Rebound
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kennedy
January 11, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
The temps are set to drop, the weather reporters are preparing to make this coming cold weather sound like the apocalypse, even the big guns like Snowshoe are feeling the hurt. With MLK on the doorstep how fast can they drop the hammer on the slopes. Either way I'm avoiding the hill on MLK like the plague.

I remember this situation during the big thaw a few years back. Warm all winter then around MLK it dumped. Everyone in the DC area decided they should go skiing and the mountain was a mob scene. WT quad kept breaking down. lift lines were packed, the rental shop was all out of rentals and somehow they kept selling tix and packing them in.

I have both fingers crossed that this is it and the big freeze is setting in but being the mid atlantic you have to bite back your enthusiam a bit.
finsoutoc
January 11, 2005
Member since 09/30/2003 🔗
172 posts
my guess is that roundtop will be back to pre-thaw levels by sunday. if you go there, take your goggles cause my guess is they'll blow all day.
MadMonk
January 11, 2005
Member since 12/27/2004 🔗
235 posts
Heading to Snowshoe at the end of the month and hoping to play hooky a few weekdays before that at WT - but after the MLK weekend. Once the cold returns to snowshoe I don't see them turning off the guns until they have a very solid base of around 70 inches.
DWW
January 11, 2005
Member since 03/11/2004 🔗
144 posts
The good news is there will likely be some good spring skiing into the first week of April. Unfortunatley for the resorts (but great for the devoted skiers) most folks forget about skiing after mid-March no matter how good the conditions.
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tomimcmillar
January 11, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004 🔗
129 posts
Judging by the dismal conditions I skied last night, Sunday at RT is optimistic. They are thin thin thin. Every slope I was on had seriously sketchy areas, and where there isn't mud patches, grass is beginning to peak through. With the forecasted warm rain, they could almost be starting from scratch when things fire up on Friday.

Of course the pre-thaw conditions weren't the greatest, so Sunday might look good if judged on an opening-day type scale. I thought WT was in better shape than RT over the holidays, so I'd bet that they'll come back quicker.

Only been the WT a couple times during a wknd day, the crowd rumors always had me looking elsewhere.....exactly how busy does the expert chair get? Even when RT is 'crowded' there's rarely more than a 10 chair wait on the triple.

Could be another wknd to head north.
JohnL
January 11, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,516 posts
Quote:

Only been the WT a couple times during a wknd day, the crowd rumors always had me looking elsewhere.....exactly how busy does the expert chair get? Even when RT is 'crowded' there's rarely more than a 10 chair wait on the triple.




No where near as bad as the wait at the high speed. I believe I was at Whitetail the MLK Sunday that Kennedy was describing; that wait was the worst that I can remember on the Expert chair, but it was at most 10 minutes. The line was a zoo scene since there is not much room to queue up and the lifties were not doing a good job of organizing the mob.

So, on a Holiday weekend, expect a lot more than a 10 chair wait. However, on many good Sundays, a 10 chair wait can be the longest wait. (Typically, Saturdays seem to be more crowded than Sundays at Whitetail.)

A typical lift line pattern on the Expert chair: virtually no lines until 10:30 - 11, an increasing line until sometime after noon (generally worst period of the day), a brief dip during lunch, and then the crowds resume in the early afternoon. By 2:30 or so, the lines generally vanish.
kennedy
January 11, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
The expert chair on the back side is never crowded. The frontside high speed quad is where you get lines but they move pretty quickly. I usually hit the highspeed first, ride Angel dropand the park til it gets busy then ride th back side until my time is up.
tomimcmillar
January 11, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004 🔗
129 posts
So, doesn't seem to be as bad as I thought.
Even sounds like the typical cycle.

At RT, I've noticed there's an ebb and flow to the lift lines. The triple is typically not busy, then the ski club group lessons finish. There's a mad dash for the triple, so everyone can brag that they 'skied' the blacks. Then after a few runs, the line vanishes. Once you're in sync with the cycle, just move to the other areas on the mountain until the rush subsides, minimal lines all day.
warren
January 11, 2005
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
All,
There is a similar pattern to the lift-lines at Snowshoe as well. You just have to know which lifts to use at what time of the day
-Warren-
snowcone
January 11, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
Ok Warren ... spill!
We all know that Ballhooter is a nightmare from about 11 to 12 in the morning on weekends and holidays .. what other tricks are there besides escaping to Silver Creek on Saturdays? C'mon, its for the denizens of DCSki!
kennedy
January 11, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
my tack is Silver Creek Sat. Snowshoe Sunday. To be honest next trip I book I'm going to stay at Silver Creek I prefer that area anyway.
JR
January 11, 2005
Member since 01/1/2003 🔗
276 posts
Why not Snowshoe early Saturday morning. When you see the crowd start to form head to Cupp. Head to Silver Creek around 3 so you can hit up Flying Eagle and Bear Claw (both fun runs) before dark. Ski the rest of silver creek at night until you are whipped. If you get away from the basin before lines get big you won't wait more than a few chairs all day. Boy I wish the blacks at silver creek were lighted. It'd be so much more enticing to go night ski there if they were.
MadMonk
January 11, 2005
Member since 12/27/2004 🔗
235 posts
I'll go ahead and post my Snowshoe weekend skiing pattern.

