thereby reducing the BH line.  Not sure I’m a believer in that reasoning, but I like the idea that it will give 2nd-guessers on Cupp a way out and hopefully more tree-skiing options!

>The beginning of a new blue run could start just below N. Westridge and off to the right or north of Cupp. It would only share a few hundred feet at the top with a quick turn off to the right. Starting farther down Cupp would take away from an already well designed slope with some green and blue level skiers on the first 500-600’ of vertical.

>Traversing to the north of the ridge that parellels Cupp then having the new run angle back toward Cupp below the ridge would take out the middle head wall vertical. The big issue is where the trail would re- intersect Cupp toward the bottom. There is the ravine and creek to navigate over. Not excited to share too much of Cupp with this design.

>A blue could be cut to the south of Upper/Lower Shay’s but it’s the sunny side of WT. Could see the new run start on Upper Shay’s then branching off to the left. It’s possible to take the steeps out on that side with some creative slope design. The run could terminate close to the bottom of Lower Shay’s.

There are several new real-estate developments underway so growth is immenent, which means pressure to increase terrain.

 

 

one month ago

wgo wrote:

Bonzski wrote:

 

A reason for the added blue trail on WT is to pull more traffic to the WT side, thereby reducing the BH line.  Not sure I’m a believer in that reasoning, but I like the idea that it will give 2nd-guessers on Cupp a way out and hopefully more tree-skiing options!

There are several new real-estate developments underway so growth is immenent, which means pressure to increase terrain.

Any word from snowshoe on whether there will actually be more tree-skiing options (I guess between the new blue run and Cupp?), or is this just speculation? Nothing wrong with speculation, of course, but I am curious.

Very much my speculation and wishful thinking!

one month ago

superguy wrote:

msprings wrote:

Any word on the Blue Knob plans? I’ve never been there, but have always been interested in going. The lack of open terrain always keeps me away.

I had a long conversation with a guy who owns a condo at BK and has been a season pass holder for quite a while.  He had a lot of intersting insight to what’s going on there and with what happened this past season.  Let’s just say he had a lot of concerns and he told me to wait until Black Friday if I really wanted a pass there. I don’t want to say more than that publicly.  It was enough for me to put off buying the early bird passes.

He did say he thought the wrong people bought the resort.  Apparently there was another buyer interested that really knew what they were doing for development and stuff, and had the money to turn into something special.  However, their offer was too low (they offered what it was worth vs the current owners offering a premium) and they supported Gov Wolf’s opponent, so things got hamstrung with government approvals.  PA’s unfortunately very political that way.

Good news is they’re still interested if anything changed there.

I finally made it to BK after that late season mini snowfall, I think 3/23… very dissapointing.  Pretty much everything was disorganized and in disarray- the grooming, the ticket window operation, the cafeteria, the lifties standing around smoking cigarettes, the maintenance guys driving snowmobiles way too fast across trails with no lights or flags, even the ski patrol (to whom I reported that the mid-station off ramp had barely any snow on it, despite a lift attendant who was sitting in the little house, and his response was “ok”).  Doesn’t appear this ownership has the ability to manage and run an operation of this size and complexity.  A shame. 

one month ago

Wait…how did the Tline folk get to take over BK !?!?! lol Lol LOL

one month ago
Looks like 7 Springs is doing something to Avalanche Slope. Any word on what that is or any other projects on the Laurel Highlands?
one month ago

RodneyBD wrote:

superguy wrote:

msprings wrote:

Any word on the Blue Knob plans? I’ve never been there, but have always been interested in going. The lack of open terrain always keeps me away.

I had a long conversation with a guy who owns a condo at BK and has been a season pass holder for quite a while.  He had a lot of intersting insight to what’s going on there and with what happened this past season.  Let’s just say he had a lot of concerns and he told me to wait until Black Friday if I really wanted a pass there. I don’t want to say more than that publicly.  It was enough for me to put off buying the early bird passes.

He did say he thought the wrong people bought the resort.  Apparently there was another buyer interested that really knew what they were doing for development and stuff, and had the money to turn into something special.  However, their offer was too low (they offered what it was worth vs the current owners offering a premium) and they supported Gov Wolf’s opponent, so things got hamstrung with government approvals.  PA’s unfortunately very political that way.

Good news is they’re still interested if anything changed there.

