New Ski Mountain in West Virginia
17 posts
8 users
2k+ views
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
May 11, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I just got off the phone with Terry Pfeiffer, President of Winterplace Ski Resort. His company is currently conducting a "preliminary study" of three possible locations in West Virginia for a new ski mountain.

He won't confirm where these mountains are located. However, Tory Mountain and Mount Porte Crayon have been considered in the past by this company and may very well be on this short list.

According to Kate Goodrich, Public Legislative and Affairs Officer for the Monongahela National Forest in Elkins.

About 3 years ago a Mr. Bright of Winterplace approached the Forest Service, inquiring about leasing Forest Service
(FS) property on the mountain for a ski resort. (Most of the land in the possible development is private.) He wanted to know what would be required to use FS land. The Forest Supervisor at the time, Chuck Meyers, had previously worked on the White Mtn. NF in New Hampshire and was
involved in the planning of the Loon Mtn. ski resort there, so he experienced
with the process.

He told Bright that there were some sensitive plants species on Porte
Crayon and that a full review under NEPA would be required. This would be a lengthy process with full public involvement. The developer would
pay for the cost of doing an EIS. Bright apparently decided it wasn't
worth his time to pursue the project, and the FS hasn't heard from him
since.

Mount Porte Crayon is the second highest mountain in West Virginia and offers over 2,000 feet of skiable vertical. If developed, it would be the biggest ski mountain South of Stratton, VT.

Tory offers 1100 feet of vertical and is in town of Harman. In the 80s, trails were cut on the mountain, but the investors backed out before the mountain was fully developed. This mountain is completely private.

Mr. Pfeiffer promised to let DCSki know when Winterplace's plans are finalized.

John Sherwood

(Anonymous)
May 11, 2002
I remember intentions to build a ski resort right above Edray which is located outside of Marlington. This could possibly be the location of the third spot. I believe the intended name was to be Laurel Creek Ski Resort or maybe it was Laurel Mtn Ski Resort or some variation using Laurel. It was located above the fish hatchery if you are familiar with the area. I drove up there once and some road improvements were made. The rumor was utilities were also run up to the resort property at considerable expense.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
May 13, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
That's interesting about the Marlington site. I'll have to look it up on Topo USA. Marlington is a bit further from DC than Tory or Porte Crayon. Therefore, I suspect Bright's group is more serious about Tory and Crayon--especially given the recent Corridor H progress nearbye.

I hiked up to Tory over the weekend from the Roaring Planes trail, and took a look. As a pure skier's mountain, Tory is impressive. The mountain offers over 2,000 feet of vertical on the NW side and more than 3,000 feet on the SE side--the Allegheny Front side of the mountain. The NW side is privately owned and the entire backside (SE)belongs to the Forest Service.

Here's some shots of the NW side of the mountain--the area where I suspect a ski resort would be developed:

http://photos.yahoo.com/johnfmh

Note: The steeper slopes cut NW, and the less steep meadows run almost due West.

Topo Map of Tory:

http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=38.92889&lon=-79.45639&loc=Mount+Porte+Crayon

A couple of other quick observations about Tory. The mountain forms the NW boundary of the Roaring Planes--a 4,000 foot plain similar to Dolly Sods, but a bit smaller. This is a unique wilderness area with some unique flora and fauna. The fourth picture in the photo albun shows a picture of one local resident who might no appreciate a skier in her backyard. :-)
As much as I dream of a 2,000 foot vertical mountain in the Mid-Atlantic, This area should probably be spared from future development.

There's also not a lot of water around the mountain--just a few creeks that run almost dry during most of the year.

As far as roads are concerned, the only road that could be expanded to handle ski traffic is the Dry Fork-Laneville, Rd. The Dolly Sods road from the back of Canaan State Park to Laneville is pretty much a one lane, mountain road.

Just my two cents,

John Sherwood

PhysicsMan
May 13, 2002
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
Help ... I'm not sure exactly what I am looking at in your pix.

1) Exactly where where you when you took the pix showing the buildings in the foreground? It looks like you can manually set a marker in topozone.com, so maybe this would be the best way to get this info across.

2) By any chance, are the farm buildings "Red Creek Stables"? (or, what once used to be this operation?)

3) I don't see anything specifically labeled as Tory Mtn on the on-line topo. From your text description, I'm guessing that it is just a name for the NNWestern - Northern flank of the Roaring Plains platteau, ie the land just to the south of the stretch of road between the Dryfork and Lanevile names on the topo. Is this correct?

