I arrived at Timberline last night after an easy drive along the interstate through Maryland. Many claim that the Virginia route (I-66 to SR-55) is quicker. Admittedly, it will shave 15 minutes off the drive, but the road climbs over countless mountain ranges and often causes my wife to get carsick.
By November 2002, West Virginia intends to open portions of Corridor H, a new highway that will eventually run from Wardensville to Elkins. That road should make the Virginia route much easier, but until then, the Maryland way remains the less demanding drive. The portion of the route from Cumberland to New Creek also offers numerous conveniences. There is a 24-hour Wal-Mart Super Center in New Creek, multiple chain restaurants, and several noteworthy local restaurants, such as Fred Warner’s German restaurant in Cresaptown, and Chat-N-Chew on US 220 just before Keyser.
A trip to Fred Warner’s will transport you to the Bavarian Alps. This venerable restaurant has served numerous VIPs, including U.S. presidents; yet, it is unpretentious and reasonable. My wife had a seafood combination plate and I ordered a Jager Schnitzel. We concluded our meal by splitting a massive piece of German Chocolate cake. The whole lunch with drinks and an endless soup and salad bar came to $43.00.
Chat-N-Chew, by comparison, is a very inexpensive diner with great seafood entrees, club sandwiches, fried chicken, and quick and courteous service -; perfect for those in a hurry who detest the thought of eating at the Golden Arches.
We stuck to White Lightning, and enjoyed ourselves on what was now a more challenging, icy, steep. I talked to several people riding the triple, and everyone was having a good time. Jim Burden from Columbus, Ohio was enjoying his first day of skiing after a 20-year hiatus. This former naval aviator spoke fondly of skiing Olympic slopes in Japan in the 1960s.
The temperature began to drop as the day progressed. In the morning, it was 25 but by the end of my last run at 4 pm, it had dipped to 10 degrees. To warm up, we skied to our little condo, and I enjoyed taking breaks to write this article with my little parrot Franz sitting on my shoulder singing and a fire roaring in the background. One of Timberline’s strong suits is its ample supply of affordable slope-side houses and condominiums -; many of which can be rented through local realtors.
I stopped by the lodge at the end of the day to get my skis waxed and to check out the improved cafeteria. Timberline hired two trained chefs for the first time this year and I could already see the difference. The food area was better organized and everything from the pizza to the hotdogs looked better.
Tomorrow, I hope to ski more terrain at Timberline, and yes, DCSki readers, it is still snowing in wild and wonderful West Virginia.
John Sherwood is a columnist for DCSki. When he's not hiking, biking, or skiing, he works as an author of books on military history.