I finally made it to BK after that late season mini snowfall, I think 3/23… very dissapointing.  Pretty much everything was disorganized and in disarray- the grooming, the ticket window operation, the cafeteria, the lifties standing around smoking cigarettes, the maintenance guys driving snowmobiles way too fast across trails with no lights or flags, even the ski patrol (to whom I reported that the mid-station off ramp had barely any snow on it, despite a lift attendant who was sitting in the little house, and his response was “ok”).  Doesn’t appear this ownership has the ability to manage and run an operation of this size and complexity.  A shame.

Pretty much what that guy told me.  Nice enough folks, but they’re a bunch of lawyers and dentists out of Pittsburgh who are pretty hands off and have no clue how to run a resort.  He said the mountain manager was a retired ski patroller. Also they supposedly only have one full-time maintenance person and they need more to fix a lot of the stuff that needs repaired. Theyr’e generally short-staffed and the people that they do have either aren’t necessarily qualified to do their jobs or there’s just too much for them to do. Makes sense why they offer a free pass in the fall in exchange for 40 hours of volunteer work.  But even then, it seemed like they had a hard time charging more than $30 for a day pass, so was it even worth the effort?

Repairs to the snowmaking system weren’t done properly. Instead of gutting the whole line and redoing it properly, they’re piece mealing and repairing the broken section and then reattaching it to the old infrastructure.  And of course, we know the new water pump wasn’t installed until mid-to-late November so they lost several days of cold weather when they could have been blowing snow.  He estimated that the snowmaking system could only run at about 1/3 of capacity. Anything more and they started losing pressure.  Seeing how they were making snow and how slowly they opened terrain - especially compared to other resorts with a system that was up to snuff - seems to back that up.

Sand traps in the golf course didn’t have sand in them last year - don’t know if that’s changed for this year.  Could be a reason why their golf deals are always pretty cheap and often less than some of the nicer public courses in the area that are always busy.

A lot of stupid decisions were made and money wasted. He said Scott Bender, formerly of 7S, gave them bad advice and had them put a used magic carpet in the beginner area where it made no sense to do so.  Not only that, it was rarely used. The theory was to attract more beginners.  It was money should have gone in to fixing the snowmaking system and repair the lifts. I don’t know if they had money to replace all of the water and air lines, but I’d think at least getting a few of them solid and adding more as money permits would have been a better investment. Snow is the lifeblood.

They’re having a big 4th of July weekend bash on the July 8th with a lot of activities. I’d like to get up there and check it out for myself.  If anyone else heads up over the summer, I’d love to hear your impressions.

one month ago

msprings wrote:

Looks like 7 Springs is doing something to Avalanche Slope. Any word on what that is or any other projects on the Laurel Highlands?

I see what you mean - big dirt road type thing running up.  It looks like it’s starting at skier’s right at the top of Tyrol and heading down.  I know the mountain bike course is open for the summer - perhaps it’s a mountain bike trail?

one month ago

Shotmaker and Bonzski, thanks for the Snowshoe update and for your thoughts about the planned blue trail in Western Territory.  

If “New Blue WT” can be designed …

  • with a pitch suitable for intermediate skiers that won’t freak them out,
  • wide enough to accommodate the hordes that will want to ski it (including me, although Cupp will probably remain my favorite Mid-A run),
  • adequately served by snowmaking and the Powder Monkey lift replacement,
  • without messing up the top or bottom of Cupp Run

… then WOW, that will be one epic ski run.  

I still think of all the hype that TL gave/gives “the Mid-Atlantic’s longest ski run” Salamander.  The billboards are still up.

Here’s hoping that we do indeed see New Blue WT soon.  Can’t wait!

Woody

 

one month ago

Woody - Don’t look for this blue to be a length worthy of marketing.  For starters, the trail can’t begin until the sewer bench (~300 ft below Westridge Rd).  There’s a large ridge on skiers right of Cupp where several bike trail run.  Keeping the trail on the southern side of the ridge will force the merge near the bottom of the lower Cupp.  A couple of us have skied this area, it’s totaly doable. The other (longer) route option would be the northern side, requiring the merge below Arbuckles.

one month ago

Bonzski wrote:

Woody - Don’t look for this blue to be a length worthy of marketing.  For starters, the trail can’t begin until the sewer bench (~300 ft below Westridge Rd).  There’s a large ridge on skiers right of Cupp where several bike trail run.  Keeping the trail on the southern side of the ridge will force the merge near the bottom of the lower Cupp.  A couple of us have skied this area, it’s totaly doable. The other (longer) route option would be the northern side, requiring the merge below Arbuckles.

