Roundtop Early Season Update
After a sweet spring,summer and fall of surfing i guess its time to get into snowboard mode. Got my pass at Roundtop even though last spring I swore I wouldnt based on their lack of effort. Anyway, was at the ski swap last month and gleaned some info about the upcoming season that I'll pass along:
1. They are planning for a park this year. its supposed to be where the old park was located between minuteman and the leap under the quad but taking up part of the leap too. there will be no jumps but only rails and the like.
2. They are hiring a fulltime pipe and park staff to maintain these areas. IF they get the right people it will be sweet. I'm holding my breath on this one because RT management will not give them the free reign they need to do it right.
3. More snowmaking as usual but no terrain expansion.
4. Pass prices didnt rise this year but I hear that pass sales are way down.
Like a person with ADD, Roundtop is great at coming up with neat ideas, but the follow through is almost always lacking so we'll have to wait and see what really happens. Based on my long expereince with RT, I'll guess that the park with only open if 'weather permits' (a convenient excuse for 'we really dont want to do this'), and the pipe will remain inconsistently maintained as the pipe staff is co-opted for other maintenance projects.
ps--i also heard that liberty will be having a pipe this year.
I agree, I just find it frustrating dealing with all three mountains Whitetail, Liberty and Roundtop. If it wasn't for the fact that there is not much other choice around here I would be reluctant to go. Last year I went to 7 Springs for the first time and I was hooked. The hill may not be as big, but the snow was great and the variety of lines you can pick out of each run was amazing. I get a bit sick of the whole point your nose down the hill and don't turn till you hit the bottom type mentality at the other mountains. I think it may come from having started snowboarding in Europe, namely Andorra, where instructers would take us into powder fields and also through unknown tree run where if you stopped you sank into powder up to your waist. Sorry I'm drooling in memory here, need snow.
i think that pretty much sums it up for RT--'if it wasnt so close i'd go elsewhere'. tehy know that and as a result, give minimal effort.
"I get a bit sick of the whole point your nose down the hill and don't turn till you hit the bottom type mentality at the other mountains."
There's a cure for that mentality: just turn
On the more serious side, I've found that skiers/boarders tend to just point them down the hill when the slopes have just been groomed and have no terrain features at all. Plus, the headwalls at Liberty and Roundtop can get pretty icy, especially at night, and there is a natural tendency to not turn on icy spots. (I've seen that a lot at Seven Springs.)
The less grooming that is done on a selected few runs by Liberty-Roundtop-Whitetail, the more personality and different set of lines you have to choose from. In recent years, Whitetail has done a real good job of keeping Bold Decision mostly ungroomed. During snowmaking and grooming, they've also (intentionally?) added some swales on the steep section; this gives you some terrain to play with. Whitetail used to also let Exhibition bump up, but they rarely have in recent years. I would guess that's because Whitetail has limited terrain for the masses and it takes a lot of snow to build terrain features/keep a trail ungroomed. Unfortunately, we haven't had a lot of snow in most recent years.
The problem with turning really more comes down to the amount of space you have to play with. Generally the Black diamonds are fine because they're uncrowded. The more mainline slopes get crowded and so I find you have to constrict your turns rather than being able to open into nice big arcing turns. I really noticed this at Liberty where the trails are narrow, no matter how fast I push it theres always someone a little quicker coming in behind. If you cant really tell where they are all you can basically do is hold a tight line.
Liberty does plan on doing a lot more with their park and halfpipe this year. They are in the process of building a halfpipe that is almost done - it is located just above the small on the hill building (between White Lightning and the terrain park area). They also purchased new grooming equipment just for the halfpipe and they are going to use a couple of snowboarders to maintain and really create the pipe. Also, they have rails and such to add to the terrain park. Seems like they are trying to improve things for boarders.
until someone gets hurt and they shut it all down.
I agree. The thing about terrain parks, at any mountain I've been to is that people, and especially younger kids, get an inflated impression of their ability. The number of times I've been in the park and had to watch someone who just could not ride, let alone jump, block up the tables and kickers while everyone who knows what they're doing has to wait, frustrating. If you can ride or ski at a competent level you shouldnt be there. I think the other factor that can contribute is slope etiquette. I remember before Whitetail moved over to Angel Drop the parks previous location had a bunch of smaller kickers before you got to the main table. For some reason most people thought the small kickers were there to sit. The number of times I watched as someone nearly got decapitated because the person approaching the jump could not see the dumbasses on the other side.
yeah we have that major problem at RT. it seems like all the kids want to be really cool and say that they ride the pipe, but all they end up doing is sitting at the top in the way. its super frustrating!! i've maintained for years that they need to have folks who can actually ride to 'police' the riders to weed out those who can't cut it. they need to do this on the black diamonds too. they used to kick people off of ramrod but stopped.
That would be great but I guess really it should come down to people who are there to police it. I can't see RT or WT paying someone to spend all day policing the pipe and park. To be honest, I have no problem telling soeone when they shouldn't be there, not being rude or anything but just let them know that if you cant ride then you're not ready for this. Lets be honest we all start somewhere. I'm still getting the hang of getting air, but I at least have a good foundation built up so that I am not a complete mess on take off and landing.
so where do you propose that the less-experienced half-pipe riders go? i mean those who werent just born to ride the pipe?
there's a big difference between a less experienced rider and a beginner. im really taking about the people who cant make turns or can barely get down the bunny slope. the less experinced guys need to learn like we all did but they also need to show respect to the guys who can ride the pipe. if they are learning, they should ride the pipe, not sit on their butts all day like many do. ive also suggested to RT that they put in a small beginners pipe since the plan is to max out the walls this year to 10 feet. there are tons of guys up there who ask questions in order to get it right cause its nowhere near as easy as it looks. those guys get treated right. its the guy/girl who shows up and act like they rip but cant back it up that get put down.
I agree, its all etiquette. You have to show respect to get it. Hey I'm working on pipe and park too, but the thing is if I see someone who I know can rip getting ready to go then let him/her go. I don't want to hold them up behind my slow, falling down self. Plus its true if you ask someone for advice they'll generally give it.
I don't know if you golf but it's the same thing. You let the more experienced play through.
However there is the huge problem of people (inexperienced or experienced) clogging up the entire terrain area. I don't snowboard but I ski and snowblade. Plus I'm just learning. However, everytime I try to wait my turn to go down the pipe or the jumps, I find myself waiting for nothing. There always seems to be 4 or 5 people "waiting their turn" and all they're doing is waiting for the pipe to be clear. Then they meander down the pipe. Stop. Meander some more. Stop. Sit down. Adjust something. Stand. Fall. Stand. Meander..... Ok I'm exaggerating but not by much.
When I finally get my "turn", I hit the pipe or jumps and just go. Just as if I was on a groomer, I ski within my ability and learn the pipe. Then once I know it (just like any familiar slope) I try a trick. If I bust my butt, I get up and keep going. Their plenty of room to rest at the bottom.
thats exactly how it should work. i think this year with the park and liberty having a pipe of their own, the RT pipe should be a lot less crowded.