Catch of the Day - Mid-Atlantic Powder Dayz
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JimK - DCSki Columnist
August 17, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004
2,647 posts
Meager natural snows and eager grooming crews make these rare dayz indeed in our region, especially for recreational skiers who don't have frequent or indiscriminate access to the slopes. Here's some local powder pics, all from 2005:

Powder eights at Wintergreen, VA: http://community.webshots.com/photo/312152155/312240219HFgZEV

Speechless, but not powderless at Timberline, WV: http://community.webshots.com/photo/288630912/288694768JQBrkX

Night powder at Seven Springs, PA: http://community.webshots.com/photo/261367505/261369280AYPwQy

What was your last or best powder day in the mid-Atlantic?
therusty
August 17, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Day after the Blizzard of '96. Roads closed except for emergency traffic. Whitetail Ski School Director and I had to go "make sure" that the people staying overnight were "ok". 45 minute hike up. One run down Bad Decision in waist deep POW. There was a group of boarders ahead of me that did not know I was behind them until they turned around at the bottom to see their tracks. "Dude - that was SOOOOO AWESOME - there was only like this much of you above the snow." Getting envy from knuckledraggers - priceless.
wgo
August 17, 2005
Member since 02/10/2004
1,263 posts
For 2005 in the mid-atlantic, would have to be the dcski get together at tline in early march. I think those that were there can attest to that...

2nd place: wintergreen the week before after a foot or so of snow. JimK, I had to laugh at your phrase "eager grooming crews" cuz the place was certainly groomed side-to-side when I got there! But no worries, I found a few places where there was some powder left!
JohnL
August 17, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Quote:

Speechless, but not powderless at Timberline, WV:




I think that album is from DCSki's own Bawalker.

Quote:

For 2005 in the mid-atlantic, would have to be the dcski get together at tline in early march. I think those that were there can attest to that...




Roger that! I also caught a lot of fresh one day at Laurel Mountain last year.
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Roger Z
August 17, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Rusty- ditto on the blizzard of 96. I saw that one coming in and made a reservation at Canaan Valley lodge two days before the storm. Got there the night before. First day was just flakes but the second day at Timberline was epic- dumping snow all day knee deep beauty. Unfortunately we left the next day without skiing, but if I remember right there was so much snow they had closed the lifts for the morning anyway. 37 inches total. Phenomenal.
Murphy
August 17, 2005
Member since 09/13/2004
618 posts
Quote:

JimK, I had to laugh at your phrase "eager grooming crews" cuz the place was certainly groomed side-to-side when I got there! But no worries, I found a few places where there was some powder left!




There are some eager groomers around here. Roger and I went to Snowshoe after a 14" snow and you never would have guessed it if it weren't for the snow on the trees. Everything was groomed....or blown off. Had more luck at Winterplace a few weeks later. It was only an 8" snow but the entire upper half of the mountain was ungroomed. Yes, for the uniformed, a mountain with only 600' of vert can be broken up into an upper and lower half.
ski_guy_59
August 17, 2005
Member since 11/9/2001
221 posts
My best day was the first Saturday in March of this year at T-line. Five inches fell friday night on top of 30 inches over the prior week. Needless to say, I was very happy....=)
wojo
August 17, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
294 posts
I had three great days two seasons ago . . .
Dec 6th at Mt Tussey, brought my gear for to meeting and on day 2 it snowed 16 inches of champagne powder (on all 400 ft of vertical) , same year got 16 or so at Wisp on the 7$ days about Dec 15th (got there Sat and it was snowing like crazy so three kids and me had a blast) same year end of Jan Fairfax county teachers work days at Blue Knob 2 days with 10+ inches of snow and below zero wind chill!!

Don't think I will ever top such "epic skiing" in one year on the east coast
Roger Z
August 17, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Quote:

Yes, for the uniformed, a mountain with only 600' of vert can be broken up into an upper and lower half.





There's even a place halfway down where you can drink beer. Powder fields, beer joints, upper and lower mountains... it's just like Austria! Why ski anywhere else when you can have it all at Winterplace!

(end shameless delusional rant of a southern Virginian...)
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
August 17, 2005
Member since 02/23/2005
830 posts
Indeed. We got to WP during consequtive 7" and 5" snows last year and it was like they never got the groomers near the "upper mountain". snowbowl was actually fun. even during the 5" snow at night the lift lines next to cascade were untracked - nothing like shredding pow on 200' of vert. I found my 11 yr old dodging trees. yee haw.
bawalker
August 17, 2005
Member since 12/1/2003
1,547 posts
Yup that Timberline album is mine of pictures I took the day the DCskier's gathered to meet. I was running behind but I had my camera with me so I took as many photo's as possible.
therusty
August 17, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
You would not believe the complaints we get at Whitetail when we DO NOT groom fresh snow.
Murphy
August 17, 2005
Member since 09/13/2004
618 posts
Quote:

You would not believe the complaints we get at Whitetail when we DO NOT groom fresh snow.