I would expect them to go on the northern side of the ridge. Need to hold as much snow as possible.

one month ago

Would someone be willing to draw the trail possibilities on a map and post the image?

one month ago

wgo wrote:

Would someone be willing to draw the trail possibilities on a map and post the image?

Look at the bike trail map for WT, specifically trail #s 11-14 to get the general idea.

one month ago

http://www.trailforks.com/file/region/105/snowshoe_bike_map.png

Looking at Upper Western Territory detail map as Bonzski mentioned any blue trail would need to start below Westridge Road as homes are located just off Cupp & Upper Shay’s. The sewer bench is roughly where the Ninja Bob intermediate bike trail starts off to the right of Cupp. It starts by going away from Cupp then back toward Cupp similar to the Ball-N-Jack bike trail then away like Powerline then back to finish by Arbuckle’s cabin and the base lift. This would be the close to Cupp route.

Msprings mentioned going on the north side of the ridge. For many reasons this could work out but likely be more expensive. It would involve crossing a few streams and navigating various contours but could be done.

From Upper Shays skiing off to your left where the Sky Line intermediate bike trail starts and following a similar route but ending lower close again to the base lift could work.

I believe these are the 3 options that could work all would involve accessing trails that exist the most important aspect is to not take away from Cupp and Lower Shays on their lower 1/3. 

one month ago

I have to admit I’m biased for a southern blue trail option off Upper Shay’s. On average the snow would be softer/slower for the blue trail skier and wouldn’t take away from Upper Shay’s like it would at the top of Cupp. I really enjoy early mornings starting at the top of Cupp and letting go without stopping.  With significantly increased traffic there it could end up being a choke point with many first timers thinking Cupp it isn’t too bad stopping at the turn off then trying to decide what to do. Shay’s is a very different run it feels like a wide blue at the top with a straight tuck blast to Lower and that’s where it gets great and different than anything else at Snowshoe.

I tkink a blue off to the south with some nicely countoured switchbacks would add a interesting dimension to the WT!

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago

Not exactly an improvement, but Blue Knob has joined the Indy Pass.

one month ago

wgo wrote:

Would someone be willing to draw the trail possibilities on a map and post the image?

I laid out a few options using Google Earth.  All start at the sewer bench; red & blue staying on the ridge’s south side and yellow wrapping around the north back to south and making use of the existing service road for the last 25%. Staying on the North side all the way to Arbuckles just doesn’t look feasible due to numerous creek crossing etc near bottom so I didn’t bother.

one month ago

@Bonzski, @Shotmaker,

 

Thanks for the links and the graphics. I must admit I have mixed feelings now - as pointed out above, the need to start below the sewer bench is going to funnel more people into the top of Cupp, which is a pretty fun section of that trail.

one month ago

Nice job Bonzski! I looked at Google Earth but not savy enough on CKEditor to do what you posted.

Eventhough it seems logical to look at Cupp for the entry and exit points for a new blue run and the red & blue inside slope track would be the most cost effective I hope this isn’t done.  Cupp has been the defining run at Snowshoe since first tracks were taken there. It has a distinguished tradition hosting the Challenge each year and offering up one of the best designed runs in the Mid-Atlantic.  It has Jean-Claude Killy’s signiture all over it.  He supposedly referred to it as “one of his 12 favorite runs in the world” at one time.

http://corduroyinn.com/History-Cupp-Run-Snowshoe-WV

My expertise is not in ski slope/run design so I’m not even sure if a southern route could work.  I have looked at a Topo map and it appears that parallel or just to the south of Lower Shay’s has a bowl which could accomodate a series of switchbacks to lessen the impact of the vertical there. With potentially a wider slope it could be a very different yet enjoyable run to take especially when not many people are on it. Like to hear from anyone who bikes on the Sky Line Intermediate trail and get their opinion if this is seems feasible.

one month ago

you can see (quite well I’ll add) exactly where the exposures are and how the snow holds. I think that rules out the purple line and potentially even the red line. I think yellow down to the creek is the most viable option.

one month ago

My problem with the yellow track is that it would bring the blue trail back into Lower Cupp right at the bottom of the steep section and at the start of the flat part. That might avoid the creek, but it would put a lot of slow moving or stopped lower-ability skiers at the beginning of the flat section right at the stage when many skiers are bombing the last part of the steep section of Lower Cupp. Seems like a recipe for disaster.