4) In your photos, there appear to be two slashes in the mountain forming a very open Vee whose apex is directly above the rightmost red roof. By any chance, are these part of the trail system you were referring to in your first post in this thread: "...Tory offers 1100 feet of vertical and is in town of Harman. In the 80s, trails were cut on the mountain, but the investors backed out..."?


BTW, as I said in a message some months ago, my sentiment about development here is exactly the same as yours: I'm an active skier, but would not support development on the flanks of Flatrock / Roaring Plains. As an example of what can happen, look at the encroachment on the western flank of the Sods platteau by things like the homes near the top of the hill at Timberline and by parts of the trail systems of Timberline, Canaan V and Whitegrass (XC). Even tho I have skied and Mtn biked these areas, and have enjoyed my experiences there, I would have prefered to see the entire western flank of the Sods remain a buffer zone, most of the way down to the Canaan V floor.

Tom / PM

DCSki Sponsor: Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Packyderm1
May 13, 2002
Member since 11/8/1999
36 posts
John, I'm a little confused by your post. You seem to be talking about Tory Mtn, but your pictures and map seem to be of Mount Porte Crayon.

On your map, if you draw a line straight down from Harmon, you will see Briarpatch Mtn and Job Knob. I was on the far side of Job Knob from Harmon years ago while they were using a helicopter to bring in equipment for the ski resort, my impression was that it was going to the other side of Job Knob. I see that Briarpatch Mtn. is bounded by Tory Camp Run and Little Tory Camp Run, so that may have been its true destination.

As far as the proposed resort near Marlinton that someone mentioned, they were planning on trying a concept similar to a private golf club. You would have to buy shares/membership in the resort to ski there. Obviously, it didn't work.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
May 13, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Tom:

Sorry for the confusion. I continually confuse Tory with Porte Cratyon because the two mountains are so close to each other. Good thing I'm not calling in close air support. :-)

The mountain in the picture is Porte Crayon. I took the shot from the Dolly Sods Rd heading towards Laneville and the Dolly Sods.

Topozone reference is also to Porte Crayon. The UTM coordinates for Porte Crayon (PC):

UTM 17 633821E 4309770N

You also can search Topo Zone for Mount Porte Crayon, WV and it will place a red cursor on the mountain.

http://www.topozone.com/findresults.asp?place=mount+porte+crayon&statefips=54

The meadows that look like ski trails are actually cow meadows. There are currently no ski trails on Porte Crayon.

I hiked to the mountain via the Roaring Plains Trail. The trailhead I used was at the end of FS-70 near the gas pipeline.
I mountain biked 3 miles from the Dolly Sods Rd up FS-70 (closed to motor vehicles). I then dismounted the bike, and hiked 3.4 miles to the back of PC. There is another access from Laneville but that access requires over 2,000 feet of climbing. My hike was basically flat--the car and the mountain bike did most of the climbing. :-)

Hope that helps. Sorry for the confusion.

PhysicsMan
May 14, 2002
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
John -

Thanks for the clarification.

> I hiked to the mountain via the Roaring
> Plains Trail. The trailhead I used was at
> the end of FS-70 near the gas pipeline.
> I mountain biked 3 miles from the Dolly
> Sods Rd up FS-70 (closed to motor
> vehicles). I then dismounted the bike, and
> hiked 3.4 miles to the back of PC.

About 18 yrs ago, I backpacked up the same stretch of FS70 that you recently biked up. You definitely did it the better way. I remember it as one of the most boring 3 mile stretches I've ever done. We set up camp near the pipeline cut with the hope of finding the trail to Porte Crayon the next AM, but alas, we couldn't find a hint of the trail, and eventually gave up.

Is the trail to PC better marked these days?

Tom / PM

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
May 14, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
The trail is well marked with a small sign. It is about 10 meters right (NW) from the intersection of FS-70. I marked it as a waypoint on my GPS but I cleared the GPS the next day so unfortunately, I can't give you the grid coordinates. GPS was also handy for marking the hiding spot where I stashed our bikes for the hike.

FYI: I put some additional photos of the hike up on photos.yayoo.com/johnfmh

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
May 14, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
The link is: http://photos.yahoo.com/johnfmh
PhysicsMan
May 14, 2002
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
Thanks & nice pix!

They are making me want to dust off the old pack and head out with the family.

