What is Timberline Thinking?
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Denis - DCSki Supporter
April 25, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,225 posts
From John Sherwood's interview with the business manager;
Blanzy: We want to widen White Lightning by cutting the trees down between White Lightning and Silver Streak. This will create a wider, European-style slope for upper level skiers. It will also make for an excellent race course.

What???? WL is already very wide. I've never seen anybody who used its full width as it is now. It certainly doesn't need to be any wider for a race course. The thinking behind this totally baffles me. If they bothered to ask the "upper level skiers" referred to they would find an overwhelming preference for keeping Silver Streak as it is. WL is not an upper level trail now and would not become one under this plan.

SS is the best natural snow trail on the mountain and catches and holds powder considerably better than Thunderdraft. These 2 trails plus the glades are the major reasons I go to Timberline and I know I am not alone in this opinion. WL, Thunderstruck, Almost Heaven, and Dew Drop are all too wide and too wind exposed as it is. They get groomed every day and by early afternoon on many winter days they are skied off and blown off leaving wind polished hardpack and ice. The cure for this problem is _NOT_ to further widen trails; it is to cut trails in such a way as to use the contours of the mountain to trap and hold snow. They should be considering reforestation, not cutting more trees.

Destroying Silver Streak would be a travesty.
jimmy
April 25, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Yeah, What Denis said!
JohnL
April 25, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Amen, brother Denis!

Here are my comments posted on the article:

*****************************************************
Quote:

cutting the trees down between White Lightning and Silver Streak.




Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

Silver Streak is maybe the best trail on the mountain. Narrow and often bumped up. A classic New England-style trail.

Quote:

If WL is turned into a bigger slope, the resort could presumably hold races on it and also allow skiers to continue using the trail.




I don't follow that logic. If there is a race on White Lightning which closes the trail, just ski Silver Streak. Or if a race closes Thunderdraft, just ski Upper Thunderdraft or Upper Thunderstruck to the trees on either side.

This is not progress, this is regression. ???????

*****************************************************

IIRC, the line of trees separating Upper Silver Streak is 20 feet wide max. (Someone correct my guesstimate if it is off.) How much difference would an additional 20 feet of width make for a GS course? If the trees are cut down, wouldn't you still need netting to protect the racers since the chairlift poles are only a few more feet beyond the edge of Silver Streak? Convential lift post padding would not offer much protection if a racer skiing at 40 mph lost control and slid into the lift post.

Seems like netting at the side of the trail is the best safety option for racers, short of removing every single tree and lift post on the mountain.

*****************************************************

If only a few inches are needed, then only cut down a couple of trees. I'm sorry Kim, but you haven't presented a convincing argument that cutting down 10-20 feet of trees would make a difference. A racer who crashed still risks sliding into fixed obstacles (chairlift poles) and into other skiers (on Silver Streak.) The 10-20 feet buys extra safety margin, but is it sufficient to make the trail safe for racers without installing any netting? There have been plenty of Timberline customers who've posted on this feedback section that cutting down the trees would diminish their skiing experience at Timberline. We pay money into Timberline's coffers, also.

For a recreational skier skiing at recreational speeds, White Lightning in it's current state is about as safe a trail design as you can get. It is wide and cut straight down the hill. The slight bend at the very top of the Headwall should be a slower skiing zone anyway since there is cross traffic above and you are entering a slight drop off.

The Hermain Maier example is not a good one. IIRC, the reason that set of gates was treacherous was because a blind turn was set. There is no terrain drop on White Lightning which even remotely resembles that. Also, many racers were skiing lines that worked in practice (before the gate was shifted); unfortunately, the lines didn't work on the shifted gates. Finally, it wasn't extra trail room that saved the crashed racers, it was safety netting.

Cut down a tree or two and install safety netting for racers. That would make the course safer and preserve the skiing experience for others.
tgd
April 25, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Just to stay on message, and follow JohnL's example by repeating the comment I posted to this article :

"... As for the ski improvements - I have to agree about leaving Silver Streak as is. I finally progressed this season to where I could comfortably ski the Streak top-to-bottom. It truly is a great trail, one that I look forward to running everytime I ski Tline. On a powder day, snow easily drifts up over my knees making an almost "western" feel to the slope. I don't really care about the occasional trail closures for races - there are a lot of better trails to hit at Tline than WL or Lower T-Stuck."