Perhaps the blue trail could come back into Lower Cupp near Arbuckles with the help of sturdy bridges over the creek(s), enough the take the weight of snow and cats, or though the construction of culverts and pipes. 

one month ago

any chance Snowshoe relocates Cubb Run to elsewhere. It is really under used where it is.

20 days ago

superguy wrote:

RodneyBD wrote:

superguy wrote:

msprings wrote:

Any word on the Blue Knob plans? I’ve never been there, but have always been interested in going. The lack of open terrain always keeps me away.

I had a long conversation with a guy who owns a condo at BK and has been a season pass holder for quite a while.  He had a lot of intersting insight to what’s going on there and with what happened this past season.  Let’s just say he had a lot of concerns and he told me to wait until Black Friday if I really wanted a pass there. I don’t want to say more than that publicly.  It was enough for me to put off buying the early bird passes.

He did say he thought the wrong people bought the resort.  Apparently there was another buyer interested that really knew what they were doing for development and stuff, and had the money to turn into something special.  However, their offer was too low (they offered what it was worth vs the current owners offering a premium) and they supported Gov Wolf’s opponent, so things got hamstrung with government approvals.  PA’s unfortunately very political that way.

Good news is they’re still interested if anything changed there.

I finally made it to BK after that late season mini snowfall, I think 3/23… very dissapointing.  Pretty much everything was disorganized and in disarray- the grooming, the ticket window operation, the cafeteria, the lifties standing around smoking cigarettes, the maintenance guys driving snowmobiles way too fast across trails with no lights or flags, even the ski patrol (to whom I reported that the mid-station off ramp had barely any snow on it, despite a lift attendant who was sitting in the little house, and his response was “ok”).  Doesn’t appear this ownership has the ability to manage and run an operation of this size and complexity.  A shame.

Pretty much what that guy told me.  Nice enough folks, but they’re a bunch of lawyers and dentists out of Pittsburgh who are pretty hands off and have no clue how to run a resort.  He said the mountain manager was a retired ski patroller. Also they supposedly only have one full-time maintenance person and they need more to fix a lot of the stuff that needs repaired. Theyr’e generally short-staffed and the people that they do have either aren’t necessarily qualified to do their jobs or there’s just too much for them to do. Makes sense why they offer a free pass in the fall in exchange for 40 hours of volunteer work.  But even then, it seemed like they had a hard time charging more than $30 for a day pass, so was it even worth the effort?

Repairs to the snowmaking system weren’t done properly. Instead of gutting the whole line and redoing it properly, they’re piece mealing and repairing the broken section and then reattaching it to the old infrastructure.  And of course, we know the new water pump wasn’t installed until mid-to-late November so they lost several days of cold weather when they could have been blowing snow.  He estimated that the snowmaking system could only run at about 1/3 of capacity. Anything more and they started losing pressure.  Seeing how they were making snow and how slowly they opened terrain - especially compared to other resorts with a system that was up to snuff - seems to back that up.

Sand traps in the golf course didn’t have sand in them last year - don’t know if that’s changed for this year.  Could be a reason why their golf deals are always pretty cheap and often less than some of the nicer public courses in the area that are always busy.

A lot of stupid decisions were made and money wasted. He said Scott Bender, formerly of 7S, gave them bad advice and had them put a used magic carpet in the beginner area where it made no sense to do so.  Not only that, it was rarely used. The theory was to attract more beginners.  It was money should have gone in to fixing the snowmaking system and repair the lifts. I don’t know if they had money to replace all of the water and air lines, but I’d think at least getting a few of them solid and adding more as money permits would have been a better investment. Snow is the lifeblood.

They’re having a big 4th of July weekend bash on the July 8th with a lot of activities. I’d like to get up there and check it out for myself.  If anyone else heads up over the summer, I’d love to hear your impressions.

I won’t speak to BK’s staffing situation or summer maintenence beyond ‘it has improved by at least a small amount’ per liftline talk. As to saying they should be replacing snowmaking pipe wholesale, though, have you looked at prices for even used pipe? A used magic carpet that size is, very generously, $100k. I priced out a small snowmaking pipe project - air and water down one side of a tubing park in 2” pipe. That was north of $20 grand. For their main arteries they need 6”, for spur lines 4”. Then add install costs. Replacing one trail’s pipe very likely wipes out their entire upgrade budget for the year, and leaves the rest of the system in just as bad a shape. And I don’t mean a top-to-bottom run, either.

