New Timberline Ski Trail Status Report
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tgd
August 15, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
We just returned from 4 days in the Valley. Though I did not make the trek up to see the new trail it is obvious from the road that they are making major progress towards cutting the trail at least. From the Timberline Road, the new trail is plainly visible - in fact it is going to be the most prominent advertisement of snow conditions to anyone approaching the resort since it faces almost directly west greeting skier traffic as soon as you turn off 32. We could see the trail cut almost to the top of the mountain. There was a cloud of smoke indicating where they were working, and each day the smoke moved further uphill. It appears from the road that the trail has a sharp "S" curve in it near the top - probably to enable an easier traverse down the steepest part of the mountain. The trail cut appears pretty narrow with the exception being about halfway down. There the trail seems to open up into a pretty large clearing. This may be related to the access road or homebuilding - I couldn't tell what was really up from my viewpoint at the base of the hill.

As for Silver Steak/White Lighning - the trees are still there for now.

Tom
JohnL
August 15, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,518 posts
Quote:

since it faces almost directly west




It's gonna be tough to keep an adequate snow base on that trail.

Glad to hear about Silver Streak/White Lightning. At least for now.
TerpSKI
August 16, 2005
Member since 03/10/2004 🔗
167 posts
Are we talking an advanced trail? Is this the start of more expansion?
tgd
August 16, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
It is not supposed to be an advanced trail, more of a greenish-blue (or blueish-green). As has been reported on this board earlier - parts of the trail are actually fairly level - if not actually slightly uphill! This new trail primarily serves as a springboard for more slopeside real estate development versus a true terrain expansion.
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fred
August 16, 2005
Member since 12/23/2004 🔗
59 posts
Was up for another wonderful weekend in the valley with the family. Weather was great!!!

I walked the new trail and brought my transit. It would appear that the new trail does infact travel uphill from the tunnel. I would be vary skeptical that any skier wouldn't have to poll and I definitely won't be taking my snowboarding kids over there-nothing like dragging a couple kids on snowboards with your polls...kinda like salamander at the bottom!!! I could just leave them to play in the terrain park.. but oh yeah timberline doesn't open a terrain park until february. Sorry to beat a dead horse but what is up with timberline and terrain parks..John have you ever asked the manager why they don't make terrain parks a priority like every other mountain does. I spoke to a canaan valley employee and he said canaan was going to build a couple terrain parks first thing this season. I hate to have to take my family over to canaan(but closer than wisp)...our house is so close to timberline, but I'm going to have to buy some season passes for canaan this year if my kids don't have some jumps or rails to ride over the winter holidays.

John, what is going on with Timberline and terrain parks can you get any info on the plan this year. My kids loved the park last year but it wasn't open until february... we stayed in timberline and travelled to wisp last year just so the kids could ride some rails and do some jumps! When is timberline going to get with the times?
tommo
August 17, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
I, for one, am very pleased that Timberline is adding new terrain and working to expand snowmaking. Why anyone would &8tch and moan about this on this board is simply amazing to me! Considering that TL was, by many accounts, on the financial brink a couple of years back, I think they've done a great job of continuing to provide outstanding skiing within the resouces available. As to the homes on the new trail, well, yeah, what do you think is funding the expansion? As has been well established on this board, pretty much the only way ski areas can remain solvent these days is through related real estate sales. Virtually all of the largest and most successful eastern areas - Okemo, Stratton, Hunter, Killington, Loon, Sunday River, Snowshoe, Seven Springs, Stowe, Jay, Sugarbush, etc... rely at least in part on on-going real estate development to maintain viability.

Let's not forget that it wasn't too many years ago that Timberline didn't exist at all, Wisp had 3 double chairs and about 10 trails, Canaan had a single triple, and we could rarely ski over Christmas week. Now, this year alone, we are set to have a new base to summit trail at TL, and entirely new area at Wisp, Canaan is expanding their snowmaking, and both Snowshoe and 7 Springs are in the process of opening new terrain and adding lifts. At other mid atlantic areas, Wintergreen has put in 2 high speed six packs to serve what is now 1000' vert and is cutting a new trail, Whitetail dramitically upped their night skiing terrain, and even Liberty is covered in first rate quad lifts!

Virtually all of this is being driven by real estate dollars. Combined with the huge improvements in snow making equipment, our choices and overall snow sports opportunities are incomparable to what they were just 15 or 20 years ago. In my eyes, truly remarkable indeed!
tgd
August 17, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Quote:

John have you ever asked the manager why they don't make terrain parks a priority like every other mountain does....
John, what is going on with Timberline and terrain parks can you get any info on the plan this year.... When is timberline going to get with the times?




