Snowshoe open for business... Hurray!!!
December 7, 2004
Had a great weekend at the opening of Snowshoe's winter season. Awesome awesome awesome... Despite the limited terrain (the resort said 7 trails but that meant two top-to-bottom runs, it was a blast.
With a million maintenance chores in my condo prior to rental season, company coming over, and the gentle nudge of my Black Lab who wanted to play, we didn't get to the slopes until noon Friday. I expected ice and rocks and was greeted to a comfortable base of about three feet. The first top-to-bottom run was Heisler way to Powder Monkey and terminating at the Powder Monkey lift. Nice green. The second run was Spruce Glades down off the Grabhammer lift, normally the site of the terrrain park but they had it groomed as a lite blue.
On all, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the conditions were excellent. A little icy in spots, but when once considers the fact that it is only the beginning of the season, we're off to a good start.
As we were enjoying ourselves, we were thinking of the tremendous job and hard work that the groomers had done in a relatively short time, with adverse weather conditions, to provide generally excellent conditions this early in the season. Hats off to them. Everyone in the resort seemed to be proud of the job they had done, and with good reason. The lift operators were cheerful, the groomers were saluting as they went by, it was indeed a festive atmosphere.
Sunday was the best of the best. With virtually no one in the resort, it was top-to-bottom runs with absolutely no lines. Got my ski legs back and met some great people in the slopes.
Apre-ski wise, the new Starbucks is located where the old dilapidated Stellar Coffee House used to provide latte for cappuccino, or cappuccino for latte, or whatever... Starbuck's standard for good service is welcome indeed. The new Bistro restaurant in the lower floor of Allegheny Springs, accross from Starbucks, is another welcome sight in the resort. They opened this past summer and used the time to train their service staff and come up with the best menu to suit their clientele. I will say that service has always been superb and the food selection, upscale American cooking, is also very good. They have a full bar that is always well-visited. Their beers are a full selection, but I found out they didn't offer Stoli Vodka, opting for working-class Smirnoff.
Also tried the Foxfire Grill. Brian Ball's creation of Blues, Views and Barbeque has a new menu and given its central location, quality of service and good food, promises to be the site of another busy season. Brian's other culinary mecca, the Red Fox, will open Dec 15, I believe.
The Quasimodo of Snowshoe restaurants, the Junction, hopefully will improve under a new manager and may become a Phoenix instead of an expensive greasy spoon with surly waiters. Intrawest has proven to be a top-notch developer and ski resort manager at Snowshoe, but an abysmally poor restauranteur. I got to meet the new manager of the Junction, eager to please and to seek customer input and satisfaction. He actually convinced me that I should enter the premises, which I haven't patronized in two years other than to have a beer outside. But while I was talking to the new manager, his Executive Chef was indignant that I should have the nerve to challenge the quality of the slop he serves. Oh well... Doi... I gather some people in the service industry have never been to customer service training or an Andrew Carnegie course...
I always hear people rip on the Junction but I've had at good experiences there every time (at least 4). The prices are a bit steep for simple things like chilli but I actually got free coffee there one time. I've NEVER gotten free at a resort in the way of food or drinks.
You can't beat that little fireplace area too if you're there alone or with one other person. Nothing like propping your feet up on the hearth, drinking some coffee and eating some deer chilli.
I guess I was always just lucky and there during non-busy times of the day so I hope the new manager improves the place where people have had problems.
Glad you had a good time there this weekend. I was going to head up this coming weekend for demo days but I'll probably wait till they have more trails.
I completely agree with your assessment of the conditions at SS. I only had 2 hours available for skiing--from 9 'till 11 Saturday morning. The temperature was about 20 degrees and the snow was dry and well groomed. I made about a dozen runs off of the Grabhammer and Powdermonkey lifts. I did some fun, fast cruising on Spruce Glades. It was a good start to the season. I looked for people wearing DC Ski pins, but didn't see any.
I also concur with your post. Was there all day Sat. and got my fix in. Was very pleased to see the guns going all day. One of the instructors (Ray) said if they were still on by 2PM they would probably go continous thru Sun. It was great on the available limited terrain and it appeared other trails would be opening soon, such as Ballhooter. Anyway, didn't see anyone from DCSki either
Hopefully, Scott and others can assist with this issue.
Like others, I had a great time! I'll be going again soon.
I thinking of coming out for Friday, does anyone know what will be open by then, and will it likely be snowing or raining or just cloudy that day?
I just won 2 season passes for Snowshoe from a local radio station and unfortunately I won't be able to go often enough to make proper use of them. They retail value is $599 each. I was hoping to get $1000 or best offer. If anyone is interested please contact me Dvelke@insurancemadeeasy.biz
Thanks for the terrific onsite report ... nice to hear unbiased comments on the newer facilities at Snowshoe.
We usually do carryout from Rimfire as the best food in the village so am looking forward to the new menu. Ditto, looking forward to trying out the new Bistro. Sure hope they also have carryout and expand our menu a bit, but, no Stoli! ... sacrilege!
And, of course, Starbucks is a very welcome addition ... not having to miss my 4 shot venti caramel mach for breakfast ... priceless!
I agree on the Junction greasy spoon designation ... we have had only one decent meal there but it was not worth the price they were charging.
The way the weather is sizing up .. looks like our first day's skiing will be our 1st trip to SS on the 16th. Gonna be good to feel the burn again! Snowshoe has the most amazing snow-making crew, I am sure the conditions will be awesome!