Special Feature: The Sounds of Snowshoe
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

A flute. The steady beat of a hammer. The chopping of helicopter blades.

This wound-up lift cable will soon carry the chairs that whisk skiers to the top of Cupp Run in 6 minutes. Photo by M. Scott Smith.
This is a small sampling of the sounds that echoed throughout West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort this past weekend. The 25-year old mountaintop resort, in the middle of a $36 million enhancement, is bristling with activity, from the helicopter-assisted installation of a new high-speed lift to the construction of Rimfire Lodge, part of a slopeside village that will host over 400 homes and 100,000 square feet of retail space. One hundred feet from the construction site, a temporary white tent was set up to host the “Music in the Mountains” Symphony Weekend, a popular annual event that brings the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra to the top of Snowshoe mountain for an evening of classical music.

Throughout the commotion, mountain bikers explored Snowshoe’s expansive network of trails while golfers enjoyed the beautiful weather at Snowshoe’s Hawthorn Valley golf course. While Snowshoe is well known as a skiing destination, more and more people are learning that Snowshoe has plenty of activities to offer year-round.

Snowshoe’s location virtually guarantees abundant snowfall in the winter, while offering a cool reprieve from hot temperatures during the summer. Last winter, while resorts in the D.C. area suffered through one of the mildest winters on record, Snowshoe savored a season filled with bountiful natural snow and over 440,000 skier visits. Snowshoe and its parent company, Intrawest, hope to build on last season’s momentum with plenty of enhancements for the 1998/99 winter season.

The recently-cleared Shay’s Revenge offers 1,500 feet of vertical for your skiing and boarding pleasure. Photo by M. Scott Smith.
Foremost among these enhancements is the installation of a new high-speed lift and, to go with it, the cutting of a new run that parallels the popular 1,500-foot vertical Cupp Run. The newly-installed Western Express lift will service black diamonds Cupp Run and its new sibling, Shay’s Revenge. Unlike the laggard fixed-grip lift it is replacing, which used to spend 22 minutes carrying skiers and boarders 1.5 miles up the hill, the Western Express will accomplish the task in just 6 minutes.

Snowshoe will now have two high-speed lifts, more than any resort south of New York. Last winter, Snowshoe unveiled the Ball Hooter express quad, part of $15 million spent on improvements last summer.

To accommodate the expanded terrain, Snowshoe is expanding Shaver’s Lake, which feeds snowmaking operations, from its current 10 acres to 40 acres. The expanded lake will hold 109 million gallons of water, satisfying snowmaking needs for even more trails slated for addition in the coming years.

Construction of Rimfire Lodge continues. Photo by M. Scott Smith.
Last winter, Snowshoe added snow tubing to the Silver Creek area, and Silver Creek is receiving its fair share of enhancements this summer as well. Night skiing will be doubled, keeping 67% of Silver Creek’s terrain open after the sun sets. Snowshoe is adding a fifth lane to its eight-story tubing hill, and is dedicating a groomer specifically for the tubing area.

Snowshoe serves as a second home for many people in the region, and real estate developments currently underway are attracting even more homebuyers. Intrawest is developing a mountaintop village called Wildcat, and the first phase of Wildcat, the Rimfire Lodge, is now under construction. Over half of Rimfire’s 142 units have already been sold, many within the first 48 hours of being offered.

About M. Scott Smith

M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.

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