Basin as lifts open. Usually ski one to two runs to loosen up the legs and then hit Western Territory.

Generally early on Saturdays the crowds on the Western Territory don't start to get bad until 10-10:30. I'll usually ski non-stop until then, sometimes later.

Catch the bus to Silver Creek. I'll either eat an energy bar or catch an early lunch (before the crowds swamp the lodge). At Silver Creek I'll mainly ski flying eagle and bear claw. Occasionally I'll ski foxchase or follow the trail along the ridge back to the second triple and back up to fox chase. Personally, bear claw is one of my favorite trails at the whole area.

As far as I can tell there is no secret for the Basin on the weekends. It just sucks. Long lines and lots of skiers all over the place. You can find the occasional uncrowded run (knotbumper comes to mind) but there is no escaping the bad lift lines (widowmaker is the least of crowded usually but doesn't service that much terrain).
warren
January 11, 2005
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
Monk,
I was going to say that my pattern is run the Ballhooter lift early in the AM. When it starts getting busy (which is usually fairly quickly!), then head over to the Widowmaker lift and run the Widowmaker trail for a while. If this starts getting busy, then traverse across to the Powermonkey lift. Sometimes this lift is not too bad even though Ballhooter is insane! If it is busy, ride it once to the top and go across the street. I've never seen anything much longer than a few chair wait on the Western Territory I run this 'till my legs can't take it any more and come back across the street! I've also noticed that lines can get VERY short around lunch-time and stay that way until 1 - 1:30 (when I go in for lunch). I starve a little but I can get a lot in when the rest of the world is eating

-Warren-
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 11, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,922 posts
I've always wanted to ski Western Territory late in the day to see the sun set, but I always end catching it early in the day and then heading to Silver Creek once it crowds up. Has anyone every tried Western Territory about an hour before the lift closes--I would imagine the light would still be good because of the Western exposure and the sunset could be very cool.
kennedy
January 11, 2005
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
I need to pace myself more. I'll ride until my legs burn. I'll carry gatorade and combos etc. in my backpack. My favourite option until they got rid of it was gatorade fierce lime and cheese pretzel combos
mrhazmat
January 11, 2005
Member since 12/7/2000 🔗
47 posts
Warren & MadMonk, your strategies are right on! I do similar patterns to avoid the dreaded Ballhooter liftlines. I would also like to recommend the Grabhammer lift, very under-utilized (although slow) and puts you in good position to hit other parts of the mountain. Have stayed at Silver Creek on many occasions and agree you can have much fun away from the madness. IMHO.

Doug
snowcone
January 12, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
I agree, Grabhammer is one of the most under-utilized and well located lifts on the mountain. Practically no lines and gets you to the same places that Ballhooter and PowderMonkey do, minus the horrendous lift lines. Just hang a left at Flume (last left before Ballhooter) or cut right on Wiffletree before Powdermonkey or hang a hard right around the end of the Powdermonkey lift line.
Roy
January 13, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
I have ridden the Western Territory up until last chair. I can't say that I remember any spectacular sunset but I also wasn't looking for it. It also may have been very cloudy that day (it was the Friday of the big President's day weekend a couple of years ago.
jimmy
January 13, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Roy, Hope you were there for the whole weekend. Better lucky than..... how was it?

jimmy
gatkinso
January 13, 2005
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
On an average year, the WV resorts close early mid March. If we don't get either a foot+ dump before Feb or a few 3-5 inch snows AND consistantly cold weather (which doesn't look like it is going to happen) then this season is more or less over in the mid Atlantic.

I don't like being the pessimist after all it still could be a decent February, but the numbers are starting to stare us all in the face. There is no more time to spare - if we don't get some SERIOUS snow in the next 7 days - 10 at the outside, then this season is going to be a bust.
finsoutoc
January 13, 2005
Member since 09/30/2003 🔗
172 posts
IMO, the biggest concern is more of perceptions than anything. the recreational skier in the mid atlantic tends move on durning and after a thaw and even if it gets cold agian many don't understand the snowmaking capacities of our mtns. as a result, they don't go out. as revenues fall, there will be pressure to close early. secondly, many employees at local mtns develop and end of seaon mindset where they look past service to the closing data. my fear is that this will take hold early as a result of this thaw. hopefully we get a few big dumps to get people stoke level high again.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
January 13, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,715 posts
Who needs natural. Extended local mtn forecast like this one ( http://md.weather-forecast.ws/oakland ) looks good for nearly nonstop snowmaking for the next week and beyond.
I'm getting my stoke on.
jimmy
January 13, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Roger Z
January 13, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Yeah, most of the forecasts I've seen have revised the impact of this cold front so that temps will still be running at to slightly above normal. If that's the best we can do in late Jan with an arctic cold front...

