Blue Knob Glades
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JohnL
November 10, 2002
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Just got back from the DC Ski Expo with a 5-lb bag of ski area brochures, so I'm getting pumped for the upcoming season. I know Blue Knob is a favorite of several posters here, so I'm curious as to other skier's experiences with their glades. Unfortunately, mine have not been as positive as I would have thought. On the positive side, the glades have awesome terrain. Plus the mere existence of gladed terrain itself is tremendous.

The very big negative is the "rockiness" of the glade base. I hit the glades around 3-4 years ago during the course of two straight 15+ inch dumps. That would be the best possible scenario I could imagine for good cover. Unfortunately, I ended up with 3 major base welds during the two days (still worth it for the rest of the skiing). On the East Wall Glades (skier's right of Lower Route 66), even with every turn being a hop turn, it was impossible to not hit rocks on *every* turn. Maybe that year Blue Knob did not get the Vermont-style rain period that lays an impenetrable ice layer to form a nice base?

Anyone else have any better or comparable Blue Knob Glade experiences?

Roy
November 11, 2002
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
I love the Blue Knob glades if only for the reason that there is some in the local area. 2 years ago, when we had an awesome winter, the glades were perfect. I skied there 3 times and had ankle high snow for 2 of the times. The 3rd time was close to closing day so there wasn't much left. I took the glades over by Stemboggen bowl (I forget the name) and got some rocks and stumps. However, that is my fault as I decided to ski under the rope.

The Knob is all about hit or miss. They have few guns so snowmaking is limited. However, when there is lots of natural, That's where I'll always go. It's closer than Snowshoe and has the best terrain of anywhere else within 3 hours.

JohnL
November 11, 2002
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Roy,

Sounds like the cover in the glades was a lot better the year you went. I guess it's probably better to have the snow depth accumulate gradually over the course of the season than to get a lot a once. The gradual accumulation means a lot of melting and refreezing, which forms a nice base layer to protect against small obstacles underfoot.

I think I know the gladed area near Stemboggen that your're talking about. Was it half-way down the trail off to the skier's right? That glade follows a natural drainage gully back down to the lift. Some fun turns in there.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
November 12, 2002
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
There is a lot of discussion on Blue Knob and their glades at www.goski.com on the Pennsylvania talk/chat room. Apparently East Wall Glades were never cleared out real well (purportedly a quickie moneymaking timber job), so lots of large rocks, stumps and debris remain, making good snow cover difficult. The glades you talk about below and beyond Stemboggan and perhaps the glades up by Jack Rabbit are much less steep and should hold snow better, they all rely on natural only for the most part.
While riding up the chairlift I saw a guy snowboarding on East Wall in Jan 2001, same good snowyear Roy talks about. I was kind of impressed seeing a guy with a board moving fast through those steep, tight glades, but I heard a lot of scraping and scratching.
JohnL
November 15, 2002
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Thanks for the link, Jim. Though I think it is charitable to label the ranting on that site "discussion". Maybe 2 or 3 intelligent and balanced posts on the PA room. The most plausible explanation I found for the "rockiness" problem is that during the clearing of the glades tree trunks were slid down the hill, tearing up a lot of little rocks. So instead of snow falling on grass and other vegetation, it's accumulating on washout covered with zillions of tiny loose rocks. I don't mind the large rocks and tree stumps, they actually make the glades more interesting because you can ski around them or jump over them.

[This message has been edited by JohnL (edited 11-15-2002).]

Roy
November 18, 2002
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Yeah it was a great snow year (2 years ago). The glades I meant by Stemboggen were on skier's left before you got to the top of Stemboggen. I hope we get another good year (so far things are looking good) and I'll have to try the other glades you mention.
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