Whitegrass tomorrow
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Denis - DCSki Supporter
January 29, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
2,170 posts
I'm leaving in a few minutes and will be at Whitegrass (somewhere) tomorrow. It will be my first WV backcountry turns this year and I can hardly wait. Cold is much better - almost gone. I'll be flying a green & black plaid swatch from a pole handle and the pole shafts are wrapped with red & white Mad River Glen bumper stickers. If Chip needs teaching help I'll be on the snowfarm, otherwise I'll be up high.
camp
January 30, 2005
Member since 01/30/2005
554 posts
Send us a TR Denis.
I was there on Tuesday, and it was pretty good. A little wind-whipped, but still good in spots.
larry
Denis - DCSki Supporter
January 31, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
2,170 posts
Well, it was a good day. First WG day of the year and I skied my brains out. Conditions pretty variable but it is what it is, right?

Drove up on Sat. evening fully expecting to drive through snow most of the way. The hell on the highway - heaven on the hill scenario. Snow started at Front Royal and temp dropped to 27 on the first big climb on 55 that peaks at the WV line. There was just a bit of freezing rain at that point and I slowed it way down. Then, the higher I got and the further into WV, the warmer it got. Entering Davis it was 34 and raining. Weather channel said it would change to snow and accumulate 3-5 in the eastern Mtns. Not so, it dawned 36 and still drizzling. Argh! this skcus.

Still I needed to see Chip, Laurie and the gang so I got there by 9, said my hellos and headed out on 3 mile on my old 215 woodies for an inspection tour. Snow was ~ 1" of wet new over a firm but not icy base, with crust in places. I headed up, then down, Falls Overlook, then Barton's Bend. Old wax absolutely wouldn't hold in the tracks but gripped just fine when I stepped onto the 1" of new snow. Coming down was interesting; the crust would hold my weight in places and in other places it just would not allow a ski to turn. Somehow I managed with no falls and without hitting anybody coming up. (I was the first skier of the day on everything I skied.)

I decided to put on the big boots (T3s) and switch to serious backcountry skis (Fischer Boundless) and as I headed out the door was asked to teach a lesson. It was a mother and 5 1/2 year old daughter (she wanted me to understand that she was 5 1/2, not just 5.) They were delightful; first time ever for both of them but natural athletes with great attitudes. The little girl yelled "I'm skiing!" to anybody who passed in either direction.

By now it was lunchtime. After lunch I started on plan B, ski over to Canaan Valley, buy a single lift ride, and jump into the rabbit hole to the "National Nordic Reserve". (Details deliberately omitted, but I will happily show anyone who wants to know and will not posthole the snow by walking.) New snow was 3-5" deep up here at 4000+ feet. I took one good picture which I will hopefully link later.

The south facing slopes were crusty and broke thru suddenly and unpredictably. Left a big crater once, then got mad and put more oomph into the turns and they worked, but just barely. Climbed back up and sampled the north facing slopes which had powder, albeit stiff powder. Ahh! At last, Jan 30 and my first powder turns of the season. It was pea soup fog and visibilty was about 50 feet. I like such conditions so long as I can see the trees to know which direction is up. It gives a feeling like true wilderness even though I was never more than a mile away from hundreds of lift riding downhill skiers.

The hour was getting late and I skied across to Bald Knob and rejoined the Whitegrass trail system. Powderline had been skied enough to be considered groomed and I was able to link quick parallel turns down the 5 ft. wide trail quite comfortably. Merged with 3-Mile and skied to the top of the open slope on Roundtop. I started down expecting to take a beating, but something in the subconscious had kicked in and I skied it like a hero in rapidly stiffening crud as the temperature dropped.

It was a big day and the Blackwater touts sure tasted good in the Whitegrass Cafe. I'll be back.
tomimcmillar
January 31, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004
129 posts
Denis,

Glad to hear you made it down. I saw the forecast for a few fresh inches Saturday night, and thought about making the trip. But, a great Saturday session at RT and a late dinner w/ the girlfriend left me content to go snowshoeing with the dog instead. Hope that conditions hold on for the week, thinking about heading down this Saturday.

peace.
T
comprex
January 31, 2005
Member since 04/11/2003
1,326 posts
Quote:


I decided to put on the big boots (T3s) and switch to serious backcountry skis (Fischer Boundless) and as I headed out the door was asked to teach a lesson. It was a mother and 5 1/2 year old daughter (she wanted me to understand that she was 5 1/2, not just 5.) They were delightful; first time ever for both of them but natural athletes with great attitudes. The little girl yelled "I'm skiing!" to anybody who passed in either direction.





Small world, Denis, I heard someone forgot to tell those 2 to let the skis cool off after waxing. That or not cross any puddles.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
January 31, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
2,170 posts
They were fine when I was with them. Hope they didn't have ice-up problems later. That can be miserable and very discouraging.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 31, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Dennis:

I had a nice talk on the chair with Chip's son Adam on the T-line chair last weekend. They are a great family. In October, Chip signaled me to pull over on the T-line road and asked me why I had skis on my racks. I told him "PERPETUAL OPTIMISM." He laughed for a long time. In actuality, I was taking the skis to DC for service.
tomimcmillar
February 2, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004
129 posts
hey Denis,

How set up was the base?
I'm tossing up a WG or Elk Mtn trip on Saturday, drive time is a wash for me. Right now Elk is on top, I really wanna sample the full mountain and play in their bumps. Will also include a side trip to Ricketts Glen for some winter waterfall pics if I head north. (A new lens to play with is on the way...)

But, I do have the Tahoe trip to get ready for, so I need to find my climbing legs. Two resort days, and two BC days are planned.

So, if I hear from enough peeps that WG is seriously turnable without a bunch of rock and stick shots, may head that direction. Not expecting the trees to be up to par, but how 'bout the main shot up at Nat'l Nordic, Springers, or main slope off Roundtop? Any styrofoam type snow covering up the nasties? Don't need powder shots, but if I'm gonna earn 'em, I'd like some quality at least.

peace,
T
Denis - DCSki Supporter
February 2, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
2,170 posts
Tom, I made turns in all the places you mentioned except Springer. I didn't hit any rocks or logs. The cover was adequate although they could certainly use more. Didn't descend Springer but skied up lower S on the way to Canaan. It would be great if WG gets some more snow this week. Even a little with the usual drifting would be very nice. Otherwise you are dependent on what was there on Sun. The picture of the lower open slope today looks good;
http://www.whitegrass.com/report.html
If in doubt I'd call Chip and ask. Tough choice. I always enjoy visiting a new area too.
tomimcmillar
February 2, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004
129 posts
Denis,

yeah, I saw today's pics....hence my quandry.

Did get word from a bud who was there Saturday. He had pretty much the same to say as you. Except, they did make some runs down thru the Breakfast Bowl and turned up some leaves. So, I guess the base isn't quite set yet. He said he'd go to Elk if given the choice....unless some freak weather happens, looks like I'm headed north.

peace,
T
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
February 2, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Jonathan Jessup took some great pictures of the Sods recently. Check these out:

http://jonathanjessup.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=lastup&cat=0

One more reason to head for WG.
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