Firsthand Report: Timberline, December 30-31, 2006 4
Author thumbnail By John Sherwood, DCSki Columnist

Usually by this time of year, I’ve skied enough days to “pay off” my season pass. This year I’ve barely made first tracks. I spent my first two days of the season at Timberline this past weekend, and must admit that the quality and quantity of open terrain impressed me: two top-to-bottom trails and three trails down from the mid-station.

Photo provided by John Sherwood.

I made my first run of the season on The Drop more by accident than design. White Lightning was closed for grooming at 8:15 a.m. on Saturday when I reached the top of Hertz Mountain so I instead went down The Drop. There were no moguls but icy conditions and thin cover made it difficult. My wife announced after the run that she was ready for easier skiing, and to be truthful, so was I. The freshly groomed White Lightning (WL) proved a perfect next run. We made five runs on WL that day and had no complaints. Coverage was excellent and the trail skied much bigger now that it is wider.

After six runs at Timberline, we decided to give our ski legs a break to go hiking at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge’s Beall Tract (just off Cortland Road). There, we observed most of the common wintering birds in the Canaan Valley: the Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, etc. We even spotted an elusive Brown Creeper. During the warmer months, the refuge contains one of the largest number of American Woodcocks in the Eastern United States. It is also home to a small flock of America’s most endangered grassland sparrow: the Henslow’s Sparrow.

Photo provided by John Sherwood.

The refuge and its volunteers (the Friends of the 500th) spend a lot of effort maintaining the trails so one rarely gets muddy there. On Saturday, 50 degree temperatures even made jackets optional. One of the great strengths of the Canaan Valley is the diversity of activities available to visitors. In addition to skiing, people can enjoy fly fishing, jogging, hiking, and even mountain biking in the winter. When there’s snow on the ground, the White Grass Nordic Center on Freeland Road offers world-class Nordic skiing.

Sunday was even warmer than Saturday and White Lighting began to bump up after a few runs. It proved challenging even for experts but fun because it tested your skills. Under less than perfect conditions, Timberline skis bigger than its 1,000 feet of vertical, so big in fact that I opted not to ski The Drop that day. Beginners, however, should not be deterred from traveling to the resort because as I mentioned earlier, there are three relatively easy routes down from the mid-Station, including one of my favorites, Lower Almost Heaven.

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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Reader Comments

kim w
January 2, 2007
John, you hit the nail on the head in your description of T-line. I thought you were up for the weekend. As a matter fo fact, we probably hit WL at the same time on Saturday AM.
John Sherwood
January 2, 2007
Kim:

I saw Richard V but I did not see you. It was a nice weekend. Sorry I missed you.
Tucker
January 2, 2007
John, great report...did you catch any of the Rail Jam on Saturday(maybe from the liftt)???we could only fit a box and a rail in the realestate we had to work with but we had a good turnout and everyone seemed to have fun...
John Sherwood
January 3, 2007
I missed it but I did see the rail and box and was very happy that T-line had a few features available in the park. The resort really tried hard to make the weekend pleasant for everyone. The lift attendants were super. I ran into someone who skied T-line at Ski Center yesterday and he too was pleasantly surprised.

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