I for one don't understand how John became the proxy for this board's complaints to Timberline's management. Pick up the phone give them a call. Write a letter. Visit the office in person.
jimmy
August 21, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Tom, They're still there . Grading on the top half of New Trail looks about done, they were burning what looked like the last of the brush Saturday, water lines are going in the ground, looks like they're going to make it.

Maybe they'll be too busy finishing new trail to mess w/those trees.

SAVE THE TREES!
tgd
August 22, 2005
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Yes, I noticed the top third is a lot clearer now than last weekend. It actually looks like the trail will be pretty wide up top.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
August 22, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,926 posts
Its my flex day today and I am writing this from the Timberline lodge. The temperature is about 58 with a nice cool breeze.

This weekend, T-line hosted a dirtbike race. While I have no idea how much erosion the race caused, I can say that it pumped a reasonable amount of money into the area. Restaurants were full, as was the main lot at Timberline on Saturday.

With regard to the new trail, I have yet to hike it but I can make a couple of comments.

SNOWMAKING: The pipes are here. Yipeee!!! And Timberline staff are beginning to install them on the new trail as I write this missive.

New Trail terrain: The top of the trail looks reasonably steep for a blue. The second turn has a nice double fall line similar in some respects to the big turn on Perry Merrill at Stowe. The bottom part of the trail does indeed look on the flattish side but the steeper top portions may make up for this long runout. I suspect the runout was designed to service the houses being built on Winterhaven, and that may account for its design.

One thing is very clear: this is the longest trail to be constructed in the Mid-Atlantic for a long time (probably since Cupp). Unlike Cupp, however, it is designed for novice skiers, which we get a lot of here. In short, I think we can only celebrate this trail and hope it brings enough new business to the mountain to spurr additional improvements like a new high-speed lift, and an improved terrain park. The new trail definitely is going to help make Timberline ski very big for this region. Fred, Rome was not built in a day. We have to show some patience with this place. For me, it's much more than just skiing, it's about being in the CV, one of the most beautiful places in the entire Eastern US.
jimmy
August 22, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
You know, I've been kind of skeptical about this hole terrain expansion, but after walking the top (steep) part of New Trail saturday and poking around in the woods, I must agree that this is exciting news to me! I'm curious where the tunnel is? Really can't tell from the trail map; is it where that big chicane is?
tommo
August 22, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
Here is a couple of shots taken Saturday that show were the new trail twists down the mountain. I couldn't find a better angle that shows the whole trail, but these give a pretty good idea of how great a trail they're building. The tunnel, btw, is just a bit to the right of the lift.

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tommo301/detail?.dir=/4f26&.dnm=1cdf.jpg&.src=ph
fred
August 22, 2005
Member since 12/23/2004 🔗
59 posts
Hey John,

Good report. I also noticed the water lines. It's nice to see them going in but I have to admit I am worried the western exposure is going to melt the snow fast and take more priority as far as snow blowing goes. I'd hate to see three or six of the existing trails put on the back burner until midway threw the season just to open this new trail.

I know I'm beating a dead horse but I just don't understand why they don't put up a couple rails, boxes, and jumps for the kids to play on as soon as the season starts.

I've tried to contact someone at the resort to find out whether or not they are going to open the parks earlier this year, but I can't get a straight answer. I am holding off on buying season passes for myself and my kids until I can get a heads up. Last year we called up to see when they were planning to open some rails or jumps before we bought our season passes and the lady we talked to said there would be two terrain parks open during christmas. To say the least my kids were dissapointed and I ended up buying season passes to timberline then taking my kids up to wisp to ride their terrain park. Timberline didn't open a terrain park until near february.

I wasn't looking for you to complain for my family and I. I just wanted to get a straight answer so I could decide on buying season passes. You seem to do a good job when getting info from the management at timberline and I was just looking for some help.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
August 23, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,926 posts
Fred:

Like you, I am concerned that the new trail is going to over tax the snowmaking system at the resort and mean that signature expert terrain won't get coverage until mid-January at the very earliest. The Timberline management, however, is well-aware of the snowmaking shortfalls of the resort and has been working over time to improve the overall capacity of the system. Hopefully, some extra capacity is being created along with the new trail. I guess only time will tell.

The terrain park issue is a shame. It is clearly not a high priority at the resort. Higher priorities include the slopes that provide access to houses and the slopes needed by the race program.

