My first day skiing was spent at the now defunct Black Moshannon Ski Area in PA. It was a day of many first for me. This was the first time I ever earned first tracks at an ski area, earned my turns, and to top it off it was in the deepest powder I have ever been on in my life. Black Moshannon ski area is located in Black Moshannon State Park about 20 minutes north of Penn State. The resort had one slope and one trail along with two lift lines on either side of the main slope. The ski area is still maintained by the state including the mowing of the slopes. The old ski lodge is now a rental cabin and is called "Cabin 20".
I arrived at the gated access road to the ski slopes around 7:30 am. After parking my car I had a short 5 min walk down a plowed road to the old ski lodge. My first step into the snow reviled it was deeper then I thought it was, about 18 inches deep. I walked over to the deck in front of the old ski lodge and started gearing up. Upon opening my ski bag I realized I made the biggest mistake I could possible make. I had left my poles behind. There was no way I could pass up the opportunity to ski untracked snow so I geared up and stepped in.
Attempting to ski the powder was no easy feat. Not only did I have my lack of poles going against me I also had 9 months of rust and a complete lack of powder skiing experience. It took me all of 50 feet before I fell the first time. Not the best start to the season. Getting back up I managed to get another 100 feet in before my skis sunk in the powder and I did a nice summersault. After regaining my composure I managed to make my way almost complete down the slope before catching a funny edge for my last spill. This was by far the best first run I have ever had. Walking around the base of the ski area I found that at present both lift lines had fallen trees blocking the way but 5 quality minutes with a chainsaw would open up some really fun ski trails.
After that graceful Run I was now dreading the walk back up. I quickly learn that while 18 inches of powder is fun to go down it is horrible to walk back up in. Blazing a trail up the skier's right I got to explore the glades that were along the main slope. From what I could tell there was no hidden obstructions under the snow. Once I reached the top I knew I would never have the energy in me to do a second walk or the time to get back home so I packed up and took the short walk back to my car.
This trip taught me some very important lessons. The biggest one of which is always make sure your poles are in your ski bag. I also learned that I need to be better prepared to go backcountry skiing. The next time I go I will be sure to bring some kind of method to carry my skis on my back. Black Moshannon is the perfect place for a first time backcountry skier. With its wide grassy slope and short hike to and from the lodge anyone who finds themselves in trouble won't be to far from help. I took some pictures from my trip that can be seen below and I welcome DCski to add them to the lost ski area section.
The Main Slope
Looking back at my tracks and the old ski lodge
View from the bottom
Skiers left lift line
Skier right lift line
The lodge and the glades
The lodge cornerstone dated 1964