Best Ski Area right now within 3 hours drive
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Eug
January 12, 2006
Member since 03/3/2005 🔗
142 posts
Hi,

I am trying to plan a weekend trip at the end of January (27 - 30) and I was wondering which ski area (Canaan, Timberline, Wisp, Blue Knob, etc) has the best coverage so far?

I know anything could happen in the next two weeks but it never hurts to try to plan for the best.

I am looking primarily for an area that has plenty of beginner trails for my 8 yr and wife.

Thanks!
Roger Z
January 12, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
If you're looking for a good amount of beginner terrain, you should go to Wisp. They just added seven new novice runs and a separate section of mountain for beginner/novice skiers. Not sure how the snow coverage is up there though.
bawalker
January 12, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
The way it looks on Wisp's webcams and the way it feels here in Wardensville, I swear I just woke up in late March. The sun is shining, spring birds are actually chirping with temps right now nearly 59*F. Wisp has closed down their two natural snowcover runs, Bobcat Bowl & Randal's Run (under Chair 2-3 lift). The snow itself looks like powder but I'm assuming it's the spring-soft granular that is actually showing tracks. Even if you look at their cameras you'll see no snow in the woods or non-slope areas.

While the base is still there and looking to be very well intact, this could heavily tilt MLK to be more of a washout weekend vs what a packed MLK weekend is. I have no doubt that most all major trails for most resorts will be open with added patchwork being done by snowmaking this weekend.
kennedy
January 12, 2006
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
This may could end up being a very busy weekend. If you remember back to the year of the great thaw somewhere around the 01/02 season.

The winter was mild all the way through with the exception of MLK weekend where we had probably the only snow event of the season. As a result everyone and their cousin showed up a Whitetail. They ran out of board and ski rental and came close to parking cars on the access road. The high speed was stopped more than started and it was quicker to hike lower angel than take the lift.

I think that weekend was about the only profitable one that year. When folks see it's gotten cold they get all intent on going skiing before it thaws out. The moral of the story is don't count on it being quiet because it could bite you in the A.
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JimK - DCSki Columnist
January 12, 2006
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
You don't tell us much about lodging or après ski interests that could also drive choice for your family. Wisp would be a good general bet. If you want to ski and stay at a large resort complex at base of slopes Seven Springs would be even better. A weekend in Canaan Valley skiing a day each at Timberline and Canaan Valley ski areas might be nice. First two have great snowmaking, last two have high base elevation, all have good beginner terrain and pretty good bets for high trail counts at end of Jan. Canaan Valley ski area might be the least crowded on weekends of those I mentioned and has a good long beginner trail from top and separate beginner learning area at bottom. Hidden Valley near Seven Springs might be a sleeper for beginner terrain and low crowds/prices. Not sure about their conditions, search them out on DCSki or at their website. Blue Knob's strong suit is not beginner terrain (it's black diamonds), plus they rely more on natural snow than the others, which is scarce right now.
kennedy
January 12, 2006
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
Jim do you have a feeling for how crowds would likely be at Canaan or Timnberline this weekend?

I've been to Wisp and 7 Springs this year and it's a toss up between the two. Wisp has become a contender in my book. The only downside I see to it is that unlike 7 Springs I don't know of any hotels within spitting distance of the mountain. At 7 Springs we'll usually stay at the Holiday Inn in Somerset which is pretty convenient. As a side note Mr. Bickle is playing at the Holiday Inn this weekend and they are one of the best cover bands I have ever seen. Might not be very family oriented but it's a lot of fun.
Roger Z
January 12, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Think it was 62 down here in B-burg today. The single track mountain biking was excellently muddy. I could grow flowers on my shirt with all the dirt stuck to it now. What is it about mud that is so much darn fun?