For whatever reason, Timberline has been slow to recognize how important park rats are to this business. Unlike Intrawest people, many of the staff at Timberline rarely travel around the ski universe to see what's going on at other places. If they did, they might begin to understand how important things like high-speed lifts and terrain parks are for the modern snowsports enthusiast. They also might understand that creating a lodging model based on the rental of large, expensive homes owned by third parties is problematic. A better solution would be Allegheny Springs style developments--condos with hotel type ammenities.
jimmy
August 23, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Quote:

This weekend, T-line hosted a dirtbike race. While I have no idea how much erosion the race caused, I can say that it pumped a reasonable amount of money into the area. Restaurants were full, as was the main lot at Timberline on Saturday.




John, We were curious about the potential for damage. We were told that the promoter is responsible for picking up trash and "reclaiming" the course, and that by 5:00 pm Tuesday they'd have the track seeded and covered in straw. I don't MTN Bike so i can't comment on damage to the bike trails, but we were told that the course this weekend past was not laid out on the single track or the course for the previous atv race this year. You're right, the event sure was well attended.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
August 23, 2005
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,926 posts
Jimmy:

I did see a truck laying hay on White Lightning (one of the runs used for the event) on Monday, but is that really enough reclamation? No other resort in the region to my knowledge allows ATV or dirtbike races on its trails. Furthermore, some (such as Whitetail) are so concerned about erosion that they do even allow mountain biking.

ATV and dirtbike races clearly draw a lot of people to the resort and are very popular to locals but is the erosion and trail damage really worth it for the resort? I don't know. What do others think?

At Whitegrass, Chip and his merry band of volunteers constantly remove rocks and stones so people can ski there on very little snow. Timberline, by contrast, keeps trails closed for days on end while it lays down a 60 inch base. Perhaps if the trails were better maintained, they could open trails with 24-30 inches of manmade snow and let nature and occasional touch-ups do the rest. Having a lackluster Christmas-New Years period due to lack of terrain seems like a high price to pay for two ATV/dirt bike races a year.
Roger Z
August 23, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Very nice photo Tommo. Looks like two things to me. One: the lower part of the trail meets up with Winterset (which was a pole dragger the last time I skied it) to go back to the base lodge. Two: could this be a set-up for an expansion onto the northwestern face of the mountain??? Look at the way the trail logically suggests an extension down a couple hundred more feet. Green-blue: good pitch for an access run. I wonder...
bawalker
August 23, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Just a thought... If Timberline really wanted to develop a terrain park away from the rest of the slopes (that is if that is even a concern for them), take a look at that new trail and how about 1/4 of the way down it nearly touches Almost Heaven. Then it makes a semi hard left towards the west opening up this huge area in between Almost Heaven and the new trail. I don't see why a halfpipe and terrain park could be built in there. With as many others complaining about SnowShoe's terrain features on SilverCreek, this would be a perfect oppurtunity for Timberline to have an area set aside just for terrain parks. Heck even make a dedicated one trail in, one trail out setup. Keep the wannabe's off it.
jimmy
August 23, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Thanks Tommo, these pics show the upper (steep) part very well.....pitch is good i think down to where the trail turns to the skiers right and traverses across to winterset? You can see the spot roger is talking about, might be a good place for some condo, lodge townhome accomodations, some thing a little denser than million $ houses. Thats a pretty big area between Winterset and the base of the "natural Extension" ....seems more possible they'll find quite a few building lots in there be a pretty expensive place for a terrain park ...........anyone been cloud skiing lately ?
fred
August 24, 2005
Member since 12/23/2004 🔗
59 posts
As far as terrain parks and TImberline goes I think that seems to be the problem-Timberline doesn't really want to take the time to build a terrain park; they just want to advertise that they have them when they don't. False advertising!

For the past three seasons they have had two terrain parks shown on the trail map and they have only opened one, and that hasn't opened until february. And as long as I've skiied there with my family there has never been two terrain parks open. They advertise two terrain parks on their radio adds- I heard the adds as early as December last season that said "come to timberline and play in our two terrain parks."-two months before one even opened. And I even saw an advertisement where timberline claimed they had a 300 foot halfpipe. I think that add was in a Tucker county tourism publication.

As far as more western expansion goes -all I think we are going to see is expansion of real estate not skiing. The last add I saw for the new slope side development for the new trail advertised 100 plus slope side/near lots for sale -$300,000 plus a piece.
Roger Z
August 24, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Good idea Brad! That's exactly the type of new terrain parks that everyone wins with- just cut a new run.

