TR: Ski Roundtop 2/7/05
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February 8, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004 🔗
129 posts
Ran down to Rountop last night for a quick post-wknd ski. Wanted to review a trick or two I picked up at WhiteGrass on Saturday, and I had a hunch that conditions might be good.
Well, my hunch played out. Roundtop was skiing very well last night. Very carvable, cornish conditions on all the slopes I hit, temps didn't fall while I was there, so the soft stuff never locked up. Top of Ramrod has good cover, only spotted one or two patches of truely shiney, really hard stuff. Skier's right along the fence held the best snow as usual, but it can be a tight line. Upper Gunbarrel was in decent shape, had some fun working on technical skills off the top. Still some really nice edgable snow up there. But, there is one rather large rock on skier's left that's been scraped clean, and it sits in a shadow, grrrr.
Currently, no bump runs established, imagine they've groomed them out in anticipation of the shot of rain that's coming. The Leap was getting a little lumpy on the lower portion, but not what I'd called bumped up. And I found a sweet little line at the top of Susquehanna, skier's left, tight to the little pines.
There were no crowds to speak of, a short busy spell between 7 & 8 when there was about a four chair wait, otherwise it was skiing right onto the chair. Was a great night to work on some skills and make turns of all shapes and sizes, fast deep carves or short swing edgesets, it was alllll good.
February 8, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,556 posts

Lower Gunbarrel was bumped up on Saturday; the bumps were pretty firm despite the warm temps. They must have just groomed it. Upper Ramrod was completely skied off by 5 PM. There were numerous bare spots and plenty of firm sections, with piles of scraped-off snow randomly interspersed.

I was surprised at how much traffic Upper Ramrod and Upper Gunbarrel were getting. Though no one got hurt, there were a lot of skiers of marginal ability for the difficulty of the slopes. This was the exact opposite of the last time I skied Roundtop (~3-4 years ago with only Ramrod open.) On that day, ski patrol was acting like riot police. A patroller was stationed at the top of Upper Ramrod shouting that this was an expert slope and yelling at people to not linger at the top. I felt rushed to get my poles on to start skiing. So, looks like Roundtop went from one extreme to another.

Which gets me to Upper Gunbarrel. I finally made it to Roundtop when the trail was open. Though the headwall is maybe 100 feet in vert, there are some seriously steep sections on it, with several heinous trenches dug out by novice sliders (skiers and boarders) sliding down it sideways. (More on that in a bit.) A couple of the lines are legitimate jump-turn territory; this is the steepest section I've ever encountered in the Mid-Atlantic.

I got seriously spooked on my first run down. I didn't realize there was a trench in the middle - couldn't see it from the lift. I skied over the top center lip with some pretty aggressive slalom turns, followed a wide funnel to a second lip, and proceeded over it. On the downslope I realize (in mid-turn) I'm caught in a trench heading straight down the hill. I somehow managed to stay upright while sliding sideways down the trench at high speed. Not what I was expecting.

After the near carnage of my first run, I was sure to stop at blind spots and see if what was below was skiable. A lot of it wasn't, especially if you tried to ski over that big trench on skier's right. One run a ski patroller (a very good skier) bit it big time when he skied over a face into that trench. He reappeared into view at the bottom of the headwall minus both skis. One ski was stuck in the trench, one was further down the hill.

I came across that rock on skier's left. Fortunately, I saw it from below (after that first run) and stopped on the little ridge just above it. It was marked with a pole by the end of Saturday, guess they took the pole down. That is a nice little gulley on that section (above the rock.)

During the four hours, I saw an incredible amount of people sideslipping down the trenches. Seemed more skiers and boarders sideslipped down than actually made turns. Saw plenty of boarders sliding down the headwall on their butt. After the trenches, most people were able to straightline the lower section onto the flats.

The trenches ruined a lot of lines down the headwall, but they certainly added to the challenge by reducing the skiable lines to a very few. I didn't have a single run down that I was happy with. Except I was happy to survive the first run.

Roger Z. posted a forum topic last year on sliders hucking the Gunbarrel headwall.
February 9, 2005
Member since 11/21/2004 🔗
129 posts
yeah John,

Gunbarrel Headwall is a treat isn't it? Time to really hit it is the first wknd it's open. After that it deteriorates quickly to it's current state, troughed out and tight. The first Saturday we were on it this year, was able to link turns down the line on skier's left. Now it's a quick jump turn or two, survey, turn twice, survey, then turns down the bottom half. I can usually piece together one run I'm 'happy' with, the others usually have a glitch or two in the flow. And then there's the two times I've bounced and tumbled down, actually ejected from a tele binding Monday night.

It'd be real nice if Patrol actually enforced the signs at the tops of Ramrod/Gunbarrel.....but I have yet to see it happen. Maybe it's a once every five year sort of thing??? I know it's not p.c. to bash on patrollers, cuz they do do a good job, but.....I've watched them make plenty of top to bottom runs, over and over. Is it too much to expect them to maybe pause for five or ten minutes at the trailheads and enforce a bit of mountain safety?
February 9, 2005
Member since 09/30/2003 🔗
172 posts

It'd be real nice if Patrol actually enforced the signs at the tops of Ramrod/Gunbarrel.....but I have yet to see it happen.

We are having the same problems in the pipes with beginners and a reluctance to enforce the rules there. if you think a fall on GB/Ramrod is bad, imagine a collsion in the pipe with a rider going at full speed.

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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