Catch of the Day - Mid-Atlantic Comparisons
September 9, 2005
I've visited about half of the 29 mid-Atlantic ski areas covered in the DCSki resort profile section (http://www.dcski.com/resorts/index.php). Below is a collection of shots from a few noteworthy places I've yet to visit and remain curious about. Soliciting comments on how some of these compare to each other or, for example, to the size of Snowshoe, or the proximity (to DC) of Whitetail, or the challenge of Blue Knob?
Laurel Mountain, PA, includes a small quantity of very steep slopes, but business side is of dubious solvency: http://community.webshots.com/photo/242991697/243022597yJeQtb
Winterplace, WV, a fairly long haul from the DC area: http://community.webshots.com/photo/264745705/264751385rhPbsW
Elk Mountain, PA, supposed to have some fine advanced groomers: http://community.webshots.com/photo/291207255/291220187SlBpdu
Montage, PA, also supposed to have some good intermediate trails: http://community.webshots.com/photo/281873090/281878736FNhGHh
Blue Mountain, PA, heard mixed reviews of this place, but don't know much about it: http://community.webshots.com/photo/253138375/253156951mCIORKget
Sugar Mountain, NC, supposed to be one of the better areas in NC: http://community.webshots.com/photo/267336415/267411619ytZGFI
From everything I've heard over the years Elk may be the best of the bunch listed above??
Have skiied them all. I find out all you list that elk is my favorite. Nice steeps although narrow which will bump up in soft conditions. Montage is my nest favorite with a nice variety of intermediate and steeps. Although I have done Winterplace as a race dad, I wouldn't make it a destination. Too crowded on the weekends and too little vert.
FWIW, Winterplace is not much better as a racer. Upon reaching the last gate, you either wonder "that's all?" or "I drove __ hours for this?" That said, one of my teammates did break her leg there, so it does have some difficulty.
First, a question. How did you get the pictures if you have not visited these places?
I have skied several of the areas you mentioned, some many years ago. Without doubt, Elk is a great mountain and different from all the other mid-Atlantic ski areas. It is a skiers mountain, with twists, narrow, wide, steep, bumped, groomed, long and short trails. It is a bit of Vermont in PA!...well worth a trip.
Blue Mt. is also interesting and not a real estate development with a ski area. I have been there a couple of times and enjoyed myself, but probably like Camelback better. I have always wanted to go to Montage (will it open this year, there were rumors last year?) The picture from the top of Sugar Mt. was great!
Maybe we ought to try to get a DCSki trip to Elk and Montage for a long weekend this winter...anybody interested?
It's been a while, but I ski'd Sugar back in college. I remember it being very very crowded. BUt if I remeber right you could drive to the top and sneak a night ski down the mountain when the moon was bright
He just searched on webshots.
I have only skied Elk(outta of the ones listed), think of it as a nicer, more civilize Blue Knob in alot of ways. If you want lessons alot of PSIA-E Ed staff work there, and have been some of the best examiners i have had.
Josh who woulds still pick Blue Knob over Elk even if elk wasnt 3 times futher away from him.
Oh, about Sugar... Pretty mountain, nice setting, but as far as challenging runs go, stay at home. The very top has steeps, but they are short. One may be able to link a dozen turns before hitting the flatter intermediate terrain. It is uaually crowded, very crowded since it pulls from the NC, SC, TN, GA, and other southern states. The lifts, all doubles, are slow. I understand that the owner is going to upgrade the lifts, but that has yet to be seen. This mountain could use a quad, but that would only add even more to the crowded slopes. And... the snow conditions usually live up to the Mountain's name, at least every time I visited.
I've skiied Winterplace and would have to agree with Norks's assessment. They have a 660 vertical, but there's really only one run that goes the distance. The main blues and blacks are about a 500' drop at the most. The chair lifts are painfully slow and it can get a lot of crowds from NC since it's right off I-77. With that said, they do have a kick-butt snowmaking system. It can be fun on a weekday when the lift lines are basiczlly non-existent.
I also agree with the assessments of Sugar. It wouldn't be worth the drive for you in my opinion.
Col, Bushwacker is correct about using webshots to find pictures. Try it yourself. The webshots database has a million plus photos covering just about anything and any place. Go to main webshots home page: http://community.webshots.com/
Find the photo search window near top and type in something like Blue Knob and bingo... mountain mashers infamous pictures of the place appear front and center.
PS: I think something happened to Blue Mtn pic in my initial post in this thread. Here's another pic of Blue Mtn, PA ski area (although it could be Blue Mtn ski area in Canada, anybody confirm? Sometimes it's hard to tell exactly what you are looking at in webshots.): http://community.webshots.com/photo/275234141/275235676vERMpi
PPS: any of these photos can be downloaded to use as screen savers on your PC.
Of the hills shown in the pics, I've only ski'd Laurel Mountain and I'd have to say that only Lower WIldcat can compare to the challenge of BK.
I haven't been to Sugar, but the pic of SUgar is gorgeous - sort of reminiscent of the view from the top of Massanutten.
Yeah one slope, and the glades(unmark) can compare, to blue knob. Laurel is nice hill, but i lacking in lifts(i have never been in line at blue knob. bottom of Lower get super long lines on it and hte quad doesnt service any good terrain. Blue Knob and Laurel both have medicore snowmaking at best, only difference is Blue Knob let you decide how messed up yuo want skis to be, when at laurel i have skied closed trails that i never hit debris on. I like the ability to chose were i want to go ,not be told where to go.
My understanding of LM snow making is that it was the lastest of the greatest by Mr Dupre and company from 7S, therefore, I am completely baffled by the comment that it is only mediocre.
Mediocre in coverage. there guns are great they just need more of them. Dream Highway should be high on the list to get guns on.