To say that the annual DCSki/Epicski Mid-Atlantic Gathering at Blue Knob held February 19-21, 2010 was one for the record book would be accurate, but it would be an understatement. February has gone down as Western Pennsylvania’s snowiest month on record providing the best coverage in memory. Everything was skiable, all the places you ever scoped, and all the trails that were marginal or closed were now wide open. Glades that disappeared from the trail map reappeared on the mountain with soft pack, bumps, chop, untracked in the margins and with saplings aplenty. Best of all, the conditions finally rivaled the camaraderie.
This year’s get together drew the cast of usual DCSki suspects as well as a mix of new friends from both online communities. JimK & son Vince, jimmy, The Colonel, (tele)RodSmith, JohnL, Old Boot and Lady Salina, songfta, crgildart and I composed a core group that shared a ski in/out house off of Jack Rabbit trail. More Bears and DCSkiers met for a day totaling over two dozen participants for the weekend. The age span ranged from late sixties to late teens. Terrain preference spread from hard charging off piste to spirited groomer cruising. All ability levels had companions to explore the mountain. Friendships and shared discovery blossomed anew. Once again this gathering has been a highlight of local skiing for all involved.
Friday afternoon The Colonel, JimK and son, jimmy and Laurel Hill Crazie made a quick four hour survey of the venue and found all natural terrain open. We skied East Wall Glade and poked about the entire hill before the sunset. With Olympic prime time on the tube the rest of the crew slowly arrived throughout the evening.
Old Boot, Lady Salina, JohnL, Songfta and telerod made it for Saturday morning reveille at the house and we set out through the powder in our front yard and down Jack Rabbit for the first run. After a few runs we found Marcus and family, friend of LHC and son, Tootie (another FOLHC), and my wife.
Crgildart arrived later on Saturday and he and telerod rode retro night ski. The judges penalized them for wearing helmets.
Sunday was the sunny day as day trippers MikeC, Hot Chocolate, Dave, Paul and Scott, MdSkier joined in the fun.
What can I say about the snow quality and quantity that you don’t already know firsthand? Blue Knob provided plenty of terrain for all and delivered like no other for off piste skiing. Blue Knob received at least four feet of snow from the two big dumps in the month preceding our visit with refreshers that added one to six inches nightly. You could still find hard pack in the deep bumps of Extrovert and a few rocks on the steepest, narrowest line in the trees, but winter like this will surely dull our ice and rock avoidance technique. The snow pack is deep and another foot has fallen since I wrote this. You owe it to yourself to get out to Blue Knob and ski all it has to offer.