Please, please, please, please LEAVE THE STREAK ALONE!

Tom
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Denis - DCSki Supporter
April 25, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,225 posts
Sorry to overlook the comments below the article. Having read them, I am a former race parent too. My daughter raced for UVA and they held many of their races at Timberline on WL. I have raced too and IMHO WL is an excellent and safe race trail. If a mountain chooses to support racing, and I do approve of that, it has to accept that some terrain will be lost to the public on racing days. The solution in my opinion, and it appears many others agree, does not lie in ruining the best natural snow trail on the mountain to add less than 50 feet to the width of WL. And that few feet would have lift poles in it, not a good idea for racing.

Having thought a bit about it I'll tell you a simple thing that Timberline could do to vastly improve the skiing on all their runs. Take a lesson from Whitegrass and learn how to use snowfencing to trap and retain natural snow. The stuff he uses is just plastic on a continuous roll with a bunch of 1" holes in it. Dirt cheap. I'd put 2 layers of it, i.e. 6 ft. high, on the skier's left woods edge of every trail on the mountain starting with Dew Drop and going thru the Drop. The wind blows constantly from that direction. The left sides of these trails could then be left as natural snow skiing and the right sides could be groomed. Those trails are more than wide enough to accomodate this.
JohnL
April 25, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Denis,

Trying to visualize the geometry. Are you saying the wind mostly blows from skier's left to right, and the jerry-rigged snow fences on skier's left would deposit snow which came from the woods on skier's left onto the skier's left side of the trail?

Trees also make good snow fences.
bawalker
April 25, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Is there anyway we can submit a petition or something to that affect to Timberline management to let them know our concern of stripping these trees out? Who knows maybe we could convince them not to do it.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
April 25, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,934 posts
I'm not convinced that SS needs to be eliminated for the sake of the racing program. It's one of my favorite trails. I have a lot of fond memories of skiing it on powder days. Kim makes a good argument, but so does JohnL (i.e. add more nets).

PS Dave Downs planted those trees along SS and was pissed when T-line put in the queen (he loved those trees) but that right of way for the lifts now offers a nifty little trail for advanced skiers and tele types.
jimboc
April 25, 2005
Member since 03/30/2004 🔗
260 posts
AMEN DENIS!!!!

another unbelievable move by TL mng.......
SCWVA
April 25, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
Denis,

Here are some of my comments from the front page

"Why would you cut down the trees between SS & WL? SS is one of my favorite trails on the mountain. It's narrow, usually bumped up, and the snow drifts into very nicely. Hey T-line save some $ and don't ruin the trail."

I'm sure if T-line decides to cut down these trees (hardwoods) that they wood give the firewood to the homeowners at Tline, not Weyerhaeuser.
fred
April 26, 2005
Member since 12/23/2004 🔗
59 posts
I'm going to second an idea that was made in one of the article comments. Instead of spending money to get rid of a great trail, why don't you spend it to build a "real terrain park". Build a terrain park that opens in december not half way through the season. Maybe put the money into something that timberline already advertises but has never built-the Bear's Claw terrain park. Buy some more rails, a couple boxes, put some lights up, buy a surface lift, and a killer stereo system. It would be great entertainment for that long lift ride. If timberline is looking to attract more customers why don't they look at what is popular in the industry-terrain parks. Why don't they cater to the freestyle seen like all their competitors are. Terrain parks are a great place for kids to play and they keep the freestyle traffic down on the other trails. Timberline officials just don't know what their skiing and snowboarding customers want!! In my opinion, if they wanted to make a big change they would move nastar and put a killer park on "lower thunderstruck".
Denis - DCSki Supporter
April 26, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,225 posts
Quote:


Trying to visualize the geometry. Are you saying the wind mostly blows from skier's left to right, and the jerry-rigged snow fences on skier's left would deposit snow which came from the woods on skier's left onto the skier's left side of the trail?

Trees also make good snow fences.




