Seven Springs announces new expert slope
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RobertW
May 22, 2005
Member since 10/14/2004
199 posts
As part of the Southwind Condo groundbreaking, Seven Springs has announced a new Expert slope in the North Face area and improved/expanded snowmaking. One of many sites carrying the press release...

http://news.alpinezone.com/4393/

It will be interesting to see the final layout of this trail which is supposed to be open this winter. I'll post some pictures from one of my summer hikes as it develops. Any inside info/speculation?
shearer519
May 23, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
149 posts
Wow I can't believe I missed this. Apparently a lot of local papers ran this story on Saturday. I'm adding a link that goes into a little more detail from the Johnstown paper.

http://www.tribune-democrat.com/articles/2005/05/21/news/news03.txt

It actual sounds like they will be adding slopes to two new areas. In the article i link the specifically mentioned buying a lift for the southwind development and adding slopes there for ski in ski out housing. I assume these will be some green trails.

It also mentions the expert slope will be off the turtleneck trail. Looks like we will final get the Great Western territory. I was all throughout that area last fall so I can give an update there as of that point. The trees there have grown a bit since the slope was initial cut. As of last fall the trees stood about 10-15 feet tall. The slope is typical Seven Springs, steep at the top and bottom and flat in the middle. I had a great view of what was cut from the peak across the valley. There was one wide slope approx 200-300 yards wide and a narrow passage way next to it that looked like a lift line.
It won't be any steeper or provide any more vert then what is currently offered at Seven Springs. In fact when I was through there I thought it might be a blue trail.

I like that they will be renovating the main lodge. Hopefully they will address some of the flow issues there. I always hated the fact that to go from the arcade area to the bowling alley you had to back track, go up 2 flights of stairs, walk all the way down the hall then back down the stairs. Hopefully they will fix this.

One other interesting thing mentioned in the article is if phase two of southwind sells well they will also build phase three this year. So I am guessing they are planning on build two phases this summer.
RobertW
May 23, 2005
Member since 10/14/2004
199 posts
Thanks shearer519 for that more detailed link. You can see the (very short) lift from the Wagner chair to the south shore of Lake Tahoe on the site plan at the 7 Springs site...

http://www.7springs.com/southwind/southwind_siteplan.shtml

Do you think they were referring to the Great Western cuts? I am assuming that this new trail will run somwhat parallel to Gunnar to the skiers left of Lost Girl/Turtleneck in the area that is now skied "out of bounds" after a big dump. I think this is referred to as "The Cliffs", but I may be wrong. Since there was no mention of the long rumoured North Face detachable, I would guess that Great Western will have to wait another year. It will be interesting to see what happens.
shearer519
May 23, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
149 posts
I guess when I read the article I just assumed it would be the Great western area since the old master plan had that being developed first. In reality with no mention of any new lifts in that area you are probably right it will be the cliffs area. I am not too familiar with this part of Seven Springs so I was wondering if anyone can give a description of what this slope would be like.

Also while we are on the subject has anyone heard any news on plans for Laurel Mountain? If 7S can afford all this construction I assume they can afford to run Laurel even if it loses a few thousands last season.
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Mountain Masher
May 30, 2005
Member since 03/13/2004
541 posts
Of course, the new expert slope on the North side of 7-S will still be limited to 750 vertical max. Plus, there are no extended steep pitches on the North side that I know of. So, this new slope isn't likely to offer anything dramatic to the North face, but I welcome the additional terrain nevertheless. Needless to say, I was hoping that, this Summer, 7-S would replace one of their painfully slow lifts on the North side will a modern high-speed chairlift.
RobertW
May 30, 2005
Member since 10/14/2004
199 posts
As a passholder also at 7 Springs, I welcome any new terrain. It has been quite awhile since Gunnar/Goose Bumps were added. And remember, 750 vert with state-of-the-art snowmaking is better than 1000 bare, rock strewn vertical feet anyday.