Tom / PM

robski
June 18, 2002
Member since 12/10/2001
8 posts
I still have the early '80's makreting brochure for the original Tory Mountain, including a layout of the proposed trail system. The north face of the mountain does indeed have a 1100' vertical with a 1500' fall off the northeast side. The brochure also described the potential of up to 2000' of vertical on Briar Patch mountain, which they apparently owned at the time, just north of Tory.
I love exploring topo maps and often look for mountains that would make ideal ski resorts. Few areas in the Mid-atlantic offer a potential 2000' vert, but P. Crayon and Briar patch are two that I've "discovered". While I'm fantasizing, there is also a nice looking mountain just north of Seneca Rocks WV on the east side of Rte 28 that would offer up to 2100 vert on north facing slopes. And it would be about 30 - 45 minutes closer to DC than Tory or Canaan.
Keep dreaming.

--rob

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
June 27, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I was just up in WV over the weekend and did not see any indications of trail development at either Tory or Porte Crayon. I guess plans are on hold for this year--no great surprise. I imagine it will take a really good snow year to convince investors to dump money into another mountain... Keep dreaming.
MitchH
June 28, 2002
Member since 03/29/2004
41 posts
Or mayabe improved highway access might create some investor interest. Snowshoe has proven that if you can get enought people to come, with intense Snowmaking a ski area in the West Virginia highlands can have a decent season even during a warm low snow winter. I have been driving to Seneca Rocks every weekend and the progress in building the portion of Corridor H from Wardensville to Morrefield seems significant; does anyone know what the progress is on the portions closer to Canaan Valley/Thomas? Exactly when are the various segments projected to be completed?
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
June 28, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Hey Mitch:

The section from Davis to Kerens looked completed when I biked past the area a few weeks ago.

The Corridor H Web site indicates that this 5.5. mile section and the 14 mile Baker to Moorfield section should be open to traffic later this year. Davis to Bismark should follow in mid 2003.

Other sections of the road, however, will not open until 2004 or even later. Some sections such as Davis-Parsons have not even been fully approved. In short, this highway is still a touch and go affair. Finally, there is still no plan to link corridor h with I-66--VA is dead set against the idea.

Personally, I feel that as sections get completed, the momentum to finish the thing will grow. I also feel that as sections get completed, skier visits in WV will increase and we may finally see another mountain get developed--probably Tory.

It will be interesting to see how much shorter the drive gets as each little section gets completed. Let's hope that Baker to Moorfield section gets opened before the first snow--both Shoe and T-Line will benefit if it does. Let's also hope that the first major snow is in November!

John

PS You can check the current status of each segment via this web site:

http://www.wvcorridorh.com/route/

PPS Interestingly enough, Timberline actually made more money this year than last year despite a lower number of skier visits due to the loss of December. I suspect people are spending more money in the restaurant and ski rental shop. Both facilities were improved quite recently. What Timberline and Snowshoe really need to do next year is push Spring skiing. Skiing in March and even April can be epic, but few people show up to enjoy it. Pitty!

canaanman
July 14, 2002
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
Let see... Im usually in Canaan Valley two or three weekends out of every month, so heres what I know:

1. Tory mountain is not likely to ever be developed into a ski area. It is too low elevation wise to get any natural snow, unless a huge storm comes though, and its pretty much in the middle of nowhere (more nowhere-ish than Snowshoe).
2. The rumor is that Mt. Porte Crayon, which can be viewed from Route 32 just south of the Valley may be bought and developed, but no plans are currently available, although Winterplace seems to know something. There is really no good road access. There is a trail to the top, you have to drive up the gravel road past the Laneville Wildlife Cabins. Its pretty dang rough, uphill and everything, no fun unless you plan to bike it.
3. It seems as if Timberline is going down the crapper. Ive been there for 7 consecutive seasons, each one gets worse.
4. Mt. Porte Crayon is NOT the second tallest mountain in WV. When I find my old WV Studies book I'll let you know what is.
5. Corridor H is still under heavy construction... and it looks like a rough road for its progress... with the troubles of Greenland Gap and such. It should go through smoothly to Parsons and a little tougher to Davis and Thomas (which is sinking). Getting it all the way over to DC is gonna be a struggle, so you may be using 93 and whatnot to ski up here.

If you have any other questions ASK.

Packyderm1
July 14, 2002
Member since 11/8/1999
36 posts
FYI, Bald Knob is the second highest mountain in WV.

Bald Knob is located near Snowshoe, you can take the train from Cass up to the top.

ski_guy_59
July 14, 2002
Member since 11/9/2001
221 posts
hey guys, all this talk of a new mountain is nifty. I was at timberline back in 98 and it was ok, late march and the skiing was still good. I'm aiming for Smuggs this year, but if we decide its too expensive to fly, I'll be at the 'Shoe again!
DCSki Sponsor: Seven Springs Mountain Resort

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.13 seconds