I would be interested to know what percentage of the mid-atlantic skiers would prefer fresh snow to be groomed. I'm sure it's high but it's still surprising when you consider every ski publication, web site and messageboard spends half their time talking about powder.
Taylormatt
August 18, 2005
Member since 12/3/2004
339 posts
Grooming powder should be illegal and subject to HEAVY fines

Groom the greens, leave the rest as is IMO.
Roger Z
August 18, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
That doesn't sound surprising Rusty. There are a number of people in the Mid-Atlantic who won't ski when it's snowing out! They're worried they'll get wet or something I guess.

For all of it's glories, powder is not easy to ski. It takes a lot of practice to get up to snuff on that condition, though admittedly, making mistakes and falling in powder is much nicer than falling on the usual boilerplate (and westerners wonder why we east coasters are so terrified of falling). And judging from experience, there are a lot of skiers in the Mid Atlantic who can barely turn on a groomer. Throw powder into the mix, where you actually have to release weight, shift edges, and point relatively straight downhill to make good turns, and I can see the complaints streaming in. Even worse is the after-freshies: those piles of chunked up snow that look like moguls but actually aren't. That stuff is truly hard to ski.

All this is leading to my dream: we need a Mad River Glen in the Mid-Atlantic. I envision one lift: a T-bar to the summit. Snowmaking on 50% of the terrain, the rest is natural snow only. Cheap lift tickets, no-frills lodge, and virtually no grooming. Accessed by a plowed dirt road only. This will be Moonshine Mountain's cousin up in West Virginia. Yeah, it sounds a little like Blue Knob, but it'll get more snow and less environmental criticism (no logging, and no snomaking ponds obviously ). And it'll only be fully open about four weeks a year but who cares. At least there would be a place for folks like us to frolic on powder days.
jimboc
August 18, 2005
Member since 03/30/2004
260 posts
that sounds like timberline minus the cheap tickets;)
wgo
August 18, 2005
Member since 02/10/2004
1,263 posts
I've actually felt that skiing powder (especially on the generally mellow terrain we have here in the mid-atlantic) is easier than other types of "advanced" skiing. It may feel impossible to ski the first time one encounters it, but I think the learning curve for skiing it well is much, much more rapid than for skiing bumps, to give one example. For me, once it "clicked", I had it.

Of course, once you are dealing with the cut-up stuff and crud, that changes the equation a bit, but a foot o' fresh on the terrain we have in these parts? Piece of cake!
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
August 18, 2005
Member since 02/23/2005
830 posts
Quote:


That doesn't sound surprising Rusty. There are a number of people in the Mid-Atlantic who won't ski when it's snowing out! They're worried they'll get wet or something I guess.





so back to the epic pow day at WP I asked about it and they actually told me they get alot fewer skiers when it's snowing - most people stay away

just give me the coordinates for your moonshine mtn or whatever it is.
jimmy
August 18, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
JimK Great thread, bawalker thank for the pics! I ended up at 7springs the day of WV Woodstock, i still can't belive how much different conditions those two resorts had that day .

wgo, Got a couple of buddies that still do shoulder turns when things get tuff, they're fun to watch in powpow. You have to be willing, i think, to submit to the mountain, not fight it, to be able to make turns in powder.

Best powder day this season.........causght 8" at laurel mtn in feb, closing day at TL was pretty special too.
therusty
August 18, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005
422 posts
Quote:


I would be interested to know what percentage of the mid-atlantic skiers would prefer fresh snow to be groomed. I'm sure it's high but it's still surprising when you consider every ski publication, web site and messageboard spends half their time talking about powder.




My guess is that the number is about 75% overall, but only 25% on an actual powder day.

BTW - I am VERY grateful when the flats are groomed on powder days, espcially when I'm on a board! And I do love it when Deer Valley grooms during daytime snowstorms. 90% of their skiers stick to the (over crowded) groomed areas leaving the ungroomed wide open for me, me, me. It's all just for meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 18, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,288 posts
Often the snow we get in this area is more like wet cement than powder. If that is the case, I prefer it groomed. If it is real powder, the local resorts should leave some ungroomed areas so we can enjoy floating in the powder before skier traffic turns it to piles of soft snow surrounded by hard pack. We don't often get the chance to experience that 'floating' feeling of skiing in fresh, deep powder, so let us enjoy it before it is groomed into crusty hard pack.
Crush
August 18, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004
996 posts
.. as for moi? I like anything that has a high probability of giving me a hard time. I figure if I can sort it out and ski it it's been a good day. And there are lots of "hero" days to show off and make up for it .. anywhere!
Roger Z
August 19, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Another secret about powder skiing around here is that if it hits midweek, the ski areas are much less likely to groom. Whether that's because they don't want to spend the money, don't care about midweek skiers, or recognize that midweek skiers are a different demographic (hardcore powder hound will-ski-anything junkies) I dunno.

