Snowshoe, the good, the bad, and the awesome...
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Reisen
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/25/2005
343 posts
Sorry for the cheesy post title, but I'm playing on my "Whitetail, the good, the bad, and the ugly" post a few weeks ago. I returned late, late last night after spending two full days skiing at Snowshoe over the weekend.

The Good:

-I liked the layout of the resort. Lots of room, and the small hike across the road to Western Territory helps keep off people that don't belong there. The inverted design was pretty interesting.

-Staff were very friendly. From the restaurant workers (foxfire grill, the place at the bottom of Cupp) to the lift attendants (got into snowball fights with a few of them), to the courtesy patrol, to the ski patrol, to the ticket window people and retail clerks. Everyone was in a good mood and friendly. That's a big plus in my book.

-I was pleasantly surprised with both the quality and price of the food. Big portions of tasty food for reasonable prices. That's certainly a far cry from many ski resorts I know.

The Bad:

-While I like the layout, the inverted design was a pain at the end of the day. Trying to get back to top of the world from Western Territory took WAY too long, primarily because of the line at Ballhooter. A normal resort would have more options on skiing down to the parking lot (ie. you're not dependant on a sole lift or two to get you where you need to go).

-Ballhooter. This lift was a major chokepoint the whole weekend. With zero or minimal waits elsewhere, I almost always got stuck here. Saturday afternoon, I waited in line for a good 45 minutes, which caused me to have to take a bus back to Top of the World. Further, Ballhooter is the only lift servicing knotbumper, one of my favorite runs. Crazy how one lift had such an impact on skier movement.

-This year's showshoe brochure has the beginning of value season listed as both March 6th, and March 7th, on different pages of the resort. I had read the March 6th one (listed under the calendar), and was irritated to pay high season prices when I had a printed brochure saying the date would be the start of low season.

-I was a little annoyed by Snowshoe's mountain staff. Specifically, they only seemed to care about one thing: keeping skiers solely on marked runs. I'm used to Europe, where an advanced skier can pretty much ski wherever, as long as it's not in avalanche territory. This was not the case at snowshoe. Literally any place not marked as a run was roped off. Under the lifts, and breaks at the sides... Snowshoe staff were aggressively targeting anyone crossing the ropes, although I can't say I actually saw someone get caught. I did, however, see ski patrol scream down at them from the lifts a good half dozen times. Further, they actually were creating traps, where staff had dug a hole behind a tree just beyond the rope, and crouched in it waiting to leap out and nab unsuspecting powderhounds. I had to wonder what they would do when they saw a skier or boarder fly past? Run them down and tackle them? Meanwhile, pretty much every other violation was ignored. People (well, kids) laying on the middle of the run waiting for group members to catch up? Check. Blatant rope ducking/line cutting at lifts? Check. Drunk skiers causing accidents and forcing lifts to stop? Check. It just seems that I alone witnessed plenty of more dangerous violations that were actively ignored by staff (the drunk guy with a beer in his hand crashing into a kid at the top of the lift in front of the attendant is a great example).

-Plowing. I arrived about 8:30ish Saturday morning, and met the first plow halfway down the mountain. I had fortunately rented a 4WD SUV, as I hit WVA about 6 in the morning, and the roads were very snow covered. I passed half a dozen cars stuck part way up the mountain. On the way down Saturday night, I gave a guy a ride to his car that had abandoned it near the base. I'm not sure why they waited until half an hour before the lifts open to start plowing. Fortunately, it was snow and not ice, and I made it up fine.

-Changing rooms at top of the world ala Whitetail would have been nice. As it was, I had to get nekkid in the bathroom stall.

The Awesome:

-The obvious one here is snow conditions. The snow at snowshoe was significantly better than the snow we had in Breckenridge over New Year's. Due to technical difficulties with my girlfriend's equipment, I missed out on the on-piste first tracks. However, I'll admit I bent (ok, broke) the rules and jumped off the runs at times to find fresh powder and make my own tracks. Specifically, under the grabhammer lift was absolutely phenominal. One of the few skiable places steep enough to really get going in the powder (without just straightlining). I had a blast! Snow on the runs was pretty much perfect, as well. With nearly 40 inches for the week, and 5-6 inches from the night before, it was a rare event that I hit hardpack or ice.