I guarentee nobody in ops is happy about welding pipe back into swiss cheeze, but replacing pipe is a luxury you can’t afford - at best you splice new pipe into problem patches.

Again I won’t claim there aren’t other issues and other mistakes being made, but as for snowmaking speed once it starts, compare BK to Roundtop. Roundtop can move a maximum of 4,000 gal/min. Blue Knob, even with the new pump, is closer to 2,000 gal/min. If we’re using big air - Larchmonts at BK, or Omichron land guns at Roundtop, Roundtop has somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 CFM while BK has 6,000. (For fun compare to Blue Mtn at 55,000+ CFM). And a lot of Blue Knob’s guns are still Larchmonts or old style HKD towers, which really cuts into their 20+ WB potential.

Further, replacing pipe on one trail gets you one good trail. The 10 new portable HKD sleds go almost anywhere on the hill. The 10 SMI Grizzly towers replace older, less efficient, less effective guns. The new Polecats and Puma can cover a lot of ground fast and don’t eat up the very limited compressed air supply. (If you’re counting, that’s $70k+$50k+$125k in new snowguns.) Are they doing everything right, probably not. Assuming whoever’s running their welder can keep the pipe together, though, you’ll see far more improved snowmaking from better portable guns than from one trail getting pipe swapped out.

I’m hoping that, given a season where Ops/Maintenence isn’t scrambling to install a new carpet lift, build and install power + water + lights + lift at the new Tubing park, pushing to build a new pumphouse and install a new pump, and learning how to run the first VFD pump and not blow out pipelines with enthusiasm, that snowmaking can proceed more smoothly. Third time’s the charm.

20 days ago

I think the best location for a blue trail would be over on the Shay’s side. Skyline is an awesome bike trail, it would be a green, and too flat in many parts for a ski trail, I think. But if you could get a blue run over there, that would be the most appropriate place. Just think of how crazy it is on lower Cupp near Arbuckle’s already, that place is a disaster zone with out-of-control skiers going way too fast. I would be worried about putting more skiers there, at least not without some serious speed mitigation fencing or something.

19 days ago

Totally agree about out of control boarders/skiers just above Arbuckles at bottom of Cupp.  In late Jan 2017 a speeding out of control boarder just after flat area on lower Cupp plowed into me breaking 6 of my rib. Yowsers this was painful and slow to heal! The Colonel

19 days ago

Thefirewarde wrote:

superguy wrote:

RodneyBD wrote:

superguy wrote:

msprings wrote:

Any word on the Blue Knob plans? I’ve never been there, but have always been interested in going. The lack of open terrain always keeps me away.

I had a long conversation with a guy who owns a condo at BK and has been a season pass holder for quite a while.  He had a lot of intersting insight to what’s going on there and with what happened this past season.  Let’s just say he had a lot of concerns and he told me to wait until Black Friday if I really wanted a pass there. I don’t want to say more than that publicly.  It was enough for me to put off buying the early bird passes.

He did say he thought the wrong people bought the resort.  Apparently there was another buyer interested that really knew what they were doing for development and stuff, and had the money to turn into something special.  However, their offer was too low (they offered what it was worth vs the current owners offering a premium) and they supported Gov Wolf’s opponent, so things got hamstrung with government approvals.  PA’s unfortunately very political that way.

Good news is they’re still interested if anything changed there.

I finally made it to BK after that late season mini snowfall, I think 3/23… very dissapointing.  Pretty much everything was disorganized and in disarray- the grooming, the ticket window operation, the cafeteria, the lifties standing around smoking cigarettes, the maintenance guys driving snowmobiles way too fast across trails with no lights or flags, even the ski patrol (to whom I reported that the mid-station off ramp had barely any snow on it, despite a lift attendant who was sitting in the little house, and his response was “ok”).  Doesn’t appear this ownership has the ability to manage and run an operation of this size and complexity.  A shame.