As far as wet versus dry snow goes. I've done powder in Colorado, Utah, California, and Washington State. The former two are bone dry, the latter two more on the cement side. Honestly, I don't see a big difference (when it's fresh). You get better float in the drier stuff and can move faster, but the wet stuff is fine... at least until the sun comes out. Then it turns to slop in a big hurry.
wgo
August 19, 2005
Member since 02/10/2004
1,263 posts
Quote:

Another secret about powder skiing around here is that if it hits midweek, the ski areas are much less likely to groom.




Feh. Just my luck that wintergreen seems to be one of those resorts that does groom midweek!
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 19, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,288 posts
I would love to abe able to ski mid-week, unfortunately, the demands of my job make that difficult. I do spend alot of my liesure time in the Laurel Mountains where the lake effect snow is as light as a feather. So I do get to ski an occasional powder day here in the Mid-Atlantic.
In my opinion there is a world of difference between wet slocky snow and dry powder snow. With wet snow, your skis pack the snow and create a track...sort of like skiing on a rail. It was difficult to ski in this slock with those straight long old boards. With the large shovel on the new shaped ski's there is a world of difference. In the good old days those long boards and the wet snow were an invitation to an ACL injury. The shaped skis kind of busts through it. However, I would have to say there is a major difference between wet cement snow and dry powdery snow. The skiing is completey different. I would prefer they just groom the wet snow. If they don't groom it, tracks form where you can catch an edge. And it improve the base. I've ski'd locally where the tracks of other skiers froze in place making for some rutted, dangerous conditions.
BushwackerinPA
August 20, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
http://community.webshots.com/photo/328440879/328440879WBIngU 8 inch day at the knob early march, to bad i didnt take pics from the wind blown day when east wall was skiable a week before(like 2 feet of snow in some places)


Some more pics just of nice ski day at the knob
http://community.webshots.com/album/328436026uqoXNd

Was anyone at springs closing day one of my best day i have ever had in PA, metrons ate that wind pack so fast:).
snowsmith - DCSki Supporter
August 22, 2005
Member since 03/15/2004
1,288 posts
Nice photos, Bushwack. These photos show the raw beauty of BK. Looked like a nice powder day. Given that we're not far from the Mason-Dixon line, I guess we should be happy if we get snow, period. Wet or dry. This summer has been hot and miserable and I am so much looking forward to a snowy winter.
jimmy
August 23, 2005
Member since 03/5/2004
2,650 posts
Quote:

..............stick to the (over crowded) groomed areas leaving the ungroomed wide open for me, me, me. It's all just for meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!




Rusty, u ok now? Man i'm glad you got that off your chest . You'd look good in the official Moonshine Mountain ski patrol uniform, camo cahrharts w/safety orange gloves and helmet, puttin lollipops at the head of all powder laden trails.
JohnL
August 25, 2005
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Bushwacker,

Where in the Knob was this taken? Was this a mountain bike feature? (Too square to be a fallen log.)
http://community.webshots.com/photo/328436026/328440962xFVuvS

I need to reacquaint myself with Blue Knob this winter.
kwillg6
August 25, 2005
Member since 01/18/2005
2,020 posts
Wow! Mention the pow word and the discussions fly! I find that the skiing experience on pow days are the ones I remember. My only gritch is when the rustys pig it all up themselves before opening the areas to the paying public. Cut crud is much harder to ski, although preferable to hardpack. In the old days, I'd show up at the t-line patrol shack ask to help with bamboo on those epic days and get 4/5 runs in before the ropes were dropped. Afraid those days are gone. However, I am very excited about the possibilities of easily accessable pow-pow from the new t-line trail.
BushwackerinPA
August 25, 2005
Member since 12/9/2004
649 posts
the boulder(which the total drop is actually like head high) is located in plain view of the triple in the first tree pod right after jack rabbit. landing can be pretty flat, so just go faster and clear the the ditch were every else landed if you like your knees.

I got Digital video camera this year and i put about 80-100 days on snow a year. I bet i will have some great video for the board.
Roger Z
August 25, 2005
Member since 01/16/2004
2,181 posts
Almost as memorable as skiing on powder days are the drives home. I remember coming back once from Canaan in a storm and almost burying the Jeep I borrowed in drifts several times as we tried to cross the farm fields of western MD (thought it'd be safer to go that way than down the pass at Scherr. Oops). A friend was hanging out the back window looking for the side of the road most of the way. Once in a while his hair would start to disappear, that's when I knew we were going off the road.

Powder days are certainly memorable. Even a few inches of freshies caught unexpectedly on a run or two can turn an ordinary, blase ski trip into a blast- even Winterplace can be fun on a day like that!
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