Elk Mtn
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tomimcmillar
January 7, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004 🔗
129 posts
Hey All,

Any beta on Elk?
Hitting the road early Sat morn (5am) to make the 8:30-12:30 session.

Their report shows two blacks open with a smattering of blues and greens. They showed 8" of fresh yesterday with a bit more expected late tonight, early tomorrow morn. Anyone have a feel for how quickly they open up the rest of the mountain, and how hard they're trying to get some of the other slopes open?
It'll be my first trip there, and I'm sure that I'll be pleased. But, variety is the spice of life.

peace.
tomimcmillar
January 10, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004 🔗
129 posts
Well, I made it.
Awoke 4am Saturday morn. Jumped online to check the radar and saw the rain-snow line sitting overtop of Wilkes Barre. Groovey, hopefully there'll be freshies up at Elk Mtn. Left Carlisle in the warm rain to head up 81. Somewhere north of Harrisburg, travel conditions deteriorated to a mix of rain and freezing rain, kinda sketchy in the pre dawn hours. Pulled into the Elk parking lot about 8am, changed clothes while listening to the pitter pat of rain on the car roof, damn.

No snow falling, no freshies.....but lots of cold cold rain. Was first person onto the lift and got plenty of turns on rain crusted corduroy, soft mid fat tele skis just couldn't quite bite into the thin crust. Top third of the mountain was in a cloud, seriously limited visibility. Within the first few runs, all of my clothing sported a thin layer of ice. Except my gloves, which were soaked through and making my hands painfully cold, the chink in the armor. Note to self: new gloves next year. Goggles were worthless early on, so they stayed up on the helmet. Then the goggles melded with the helmet under a pretty substantial layer of ice. The rain let up a bit and skier traffic began to soften up the previously crusted groomers. They had good coverage on most of the visible closed slopes (must've been the 8" they got earlier in the week) with guns and hoses poised and ready. Imagine more terrain will be opening shortly, maybe this wknd or next. Skied mostly on the two blacks that were open, decent pitches, but freshly groomed, no bumps to play in. And the cloud bank made you keep the speed in check, so kinda had to throttle back and just enjoy the form of a well executed turn.

Was a good day of paying penance to Ullr, four hours spent freezing in a 25 degree rain, suffering for the passion. After spending last Tuesday eve in the small rain showers at Whitetail, I hope that dues have been paid, and we'll soon see an end to this springlike winter. When the weather is finally in our favor, I'd highly recommend Elk as an option, travel ease seems to be on par with heading to Canaan/7 Springs neighborhood. Elk may be more dependent on NorEaster snows, missing out on the powdery lake flake enjoyed elsewhere, so not sure how they stack up once that cool north wind kicks on. I'll definitely be making the trip again.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
January 10, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,200 posts
Tom,

Nice report, thanks. I've never been to Elk but heard many favorable reports. I am curious whether they have anything comparable to Extrovert at Blue Knob. I've never met anyone who has skied them both.
tomimcmillar
January 10, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004 🔗
129 posts
Hey Denis,

Never been to Blue Knob, so your search will have to continue.

Comparison I can make is to Whitetail. I think the blacks at WT are more sustained, top to bottom, judging by how my legs felt when loading onto the lift. The two trails I spent most of my time on (Tunkhannok & Susquehanna), turn into blues once off the top of the mountain. No continuous blacks were open from top to bottom, and not sure if that exists at Elk. There are a few smaller black rated trails that looked interesting, and seem to reach further down the hill before mellowing out. But they weren't open yet. I'd say the steeper pitches were similar to Exhibition at WT, but a third of the length. And didn't find/see anything that reminded me of the headwalls on Bold Decision or Ramrod/Gunbarrel at RT. With decent visibility I imagine it's a great hill for ripping big GS carves, and definitely nice terrain to grow bumps on.

Oh yeah....starting to put in motion a Saturday WG trip in two or three weeks, once the lakes start pumping out the white gold.

peace,
T
JohnL
January 10, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
Quote:

I'd say the steeper pitches were similar to Exhibition at WT, but a third of the length. And didn't find/see anything that reminded me of the headwalls on Bold Decision or Ramrod/Gunbarrel at RT.




That's a bummer. I was hoping Elk had a bit more challenge on it's main trails. From what I've read, Tunkhannok & Susquehanna are two of their main trails. Since Whitetail advertises ~930 feet of vertical and Elk 1000 feet, I'm a bit surprised the steeper section was so short. The vertical on the Expert's Choice Chair at Whitetail has to be much less than 900 feet.