Pretty much what that guy told me.  Nice enough folks, but they’re a bunch of lawyers and dentists out of Pittsburgh who are pretty hands off and have no clue how to run a resort.  He said the mountain manager was a retired ski patroller. Also they supposedly only have one full-time maintenance person and they need more to fix a lot of the stuff that needs repaired. Theyr’e generally short-staffed and the people that they do have either aren’t necessarily qualified to do their jobs or there’s just too much for them to do. Makes sense why they offer a free pass in the fall in exchange for 40 hours of volunteer work.  But even then, it seemed like they had a hard time charging more than $30 for a day pass, so was it even worth the effort?

Repairs to the snowmaking system weren’t done properly. Instead of gutting the whole line and redoing it properly, they’re piece mealing and repairing the broken section and then reattaching it to the old infrastructure.  And of course, we know the new water pump wasn’t installed until mid-to-late November so they lost several days of cold weather when they could have been blowing snow.  He estimated that the snowmaking system could only run at about 1/3 of capacity. Anything more and they started losing pressure.  Seeing how they were making snow and how slowly they opened terrain - especially compared to other resorts with a system that was up to snuff - seems to back that up.

Sand traps in the golf course didn’t have sand in them last year - don’t know if that’s changed for this year.  Could be a reason why their golf deals are always pretty cheap and often less than some of the nicer public courses in the area that are always busy.

A lot of stupid decisions were made and money wasted. He said Scott Bender, formerly of 7S, gave them bad advice and had them put a used magic carpet in the beginner area where it made no sense to do so.  Not only that, it was rarely used. The theory was to attract more beginners.  It was money should have gone in to fixing the snowmaking system and repair the lifts. I don’t know if they had money to replace all of the water and air lines, but I’d think at least getting a few of them solid and adding more as money permits would have been a better investment. Snow is the lifeblood.

They’re having a big 4th of July weekend bash on the July 8th with a lot of activities. I’d like to get up there and check it out for myself.  If anyone else heads up over the summer, I’d love to hear your impressions.

I won’t speak to BK’s staffing situation or summer maintenence beyond ‘it has improved by at least a small amount’ per liftline talk. As to saying they should be replacing snowmaking pipe wholesale, though, have you looked at prices for even used pipe? A used magic carpet that size is, very generously, $100k. I priced out a small snowmaking pipe project - air and water down one side of a tubing park in 2” pipe. That was north of $20 grand. For their main arteries they need 6”, for spur lines 4”. Then add install costs. Replacing one trail’s pipe very likely wipes out their entire upgrade budget for the year, and leaves the rest of the system in just as bad a shape. And I don’t mean a top-to-bottom run, either.

I guarentee nobody in ops is happy about welding pipe back into swiss cheeze, but replacing pipe is a luxury you can’t afford - at best you splice new pipe into problem patches.

Again I won’t claim there aren’t other issues and other mistakes being made, but as for snowmaking speed once it starts, compare BK to Roundtop. Roundtop can move a maximum of 4,000 gal/min. Blue Knob, even with the new pump, is closer to 2,000 gal/min. If we’re using big air - Larchmonts at BK, or Omichron land guns at Roundtop, Roundtop has somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 CFM while BK has 6,000. (For fun compare to Blue Mtn at 55,000+ CFM). And a lot of Blue Knob’s guns are still Larchmonts or old style HKD towers, which really cuts into their 20+ WB potential.

Further, replacing pipe on one trail gets you one good trail. The 10 new portable HKD sleds go almost anywhere on the hill. The 10 SMI Grizzly towers replace older, less efficient, less effective guns. The new Polecats and Puma can cover a lot of ground fast and don’t eat up the very limited compressed air supply. (If you’re counting, that’s $70k+$50k+$125k in new snowguns.) Are they doing everything right, probably not. Assuming whoever’s running their welder can keep the pipe together, though, you’ll see far more improved snowmaking from better portable guns than from one trail getting pipe swapped out.

I’m hoping that, given a season where Ops/Maintenence isn’t scrambling to install a new carpet lift, build and install power + water + lights + lift at the new Tubing park, pushing to build a new pumphouse and install a new pump, and learning how to run the first VFD pump and not blow out pipelines with enthusiasm, that snowmaking can proceed more smoothly. Third time’s the charm.

I certainly hope you’re right, as I would love to see the area succeed.

I don’t think the carpet was needed.  That’s $100k that should have went to higher priority projects - like upgrading the snowmaking.