Yes, the wind almost always comes from the west which is the skier's left. It could be that snowfences would have little added effect once you got down below the summit a bit. It would be easy and cheap to experiment a bit with snowfences and see what it does. You never really know what a snowfence is going to do until you put it up and watch. I'd be very curious. Timberline could be an industry leader, the first lift served area to install snow farming.
kwillg6
April 26, 2005
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,034 posts
Ok, Ok, enough is enough. I feel pretty beat up right now and you guys take no prisoners. I'm just relaying what those who work in t-line' race department feel is needed to make w-lightening safer for the USSA and collegiate GS races. Those folks are the experts, know racing, and know how to set a safe course better than myself or the rest of us on this forum. If they feel that there may be a liability factor coming into play for t-lines racing future, then it should be safety first or can the racing program all together, which we know won't happen. Part of the equation that is being left out of this discussion is the ski technology that permits racers to go faster than they would have with the old straight skis or the first generation of shaped skis. The FIS has been trying to get a handle on minimum and maximum ski lengths for the past several years, but every time they do, the technology changes and the racers are going faster than ever. The ski technology has drastically changed not only how a course is set but where it can be set. What was once a safe slope for racing may not be as safe now and is the reason for the proposed w-lightening widening. I understand that this was one of the reasons why Wintergreen cut trees to widen a trail in the Highlands several years back. May I also add that the race department does put up netting during races on lightening but the suggestion of permenent fencing/netting is not feasable due to grooming, etc. Where I have seen permanent fencing in the mid atlantic is off slope or in an area where skiers have "found" rocks, dangerous drop offs and other hazards.
I enjoy the line under the silver quen just as much as anybody and have the trashed bases of my skis to prove it. Instead of complaining about the loss of a trail that is only open after a good snow, I am excited of the prospects of their nearly doubling their snow making capacity and getting more open earlier. Whatever t-line does in the off season to ss or other trails will receive comments, good and bad. You can't please all the people all the time so they need to do what they have to do and carry on.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
April 26, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,225 posts
Quote:

Ok, Ok, enough is enough. I feel pretty beat up right now and you guys take no prisoners.




Thank you for listening. What you have here is honest opinion from skiers who love Timberline for their own reasons and have returned again and again. I hope that you and the rest of the management will consider these opinions along with others. There are more reasons than racing to go to Timberline. I don't advocate that we should have our way, only that we should be listened to before the final decision is made.
JohnL
April 26, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

I enjoy the line under the silver quen just as much as anybody and have the trashed bases of my skis to prove it. Instead of complaining about the loss of a trail that is only open after a good snow, I am excited of the prospects of their nearly doubling their snow making capacity and getting more open earlier.




kwillg6,
This is not the case of the whether the glass is either half-empty or half-full. (I will agree that when it comes to Timberline, there are many posters on this website who'll consistently view the glass as being half-empty. I'm not one of them. Search user's posts to find out those who do nothing but criticize T-Line versus those who see the good along with the bad.) Trails like Silver Streak are the reason I make the 3.5-4 hour drive out to West Virginia. I strongly prefer selected trails to be open less days in the season with a few more natural obstacles; the benefit is the pleasure of skiing a well-designed, challenging trail on snow conditions that are primarily due to mother nature. No need for me to make the drive out for wide boulevard trails with good snowmaking; I can get that from a lot of areas much closer to where I live. Why ruin one of the things which makes Timberline unique in the Mid-Atlantic? If Timberline tries to compete with Snowshoe or Seven Springs, it will fail miserably since the owners don't have deep enough pockets.
Rickh
April 26, 2005
Member since 12/2/2004 🔗
142 posts
I must admit I haven't taken the time to read all the threads here. But, if it's so important to get a few extra yards on WL why not go the other way?? Why kill SS?? There are plenty of tree's and room on the other side of WL??? I'm I missing something???
SCWVA
April 26, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
JohnL,

After making one of my last posts, I came to the realization that I had been overly negative in some of my latest comments. I believe this forum is place for discussion, just not bitching about what you don't like.

There are a number of threads out there already that discuss what we'd like to see changed at T-line, so I won't spend anytime on that. I my opinion, a number of DCskiers are stating (not complaining, way too negative ) is that T-line is trying to take away the things that make the skiing experience at T-line so much different (and better) than the other local resorts.