-Western Territory. I loved this place. Zero liftlines, a high speed quad, and a huge vertical. We spent about 6 hours here on Sunday. My bump skiing started to get back to old form on lower shay's, and both my girlfriend and I enjoyed practicing form on Cupp.

Overall, I had the best weekend of skiing I've had in probably the last 6 years or so. Even more enjoyable than Colorado in January. While the wind could be rough at times, and visibility was pretty low on Saturday, Sunday afternoon was blue skies with the temps approaching 40 degrees. I'll be in Phoenix this coming weekend and Atlanta the next, but I'm seriously considering how to get back to Snowshoe once more this season...
JR
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/1/2003
276 posts
Glad you had a good time.

The Ballhooter lift is a nightmare on weekends but you actually can access Knott Bumper from the Grabhammer Lift, especially if you're a skier since it requires a little pushing to go under the Ballhooter lift and over to Knott Bumper. Its a little annoying but it sure beats waiting in line for Ballhooter. Knott Bumper is one of my favorites there too on powder days. The masses seem to either miss it or be intemidated by the bumps which is nice.

I've always wanted to try the Grabhammer Lift line but I hate to risk losing such an expensive ticket. I've seen some really fun looking lines through it with a rock drop and everything. I've heard great things about the off piste skiing there, its just not as easy to find as Timberline's. I have yet to find much more than off lower Cupp. I've always wanted to try dropping off to the right of Lower Shay towards the lift line though when there is 3' of snow or more. It'd be alot like cherry Bowl I think without the treetops and logging trails.

I've never successfully made it from Western Territory back to TOTW. I think they close it at 4:15 so you leave earlier and get back in time but it never works. I've made it to the top of Ballhooter in time to see them raise the ropes on Hootenanny but never actually made it down. Still, whats one busride for that extra run down Shay

I suggest writing them an email. They're very responsive when you write them a professional letter with good comments. I've written them numerous times in the past and have responded back and forth on various subjects. They seem interested in ideas on how to improve things for the average skier ie. adding changing rooms which I agree are needed. I've been going there for 3 years now and have watched the place improve every year, partly due to visitor suggestions I'm sure. Tell them to loosen their grip on off trail skiing while your at it
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
March 7, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Reisen:

For off-piste, Timberline is one of the few places in the Mid-Atlantic where it is tolerated and even subtly encouraged. This weekend, if you could see it, you could ski it. Timberline does not have the mountain restaurants and apres ski that Snowshoe offers, but if tree skiing is your thing, then try Timberline.
MadMonk
March 7, 2005
Member since 12/27/2004
235 posts
Resien,

Sounds like you enjoyed your time at Snowshoe for the most part. BTW, you should never ski the basin area on Saturdays. Generally that's a great day for Silvercreek where the best snow is and the lift lines on the Flying Eagle lift make the Western Territory lift lines look long.

I can somewhat understand the tree skiing rules at snowshoe considering the size of some of the boulders under the lifts and the usual lack of decent snowcover in the trees.
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Reisen
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/25/2005
343 posts
The rock drop looked phenominal, and had tracks going off of it. However, the tracks uncovered large sheets of rock, and I just couldn't risk core damage to my brand new skis, so I shied away. Further, whoever had tried it before obviously hadn't gotten enough speed, which can be scary. Still, I'm betting he wound up ok, as the snow at the bottom was so deep even falling chest-first probably wouldn't do any more than knock the wind out of you.

Some of the boulders were definitely quite large, but with the amount of snow they had, it was very skiable. Still, I'm guessing 99% of the time it's probably a bad idea... I imagine with today's super-warm temperatures a whole lot of that snow is melting. 65 degrees here, and I think 58 at snowshoe...

I had just a phenominal time, and I'm still all-hyped up to ski. I grew up a very good skier, but have gotten precious little slope time in the last 6 years or so. I skied a grand total of 1 day last year. I'm seriously thinking about trying to plan another trip out there...
skier219
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/8/2005
1,318 posts
I was there over the weekend too. We drove up Friday night in a major snow storm and that was exciting (got my money's worth out of the Subaru for sure!). Snow was great on Saturday, but it was quite heavy "powder". Still, it was nice "powder" skiing once you got some speed. I was making tracks in 8 to 24+ inches of fresh snow on various parts of the mountain (sides of the trails were great).

