Firsthand Report: Annual DCSki Gathering at Blue Knob
Author thumbnail By Jim Kenney, DCSki Columnist

An enthusiastic gang of DCSki.com and Epicski.com forum members met at Blue Knob, PA on the weekend of Feb 25-27, 2011 for two and a half days of fun skiing. About a dozen folks stayed in a slopeside house and another six or eight day-skiers joined the group at times during the weekend for on-slope action. The weather was variable, but in the end far exceeded pre-trip expectations. Several of us got a chance to meet with the very personable Doug Houck, General Manager of Blue Knob Ski Area.

In the days leading up to this event Blue Knob received ten inches of snow, then one inch of rain. Although the rain eliminated any chance for skiing Blue Knob’s renowned and extensive system of glades, the regular network of 34 trails was just about fully open for our visit and offered good midwinter-like conditions on Saturday and soft, fun spring conditions on Sunday. We saw nary a drop of non-frozen precip from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening.

We skied in packs of 8-12 skiers for several hours each day, then broke into smaller groups as dictated by the various terrain interests of the participants. When avid skiers band together it breeds a very fun level of energy and camaraderie on the slopes, at meal times, and apres ski. As in the past, the age spread of attendees was remarkably wide, from teenager to septuagenarian. The skill level varied too, from intermediate to certified ski professionals. One of the secret perks of this event is the likelihood of picking up an occasional instructional tip while hanging out with ski instructors on vacation.

In our Sunday morning conversation with Doug Houck we learned that he’s a Penn State grad and has skied Blue Knob for over 40 years. Before becoming General Manager in 2009 he’d held a variety of positions there including director of racing programs. Doug is highly articulate and displays a deep conviction for preserving the special character of Blue Knob that makes it such a great mountain for avid snowriders. We weren’t the only ones enjoying the slopes over the weekend. On Saturday there was a popular big air contest in the Terrain Park and on Sunday a special Mountain Challenge racing competition on Upper 66 trail. But never did the crowds get large enough to make liftlines much of an issue.

Even without the glades open Blue Knob was so much fun, especially after Extrovert and other trails softened up a bit on Sunday. There’s nothing better than skiing under blue skies on soft spring snow with a big group of really strong skiers. We all look forward to this trip because it’s becoming a re-union with a few new folks mixed in every year. Here’s a link to the very conveniently located house we rented for the weekend: www.blueknobchalet.com.

The following photos were all taken on Feb 26 and 27, 2011 at Blue Knob, PA. Photos were taken by Jim Kenney, Rod Smith, and Mike Coughlin.

Part of the Saturday group, L-R: Zoe, Rod, Jimmy, Charlie, Marcus, Robin, JohnL, Vince, Keith, Rob, Greg.
DeAnn kicks up a spray on High Hopes.
JohnL on Extrovert.
MDskier on Extrovert.
“Rasta Shack” beside Jack Rabbit trail.
Jimmy on Edgeset trail.
Rod and his niece conquer Stembogen trail.
The Fischer contingent, JimK, MDskier, Old Boot.
Charles on Extrovert.
GGNagy is all smiles.
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About Jim Kenney

Husband, father and retired civilian employee of the Department of Navy, Jim Kenney is a D.C. area native and has been skiing recreationally since 1967. Jim's ski reporting garnered the 2009 West Virginia Division of Tourism's Stars of the Industry Award for Best Web/Internet/E-Magazine Article.

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