Where to start, where to start...
As most of you know I like many other DCSkier's made the trip to Timberline this morning and simply couldn't miss conditions that John Sherwood called 'EPIC' in a previous thread. Lets just say John vastly under-estimated just how epic conditions really were. I'm personally anxious to hear back from others when they arrive back. For me, today's trip probably is one of the best, if not THE BEST trip to any ski resort I've ever had in terms of conditions, snow, and enviornment.
I would go so far as to say that for those at Timberline today could have easily mistaken themselves being in New England rather than the back country of West Virginia. In fact I heard mumblings in the lift lines of just that very sentiment. That conditions were nearly IDENTICAL to those of Killington, or any other New England resort. Obviously thats not due to Timberlines 'resort' accomodations, but simply due to the fact of the massive amounts of powder on the ground, the fact it was cloudy and snowed most of the day, and that everything for miles was frosted over as if a snow gun blasted West Virginia last night. Honestly, some of the pictures I took can be held in comparison to a New England resort picture. See for yourself.
For me today's wonderful experience really started yesterday around 4pm. It was then during a quick trip to the post office in Wardensville that I noticed it was flurring and cloudy but I just brushed that off to some lone weather cell passing over head. Those few flakes turned into a few more and come around 5pm yesterday it was a full fledge snow storm and the bare spots in the ground were getting very white in a hurry. Not only that but the tree's were starting to hold a bit of snow.
It wasn't until I got up this morning that I could truely appreciate the sight I just saw. Trees... everywhere... for miles here in Hardy County were coated with this perfect and beautiful coating of soft snow. The sky was grey, clouds hung low and it was still snowing here at the house. I had to double check to make sure this wasn't some dream where I woke up on christmas morning like that. Nope, it was real for sure when my mom got stuck backing out of the driveway on fresh wet snow on top of packed ice.
After I hurried up and got all of my gear together I made sure to grab my digital camera and carry it with me. There surely won't again be a sight like this in Hardy County of all places for years to come I'm sure. I wanted to make sure I documented and captured all of this so I could go back time and again during the middle of summer and know what a good winter storm is like. It was a good thing I did take my camera because after returning home from Timberline all of that wonderous beauty was gone. Melted into the ground when the clouds were pushed aside by springtime sunshine.
I left the house here at 8am, a bit later than I had planned. My plans of having a friend meet me and go along at 7:30 were dashed when he wasn't upto getting up this early and trekking along. Another lady friend was worn out from her SnowShoe trip so I made this venture on my own. After leaving at 8 and having everything go well, I planned to arrive at 9:45 and be at the top by 10 to meet with others, all of that was dashed due to what I swear was a conference of slow a** drivers all deciding to get out and drive early this morning! You'd thing, one slow driver is bad enough but I hit one after another after another and couldn't make progress at all.
I got off of Corridor H only to have to follow a vehicle going 30mph from there to downtown Moorefield with about 15 other vehicles behind me. Finally that car pulled off, I stopped got gas and was on my way again. Only to meet ANOTHER slow vehicle going about 40mph as I was leaving Moorefield of which I dreadfully had to follow to Petersburg. I couldn't pass because everytime I attempted there was other traffic going the other way. All I could to was beat the steering wheel in tears of every second longer I waited more powder would be used up. Needless to say this went on and on again until I finally got to Harman where it was me and another Subaru on our own taking 32 north.
I pulled into the Timberline parking lot at 10:10 and was stunned at the amount of cars that were there. The first two rows were entirely clogged full so I had to back my way out and decidedly park in the last row beside other Subaru's. (I kept seeing a trend with Subaru's today...) It wasn't until 10:25 before I even set foot on the slopes and wasn't at the top until well after 10:35 all the while wanting to curse the slow lift and for Timberline not having a high speed quad. Obviously I was well late on meeting anyone else there because when I arrived at the top, only a few lone patrollers were there with any other group long gone down the slopes.
While that was unfortunate, it didn't deter me from whipping out the camera and taking as many pictures as possible. It was as much as I could do to take as many pics as possible before the cold weather zapped my batteries which happened sooner rather than later. I made one run down Upper Dew Drop before having to put the camera in the car and head back to the slopes.
Each time I came down from the top I noticed the lift line get longer and longer, although the wait wasn't too bad. It was more or less a 5-8 minute wait at most until all of the crowds mysteriously disappeared during the lunch hour. That or everyone was funneled to the Salamander and I just happened to catch the lift when there was ZERO people in line. I'll take what I can get.
My second run was down the Salamander only because I have to christen each trip with a run down it. It was quiet and fairly lonesome there and it was all I could do to keep from wetting myself at seeing powder here... there... EVERYWHERE! I'm not talking groomed packed powder in perfect little lines, I'm talking mini moguls, down the middle of the Salamander. Nearly ankle deep powder on the outer edges, paths already cut by previous carvers and skiiers. I simply let loose and start carving whipping up plumes of powder behind me leaving my own S shaped markes in the snow behind me.
For the first few hours I jumped back and forth between Dew Drop, Almost Heaven and several of the green runs. I was so happy with powder and having fun in those that I simply enjoyed them too much to get away. Upper Almost Heaven nearly was that... almost like riding on a cloud in heaven. Again mini moguls developed at spots where it took me a while to get used to riding in this much powder. Normally I'm used to the freshly groomed or hard pack surface. Instead now I'm riding on this beautifully setup powder run and I admit, I got taken out a few times by the snow because I simply wasn't ready for handling it and all the oddities from dips to mogul to pit to mound.
It wasn't till towards the end of the day that I ventured over to White Lightening and boy talk about a whole different world than the other week. Two weeks ago again this was an evenly groomed surface that had powder on it, and I was able to handle it no problem. Today though it was all I could do to maintain myself simply due to getting used to the massive amounts of powder everywhere. When I got speed and made a carve or two I found myself running into a tiny mound of powder which threw my board out from underneath me, let me hit my rear and slide for a few feet. Mostly I was red faced from having done that with a few experts behind me.
Once I made it to the bottom I went for the Thunderdraft lift rather than Silver Queen. Dumb decision as Silver Queen had 4 people in line and Thunderdraft had what appeared to be 45495035454656594 people in line. I got in the singles line and within a matter of seconds a woman and her young child invited me to get on with them of which I gladly did. We got to talking right off the bat about the conditions, other resorts and agreed that short of Vermont, this was the best conditions we'd seen.
Within a matter of minutes we were talking about future resorts (Tory Mtn, and MPC) and the lady said, "Oh yeah I know quite a bit about that from a website called DCSki.com". Come to find out that was DCSki.com's very own Rickh's wife beside me and Rickh himself was in the chair infront of us. I introduced myself as bawalker the Corridor H guy and we had a breif but really great time before they headed down on their way to the lodge. Rickh made mention of having seen John earlier although I missed them for the crowds. I kept a look out for everyone's lapel pins but didn't see them.
After a few more runs basking in the perfect powder I packed up at 4:30 and called it a day only to arrive back home 1 hr 51min later. Conditions were beyond perfect, and my own descriptions don't even cover 1% of what it was like today. Here is a URL of another album of pictures I've just finished uploading for everyone's enjoyment. It's my hope that these conditions can last throughout the week or partway through so I can get one more great day in. I wanna bring my season total days upto 6 this year. http://community.webshots.com/album/288630912ftaSrp