Supposedly many of the black runs are left to bump up when there is enough snow. I've heard good things about Elk's bump runs.

I have also heard that Elk has some very nice cruisers with respectable vertical. How long was the flat run-out at the bottom?

I'm guessing Elk has older infrastructure. How slow were the lifts?

Your sacrifices to Ullr are appreciated.
JohnL
January 10, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
Denis, Tom,

One of my goals for this ski season was to find the mythical "Second Extrovert" in the Mid-Atlantic. If the snow conditions are good, I'm hoping to do a few long weekends and check out Elk/Plattekill, Laurel (Wildcat) / Blue Knob (missed it last year) / Denton and to be able to finally check out Lower Shay's at Snowshoe.

I don't know if I'll ever find the mythical trail, but the journey should be fun. Let's hope we get some snow for the local natural snow trails.
MichaelB
January 10, 2005
Member since 11/20/2000 🔗
61 posts
I have skiied Elk Mountain, Blue Knob, Whitetail and Snowshoe. IMO if you are looking for the mythical Extrovert....you won't find it at Elk Mountain. Elk is the best the Poconos have to offer. It has the largest number of blacks by ratio. But it has too clean of a design without the kind of challenges of moguls and cross connecting traffic like Extrovert. Elk and Shawnee are comparable to Whitetail....nice mountains....good steeps with long runs more trails and better snow than WT. IMHO the best blacks I have skiied in the MA are in the following order:

SnowS - Shay's Revenge
SnowS - Cupp Run
Blue Knob - Extrovert
Montage - White Lightning (claim to have steepest pitch in MA)
7springs - Gunnar/Giant Steps
WT - Far Side

Far Side is beyond a doubt my favorite. I can reach it in 40 mins. from my house and when it is open (gggrrrrrrrr....not often) it has wide GS turns at the top with two dropoffs and a superb steep drop off on the final hit down to the lift. After a snowdump it doesn't get any better than Far Side!
Roger Z
January 10, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Denton likes to boast of Avalanche and that run is pretty steep, but I'd almost say the chute underneath their backside chairlift could qualify as Extrovert II. It's narrow, natural snow, and they let it bump up. Absolutely a wild ride down that one and you're right under the lift, so when you screw up all the North PA hotshots are there to jeer.

There's a wall on the other side of Denton too. I forget the name, but it's Ramrod or Gunbarrel-esque in steepness (steeper than Avalanche). But it's very short. Also, there's a run there called Bear Claw or something that has a two-ski narrow entry way and then a nasty double-fall-line as you work your way down. Not too steep, but grueling.

If Denton had the vertical Blue Knob had, it'd be the best expert mountain in the Mid Atlantic (and none- or very few- of the environmental problems to boot!). Good consistent snow, cheap tickets, cheap beer, friendly locals, backcountry skiing, and awesome snowmobiling abound. I've gotta get back there someday.

Usual rant done. I've heard good things about Plattekill too and it'd be interesting to see what you think!

Wildcat is okay but not as long as Extrovert. Can get awfully icy as a lot of people come down it, including many non-experts. Also, has anyone done Montage's double diamonds? If you're heading up to Elk, JohnL, you might want to drop by there and check 'em out. Rumor is they're steep.
Ullr
January 10, 2005
Member since 11/27/2004 🔗
531 posts
Quote:

Denis, Tom,

One of my goals for this ski season was to find the mythical "Second Extrovert" in the Mid-Atlantic.




It's White Lightning at Montage, but it is a litte shorter in length.
Ullr
January 10, 2005
Member since 11/27/2004 🔗
531 posts
Quote:

Also, has anyone done Montage's double diamonds? If you're heading up to Elk, JohnL, you might want to drop by there and check 'em out. Rumor is they're steep.




White Lightning is steep, but not long, and not as bumpy.
tomimcmillar
January 11, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004 🔗
129 posts
hmmmm, Montage.

Might have to make a trip there to investigate.
Along with a run up to Denton.

ONCE THE SNOW FLIES!!!!!
grrrrrrrr

Went to Elk on recommendations of a couple friends, and see why they like it. It is a great place to cruise, good terrain. The shape of the hill limits the length of the steep pitches. Really has that 'half pipe' profile, no little headwalls lower on the hill. The slopes of the expert chair at WT might have less vert, but they're a sustained pitch, which I like. Black the whole way to the bottom, instead of black halfway, then mellowing out to blue for the run to the lift.

When we finally get hit with a storm, I plan to be at WT for freshies, taking a sick day from work. I'll be the fellow on tele with the big grin.

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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