I had hoped that we would get a new high speed lift back there this year too. The Polar Bear Six Pack has very little effect on how I ski other than getting me back to the North Face quick after lunch. I can understand getting the condos online though as there is alot of money to be made in their construction (and yearly taxes and condo fees). This can only better the chances of expanded slope development.
Mountain Masher
May 30, 2005
Member since 03/13/2004
541 posts
I couldn't agree more, 750 vertical of quality snow is far better than 1,000 vertical of poor coverage and minimal grooming. That's why I believe that 7-S offers the best skiing in PA other than Elk Mt. and a couple of the Pocono Mt. ski areas. And, 7-S still has, by far, the most extensive snowmaking system in the Mid-Atlantic.

One thing that I've never been able to understand is why 7-S placed the Polar Bear Express high-speed six-pack chairlift on the front side of the mountain. If they were going to spend all that money on a high-speed detachable lift, then why didn't they put it on the North Face? As things are now, the Polar Bear lift doesn't service much vertical or any decent terrain. Heck, the Polar Bear at 7-S is probably one of the shortest high-speed detachable lifts in the world, what a waste!
RobertW
May 30, 2005
Member since 10/14/2004
199 posts
It may have been one of those ideas that sounded better on paper than in reality. One pet peeve that I have had about 7 Springs is their chaotic lift lines. No where is this more evident than the Polar Bear lift. On a busy day, you have to fight your way into position, not the kind of experience that induces relaxation. If you have a group of more than two that you would like to ride with, forget about it. You will be split up as the lifties hastily push bodies into positiion so that no empty or almost empty chairs go up. At the top, despite the slow unloading speed, six people departing in different directions (especially when you have a mixed boarder/skier chair) cause big pile-ups, leading to the chair stopping several times on the way up.

During the installation of the six-pack, I happened to be up there the day that they were putting in the main cable. I came upon a guy wearing a CTEC shirt. Being an engineer, I struck up a conversation with him about the project. He told me that this was by far the shortest length, smallest vertical detachable lift the company had ever done.
JohnL
May 30, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
My own personal preferences are different from those of MM and RobertW. I'll take more challenging trails and poor conditions over the better groomed, better snowmaking, boring, easy crap that you find at Seven Springs.

Different strokes for different folks. I'm glad we have plently of choices in the Mid-Atlantic and across the country. Everyone can find an area that suits their tastes.
shearer519
May 30, 2005
Member since 07/12/2004
149 posts
I would have to disagree about the usefulness of the polar bear express. Before that lift was installed the line was always the longest at the resort and the lift would stop 3-4 times each trip up. Not only did the lift increase capacity by 50%, I can now take multiple trips up without stopping. The lack of stops alone makes this chair a much appreciated improvement. I think that was defiantly the chair that needed replaced the most at the time.

As for being the shortest detachable chair I think I know of a shorter one. The bottom chair from the Jackson Gore base in Okemo has to be a lot shorter then Seven Springs. I don't know the stats but I would guess it has maybe a 200 ft vertical and maybe half the length as the Polar Bear Express. This chair goes from the base lodge to the main chair for the Jackson Gore area.

For A Seven Springs update I was up there this weekend. The only thing different right now is a lot of earth moving is going on for the new town homes. I didn't get much of a chance to explore the slopes due to the rain but I do know that the Great Western Territory hasn't been touched at all yet. Still boasting 15 foot saplings there. Also I guess they will be doing some work on the pool area because a sign was up about construction there although no work has been started yet.
RobertW
May 30, 2005
Member since 10/14/2004
199 posts
Quote:

As for being the shortest detachable chair I think I know of a shorter one. The bottom chair from the Jackson Gore base in Okemo has to be a lot shorter then Seven Springs.




You're right. After a quick look at skilifts.org, the 7S PBE is 515 Vertical and 2350 feet long. The Coleman Brook Express at Okemo (a 4 seater built in 2003 by Poma) is 390 V and 2530 ft. The Legacy Express (4 seater built in 2004 by CTEC) in Canada Olympic Park may win the prize at 380 ft vertical and 1959 feet in length. The PBE may be the shortest 6 seater, although there are several in the east and midwest that are comparable in vertical/length.