Maybe we should talk about the things we like about T-line, so that T-line doesn't waste their time & $ changing them?
wvrocks
April 26, 2005
Member since 11/9/2004 🔗
262 posts
Rickh, the reason they would have to go toward SS is because of the snowmaking system. All of the electric boxes and stand pipes are on skier's left of WL. As it is now, all of that stuff is pretty close to the skiing surface. If you cut the trees on the left it would be out on the slope. Its would be cheaper to only cut trees instead of cut trees and move snowmaking. So you know which way Tline will go on that one.
kwillg6
April 27, 2005
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,034 posts
If the overriding feeling fom skiers is to keep ss in it's present configuration and WL the same, why not cut a dedicated rece trail between ss and the drop. Racers cwould use it for training and races, otherwise it would be open to the general public. It would have the consistent fall line that racers look for, could be wide enough for GS races and would add easier access to more of the tree skiing we all enjoy. Personally, I would like to see cherry bowl cleaned of the laps that was left after the logging from years ago and made a better (safer) experience.
As for the trees between ss and wl, I don't personally give a rats a-- about leaving or clearing them. I do know that this has been considererd for a few years and might be accomplished this year. It's management's call, not ours. Let them know what you think.
warren
April 27, 2005
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
kwillg6,
Widen White-Lightning?!?!? My God, it's already REALLY wide Like others have said, the management doesn't seem to have a clue as to why the regular customer base comes there to ski. Losing SS would be one more reason to spend my dollars else-where (look at the season pass thread for other reasons). These trails are part of what makes Timberline attractive. If all they have are big, wide, clear-cut swaths down the hill, then there's really no character left to the hill!

-Warren-
jimmy
April 27, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Quote:

JohnL,

After making one of my last posts, I came to the realization that I had been overly negative in some of my latest comments. I believe this forum is place for discussion, just not bitching about what you don't like.

There are a number of threads out there already that discuss what we'd like to see changed at T-line, so I won't spend anytime on that. I my opinion, a number of DCskiers are stating (not complaining, way too negative ) is that T-line is trying to take away the things that make the skiing experience at T-line so much different (and better) than the other local resorts.

Maybe we should talk about the things we like about T-line, so that T-line doesn't waste their time & $ changing them?




Great idea! There are plenty of things that frustrate me, but ur right, they've been discussed plenty already.

I like:

I like that Timberline is in West Virginia.

I like the fact that Doc DOES work in the serving line, that he plays the fiddle w/the band and "parties it up" with his customers. It's great he makes the time to do this.

I like the crab cake sandwich.

I like Silver Streak the way it is.

I like when I get off the thunderstruck lift and look out over the valley.

I like 60" base.

I like that the ski school director, Ed Worden, just completed his 34th year in the valley.

I like the Whales!

I like the you get about Cherry Bowl being closed.

I like (patience is a Virtue) the improvements to snowmaking.

I like cub scouts bcause I used to be one .

What do you like? Inquiring minds want to know......
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
April 27, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,934 posts
TL has to be careful not to create a Mount Snow--lots of broad, easy groomers running down the mountain. I used to love Mt. Snow when I was a lesser skier, but by high school, the only part of that mountain that interested me was the North Face. At Timberline, the joy is skiing trails like SS, TD, OTW on powder days. That's where the rubber meets the road for me and why I keep buying the season pass year after year. That's what staves off boredom.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
April 27, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,225 posts
You're right Jimmy.

I like the way they support scouting and other youth groups. My scout troop has been there a dozen times or more. I am sure that the good memories and good will from this will come back to their benefit in the future, and probably has already. But I don't believe they do it for that reason. Knowing and working with Doc and the group sales people I believe they do it out of the honest desire to help young people get into a wholesome outdoor sport at an affordable price. Knowing and liking these people is a large part of why I get so frustrated when they do incomprehensible things. I sense this in others who have responded on this thread.

And I like Silver Streak the way it is.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
April 27, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,934 posts
Quote:


And I like Silver Streak the way it is.




Amen.
SCWVA
April 27, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
The things I like most about T-line.

