where else to ski in the Mid-A
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skier219
February 12, 2005
Member since 01/8/2005
1,318 posts
OK, so I have a season's pass to Wintergreen since it's only 2.5 hours from my home in Williamsburg. Try to go once a week (midweek) when the weather is good. Usually take a couple 2-3 day trips out to Snowshoe each season (4.5 hour drive), and every 3-4 years make an epic trek to Vermont (12 hr drive) or fly out West.

Based on my background, where else should I ski in the Mid-A that is within a 6 hr drive of Williamsburg?? I'm looking for something significantly closer than Vermont, but am willing to drive further than Wintergreen and Snowshoe. The skiing should be as good as or better than what you get at Wintergreen or Snowshoe to make a worthwhile trip. I want to get out and see what else the Mid-A has to offer to skiers.

Years ago, when I moved down here from New England I concluded that Wintergreen was the best for local day trips, Snowshoe was the best for multi-day trips, and VT/West was the place to go for week trips. Now I am wondering, am I missing any other good areas in the Mid-A?? Any hidden gems??

thanks,
Craig
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
February 12, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
3,062 posts
Skier 219,
Knowing nothing about you...age, ski level, apres ski activities...I'll give you my 2 cents worth. First about me so you can judge the source of this info. I am 64 and have been skiing only since age 29. I have skied nearly every mid-atlantic area, north of NC, certainly all in WV, VA and most in PA. I would suggest in addition to SNowshoe you consider the WV Canaan Valley areas - Timberline and Canaan Valley, and in PA the Laurel Highlands areas - Seven Springs, Laurel Springs and Hidden Valleys - esp. Seven Springs. Also in PA the Pocono areas, Jack Frost and Camelback. all of these areas should be within six hours of Williamsburg. I suggest you go on line and look at these areas, what they have to offer both on the slope and off the slope, and then we will make contact again. DCSki is a great source of resort info, just click on the resort link which gets you the DCSki area descriptions and the links for each area web site. I'll keep in touch with this thread and see what others tell you. It is importaqnt to know whether you travel alone, have kids (ages), skier level(s), etc. For example, you can stay at the Canaan Valley Lodge and have deer walk right up to your door, at least see them everywhere.
So let me know more about you, where you stay and ski at Snowshoe, and I'll try to provide more precise guidance.
The Colonel
Swimmer
February 12, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
143 posts
Another vote for Canaan Valley. While I enjoy Snowshoe for the fast lifts, variety of terrain, and the apres scene, Canaan Valley has a great vibe. I think mostly because of the Whitegrass Touring Center www.whitegrass.com

Timberline and Canaan are within a stone's throw of each other, with Whitegrass in between. With a bit of off piste savvy, you can link b/c touring between these three places with ease. 50 km of maintained trails that then lead into the Dolly Sods Wilderness of West Virginia, which opens up 1000's of acres of touring. Whitegrass is ran by a guy named Chip, very popular gentleman with a true passion for the sport. Most people there are on either tele or xc gear.

There is not much of an apres scene in Canaan Valley, but typically I am with a group of good friends that rent a house from Canaan realty. Very resonable prices (very nice house that sleeps 15 people will rent for 1500 dollars for three nights....breaks down to 33 bucks a person, per night) includes hottub, nice house, great views, within 2 miles of Timberline. My wife doesn't really enjoy hardcore downhill, but really enjoys going to Whitegrass for the xc touring through the orchard and snow farm. (2 km groomed loop)

Anyways...if you have any interest in b/c touring, it's a great place.Chip and crew are awesome, as well as the visitors.

Steve
skier219
February 12, 2005
Member since 01/8/2005
1,318 posts
Thanks for the replies thus far. I am an all-mountain Vermont skier originally from the Sugarbush / Mad River Glen area. I have learned to live with the flatter terrain and shorter trails of Wintergreen and Snowshoe, and am just glad to get out there and have a good time. Pretty much any decent blue or black trail will keep me going. If I could somehow find technical/challenging terrain that would be a sure bonus. I'm not so much into moguls or steeps as a priority unless they are a part of the trail/terrain in a natural way (like you would see at Mad River Glen) so that it makes for "interesting" skiing. I guess that classifies it best -- I like trails that have interesting secrets and features to discover. That is rare at Snowshoe and non-existent at Wintergreen -- ski a trail once or twice and you've generally seen it all. There are trails at Sugarbush and MRG that take all day to explore, and that's probably what I miss most!