Even 100 lots at 300K a piece doesn't fill up that much. Say they're on 1/3 acre lots and need about 10 acres of supporting infrastructure- that is 43 total acres, more than enough to fit into the existing Winterset run and lower part of the runoff. And you're looking at 30 million in revenue- someone on another post in this board mentioned that the ski expansions of recent years have been almost entirely financed by real estate sales. Well, 30 million bucks can go a long way for building new terrain and lifts.

It could even be used for more basic upgrades, such as more snowmaking and some new groomers.

Or maybe we can convince them to start a Moonshine Mountain development fund...
bawalker
August 24, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Roger, Not just cut *A* run, but make it a true legitimate park. A envisioning design could be something like this. As riders get ready to make the hard skiers left on the new trail, there could be a small narrow entrance to the terrain park. One way in and even make it a little bit of a small lip or drop off to discourage the wannabe's. From there it would open into a wide area that directly infront of the riders sit a really huge halfpipe. I think it would be best if it was fully lit, had sponsor banners (hey more money to pay for upkeep of the park), and a place where competitions could be held like Wisp does. Then off to either side of the half pipe I think it would be great to have jumps and rails. Each side of the pipe with the rails and jumps could be seperated by several trees for asthetic purposes. At the bottom everything would simply merge right back into a small exit from the park there above the winterset spur. Now if Timberline was smart (please read this timberline!) they could get an older 2 seater lift, install it somewhere there around the Winterset Spur / where the new trail meets Winterset and have it be able to give park riders a dedicated ride for the park. That way when early season or late season hits, Timberline can close the rest of the trails and milk snowmaking for all it's worth at the park and have all day or through the night riding times. It's just a thought at least.

Speaking of the 'Dual' terrain parks advertised by Timberline, I remember about 3-4 years ago there was a so called 'halfpipe' located in the short chute off to the skiers right of the Cat Tail run which crossed beneath the Woods Hole lift. I remember beginning to ski at the time and friends who were trying the halfpipe which in reality was more like a wide and deep ditch dug in the ground. No grooming ever happened on it, most often it filled up with snow and leaving bare lips on each side so yeah, it was a nasty little ditch. I believe two years ago Timberline dozed it over and leveled it out to make it just nothing. But *THAT* is what they are listing as their second terrain park. Someone needs to tell marketing that that doesn't exsist anymore. heh
jimmy
August 25, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
quote]Jimmy:

I did see a truck laying hay on White Lightning (one of the runs used for the event) on Monday, but is that really enough reclamation? No other resort in the region to my knowledge allows ATV or dirtbike races on its trails. Furthermore, some (such as Whitetail) are so concerned about erosion that they do even allow mountain biking.

ATV and dirtbike races clearly draw a lot of people to the resort and are very popular to locals but is the erosion and trail damage really worth it for the resort? I don't know. What do others think?
Quote:






John, From what i've seen walking around up there, i was suprised how much maintenace they've done on the groomed trails....water bars are in good shape, bare spots are seeded, didnt see any washouts, didn't seem REAL rocky, u can tell they've done this regularly and recently. Where the trails traversed thru the woods, you've got some pretty neat, improved openings/lines into the trees.

I guess it depends on how the resort/promoter cleans up/reclaims after the event whether it's worth it or not.


Quote:




At Whitegrass, Chip and his merry band of volunteers constantly remove rocks and stones so people can ski there on very little snow. Timberline, by contrast, keeps trails closed for days on end while it lays down a 60 inch base. Perhaps if the trails were better maintained, they could open trails with 24-30 inches of manmade snow and let nature and occasional touch-ups do the rest. Having a lackluster Christmas-New Years period due to lack of terrain seems like a high price to pay for two ATV/dirt bike races a year.




This makes a lot of sense, to pick rocks and stones so u can open w/lighter coverage and i agree tline should do this, A LOT, but it's hard to compare tline to whitegrass. Different expectations, different clientele ithink. Tline last year, even tho i had to go to snowshoe for tline's opening day , had the first 1000' of vertical open in the MA, and it didn't close til 4/3. I guess i just don't think a slow start in december has any thing to do w/those races, at least the way Tline handles them.
bawalker
August 25, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
You know, speaking of trail maintenance, it's a wonder a ski resort wouldn't pick up on the hard core people like us, offer a program where if we were to show up and help clean trails, pick up rocks, cut small limbs that they'd give away a free lift ticket for every 2 days or so of volunteer work. That wouldn't cost them but a dozen or so lift tickets ($500+ peak season prices) but probably get them over $500 worth of work done on the trails. I know I would drive 2 hours to get a free lift ticket
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