Blue Knob or T-Line this wknd?
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benito
March 3, 2005
Member since 02/9/2005
3 posts
After the snow this week, I was inspired to rent a car and make my way out of DC for some snowboarding this weekend. I've been to T-line before, and thought it was really nice (better than Snowshoe in a lot of ways), but since there was quite a bit of snow this week I am also considering going to Blue Knob. Does anyone have an opinion on which would be a better trip on Saturday? Some things about me:

Coming from DC, going just for the day (I've done this before with T-line, so I know what I'm getting into)
Mostly ride on blacks
Like tight, ungroomed trails (would be interested in some glade skiing)
Definite snob about snow conditions (this is the main reason I'm leery of going to Blue Knob, I can't really afford to have rocks rip my board apart, and T-line was in pretty good shape last time I was there, so I imagine it would be fantastic right about now)

Actually, I'm also going to Durango over Easter, so if anyone has advice about that area, I'd really appreciate that, too.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
March 3, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004
2,644 posts
I'll try to give you a few honest pros and cons.

T-line probably more crowded than BK, probably better overall snow conditions than BK,

might be a dozen or so DCSki people at T-line to hook up with on Sat and show you some insider stuff,

BK is an hour closer to DC,

there will be more potentially accessible ungroomed trails at BK, but locals could show you some at T-line too.

recently the chronically pessimistic mtn masher said conditions are "very good" right now at BK - that is an uncharacteristically favorable endorsement, but beware of rocks anyway @ BK

Never been to Durango Mtn Resort, but very curious. supposed to have interesting multi-tiered slopes, nice scenery, lots of Texans, and...bring tons of sunblock for Eastertime.

PS: welcome
tromano
March 3, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
I am going to TLine this weekend and will proabbly head up to BK the next weekend after that. This is the weekend to go to BK. However it is also the weekend to go to t-line.

You may preffer BK since you mentioned narrow ungroomed trails and BK has that in spades over all other midatlantic resorts. (Note I ahve never been to T-line, this is my 1st trip.) I am sure either will be great. --Tim
Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 3, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
2,170 posts
Timberline is a good layout for snowboarders because all the runs except Salamander have fairly consistent pitch. Avoid Salamander at all costs, a horrible snowboard run; it is too flat and has a subtle double fall line so that you must hold an edge on long traverses.

Blue Knob is not a good layout for snowboards in my opinion. It has a lot of flats and near flats. I am a barely intermediate snowboarder and have a lot of trouble with flats, particularly if I must hold an edge and traverse. The lifts that crowd together near the top create a lot of congestion. When skiing, if conditions are good, I'll ski Extrovert exclusively. However bumps of that size would be way out of my league on a board and I don't see many riders who enjoy them. Even Extrovert has a flat run in at the top and a flat run out at the bottom, although they are short. On the board I generally ride Jackrabbit or Expressway, both of which have pretty consistent pitch, and simply forego riding all the way to the bottom. The triple lift that serves these slopes also gets extremely congested since trails of all abilities funnel into a small area right above the lift.
bawalker
March 3, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
Common Denis, you mean you don't like that last mile and half on the Salamander that is just shear flatness?

I actually learned to board on the Salamander and revere that trail for being a long winded physically demanding trail for boarders. I've ridden it maybe 40+ times and even now I still am just now mastering it on a board. I rode it the other week when Timberline has frostbite warnings up. I decided to go down Sally, which I do at least once per trip, and the top was great. Excellent pitch, lotsa snow, with a wide open area to cruise. Although when I got down to the first turn the wind gusts hit me so hard it brought me to a full stop. On non windy days I have to carry speed enough as it is around that turn so I don't creep to a stop. Anyway I had to get off and walk 100yrds or so before there was enough pitch for me to ride without the wind stopping me.

Then the bottom part is the worst... it's just flat enough that if you don't have perfectly waxed boards and don't use the right line... you'll grind to a halt again. Plus it's the most physically demanding of any trails i've ridden before including any blues or blacks.

Denis - You going to be boarding on saturday or will I be the only boarder there amongst skiers?
Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 3, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
2,170 posts
Quote:

Denis - You going to be boarding on saturday or will I be the only boarder there amongst skiers?




You may be the only boarder. My sprained ankle was done on a board. Until it is fully healed _and_ until I understand just how I crashed in that way twice in the same spot making the same turn, I am not going to be riding. Used my big beefy tele boots for the Mon./Tues. backcountry powder and it worked fine with no aggravation of the injury. So I'll be on teles. Not on Sat., just Sun. My wife doesn't ski and so with occasional exceptions I ski on just one day of the weekend.
benito
March 7, 2005
Member since 02/9/2005
3 posts
Just wanted to write back and say thanks to everyone for their advice. I had decided to go to T-line, but wound up going to Blue Knob due to getting up late (7 am as opposed to 6...). I have to say, it's a place with a lot of potential. The drive was much easier than going to anywhere in West Virginia, and there was rarely, if ever a lift line in what everyone kept saying were the best conditions of the season. Heck, it was even a bluebird day; what more could you ask for?