I generally ski alone on weekdays, and with family/friends on weekends or trips (all adults, no kids yet). Generally my wife goes off with her sister on green trails, while my brother in law and I hit the rest of the mountain.

Craig
Denis - DCSki Supporter
February 12, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
2,171 posts
Ah, Skier 219, I am a Mad River shareholder and I know too well what you are saying. There is nothing here even remotely approaching say Partridge, or Antelope-> Lynx-> Beaver, or Fall Line-> Creamery, or Paradise-> Betsy's Glade. Blue Knob PA with abundant natural snow comes closest. Extrovert is the equal of Stein's and there are several short reasonably steep and interesting natural snow trails as well. Tinberline WV has some decent tree skiing but without the gnarl factor of northern VT. What I have done to cope with this is become a backcountry skier at Whitegrass, WV. The slopes aren't any steeper or longer, but you take light tele gear and see if you can dance on whatever natural snow conditions the mountain throws at you. It's a lot of fun. Another approach is to join a race club. I did that too and it's also a lot of fun.
skier219
February 12, 2005
Member since 01/8/2005
1,318 posts
Well, I hope to be up in the Mad River valley from 2/27-3/4, so that will be nice. I haven't been back there since 1998. If there happens to be some natural snow, I'll probably live at MRG.

White Grass looks pretty awesome -- is it feasible on downhill skis (or allowed)? Any sort of rope tow, or do you have to get up the hard way? The way they groom, I can see how they might not appreciate carvers on downhill skis.

Craig
Swimmer
February 12, 2005
Member since 02/3/2005
143 posts
I asked a similar question last year and the word I got was that you can take a 5 dollar lift ticket (one time ride) at Timberline and slip out "the back door" into the b/c, but the terrain doesn't really lend itself to an easy glide back to any decent "pick up" location. Word also is that without a map/compass or a decent local knowing the lay of the land, it's pretty possible to get lost. You could take your downhill gear, but may end up doing a bit of hiking.

Good luck
Steve
Denis - DCSki Supporter
February 13, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
2,171 posts
The terrain doesn't lend itself to alpine gear and you almost never see it. You could get Alpine Trekkers (google it) and skins but still to get the best of Whitegrass you need to cover some flat and nearly flat ground, so skins alone on alpine skis are not the best tool. It isn't that hard for an experienced alpine skier to learn tele on modern equipment and that is the best way. Most WGers who "tour for turns", me included, use scaled (waxless) skis. Chip has all the stuff for rent (and for sale), just drop in to the Whitegrass base lodge.

Edited to say that this may not be for everybody, but if you're bored with the mid-A experience, why not give it a try. You'll have to go back to the bottom of a learning curve for a while but so what. You'll put the thrill back into little hills.
Roy
February 13, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000
609 posts
Quote:

I have learned to live with the flatter terrain and shorter trails of Wintergreen and Snowshoe, and am just glad to get out there and have a good time.




It sounds like you have the right attitude. What you need to do now is get a sense of adventure. When I moved here 6 years ago, I would just pick mountains and go try them out. Some I liked and some I didn't. But the adventure of driving to these new places and exploring the mountains made it all fun, whether the slopes were (in reality) all easy or very hard.

Within 6 hours of you, you also have the NC mountains (Sugar has the most vertical, then Beech, then Hawksnest). Winterplace in WV is within 6 hours and it's right off the interstate which makes it easy to get to. Try Massanutten which is easy to get to.

We may not have big mountains but we have plenty to chose from to make interesting trips.
therusty
February 13, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
I'm biased. I work there. But it's just 90 minutes past DC off I70. 935 vertical, a high speed lift and some pitch. It may not be the right place for a regular stomping ground for you, but you should enjoy a visit or 2.

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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