Money seems to be in short supply. I think the other buyer would have been a better choice, as they actually had the money and resources (construction/development companies) to put into the place.  From what I heard a lower bid (closer to actual value of the assets) and supporting the wrong candidate for governor did them in.  PA’s very political when it comes to state crap like that.  My sister’s financee that’s an engineer at PennDOT won’t even vote because it can adversely affect his career if he votes for the wrong person - and he says they always seem to find out who voted which way.

But it is what it is at the moment. I just hope they can spend their money more wisely and have a better season. They got such a late start last year fixing stuff way into November that should have been done much sooner.

We’re planning on heading up there Saturday for the fireworks, so we’ll see how things are looking.

19 days ago

Won’t vote…really?  Who is “they”?

19 days ago

Union bosses and other officials higher up the food chain.  It’s very much a good ol’ boys club. Had some friends who worked road crews during the summer back in the day. They said the union rules were pretty ridiculous about who could do what when. Seniority was everything. And of course, all the new guys did all the work while the rest stood around and watched.

19 days ago
Switching back to improvements, any word on when the next Laurel Mountain Trail Clearing will be?
18 days ago

superguy wrote:

~snip~

I certainly hope you’re right, as I would love to see the area succeed.

I don’t think the carpet was needed.  That’s $100k that should have went to higher priority projects - like upgrading the snowmaking.

Money seems to be in short supply. I think the other buyer would have been a better choice, as they actually had the money and resources (construction/development companies) to put into the place.  From what I heard a lower bid (closer to actual value of the assets) and supporting the wrong candidate for governor did them in.  PA’s very political when it comes to state crap like that.  My sister’s financee that’s an engineer at PennDOT won’t even vote because it can adversely affect his career if he votes for the wrong person - and he says they always seem to find out who voted which way.

But it is what it is at the moment. I just hope they can spend their money more wisely and have a better season. They got such a late start last year fixing stuff way into November that should have been done much sooner.

We’re planning on heading up there Saturday for the fireworks, so we’ll see how things are looking.

I also personally think new snowguns would be better than that carpet, but maybe checking that box helps sell Group Sales tickets or something that we enfranchised skiers don’t see.
If you have time, take a look around the summit - I hear they mean to do some major lift work among other things.
Here’s hoping they do pull through - I’m rooting for any independant operation that’s remotely skier friendly at this point, and BK sure as heck ain’t corperate.

18 days ago

superguy wrote:

…From what I heard a lower bid (closer to actual value of the assets) and supporting the wrong candidate for governor did them in.  PA’s very political when it comes to state crap like that.  My sister’s financee that’s an engineer at PennDOT won’t even vote because it can adversely affect his career if he votes for the wrong person - and he says they always seem to find out who voted which way…

Just to set the record straight, most of Blue Knob’s land is privately owned. State park land doesn’t extend much beyond the top of the lifts where as Laurel and Denton Hill are solely owned by the Commonwealth. You can expect little help from the state park department in infrastructure investment at Blue Knob.

As for the rest of your political and anti-union statements, I’ll adhere to Scott’s request that we keep politics out of discussions on DCSki.

18 days ago

msprings wrote:

Switching back to improvements, any word on when the next Laurel Mountain Trail Clearing will be?

 

The next set of trail clearing days will be this Fall, more likely mid-October and early November. I’ll post dates here on DCSki and on the Support Laurel Mountain fb page when they are set. In the past, the trails were only mowed at the top of the mountain during the summer. Grass grows waist high on the lower trails. We concentrate on the non-snowmaking trails and clean up old glades that were cut in the late 1950s and early 1960s. We spent the first 2 days this past spring brushing back Dream Highway from the Slot down to the last switch back. I hope to clear glades to skier’s right of Broadway from Last Chance to Hegan’s Cut but first Doc’s Forest needs to be cleaned and a new entrance cut. Doc’s current entrance has been wind scoured causing thin coverage with rocks exposed. Our focus has been to clear lower angles glades first as they are more likely to be skiable requiring less natural snow to open. Also, access and egress from snowmaking trails have been a priority.

18 days ago

Laurel Hill Crazie wrote:

superguy wrote:

…From what I heard a lower bid (closer to actual value of the assets) and supporting the wrong candidate for governor did them in.  PA’s very political when it comes to state crap like that.  My sister’s financee that’s an engineer at PennDOT won’t even vote because it can adversely affect his career if he votes for the wrong person - and he says they always seem to find out who voted which way…

Just to set the record straight, most of Blue Knob’s land is privately owned. State park land doesn’t extend much beyond the top of the lifts where as Laurel and Denton Hill are solely owned by the Commonwealth. You can expect little help from the state park department in infrastructure investment at Blue Knob.

