Hidden Valley, PA, 2/5
February 10, 2005
On Sat. I helped staff a trip with TASC (Teen Adventures Skiing and Camping). Bus left Bethesda with 2 private school groups at 5:00. I used to ski at HV in the late 60s when I went to grad school in Pittsburgh. It was either one chair or a rope tow (can't recall which) and night skiing under lights cost $2.00 5-10 PM. I was interested to see what changes had taken place since. It has grown to about 10 lifts with a lot of surrounding condos and vacation homes. This must have happened a while ago because all the chairs look to be 20+ yrs. old..
There was excellent coverage and 4-6" of snow had fallen recently, probably last Thurs. when we had snow showers in DC. It was already warm when we started skiing at 9 and reached an official 47 deg. high which felt like 70 in the sun. One of the things I enjoy about these trips is the chance to get out on my board. There are almost always fewer staff riding than skiing. I hadn't ridden at all last year (having too much fun with tele) so I spent all morning and early afternoon riding. The original slope right in front of the lodge is still the best one they have, with no run out at the bottom and no run in at the top and two nice rolls with a mild short flat in the middle and a bit of a double fall line. It's blue and only about 400 vertical but it is a delightful blue and you can get creative and playful with it. It was perfect for my present level of riding skills. After lunch I shed all layers down to a polypro shirt and went exploring, which led to the conclusion that the original runs are still the best. Took a lot of falls on those annoying flats. Real flats are miserable on a board. At 2 I decided to end the self abuse and get my teles. The liftline under that pair of lifts starting near the patrol shack was ungroomed and had untracked snow at the edges of the woods on both sides. I tried it and it was still light dry powder. I was amazed; 2 day old "powder" is never powdery in the east! Perhaps it was unusually dry. Powder is powder and I did several more runs worth, then several runs in the half pipe. Tele in the pipe is a lot of fun. The kids had a great time. I had a great time, and tried just about every trail in the place. Return home was at 10 PM, a long but satisfying day.
I own real estate at Hidden Valley, thus I ski there very often. On the Saturday that you were there, I decided to drive to Timberline. Timberline has the potential to be a great mountain if they ever get some decent lifts. Great fall line skiing, but not much variety. However, it probabley has more potential than any mountain in the area. Compared to Hidden Valley, it has longer trails, steeper trails and great scenery. However, HV has 6 chair lifts while Timberline has only 2 that go to the top. Some of the lift rides to the top took nearly 20 minutes!
The common complaint about HV is that it lacks challenge. However, there are a few challenging trails and it is a hassle free place to ski. Minimal lift lines, managable crowds, excellent snow making and grooming and a relaxed atmosphere. If they ever complete the proposed ski area expansion, some steep terrain is supposed to be added.
HV is a very pleasant place, for all the reasons you mention. Challenge is a relative thing. I believe they've done well with what nature gave them, pretty good natural snowfall, limited pitch and length.
Teles in the pipe. I'd have paid to see that.
Do you have any special moves?
Do you have any special moves?
No, nothing special. I don't believe there are any special moves, just sound basics, then you can do anything. The key in the pipe is to move your body downhill so the skis can flatten against the wall, then gravity can do its work. Avoid edging on the wall. And it would be exactly the same on alpines. I learned this through years of woods skiing and especially streambeds and gullies, mostly in northern New England. The first time I tried a pipe, just a few years ago, it was easy because I'd built the basics in all those streams and gullies.
Sounds cool. Just curious, how do you attack the pipe? Do you go back and forth and do a flat ski turn a the top, half way up, Straight line it, ...?
Go back and forth and make a flat ski turn when I'm about to run out of momentum. I try to get as close to the lip as possible without going over it and control speed by the line I take going across to the next turn. I'm not willing to take the falls I'd have to take to go over the lip and turn in the air. I admire those who do. Straightlining would not be doing the pipe as far as I'm concerned. And it would be discourteous to the other users, since you'd be taking up time and space that could be used by those who are serious and dedicated.
Wouldn't straightlining a pipe be just skiing down the middle? Or doing one big turn on one side only? Both seem kinda pointless.
I agree about the fun of the natural half pipes. I found one hidden in the middle of the Strawberry section of Snowbasin this past January. One difference, the park pipes don't have trees and brush growing on the banks. It's pretty wild to go up and around a tree.
Next time I make it to a man-made or natural pipe I'll have to pay attention to when I have a flat ski versus an edged ski. Someone else on DCSki mentioned that, and it's something I never have deliberately focused on. I know at the apex of my trajectory I do have a flat ski...
2 big rules for pipe riding:
NEVER edge on the wall.
NEVER slide the lip.
Figured a striaght line was pointless, but you never know. Never tried a pipe, but it sounds like what you watch on the X-games is not considered polite piping. those guys edge all over the place. Of course they are comming down from a 15 foot jump.
straightlining is pointless and considered rude by the pipe riders. also if you watch the xgames runs cloesly, you will see that the hard edging is done in the flat bottom and light edging is done on the walls.