I must confess that I haven't looked at one of their trail maps in any detail for at least a couple of years now, so I could easily be mistaken, but I wonder if something is brewing in that region as well (or maybe just a new map ... or maybe just old age ).
Tom / PM
About time... the "Ditch of Doom" had to go... either that or have the walls actually built up to vert.
T-line should've invested in a pipe-groomer instead of triple chairs, IMO, since having a halfpipe would be quite nice.
Did you see any evidence of the Silver Queen upgrade that Timberline is promising (i.e. converting it from a slow double to a slow triple)?
What are the new glades you are talking about? The only glades on T-Line's web site map are Pearly Glades. (I do recall someone mentioned somewhere on DCSki that some clearing was being done around White Lightning.) Are the new glades officially open or are they a work in progress?
Also, any word if T-Line plans on opening the advanced trails earlier this year? I remember some complaints that The Drop/OTW opened very late last year despite the epic snowfall. Seems like it was not due to snow cover, but other issues...
It does sound like T-Line is making an effort to improve the skiing.
The new glades start just below and to the left of the confluence of Upper Thunderstuck and Upper Thunderdraft. They should open this season. However, the Corbett's Couloir of the Mid-Atlantic is the Cherry Glades and they are still closed. Hopefully, Timberline will finally clear those glades next year.
Regarding snowmaking, Timberline tends makes snow on only a few trails at a time. It usually starts with White Lightning and Salamander and then moves on to Thunderstruck, Dew Drop, and Almost Heaven. In warm seasons, it can take many weeks before the entire resort gets a coat of snow. Timberline also likes to make a 60 inch base of snow on each slope before moving on to another one. This means it rarely has to return to a slope for touch up work. It also means that Timberline always has an excellent base. You can usually open your throttle at T-line without worrying about catching an edge on grass.
New snowmaking enhancements are changing the situation. Last year, for instance, it got 4 top to bottom trails up and running fairly quickly. I suspect the same will be true this year. My prediction, for what it's worth, is that Timberline will have Salamander, Almost Heaven, Dew Drop, White Lightning, and Thunderstruck open by Christmas and Off The Wall and the Drop done by New Years. This may be optimistic but I think the resort is really trying hard to get its act together and compete with Snowshoe and Wisp--resorts that usually achieve 100 percent coverage in about 12 days or less of operations.
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 11-12-2003).]
With all the snow last season, seems like T-Line could have opened The Drop and Off The Wall by New Year's using just natural cover. A post from last year concerning yet to be opened slopes on 1/15 with 90 inches of snow to date:
I think it's more than a snowmaking issue. In addition, waiting for a 60-inch base on double blacks is overkill. A bare spot or two is to be expected on a double black. In Vermont, stumps, rocks, grass and moss are terrain features. I think West Virginians are at least as hardy as Vermonters.
what xtra costs are there associated with opening a trail with natural cover? Grooming, that is about it.
This is one thing that I HATE about both Canaan and Timberline - they leave perfectly fine trails closed.
I was there at that time last year and yes, we got some natural snow but it was really not enough to open Drop or Off The Wall to serious traffic. I talked to a local who ducked under the ropes to ski the trail that day and he said it was kind of sketchy. It was ok for a handful of locals (and insiders) to ski it but not for the general public. That's kind of the story with Cherry Glades as well. If you know how to do it, you can get away with it, but don't try it unless you are sure you know the correct lines to take.
As for the 60 inch base, I LOVE it. It saves my skis and makes it harder to get injured on the main slopes at Timberline. If people want challenge there, they need to ski the double black terrain or out of bounds. The blacks and blues are basically for intermediates.
With enhancements, I don't think we're going to see the one slope at a time snowmaking of the past. Timberline's skier visit numbers for last season were down (Snowshoe, by comparison, had record numbers) and I think management has gotten the message about what needs to be done to attract and more importantly retain skiers. Last year was a wake up call, but this year should be better. For better or for worse, places like Snowshoe, 7 Springs, and Whitetail have really raised the bar for skiing in the area and all other resorts need to work hard to catch up. Mid-Atlantic skiers now demand 100 percent coverage by New Year's day and high-speed, uphill transportation. The resorts that fail to listen to skier demands will continue to see skiers voting with their feet and going to more modern resorts.
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 11-12-2003).]
I agree that a 60 inch base (assuming we're talking unsettled snow) is a wise idea for greens and blue/black cruisers. That's why I was pretty specific about opening with lesser cover on double blacks only.
My philosohy is to open the trail, clearly mark it as having thin cover/poor conditions and let natural selection take place. Seems to work well in New England and out West. I've rarely seen skiers in those places skiing natural snow trails without having the ability to do so. Maybe seeing a cliff band or two from the chairlift gets people to realize that they should pay attention to trail signs.
One feature that often discourages skiers from going down a trail they shouldn't is to have a real sketchy entry (with a bailout to another trail at the entry). Cornices, rocks, mega-bumps, very narrow entrances do a good job of making people think about whether they can handle the trail. Make the entrance real nasty looking.
Stein's Run at Sugarbush is a great example of this. It has a pretty narrow entrance off a busy catwalk. There are only 4-5 lines a skier can take to enter the trail, and as a result, the bumps at the beginning get to be pretty rough. The rest of the trail is a lot easier. Most skiers take a look at the entrance to Stein's and keep on skiing down the catwalk.
So if a rope is there to keep out most but not all skiers, then you are defeating the purpose. Make ropes absolute boundaries, but use them only under extreme conditions (sketchy does not equal extreme) and properly label the current conditions the times the rope is down.
[This message has been edited by JohnL (edited 11-12-2003).]
I basically agree with you on the ropes issue. E-mail me at email@example.com and I can offer you some offline suggestions about how to make the most of the expert terrain at Timberline. I really do not want to broadcast my secrets over the entire net.
I distictly remember there being expert trails open before New Years last season... with the Christmas snowfall and everything.
My first day there last season over Christmas week they had White Lightning, Salamander, and Silver Streak open. Before New Years Off the Wall was infact open, and remained open and somewhat skiable until the opening of The Drop.
Hmm... I also remember The Drop being open a few days over the Christmas holidays... it had poor coverage. So they shut it down to build up a good base... so it could stay open until the bitter end of the season.
But yes... unless I'm hallucinating... Timberline did have The Drop, Off-The-Wall, and Silver Streak open at some point before Christmas.