1. Unofficial unmarked tree skiing areas. Pretty much ski where you want to without getting hassled or feel like you're sneaking out of bounds.
2. Official marked tree skiing areas.
3. Ungroomed, unconventional terrain on OTW.
4. Fairly long groomers for the kids.
5. To quote Denis "I like Silver Streak the way it is"
6. The people - West Virginians, Patrolers, lift attendants....
bawalker
April 27, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Let me add...

I like Timberline because of the true backcountry in the middle of no where feeling you get at the top of the mountain. It's like theres no homes, no base lodge, nothing but you and the wilderness for miles. Not like Wisp which is like manassas on a mountain.
kwillg6
April 28, 2005
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,034 posts
Perhaps with this lively discussion the powers who make decisions at t-line will get a hint as to what makes regulars at the mountain happy.

The skiing experience there during a good snow season is unparralled in the mid-atlantic. Regardless of slow lifts which stop all too frequently to re-load the boy/girl scouts who miss the chair, I find the mountain a friendly place that feels like home. It's the feeling one gets when you turn off route 32 onto timberline road. The anticipation of what is or isn't skiable for the next morning, the friendships that are made on those slow lifts, the exhibitions on upper thunderdraft, the challenge of the whales on OTW (I personally like them), and the selection of cruisers one has to give varity to a ski day. Oh, did I forget mentioning just relaxing on the deck on a sunny day? (if the picnic tables aren't covered with too much snow)
wgo
April 28, 2005
Member since 02/10/2004 🔗
1,360 posts
I would like to write a polite letter to Tline Mgmt., expressing my desire that they NOT go thru with this plan to cut down the trees between White Lightning and Silver Streak. What do folks here think would carry more weight - an email or an actual snail-mail letter?
Roger Z
April 28, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
I should chirp in too, since I've been on the critical side for a while. I like the terrain at Timberline. A lot. Despite being an diamond/double diamond yahoo, nothing beats a long groomer. And Heavenly and Dew Drop are two of the best fall line intermediate runs in the south, if not THE best intermediate fall line runs in the south. Kind of wish they had left those old spruce trees at the top of Dew Drop, oh well.

I like Silver Streak, what little I've skied of it.

I like OTW and The Drop. Each one skis differently and when they're both open you can yo-yo between the two for quite a while and not get bored.

I used to like Cherry Bowl glades a lot, as one of the best expert runs in the south, if not THE best.

I love the view off of Salamander into the Dolly Sods, but I still like the upper part of Valley View at CV more (feels like you're on a hiking trail through the woods- almost- at the top).

I've always found the lift attendants real friendly at T-line, and that's great. I like watching the telemarkers at both CV and T-line- it's a beautiful sport and if I ever live somewhere where I can ski 30-40 days a year I'll take it up.

It all boils down to the terrain. T-line has great fall line terrain. I think the complaint that comes from us can be summed up as: the rest of the services at the mountain- from the lifts to the parking and everything in between- doesn't live up to what the terrain deserves.

Even with that- I like the lodge; it's not that bad. And I DON'T like those dumb whales on OTW.
Denis - DCSki Supporter
April 28, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,225 posts
A friend who is an active Timberline condo owner tells me that letters would be by far the most effective approach. He doubts that discussions on a forum like this have any effect at all. BTW he agrees with leaving SS as is.

I have been an instructor for 10 years and while that certainly doesn't qualify me as knowing all aspects of the US ski business, it has given me insights. I believe in general that the US ski industry is it's own worst enemy. People in the business don't listen to their customers, they listen to each other and, surprise, they always hear what they want to hear. The same is true for PSIA, in my opinion.
fishnski
April 28, 2005
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
I love driving thru peaceful farmlands about an hours drive from the valley, cows lazily grazing under pretty puffy white clouds,& then driving up scher mtn to mount storm lake where the roads are covered white & snow is becoming steadier & then soon after, at the top of Timberline bieng greeted by near whiteout subartic conditions!! I love the weather at Timberline...the micro climate ...knowing that if it is raining a blizzard is right around the corner!
jimmy
June 14, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
OK, Back to our regular programming......Tom Blanzy said the long range plan was to install a mid station on the silver queen. wtf is up with that? Where would it go unless they're planning new terrain to skiers right of white lightning?
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