After lunch on Saturday, the crowds were pretty bad and I was getting frustrated. Fortunately, I found a good line down knot bumper for the last part of the day which was not too busy. But in general, it was turning into a zoo and I was not to pleased with that part, especially after getting clobbered by an out of control snowboarder and spending a lot of time in lift lines. I have never seen more lift load/unload accidents in all my life -- some real morons on the hill that day!

On Sunday, we skied at Silver Creek (my first time there) and it was awesome!! No crowds, nice snow, wonderful weather, and some really great trails. Flying Eagle was spectacular, and I only wish I had skied it the day before. Next trip out there, I will probably spend more time at Silver Creek. The added terrain at Snowshoe is just not that compelling given the crowds and the lines. I guarantee I got better skiing and more vertical miles at Silver Creek!

Craig
KevR
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
what is silver creek?
skier219
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/8/2005
1,318 posts
Quote:

what is silver creek?




It's about 2 miles from Snowshoe (by roads) and owned by Snowshoe (so the lift ticket covers both places and the shuttle bus links them together). SC is much smaller than SS, but I thought it was quite nice. The terrain on Flying Eagle was as good or better than anything I skied at SS and there were no crowds. Look on the SS trail map -- they will show SC as well.

Craig
KevR
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004
786 posts
ah -- are they planning to interconnect the various areas?
rmcva
March 7, 2005
Member since 01/28/2004
187 posts
Nearly all day Saturday at SC there were no lift lines. Great snow, many trails to make new tracks, just a great day at SS.

Driving out was a different story. Late Friday afternoon between Harman and Elkins, many cars just gave up and turned around - the roads were very slick. Saturday morning driving to SS from Elkins, heavy snow at 8am starting around Mill Creek and snow covered roads shortly after. The 6 mile drive up SS was also snow covered, had not been plowed for some time, and it was snowing heavy. I later heard there were cars that could not get up the drive that morning. I had added two more snow tires to my Honda and now with all four being snow tires, had no problem. Late afternoon leaving was fine. They got 6" early Saturday morning and another 4" by 11am. Fantastic!
snowcone
March 7, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
Reisen:

While I have my own personal minor beefs about Snowshoe, I think a couple of your beefs are a little over the top maybe just for lack of understanding.

Ballhooter: This has been a sore spot for the last several years and, according to gossip I heard this weekend, Interwest intends to remedy the situation by replacing the current 4-pack with a 6-pack .. source says by next season. This is both a good and a bad thing; lift moving more people means more people on already crowded runs. I think a lot of the congestion might be cleared by putting a 2-seater or rope tow for the terrain park 'cause all the park players have to ride down to Ballhooter to get back up to the park. Really bad planning as far as I'm concerned. This is the 2nd year for the park and you would think they would install-something- !

Brochure prices: yes the prices are lower but only if you book for a certain number of days. If I read correctly, you stayed off-mountain and the discount prices are for on mountain accommodations; you get a discount on your room, lift tickets as a package.

Off piste skiing: there are a number of reasons this is not allowed at Snowshoe; the most important being safety. There are some huge and nasty boulders a few inches under that snow, as anyone who skis there knows. All you need is one dump into one of those and you might not get up; ever. Another reason is that if you dump into one of the holes hidden in the trees you might not be found during the patrol sweep after the lifts are closed. It's a long hike up that hill and a long cold night, if you are injured. The ski patrol is doing their job. This is not EU, I am sure you have noticed. There are nasty things like lawsuits and liability.

Plowing: the plow you met at 8:30 am was probably on its 4th or 5th run down the mountain since the previous evening. I can vouch for that since we stayed on the western side of Rimfire and listened to the buggers all night. The snow started Friday noon and there was a good 4-5 inches on the ground by Friday evening. Add another 10 overnight and you can see why the plows were going thru the night, plus they have to plow two access roads now not just one and that's a lot of miles in crappy weather.

It sounds like you had as awesome a time there this weekend as we did. Probably the best skiing we've done at SS in a couple of years. If you intend to return before the season ends, spend the extra bucks to stay in the village. A Jr Studio at Highland House or Rimfire, or a room at Vantage Inn can be quite reasonable if you factor in the discount on your lift tickets. And, if you booked at Vantage Inn it would probably make big points with your GF; how about in-room Jacuzzi bath, 40" plasma TV, proximity to Red fox [finest food on the mountain] and right across the road to Cupp. What's not to like?
Mack
March 7, 2005
Member since 12/19/2004
34 posts
Actually Grabhammer is the access lift for the terrain park. Grabhammer -> Crosscut -> Spruce Glades.

