Spot Report: Timberline on Christmas 15
Author thumbnail By John Sherwood, DCSki Columnist
Christmas Day at West Virginia’s Timberline Resort. Photo provided by John Sherwood.

Despite poor health (colds) and projected bad weather, my wife and I decided to head up to Timberline on the 24th. Ski a cold and starve a fever! Isn’t that what the doctor used to say? By the time we reached Keyser, WV, the car thermometer read 59 degrees - hardly encouraging for a ski trip, but the sun was shining and the drive was a breeze, so no one complained.

I woke up on the 25th to a steady drizzle and temperature readings in the low 40s. “What a fabulous Christmas gift,” I mused. Since Timberline did not open until 12 noon, I spent the morning bird watching at the National Wildlife Refuge. Cold rain, however, meant no birds. I did notice that the beaver which lives in the pond on Freeland Road had cut down some apple trees. He must be hungry because beavers generally prefer Aspens.

I got a nice cold, WV shower as I rode up Thunderdraft for my first two runs. My first run was on the new mile-long Twister trail. Rainy goggles prevented me from seeing much of the trail on that descent, but subsequent runs gave me a decent impression of the new trail. In general, I like it. The top two twists are fairly steep for an intermediate run but then it settles down a bit into a nice, gentle cruiser with a pitch just slightly steeper than Sally. It will spread people out more on the mountain and prevent congestion on the blue squares. Also, the sunshine on the new trail is wonderful. With its western exposure, this will be my favorite trail on cold days, not to mention sunsets.

Timberline had more terrain open this Christmas than any Christmas in past memory (going back to 2001). I skied it all, but my favorite was Thunderstruck. Both upper and lower were open, giving the trail a BIG feel. The weather stayed cool enough to prevent the machine groomed snow from getting too sticky, and what is more, the sun finally came out after my third run. Nothing like sun and soft snow to turn a marginal day into one for the memory banks!

Blue sky finally breaks through on Christmas Day. Photo provided by John Sherwood.

My wife’s fever reappeared after her 8th run so I bid her adieu and skied the rest of the day solo. I had been itching to ride the whale of Off The Wall all day but I did not want to push my wife to ski double blacks.

“Call me Ishmael,” to quote the famous line from Moby Dick. The whales were still there and soft snow made them fairly benign. The right side of the trail is the easiest way down but better snow and more interesting lines can be found on the left. Also, don’t ignore the whales themselves, but be careful because they can bite. I will be at Timberline through Tuesday. I hope to see others here as well because Timberline is better than ever this year.

PS: My lift bird of the day: a sharp-shinned hawk - spotted at 2 p.m. above the mid-station.

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About John Sherwood

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.

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DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort

Reader Comments

DCSki Reader
December 27, 2005
That is a well written, cheerful report. Thanks John. I was also skiing on Christmas day. I think Off The Wall is the only real double black in the south! Those bumps and whales where soft and vary edgeable. I spent the entire afternoon over there. That little terrain park under the lift is a cool addition to the mountain as well. I'm to old for that kind of fun, but the kids seem to love it. It was getting constant use all day, and looked really user friendly even for begginers and novice. Good job timberline!!!
Connie Lawn
December 27, 2005
Hi friends - Nice report. Sorry you were sick. I had a great day the previous day at Liberty. Check it out! Yours, Connie
John Sherwood
December 27, 2005
Today was my best DECEMBER ski day at Timberline in 5 years. The resort's extensive terrain offerings combined with 4 inches of new snow groomed to perfection made it a heavenly experience indeed. The staff, as usual, rocks!!! Silver Queen went down but the maintenance team had it up and running in about 15 minutes flat. Timberline is earning the accolades it received earlier this year in USA Today and CNN in spades.
DCSki Reader
December 28, 2005
Just got back yesterday from a holiday trip to the valley. I was a little dissapointed with the lack of terrain open at Canaan, but Timberline's terrain made up for it. I spent three days skiing the mountain and had a blast. I think timberline has some of the best terrain in the south; Off the Wall rocks!!!

The only thing different I'd like to see them do is change those lifts out; they are so slow. I don't know if I have been to any other ski area who's lifts are that slow. With the lift line and all I was only getting in two runs in a little under an hour. They were good runs, but just think how many you could get in with a new, decent lift. They have plenty of terrain to accomodate(to spread out the crowd) a high speed quad. If they put a high speed quad in I wouldn't go anywhere else!
redman
December 28, 2005
Hmmm...35 of 37 trails open at Canaan on 12/27. You need to explore a little more. Did you do the spoon out to the maintenance garage? Did you gap the 3 mondo jumps in the terrain park? Did you do the lift lines? Did you jump into the Hawthorne Bowl? Gravity? Spruce Woods? Meadows 3 and the tree line on the far left? There are so many different lines down that hill that never get ridden because people assume that if they (the lines) don't have a name then it must not be a trail.
local bro
December 28, 2005
redman it's all good, don't let these folks get you worked up..but don't spill the goods :)
redman
December 29, 2005
Never get worked up...besides, with such an epic winter shaping up just wait and see what goods get got!
SCWVA
December 29, 2005
Shhhh....Redman, I though you were saving The Goods for me.

Besides, getting all worked up about it isn't good for you. I hear it causes baldness. :)
brent
December 29, 2005
redman i just stumbled on this website and there's your name and comments. just walked in the door from skiing loop road to gas line and the long, steep drop to my house in flag run. you know where my house is, right? wet, cornish snow, but good and thick for a base when we get some more on top.
brent
December 29, 2005
redman i just stumbled on this website and there's your name and comments. just walked in the door from skiing loop road to gas line and the long, steep drop to my house in flag run. you know where my house is, right? wet, cornish snow, but good and thick for a base when we get some more on top.
John Sherwood
December 29, 2005
Did I ride the lift at CV with you a few years ago? You referred to yourself as "red under the hood" back then?
CVIAP Member
December 30, 2005
Brent are you still holding CVIAP meetings, are you still the director? I remember one meeting at your house I attended where several interior doors and timberline rental gear was torched in a large bonfire in your front yard. It was a good sacrifice- there was lots of brown liquor, a late night rail session, a car that almost caught on fire, and the snow gods where vary happy.

Did you notice that Canaan Valley is using a picture of Sarfino(CVIAP member) horking a kicker on the front page of there web site. The funny thing is that the picture was taken on a kicker in timberline's park a few years back.

LOng live CVIAP, and brown liqour!!!
jimmy
December 30, 2005
john, it's all shiny under the hood now. something to do with moonshine, shotski and starting a wood fire in chip's coal stove.
brent
December 30, 2005
red - cviap went underground when sarfino and i went out west, and robisch got a real job. from time to time we meet as the need arises. we still, however, drink a lot of brown liquor. i think i'll be at canaan a lot more this winter when not out west. we'll have to hook up for pow and brown liquor.
redman
January 3, 2006
John,
That would be "Red is in the 'hood"...as in Canaan is the neighborhood. Sort of like so and so is "in the house". Somewhat of an urban street reference if you know what I'm sayin' homie! CVIAP may be underground but it still lives...I'll be by later for a swill of that sweet brown squeezins. Until next Friday.

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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