Lack of discussion/reviews of Wintergreen - ?
March 15, 2005
I've noticed most folks on this board patronize the WV Mountains or the close-by PA spots. Wintergreen doesn't seem to get much attention by those in the know - can anyone comment on strengths, weaknesses? I know not to expect any real thrills around here, so mostly just interested in a little terrain variety and runs that don't take 25 seconds to ski. I am going to take a few day trips in the next couple of weekends, and am trying to decide between Blue Knob (if it keeps getting fresh snow, so far so good), Wintergreen or the old stand-by Whitetail (Timberline sounds cool but seems to be a rather far and challenging drive for just a day). Also interested to hear what local spots have good bumps, thanks!
I did Wintergreen a few weeks ago -- I think I even posted a trip report. To summarize, it's a great place by DC standards, but the warm weather hits it harder than up here. There was much more snow at Liberty than Wintergreen that week!
I have to jump in. Wintergreen has better views than any other mid-Atlantic ski area. An upside down ski area, the views from the top are of other real mountains, not ridges. Very lovely. And the skiing is top of the line, with super snowmaking. I note their intention to remain open through Easter. I remember skiing Wintergreen the 30th of March many years ago. They had more snow than you could ever want, albeit somewhat soft. This was after they hired the former master snowmaker from Massanutten away to Nelson County. Enjoy Wintergreen, marvel at the scenery, and have fun skiing Southern snow at a near 4000' altitude.
Wintergreen is very scenic and the skiing in the Highlands area is good. I used to go there a lot at one time. It's best to do it on a week day. The drive is pretty easy from DC with no mountain roads until the ascent of the mountain itself, a big advantage over WV.
Wintergreen is very scenic and the skiing in the Highlands area is good
I second that. One thing to note though is that as of last tuesday (3/1) there were no bump runs anywhere on the mountain. Has anyone been up there more recently who can say if this is still the case?
I got a season pass to WG this year, and try to go once a week, mid-week. I usually just shoot for the day with the best weather/snow. Mid-week, it is a great place to ski with very few people on the slopes. I usually park within 20-50 feet of the snow, and it's real convenient access. I would not go there on a weekend, however -- not worth it because of the crowds (though Sunday afternoon/evening are often OK). I feel the same way about Snowshoe too (though Silver Creek is awesome any day of the week -- hard to believe).
The trails at WG are pretty good, vertical drop is over 1000ft on a few runs, they have fast detacheable 6-person lifts in the key locations, and the 100% snowmaking system is excellent (one of the best around). WG is truly equipped and prepared to deal with the sketchy winter weather and snow in this part of the country. And when they get natural snow, it makes for great conditions.
I grew up skiing in New England and have skied all across the country. I would rank Wintergreen squarely in the middle of the range of US resorts. It is much better than small ski areas in New England and Pennsylvania. It is actually on par with or better than Snowshoe/Silver Creek in many aspects (especially lifts and snowmaking) but ranks behind them in terms of size and vertical.
While I miss skiing in Vermont, I feel lucky to have WG just 2.5 hours from where I live in Williamsburg -- it makes for a reasonable day trip. I am learning to enjoy the place more and more every year. I would still drive to Snowshoe/Silver Creek for multi-day trips (4.5 hour drive in good weather), but WG is hard to beat otherwise. Overall, I have not found a better set of resorts in the mid-A -- after looking at all the other options, I still believe Wintergreen, Snowshoe, and Silver Creek are the best options in a 2.5-4.5 hour drive radius of me. At some point, I need to try Timberline and Canaan Valley too.
Regarding the moguls -- last year, WG let one entire side of Wild Turkey stay bumped up, and it was always decent skiing. This year, I think the January thaw took a huge toll on the base and they have not let that area bump up. As a testament to their snowmaking, they went from 10 trails down to barely 1 during the January warm spell, but quickly got up to 23 trails within 7-8 days of cold weather returning. I was getting nervous about the season back in January, but it has turned out OK. Thank god they have the water and power needed to make so much snow!!
