Backcountry Downhill Skiin in WV
4 posts
2 users
2k+ views
December 11, 2002
I have done quite a bit of backcountry downhill skiing out west (I lived in CO for 7 winters) but mostly hiking boot packs that were accessible from various mountain passes. I live in DC now and was thinking about trying to find some stuff to ski in WV. I've herd some stuff about Dolly Sods from some kayaker friends of mine. I've also read a few posts on this site regarding Dolly Sods, Whitegrass, and Porte Crayon. I'm thinking about buying some Alpine Treckers (for those that don't know they allow you to release your heal from your downhill bindings) to access some of this stuff. Can anyone give me some information on the best place to go to access some decent vertical with some decent pitch? I'm not looking for Jackson Hole in WV but I suspect there is some fun stuff to ski up there if we get some snow.

Thanks in advance.


johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 12, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,991 posts
Try Porte Crayon and Tory Mountain near Harmon. Both have meadows suitable for skiing. Tory also has actual ski slopes cut when the mountain was being considered as a ski resort (rumor has it that it is still under consideration). With luck, you might bag close to 2,000 feet of vertical at both mountains, but you'll have to go after a substantial dump. Also, some of this land is on private property, so you might want to get permission from the owners before making a descent. If you make any of these descents, we'd love to hear about it here at DCSki.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 12-12-2002).]

December 12, 2002 is THE place to start out backcountry downhill skiing around here since it is accessible and easy to find out the conditions from either the webstie or by calling them. There is lots of terrain, both gentle and steeper, starting just out the door of the touring center, including an open slope with 600 vertical feet and pretty much endless skiing in the trees terrain on both sides of it (they had enough of a base to ski in the trees last weekend). Plus there are a bunch more areas you can find out about at White Grass, including some fun little runs at Springer Orchard, above Roundtop, and the "Nordic Wildlife Refuge" behind the Canaan Downhill resort. A warning: Conditions are usually marginal for backcountry skiing compared to out west. When skiing in the trees, be careful about rocks, branches, etc. The snow can be manky, cruddy and quite difficult to ski. When conditions are marginal down low, however, you can sometimes find nice powder and deeper snow up high. Most skiers use lighter weight waxless backcountry skis with telemark bindings to get around (you can rent this at Whitegrass); alpine touring equipment is overkill for around here. I skied for the first time with some Fisher Boundless skis this past weekend (BIG sidecut waxless skis) paired with T-2s and they were a blast on the downhills, a bit cumbersome for the kick and glide touring.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 15, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,991 posts
This is probably the weekend to go if you are looking for backcountry telemark or randonnee skiing in WV.

Chip Chase posted some shots of skiing on the Roaring Plains on his web site:

Also, there are some topo maps posted for those looking for where to go:

I'd suggest using White Grass as your access point. Also, let Chip know where you plan to ski and always ski with a group b/c rescue is difficult in some of these backcountry areas.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-15-2003).]

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