Sorry about that... back to our regularly scheduled thread...
Eug
January 12, 2006
Member since 03/3/2005 🔗
142 posts
Quote:

You don't tell us much about lodging or après ski interests that could also drive choice for your family. Wisp would be a good general bet. If you want to ski and stay at a large resort complex at base of slopes Seven Springs would be even better. A weekend in Canaan Valley skiing a day each at Timberline and Canaan Valley ski areas might be nice. First two have great snowmaking, last two have high base elevation, all have good beginner terrain and pretty good bets for high trail counts at end of Jan. Canaan Valley ski area might be the least crowded on weekends of those I mentioned and has a good long beginner trail from top and separate beginner learning area at bottom. Hidden Valley near Seven Springs might be a sleeper for beginner terrain and low crowds/prices. Not sure about their conditions, search them out on DCSki or at their website. Blue Knob's strong suit is not beginner terrain (it's black diamonds), plus they rely more on natural snow than the others, which is scarce right now.




Thank you for your response and the other posters responses.

We generally just get a condo or house, depending on $, and just hang out afterwards. The apre scene is not that important now. We just like to hang out by the fireplace, play some boardgames, etc. A clean and well maintained house is prob our first priority.

I think we will like to check out Canaan/Timberline as it seems to have better coverage. Did somebody say smaller crows on weekends?

EDIT/Addition: It will nice to be able to ski in/ski out but I am wondering if that is available at CV or Wisp due to current snow coverage? I am guessing CV might not have ski in/out options due to US Park issue, correct?
jimmy
January 12, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Quote:

Jim do you have a feeling for how crowds would likely be at Canaan or Timnberline this weekend?




T-line will be a zoo this Saturday and Sunday, CV less so.

Eug, if you're looking at the last week in Jan. Tline/CV crowd should be not so bad. Wisp should be a lot of fun too, they've got a lot more variety for beginners than the other two.
bawalker
January 12, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Roger - Do you know it's harder to keep track of you than where's Waldo?

We logged a high of 71*F here in Wardensville at the bank which wasn't off by much. The thermometer in my Subaru showed an outside temp of 69*F.
jonjon
January 12, 2006
Member since 04/2/2004 🔗
70 posts
We had a high here in Davis of 53.6 degrees. Snow is all gone . . . . for now.
Roger Z
January 12, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Me? What about Jimmy? He's a traveling nut!

Eug, hard to go wrong with Canaan Valley. Good place to be, and something for everyone at the three different resorts. With any luck, the weather will turn by the time you get there and you'll be able to spend a day at Whitegrass, which is a must to experience.
tommo
January 12, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
Coverage at Wisp right now is fine; They are, for all intents, 100% open. The temps this week have not been all that warm, and the base is still very deep. The lack of natural snow is not at all unusual, really. They had 6 weeks of hard winter, then a thaw. Hard winter weather will return. It happens every single year. Regardless, all of the "western" areas - 7 Springs, Wisp, Canaan, and Timberline - should make it through just fine.

As a side note, there are two nice hotels within 5 minutes of Wisp. The Wisp hotel is slopeside (bottom of the slopes, kind of hard to miss)and has a really nice indoor pool, bars, gym, etc... The Comfort Inn is about 1/2 mile away and is a typical Comfort Inn. The Lakeside Hotel is about 1 mile and is a smaller property. There are also many rental condos and houses within a 5 minute drive, a good number of which are slopeside or less than 1 mile away.
Eug
January 15, 2006
Member since 03/3/2005 🔗
142 posts
Well, we went ahead and made our house reservation in Black Bear Resort in Davis, WV. I did some looking around and this place seemed to have a good rate. We rented one of those luxury large 'pedestal homes' with a Jacuzzi. Rate, including taxes, was %573 for 3 nights.

The other rental choices were almost double in price. This is our first time in the valley and in Black Bear, so I'll let you know how it was. According to the reservation lady, Black Bear is 6 miles from either mountain.

We found 2-for-1 lift tickets for Canaan but nothing for Timberline. Do you know if discount lift tickets for Timberline can be found?

Thanks again for your responses and suggestions.
Eug
January 16, 2006
Member since 03/3/2005 🔗
142 posts
Well, I read the fine print about the CV 2-for-1 coupon and it does not apply on weekends. How convenient!