This is perfect, I was planning on going to Wintergreen this weekend! Thanks for bringing it up Rodney! All this helpful information is making me want to go even more!
As a Wintergreen regular, I strongly recommend you get there early, and hit the high speed lifts before the crowds arrive. The new kift on the Highlands covers 1,000 feet of vertical in 4 minutes, and you can get some serious skiing in if you get there early.
I was at WG today. In general, the snow was pretty good but on the icy side. the edges of the trails were fine, and that's where I tend to ski. Some brown spots and some bare spots, but I heard they are making snow at night to patch these up. I'll be back next week!
p.s. they let one side of upper Wild Turkey bump up in the last week. The bumps are pretty icy and not for everyone, but they are bumps nonetheless!
I'm planning on heading up there on Sunday. How do you think they will fare after this little bit of percipitation they're expecting tomorrow? Think the trails will be able to hold up to expectations?
They may have gotten snow. It started out as snow here in Blacksburg (2100') and then turned to rain. Temps are above 40 now and you can still see flakes mixing in so that's a good sign that at the higher elevations it may still be snow (Hot Springs at 3800' is still at 28 degrees in the middle of the afternoon). They're calling for more snow all the way through Sunday. Have fun
Well, I did it. I made the trip down south to check it out. It was a good day all in all. Snow was very soft and fast. I didn't notice any slushy spots that plagued my trip up to Whitetail a couple of weekends ago. I guess that's the benefit of being 4,000 feet up in the air!
I drove into the Wintergreen resort and it felt like it was a city in the mountains! Condo's and mountain homes everywhere! I've been to destination resorts before (Heavenly, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Killington, etc.) but this was pretty cool. I really liked how they worked the natural surroundings into their footprint. Trees were still up around the lodge and it didn't feel like they clear cutted (like at Top of the World?) at Snowshoe.
Snow was in very good condition, a couple of bare spots over in the Highlands area (Turkey Chute) but that didn't stop me from going around them to hit some nice hits in between the Chute and Upper Wild Turkey. I heard many people say that this was the day to be on the mountain as last weekend was extremely crowded and nearly a 30 minute wait on their quad. I could ski right up to the lift!
One little issue though, their terrain is all the same! I couldn't notice any difference between their blue, blacks and double blacks! They had sign up on the hill saying that the Highlands area were for experts only (all classified as blacks or double blacks), but I couldn't find much difference between Upper Cliffhanger and Sunrise or Upper Eagles Swoop. I suppose maybe weather and conditions would change that but I found all the terrain there very similar to each other. Even at Whitetail, their blacks are very different to their blues...
That's my .02 on Wintergreen. It was a nice distraction from my normal stomping grounds in the MA.
Interesting observation regarding terrain. I agree, but it's notable that Sunrise is deemed a black, and the upper section of Swoop, especially on skier's right, used to be known as Devil's Gate, and it too probably qualifies as a black at some resorts.
Wintergreen doesn't really have a lot of Blues (as in Almost Heaven at TL), but its blacks aren't generally that daunting either. All in all, it's still some of the best mid-Atlantic skiing I've found now that I've ventured out a little more.
Nice review. I go to WTG fairly often and agree with most of what you had to say. Regarding the terrain, until last year I would say that turkey chute was the most distinctive run there - there were trees between it and wild turkey so when you skied it you got a nice, narrow tree-lined feeling. I miss those trees. Of course now there are those hits between turkey chute and wild turkey so its not a total loss.
Have they continued to let the moguls form on upper wild turkey?
Yeah, they were there but there were spaced apart. Anyone could've gone through that section and skiied around the bumps with ease. I like going into a bump run and practicing my mougul technique but because they were so spaced apart, I had a hard time linking my turns up and around the bumps. And why do they leave only that little section bumped up? I like Whitetail where they leave the Exhibition run bumped up and make you work to get down! It would've been nice to see them take the bumps out of Upper Wild Turkey and move them to Upper Cliffhanger and leave half of the trail groomed so you could jump out if you wanted. You'd get more bumps that way! As it is, there's only about 200 feet of quasi bumps...