Backcountry ski equipment
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johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
October 28, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,922 posts
I am thinking about breaking down and buying some backcountry or cross country skis for use in the Dolly Sods and the Canaan Valley (Whitegrass). I used to cross country ski in 80s, but I haven't explored the sport recently. Some people have told me to get backcountry skis and forget about cross country. Backcountry skis open up much more terrain, they argue. Others tell me to forget about buying altogether and rent at Whitegrass. Any thoughts? Also, any thoughts about the best spots for backcountry skiing in the Canaan Valley?

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 10-28-2002).]

MitchH
October 28, 2002
Member since 03/29/2004 🔗
41 posts
John, you definitely should start off renting at White Grass. They rent a variety of backcountry skis, and so you will have the opportunity for trying out a big selection of boards. For skiing in the Canaan Valley area, you definitely want beefier backcountry skis, boots and bindings rather than the cheap lightweight cross country skis that are only suitable for golf courses and groomed areas. This will enable you to explore lots of great backcountry areas in West Virginia (including some of places accessed from the White Grass trail system).

As far as exactly what skis, bindings and boots to get, well, you are going to have to decide what you want to use the skis for. Is it important for your equipment to be light, or are you interested in doing backcountry turns? You probably want to get "waxless" skis to avoid the technical difficulties in applying grip wax to your skis, but even with waxless skis there is a large variety of skis to choose from. Boots range from heavy duty leather (Asolo Snowfield being the most popular) to newer light weight plastics (the Garmont Exursion is a popular touring boot that White Grass carries). You have a choice of bindings also: traditional three pin, New Nordic Norm backcountry, and cable.

To sort all this out, just rent from White Grass and talk to the staff and other skiers. Looks like snow up there this weekend, although they will not open for business until December 1 or so.

MitchH
October 28, 2002
Member since 03/29/2004 🔗
41 posts
As far as best spot for backcountry skiing: no question about it, it is the area above the Canaan Downhill Resort, alongside and downslope of the pipeline. This area has endless unofficial trails and gets and retains the best snow in the area, usually enough snow so you can ski anywhere through the trees. Chip of White Grass calls it the "Nordic Wildlife Refuge." Access is through the White Grass trails or from the top of the Canaan lift.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
October 29, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,922 posts
Mitch:

You answered my questions. I'll go ahead and rent this year. Thanks again.

John

ski_guy_59
October 29, 2002
Member since 11/9/2001 🔗
221 posts
Thanks for the info mitch! I'll have to remember it for when I move up north of flat florida! Just thought I'd chime in with THINK SNOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Anonymous)
November 26, 2002
Actually, speaking of Whitegrass, you don't have to wait until Dec. 1st -- they opened November 18th.
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