I highly doubt that Ballhooter will be changed. It would be nice, but would never happen.
Reisen
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/25/2005
343 posts
Hi Snowcone,

Thanks for the response to my specific issues. I'll fully admit it was my first time there, and I'm new to this whole midatlantics skiing thing. You are correct that I had an absolute blast, but from reading other responses to this thread, I think there are some issues snowshoe needs to address (and that I plan to email them about). I just wanted to get other's input.

Ballhooter: As Mack said below, I don't think this is the lift servicing Spruce (which I think it the terrain park). I could be wrong on this, but it seems that the problem here is related to a ride up ballhooter being required for access to and from Widowmaker/Top of the World. I didn't find the runs there overly crowded at all, just the lift line. Admittedly, I was mostly skiing knotbumper and the glades in that area, but even on lift rides up it looked like most people were getting off and heading into town, back to skier's right, or to skier's left toward Widowmaker. If you are correct and they are changing the high-speed quad to a high-speed sixpack, I think that's a great idea!

Brochure prices: To clarify, I was irritated that Snowshoe's official brochure (not one specific to lodging, but the general one that lists information about the resort) listed the beginning of spring value season as two different dates, specifically March 6th and 7th. To clarify, the value season has nothing to do with lodging, just the rate for the lift passes. Under the "calendar" section, where it has events like college week, park competitions, etc., it lists value season as beginning March 6th. However, the ticket window showed me that in another part of the brochure under "rates" it lists it as starting March 7th. Anyone with a Snowshoe brochure handy can verify.

Off Piste skiing: You have a valid point about the safety of off piste skiing. However, that's pretty much the case everywhere, and I can assure you those huge boulders at snowshoe are no larger than ones found at resorts out West, or in Europe, where off piste skiing is allowed. Tree wells are a concern as well, but due to the large number of deciduous trees here in the MA, I think a very minor one. I specifically looked and couldn't find any (probably still not enough snow accumulation). I suspect that you are right that Snowshoe's answer would be liability, but the resorts out West as well as TL seem to deal with the problem? Further, skiing under a lift is about as safe off-piste skiing as you can get, given that if you are injured there are several hundred people directly above you in a short time. I have to say, I've never heard of areas under lifts being closed to skiiers (unless there was a specific other reason for doing so).

Plowing: Another poster confirmed that the road up from cass/66 to snowshoe hadn't been plowed (at least in some time). I can verify it had a good 3-4 inches on it, and I passed numerous stranded vehicles. Maybe the plows were clearing the other road? I stand by my statement that the roads weren't clear, although I suppose they could have been plowed earlier in the night. Regardless, 30 minutes before the lifts opened, snowshoe had allowed the roads to accumulate a quarter-foot of snow on them, which caused problems for others (but fortunately not me!)

Vantage Inn sounds sexy! I REALLY want to get back there, but as I said, it'll probably have to be mid-week, as I have trips planned the next two weekends. Then again, I'm looking at flights to Tahoe or Utah, which have late season deals as well. Decisions, decisions...
snowcone
March 8, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
About the plowing: I suspect then, that the plowing was probably dedicated more to the western access road up from Slatey Fork. Most people coming from Ohio, SC and the like use that road. The new back road seems to be low on the support list, or at least seems to degenerate more quickly in bad weather. FYI .. I hate that road, I think its dangerous, badly cambered, switchbacks are way too tight for the incline and general road conditions.

I am sure glad it wasn't me trying to make it up that road Friday night/Saturday morning; I would have been a nervous wreck. I would have gone around to the western side to take the old Slatey Fork road.
JohnL
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Reisen,

Nice posts. I agree with you concerning the off-piste skiing policy with the exception of under the lift. It is very common for areas under the lift to be off-limits in the US. There are several reasons for this.
  • The spacing between the top of the skier and the skis of those riding the chairlift above may not be enough for safety.
  • The areas under lifts are often very rocky (from the construction of the lifts), requiring more snow coverage than undisturbed tree areas. The amount of required snow coverage may not be obvious to most.
  • Ski Patrol is normally a lot more strict about activities right under a lift, in full view of the general public. Remember, many of the people riding above have very little common sense about what it takes to ski a difficult line. If you skied the same line out of view of the general public, Ski Patrol will often look in the other direction.


