Backcountry ski trails near DC
8 posts
5 users
2k+ views
Fish
February 12, 2003
Member since 02/12/2003 🔗
1 posts
Anyone know of any good hiking trails or fire roads that would have some snow on them within a couple of hours of DC? I would rather avoid official, managed x-cty ski centers.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 13, 2003
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
I assume you're talking about old fashioned cross country skiing? Can't help real definitively, but I've heard that people cross country ski in Shenandoah Nat'l Park. You should be able to get a phone # off web for Ranger Station there and ask them what snow conditions are like and if they indeed permit x-ctry skiing. They charge about a $10 entrance fee to go in there to hike. I used to x-ctry ski a lot for free on the civil war battlefields near Chancellorsville, Va, because I lived near them, but that area is not usually as snowy as the high elevations in Shen Nat'l Park up along Skyline Drive. Just guessing, but there might be some x-ctry skiing around Sugar Loaf Mtn in MD up I270 before Frederick. Again surf the web for ways to confirm.
MitchH
February 13, 2003
Member since 03/29/2004 🔗
41 posts
White Grass in Canaan Valley, WV (whitegrass.com) is the best place to start out for backcountry skiing in this region because of the large selection of trails and destinations and it is in an area that has the best snow in the region. Although it is a touring center, after starting out from their lodge you can quickly escape into numerous backcountry areas outside of the touring system (including exceptional downhill skiing through trees and glades), and in any case this particular place has a backcountry feel since most trails are not groomed for skating. Also, with current snow conditions, you will find unlimited backcountry skiing opportunities throughout the West Virginia Highlands (including Dolly Sods, trails between Canaan SP and Blackwater Falls, Spruce Knob, Cranberry Wilderness Area), Western Maryland, and the Laurel Highlands, Pa. All these places are a 3-5 hour drive from D.C. Don't wait to go - conditions are perfect right now and they may not last.

Catoctin NP near Thurmont MD used to be a favorite of mine when we got local snow, but I hear that there are frequent closures of the park these days with added security (Camp David is in the park).

SeanG
February 13, 2003
Member since 02/13/2003 🔗
2 posts
Mitch,

Is it possible to drive to the top of Bald Knob if you don't have tele equipment or Alpine Trekkers? I want to get in some quality glade skiing on my alpine gear but don't want to make an 1100 vertical foot slog in my alpine boots.

I know that's totally not cool but hiking up in alpine boots would just suck.

Also, are the gladed areas pruned at all? Is deadfall cleared in the summer? Or is it true backcountry and we should be prepared for anything?

Basically how much can I trust the stumps and deadfall has been covered by the snowpack at this time of year given this year's snowfall?

Thanks for any info you can provide.

Sean


MitchH
February 13, 2003
Member since 03/29/2004 🔗
41 posts
Many of the gladed areas near White Grass are pruned but you have to know exactly where to go. Snow levels are high enough now that this is not much of a problem.

However, you can't backcountry ski and have fun on regular alpine skis, if you have to do any flat touring and/or climbing, which is necessary just about anywhere near
Whitegrass. Walking with alpine ski boots not only sucks, but it ruins the trails and slopes and runs (and is prohibited on Whitegrass territory). You could, however, rent snowshoes at Whitegrass, that might work with your alpine equipment, but carry skis on the flats and uphills would be a pain. Most backcountry skiers around here use telemark skis with waxless bases or waxed bases and some people use skins. My recommendation is either buy or rent backcountry equipment, or ride the lifts.

snowcone
February 13, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
The forecast for the next few days indicates major snowstorms in the DC area with 6" to 7" Fri-Sat and another 6" to 10"Sun-Mon, if I read it right (doing snow god homage dance). WV,VA look to be getting mostly snizzle while Wisp should have a good 10".

-Possibility- of up to 15"/4 days in DC so just go ski on the mall!

SeanG
February 13, 2003
Member since 02/13/2003 🔗
2 posts
When I spoke to Potomac Outdoors last winter they were trying to put together some type of shuttle to the top of Bald Knob or some other peak in the area. I guess the plan was to charge clients for a ride up so they could ski down on Alpine gear.

I'll call them to see if anything ever materialized.

I want to try tele skiing but I don't want to rent some skis, skin up to the top and then face plant into a tree because I can't turn. I guess I'll start with some lessons down at Whitegrass.

Also, in another thread someone spoke of pictures taken on Roaring Plains. Do you know where they are? Or where any other photos of local backcountry trips might be?

Thanks,

Sean

MitchH
February 13, 2003
Member since 03/29/2004 🔗
41 posts
You don't have to do telemark turns on tele skis. You can do whatever you know how to do.

The shuttle idea seems dumb to me. Why not just ski the downhill areas?

DCSki Sponsor: DCSki

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.14 seconds