One thing that is definitely against us now, is that the reason late January is the coldest average temperatures and not late December (when the days are shortest), is because there is still a lot of radiational warmth in the ground in December that has to bleed out: water temperatures are a few degrees warmer, as are soil temps, in December. The cooler weather of December and early January draws the last of that heat out, allowing for the temps to cool as the month of January progresses, until the lengthening days and gathering strength of the sun begins to inject some energy back into the atmosphere again in February.

Well, guess what. Prime cooling season this year was supplanted by 60 degree days and 40 degree nights. I've been on Christmas break visting my mom and step-dad who live on the Chesapeake Bay, and we've already experienced several "Bay cooling" days. This is when it's cooler along the Bay than it is inland because of the water temperature. These usually don't happen until late March or April, and they don't really occur after June. We were getting them in early January this winter, which means the air temp was probably warming the Bay temp up a bit.

The Bay is the biggest example, but any standing body of water (or running body of water- such as the Greenbrier or Potomac) is going to be several degrees above where it should be as well. And, given that the soil surface has been exposed to 50-60 degree weather for the last two weeks, you can bet that the soil temperature is nowhere near where it ought to be- it will be like ski resorts making snow in Mid November when the cold weather returns.

All this translates into arctic air having absolutely nothing to work with around here. We're gonna have to get more than a couple blasts of arctic fronts to drive the temps down in this region for a sustained period, I believe. And no long-term forecasters are calling for that.

All that said, I hope this is completely wrong...
jimmy
January 13, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Gatkinso, You're right we need some serious snow because as fin says it's about perception. We've got good snowe making weather coming up and I'm sure the resorts will take advantage of it, but to the unaddicted it's hard to imagine there are good ski conditions when the tulips are poking up in the yard.

How far into the season will resorts continue to make snow? The big crowds die after PD holiday; I figure snowmaking will pretty much be done by then too. March in WV has traditionally been veddy veddy good to me. Don't worry YET.

jimmy
Mountain Masher
January 13, 2005
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
gatkinso, at the risk of also sounding a bit pessimistic I agree with your outlook for the remainder of the season. Although we're going to get some great snowmaking weather for the next week to 10 days, I'm afraid that, according to AccuWeather, some mild weather might return after that. Just how warm it might get and the duration of the next mild spell is uncertain. Hopefully, the next melt-down will be very brief. But, should we have another significant warm spell in Feb., then, the latter part our ski season in the mid-Atlantic might be washed-out. On a positive note, NOAA's long range forecast for the area does not show mild weather; rather, it shows normal temps for the rest of the Winter. However, NOAAs long range projection also shows less than normal precipitation, which I believe might be incorrect because Lake Erie hasn't frozen-over and is unlikely to freeze-up this Winter. So, hopefully we'll see some lake-effect snows in parts of PA, MD and WV.
JR
January 13, 2005
Member since 01/1/2003 🔗
276 posts
Quote:

On an average year, the WV resorts close early mid March.




I've been seriously boarding in WV for 4 years and I've never known Snowshoe to close in March, even during 2000-2001. I've never known Timberline to close in March either. Canaan and Winterplace do typically close mid march though I think.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 13, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,922 posts
Quote:

On an average year, the WV resorts close early mid March.




Gat:

I agree with you that this season will be hard to salvage but disagree about March in WV. Since 2000, I've experienced excellent ski conditions at Timberline and Snowshoe throughout March and have even enjoyed decent skiing in April at those resorts. This year however, no one in WV (with the possible exception of Snowshoe) will have enough base to make it through the traditional warms spells we get then.
tomimcmillar
January 13, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004 🔗
129 posts
I don't get it.
Yeah it sux right now.
But, the areas will throw down the snow they need to make it to their projected closing dates. This outrageuous weather anomoly we're wrapping up should be it.

Does anybody ever recall a two week thaw in Feb with temps hitting 60? Maybe a day or two into the 40's....big deal.

Local PA resorts will make it to mid March, WV into early April. We will get some natural dumps, that'll open up the secret stashes in the local hills.

I've already gotten in 8 days on the skis, slightly behind last year cuz no XC opportunities yet. I'll get in my 40+, no problem.

It'll come around, the resorts will do what they need to salvage the year and make some dollars. They won't board up the doors and go out of business.
So the masses won't flock to the slopes, guess what?
Shorter Lines,, smaller crowds.
Soooooo, much hand wringing.

Chill out and get the sticks ready, the big fun is about to begin.
Roy
January 14, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
We were supposed to leave that Sunday but the Neon was not going to make it down the mountain. After scrambling to get accomodations for 2 more nights, I got to ski on Sunday and Monday. I actually didn't ski until the afternoons because I did the neighborly thing and helped people dig their cars out. Most people, however, were freaking out about going home because it snowed so the mountain seemed to keep clearing out and we had a great snow day. Those two extra days pushed me to 20 for the total year (at the time the most I had ever skied).
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