Obviously, the above is not an issue at a place like Squaw Valley, but, IIRC, even the Ski Patrol at Mad River Glen frowns on jumping some of the rock bands under the single chair. Denis would be able to clarify this.

Setting a "skier trap" in the trees is absolutely rediculous.
snowcone
March 8, 2005
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
JohnL: I think you covered the out-of-bounds pretty well.

Reisen: In addition, this last weekend was the beginning of Spring Break with SS offering cheapie package deals to specifically lure the kids. Consequently, there was an over abundance of never-evers and gappers trying to impress girls with their macho cool. I think the patrollers were much more vigilant this weekend just because of that fact .. lots of inexperienced kids and booze generally means lots of kids skiing/boarding way above their skill levels. The patrollers were just trying to keep injuries to a minimum. And, yes, they did set up speed traps just for that reason to nail the straight liners before someone got seriously hurt. As it was they couldn't be everywhere at once. I had two close encounters with boarders; one apologized for slamming into me, the other was straight-lining, ran me off the trail and didn't look back. Which one do you think I was pleasant to?
Reisen
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/25/2005
343 posts
John,

While I don't think the distance between skiers below and skiers on a chair was a factor in this case, I think you raise a good point with the idea of skiing under the lifts appealing to newer skiers. As I said before, I went ahead and risked it on Sunday, and made numerous runs under grabhammer and ballhooter. Out West or in Europe, no one would bat an eye, but this caused lots of attention at snowshoe, both good and bad. Specifically, I got lots of cheers and encouragement as well as warnings "You're not supposed to be down there!" (well, yes, I figured that when I ducked the do-not-cross line).

That sort of fits into snowcone's premise, that you've got a younger, maybe more foolish crowd than normal. I can certainly see the argument that "fine, you can handle skiing there and avoid all the boulders, but can the 18 year old college freshmen who have never skiied outside the MA and are watching you on the lift?"

To understand where I'm coming from, you have to understand the difference in cultures. I've now skiied a grand total of 5 days in the Mid-Atlantic, compared with several hundred over the years either out West or mainly in Europe. The attitude differences are remarkable, from topics such as skiing under lifts/off piste, to where you choose to use the bathroom (let's just say I haven't seen any yellow snow yet in the MA, whereas in Europe it's common to not even stop to urinate, you just slow down.) The most well known attitude difference is probably the lack of proper queing in European lift lines.

It's hard for me to reconcile this, especially when I've been doing things a certain way for 20 years. The lift line thing is tough. My girlfriend constantly complains that I cut people in line. My logic is that, if there's a line, then the lift needs to be running at full capacity. So if someone's not paying attention, or chooses to wait for the next chair instead of joining the group ahead of them, I'm going to ski around them and jump on. On the other hand, I'm never going to duck the rope, or push past you farther back in the line.

With regards to off-piste skiing, I think the European sense of responsibility is probably the way to go. You know your own skiing level, and know where you should be, and where you probably shouldn't be. Before I skied under any of those lifts, I watched others go down, picked my line, and made note of hazards to avoid. I learned this through skiing with people better than me. If I make a mistake, I'm ready to pay the price. A few years ago, I was skiing the Selaronda near Cortina, Italy, when a buddy and I decided to huck a small cliff, without fully scoping the landing. I cracked my ski in half and sprained my wrist, and I was the lucky one. My friend wound up having to ski down with a broken wrist and get pins put in it at an Italian hospital.

However, I understand that in our litigious society, those kinds of ideals of personal responsibility just don't work as well. While I love this country greatly, it's an American ideal to blame others rather than accepting responsibility for your actions. This translates down to resorts having to rope off glorious stashes of 60 inch deep virgin snow because someone might break their wrist and sue the resort (if we had tried to sue the resort in Italy we would have been laughed out of the country!). Maybe there's some sort of liability waiver we could sign to ski in such areas?

Finally, regarding making yellow snow at the side of marked runs in front of women and children, I understand that some European practices are better left in Europe!

PS-This was meant to be solely a look at the differences between US and European skier culture, not any kind of judgement or generalization about our country.
JR
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/1/2003
276 posts
This all begs the question, why don't all resorts clean up lift lines and add another trail. All they'd have to do is clear some boulders to the side and they could add a trail to the map. That's essentially what Timberline does with both of their peak chairs. 7 Springs did it with the Gunnar Line Slope.