The PBE is a definite improvment. My not-so-well-stated point was that I think a 4 seater may have been a better choice for this location. It seems to me that the PBE rarely runs non-stop and at capacity due to the chaos at the loading/un-loading areas and the high volume of beginers that ride it.
Mountain Masher
June 1, 2005
Member since 03/13/2004
541 posts
Sometimes I'll take more challenging terrain and minimal grooming over well groomed easy terrain. However, I won't trade easy terrain (with excellent coverage) for challenging terrain with limited coverage and exposed ROCKS. I've learned the hard way that rocks are likely to do some major damage to today's shaped skis. Because we're now skiing shorter lengths there is more weight distributed along the edges of the skis. Also, shaped skis carve so well that they generate a tremendous amount of centrifugal force at speed. These factors translate to edge and bottom damage if you're skiing a slope with exposed rocks! Don't believe me? Next time you're at BK, just take a look a the bottoms (and edges) of the skis owned by some of the BK regulars; it's not a pretty sight. Or ask some of the ski shop repair technicians in the mid-Atlantic if they have seen a disproportionate number of skis coming back from BK (given that relatively few skiers go there) with significant damage.
tromano
June 1, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
John, the nice thing about a season pass at 7S is their slopes are actually open all season. Many palces like T-Line + BK take half the season to ramp up to "fully open". whats the value of a season pass there? So at least a season pass at 7S has value if you want to go on christmas and have more than a couple blues and a greens to choose from. That said 7S has no signature expert trails. I just hope they include the LM add-on again this season to liven things up.
Roger Z
June 1, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Well, I respectfully disagree about that and have the base on the skis to prove it. Rocks, thin spots, trees, grass, etc. are all what makes a run *truly* challenging. I'll take thin surfaces anyday over a manicured intermediate run!
Mountain Masher
June 1, 2005
Member since 03/13/2004
541 posts
Roger Z, if you have skied thin surfaces a fair amount and your ski EDGES and BASES are still in good shape, then consider yourself VERY lucky. I don't think that your experience in skiing minimal coverage is typical. I have a close friend who HAD the same opinion on skiing thin coverage that you have. And guess what? He ended up with a partially blown sidewall and a major core-shot after a weekend of skiing Lower Route 66 and various Glades at Blue Knob. And, worse yet, he was using an almost new pair of K2 Mach Gs. Needless to say, he NO longer thinks that sketchy conditions (particularly at BK) are safe for the bottoms and edges of his skis.
Roger Z
June 1, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
I didn't say my edges or base was in good shape- same core shots and edge blowouts that your buddy got, but I collected mine in the Boneyard and then refined the wounds out west. Somehow no matter how deep the snow is I can root out a rock; it's a special talent. Anyway, after this season I took a good hard look at my base and realized I've gone beyond living on borrowed time and am risking serious injury if I keep going on these babies.

Unfortunately, I would prefer to wait another season so I have a salary again but luck can't last forever. It's a chance you take and a risk you have to accept when skiing marginal terrain. You can blow a core anywhere, but obviously skiing marginal runs raised the odds significantly. So long as you realize what you're doing and accept the consequences, then there's no real harm involved. And the patches I hit that blew my core out, I'm proud to say, were hidden- not skiing out of control into rocks and such.

These Rossi 7S were a great, great pair of skis and this season I'm gonna have to venture into those crappy shaped skis since they don't make straight edge anymore. No idea what to get- anyone got any recommendations for a shaped ski that can handle a) ice; b) moguls; c) chunked up snow; d) powder; e) glades and chutes; and f) still ride fast and smooth and STRAIGHT on groomed terrain? It's a tall order- all I want is a shaped ski that can perform as well as a traditional cut. Frankly, I don't like the odds...
RobertW
June 1, 2005
Member since 10/14/2004
199 posts
Since we're basking in testosterone here, let's talk about a real challenge.....No Cover. I seem to recall hazily an incident quite a few years ago where we attempted to ski a certain large sand dune on the Michigan lake coast. It had to be done at night to avoid the Rangers....those brush burns on my arms and legs hurt like hell for several weeks.
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