As for the riding itself, I was really happy with the layout of the trails overall. After warming up on Expressway and Jack Rabbit, I made my way over to the lower section of the mountain. I felt bad after a relatively close call on Run Out (I thought it was flatter than it actually was, so I had built up speed and moved to the far side, but the person ahead of me took an unexpected line. Thankfully they heard me yell out from behind or I would have had to bail out!), but my mood quickly improved after a few runs down High Hopes and Stembogan!

Anyway, in short:

pros:
wide variety of trails
terrain naturally divided between green/blue/black
few crowds
easier drive than WV
(most of) the people I spoke with on the lifts

cons:
SLOW, ancient lifts
by noon, stembogan was sheer ice
compared to T-line, the mountain felt like it had less vert (though I think it actually has slightly more)
the guy who told me on the ride up the lift that he likes to ski Deer Valley because they don't allow snowboarders (seemed like a real friendly guy )
the teenage jerks I rode up with on the last ride of the day who yelled at anyone they saw fall on the mountain while they rode up the lift "fag"

All in all, I'm glad i got to see another Mid-Atlantic resort.
MRPLOW
March 8, 2005
Member since 12/23/2003
27 posts
I was at Blue Knob on sunday, so here's my report.

Pro's:
Hey I like the double chair lift at the bottom.It's cozy, there's no line, you get to watch some great skiers from above or some nasty wipeouts, If you get off at the midpoint (850 vertical?)the ride is less than 10 minutes including wait and its got a foot rest. At Timberline you'll wait 15 minutes in line plus 15 minutes on the chair for 1000 vertical.
Extrovert was truly great, nice big moguls, fairly soft, not to crowded where you're going to get run over, great snow cover.
Edgeset was also pretty good.
Blue Trail had great cover and was not even very skiied out(I explain this in the cons.)

Cons:
There ski report is wrong and still is right now, they claim all slopes open, but lower shortway, mine shaft, and bone yard were closed and not even close to being skiable.
The d trail was also not anywhere even close to being skiable.
East wall and Ditch were skiable, but barely. The brush growing up from these slopes is horrible along with giant parts of tree's and branhes littering these and the other glades makes some of these unskiable barring some colorado like snow. These brush and branches is far worse on these slopes then it was just 2 years ago. A lot of this could be cleaned up fairly easy in the off season if they would just do some slope maintenance.
Suprisingly the blue trail is very clear and holds the snow better than the rest of the slopes, the downside is that the old fairly easy stroll through the woods now requires stepping and climbing over a couple of large tree's that are down from what looks to be like logging that wasn't there just 2 years ago.

Summary:
I'm glad I went, even with the cons the pros still far out wieght the cons that I just spoke about. I still enjoyed my skiing far more than I would have at any other mid atlantic resort, if they get a little snow this week I'd imagine that they'd be in good shape again this weekend. Extrovert alone is worth the trip, and it was in the best shape that I have seen it.
Blue Knob get your act together and clean up the glades a little, it can't be that hard to at least throw some of the sticks out of the main paths and to the side.
BushwackerinPA
March 8, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
I skied lower shortway on last wednesday, and didnt hit anything but bramble, as for the the 2 other glades i only did those once due to thin cover, shortway was a blast though. How was the bowl i am going again this saturday and just curious.
Mountain Masher
March 8, 2005
Member since 03/13/2004
541 posts
If you keep-on skiing and/or boarding Blue Knob, especially their so-called Glades, you're going to do some serious damage to your equipment, it's just a matter of time. Core-shots and blown-out edges and side-walls are quite common at BK! Snowboards and today's shaped skis carve and grab really hard under-foot, so if you happen to hit something hard and sharp at speed, you're likely to do some real damage! Over the past few years I have done more damage to my equipment while skiing and boarding Blue Knob than all of the other places that I've skied and boarded combined! Don't believe me? If you get the chance, check-out the bottoms and edges of the skis and boards of a few of the BK regulars. Also, go ask a few ski repair technicians about BK.
MRPLOW
March 8, 2005
Member since 12/23/2003
27 posts
The bowl seemed just fine, although it looked icy and didn't have any real moguls on it.
Also a portion of the bottom part of the forever glades is also not skiable as a result of a couple of large trees that are down that were not there last year.
By the way I would drive the extra hour right past seven springs just to ski extrovert all day.
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