How easy would it be for Snowshoe to clear the boulders from the upper lift line of Grabhammer? What about clearing the boulders from Western Express line and creating a pretty good trail. The trees are already cleared and they could most likely use snowmaking hookups from either Shay or Cupp nearly the whole way down. If not, they could still clear it good so that when there is a decent amount of snow it could safely be opened. The trail to chair clearance is significant there. Maybe a salamander or squirel lives under some of those boulders.
JohnL
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

whereas in Europe it's common to not even stop to urinate, you just slow down.




Wow, that seems to require very good aim and wind calculations to not hit yourself. Or maybe they don't care.

I will admit that there are certain advantages to the privacy of tree skiing, especially when the lodge is far, far away.

I don't think the off-piste difference in philosophy is as much a European vs American or East versus West, it's more a destination resort with very few accomplished skiers (Snowshoe) versus an area with a large number of accomplished skiers (Squaw Valley, Timberline, Mad River Glen, etc.) Just about every area will have a tiny section which is absolutely off-limits for various reasons, but the rest is your playground.

Besides, there generally is not enough snow in the Mid-Atlantic for a lot of these more radical lines to be any where near skiable.
Reisen
March 8, 2005
Member since 01/25/2005
343 posts
Quote:

Quote:

whereas in Europe it's common to not even stop to urinate, you just slow down.




Wow, that seems to require very good aim and wind calculations to not hit yourself. Or maybe they don't care.





Wide stance. Balance centered. Little to no wind. Also, one must be very aware of one's surroundings, specifically fellow skiers who might specifically try to knock one down mid-operation!
andy
March 8, 2005
Member since 03/6/2004
175 posts
There is plenty of yellow snow in the mid atl...just don't let anyone know European!!
Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 8, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
2,170 posts
Quote:

Reisen,

Nice posts. I agree with you concerning the off-piste skiing policy with the exception of under the lift. It is very common for areas under the lift to be off-limits in the US. There are several reasons for this.
  • The spacing between the top of the skier and the skis of those riding the chairlift above may not be enough for safety.
  • The areas under lifts are often very rocky (from the construction of the lifts), requiring more snow coverage than undisturbed tree areas. The amount of required snow coverage may not be obvious to most.
  • Ski Patrol is normally a lot more strict about activities right under a lift, in full view of the general public. Remember, many of the people riding above have very little common sense about what it takes to ski a difficult line. If you skied the same line out of view of the general public, Ski Patrol will often look in the other direction.


Obviously, the above is not an issue at a place like Squaw Valley, but, IIRC, even the Ski Patrol at Mad River Glen frowns on jumping some of the rock bands under the single chair. Denis would be able to clarify this.




Let this one sit for a while as I tried to think of a way to explain the vast culture difference between Snowshoe and Mad River Glen. Most MRG skiers have a lifetime of experience. Small children generally have good sense and a healthy level of timidity. Most of the mountain is unrelentingly tough so that respect for the mountain and ones own limitations is quickly learned as a child. When is the last time you saw a 5 year old huck a cliff to impress a member of the opposite sex, or because his/her best friend bet her/him that they wouldn't do it. I did last year see a 7 yr. old do a 15 ft. drop of the birdcage cliff under the double chair. He nailed it perfectly. I talked to him later as we both waited our turn to drop into Ice Palace, and he was a very modest nice kid. You see a couple of people jump the cliffs under both single and double lifts on almost every trip to MRG and it is very very rare that the jumper is not fully up to the task. MRG has been there since 1948 and there has never been a death on the mountain.

My grandsons 7, 4, and 1 live in Burlington, have season passes to MRG and do an all day program with the same instructor every Sun. so I can see the growth of skills and mountain wisdom unfolding before my eyes. (The 1 yr. old doesn't ski yet.) I'll be there this coming weekend for the annual Telemark Festival, so I'll get to ski with the boys (and their parents). The Chase boys will be there too; we've got to uphold the honor of WV.

BTW, MRG also has one of the best and most interesting beginner areas anywhere, called Birdland, with it's own lift and it does have snowmaking and grooming. Relatively few beginners go to the mountain so it is rarely crowded.

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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