As for the rest of your political and anti-union statements, I’ll adhere to Scott’s request that we keep politics out of discussions on DCSki.

Yeah, I knew BK’s land was mostly private, which I think gives them a big advantage overall.  True, they’ll not get much help in terms of money from them, but they have a lot more freedom to expand and improve should they get the money.  LM, on the other hand, I think is having to fight with one hand tied behind its back with the state having so much say in what’s going on.  And truth be told, I think Nutting’s ok with that as I think he’d rather put the money in to 7S and HV anyway.

As for the other stuff, let’s just say you seem to making some assumptions on things I never said or didn’t elaborate on for brevity.  And given my ties to that area, I’m not ignorant on how things work around there. YMMV.

17 days ago

superguy wrote:

Yeah, I knew BK’s land was mostly private, which I think gives them a big advantage overall.  True, they’ll not get much help in terms of money from them, but they have a lot more freedom to expand and improve should they get the money.  LM, on the other hand, I think is having to fight with one hand tied behind its back with the state having so much say in what’s going on.  And truth be told, I think Nutting’s ok with that as I think he’d rather put the money in to 7S and HV anyway.

As for the other stuff, let’s just say you seem to making some assumptions on things I never said or didn’t elaborate on for brevity.  And given my ties to that area, I’m not ignorant on how things work around there. YMMV.

My apologies for any erroneous assumptions on my part. I will send you a PM on the topic. 

 

17 days ago

superguy wrote:

Laurel Hill Crazie wrote:

superguy wrote:

…From what I heard a lower bid (closer to actual value of the assets) and supporting the wrong candidate for governor did them in.  PA’s very political when it comes to state crap like that.  My sister’s financee that’s an engineer at PennDOT won’t even vote because it can adversely affect his career if he votes for the wrong person - and he says they always seem to find out who voted which way…

Just to set the record straight, most of Blue Knob’s land is privately owned. State park land doesn’t extend much beyond the top of the lifts where as Laurel and Denton Hill are solely owned by the Commonwealth. You can expect little help from the state park department in infrastructure investment at Blue Knob.

As for the rest of your political and anti-union statements, I’ll adhere to Scott’s request that we keep politics out of discussions on DCSki.

Yeah, I knew BK’s land was mostly private, which I think gives them a big advantage overall.  True, they’ll not get much help in terms of money from them, but they have a lot more freedom to expand and improve should they get the money.  LM, on the other hand, I think is having to fight with one hand tied behind its back with the state having so much say in what’s going on.  And truth be told, I think Nutting’s ok with that as I think he’d rather put the money in to 7S and HV anyway.

As for the other stuff, let’s just say you seem to making some assumptions on things I never said or didn’t elaborate on for brevity.  And given my ties to that area, I’m not ignorant on how things work around there. YMMV.

Tracking who an employee votes for is pure paranoid conspiracy poppycock. They have no idea who you vote for. As far as Nutting, or who really controls the purse strings, Eric Mauch, ski area CEO for Nutting, investing money in Hidden Valley, I haven’t seen much. And I’ve owned here for 15 years. Most investment goes to 7S. I am not saying they invest no money, they have purchased groomers, portable fan guns and spruced up the ski lodge. They also removed a lift that was too old to repair and did not replace it. They make a lot of snow and cater to the 12,000 season pass holders that have passes at 7S/HV/LM. Mauch is very much a bean counter type and makes money by controlling or cutting costs and not by investing in expanding the business. Skiing and golf are not huge growth industries. Golf is declining in popularity as the old white dudes check out. Additionally, climate change is making operating a ski area in our latitude more challenging. I’m not sure why anyone without deep pockets would buy BK. It’s a great mountain but accessibility is an issue and it needs major upgrades. It used to be that the money was really made with real estate development. No one in Western PA seems to want to take the risk with resort real estate development. Meanwhile at MD and Delaware beach resorts they can’t build resort homes fast enough. The 2009 Great Recession ended ski area resort development at Mid-Atlantic ski resorts. They have to make money on skiing, golf, food, catering and selling booze. 

13 days ago

I was at Snowshoe this weekend, there seemed to be more large, blue Titan fan guns on Hootenany. Maybe I just don’t remember them from last year, but they looked sparkling new.

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