Are discount coupons available anywhere for CV or Tline?
kwillg6
January 17, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,034 posts
I spent the past weekend at t-line. Saturday was interesting....glacial at best, then there was Sunday. Great conditions, 4" of new snow, but frigid! Monday rocked! Warmer, good snow... The crowds were not too bad. Lift lines were between 5 to 10 minutes in the afternoon only, and they were actually running the chairs a bit faster. Sorry Jimmy, but the zoo wasn't open. Now, next Satruday will be the USSA race at t-line. I don't know for sure which trail they will use for the slalom but you can count on one trail being closed at least half a day for the race.
jimmy
January 17, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Quote:

Sorry Jimmy, but the zoo wasn't open. /quote]



Hey Kim, spent Sunday at 7 Springs and the MLK crowd wasn't there either; probably as many people inside watching Stiller game as there were skiing. They definitly made more money on the $4.00 12 oz. Iron City beer than they did on lift tickets.

Thanks for your post i thought the server was down .
JimK - DCSki Columnist
January 17, 2006
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
Quote:

Well, I read the fine print about the CV 2-for-1 coupon and it does not apply on weekends. How convenient!

Are discount coupons available anywhere for CV or Tline?




It can be tough to catch a discount on weekends in mid-season. Alpine ski shop sells advance lift tickets to several resorts for about $10 off respective weekend/weekday rates, but not sure if Timberline or Canaan Valley are part of that offering. Maybe the outfit you rented your accommodations from might have a suggestion?
TLaHaye
January 17, 2006
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
Sunday too (it's my annual excursion to TL)! Saturday is a slalom for the older kids, while Sunday is a GS for those 12 and under.
kwillg6
January 17, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,034 posts
Yeah, Jimmy, it was pretty crowded in the pub as well when the refs were doing their best to help the colts, then some went back out to do their best Bodie impersonations....jeezsh, I saw that and decided that I'd just put a couple of steaks on the grill and enjoy the second game. When you gonna be up in the valley again?
Eug
January 17, 2006
Member since 03/3/2005 🔗
142 posts
Quote:


It can be tough to catch a discount on weekends in mid-season. Alpine ski shop sells advance lift tickets to several resorts for about $10 off respective weekend/weekday rates, but not sure if Timberline or Canaan Valley are part of that offering. Maybe the outfit you rented your accommodations from might have a suggestion?




I did check with the outfit and they do not offer anything.

I remember several years ago, right after Timberline opened up, I had a bunch of 2-for-1 green coupons. I probably tossed them already but I doubt that they are still good...

Thank you for the idea anyway. I will check with Alpine.
jimmy
January 17, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Quote:

When you gonna be up in the valley again?




AW man, i dunno. I'm really thinking of hanging it up , u know calling it a year due to this season being a total washout and all . Maybe i'll clean up my golf clubs. .
kwillg6
January 17, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,034 posts
Hey, Jimmy!!!! We can play the course at the State Park, and maybe take a dip in the pool! Since a lot of folks are calling for gloom and doom for skiing in 2006, we might jump on the bandwagon and go fishing as well! Besides, skiing is highly overrated as a recreational sport, especially with the weather this year.
MattD
January 17, 2006
Member since 01/17/2006 🔗
3 posts
Lets renew this discussion going forward from today (1/17)...

I'm new to the area... Living in Falls Church, VA. I checked out drive times on the internet for some of the areas discussed and they often seem to be well over 3 hours from NoVA.

I'm wanting to make my first 'boarding weekend by the end of January, but I don't want to spend the whole weekend driving.... So what would you suggest if I'm leaving from Falls Church?

I was leaning toward Wintergreen, but I don't see much discussion of it here. Why is that? No snow? I never trust the resort websites, but their site indicates decent conditions.
dmh
January 17, 2006
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
MattD--

As with most things, it depends. I live in Arlington, have a place in Canaan and have made the drive more times than I like to recall. If you leave before 2:00 pm, the drive from where I live to my house in Canaan Valley is 2 hours and 50 minutes if I drive straight through, 3 hours and 15 minutes if I stop for gas. I go 66-81-55 to Petersburg then north to Scheer and Bismark and then drop down into the valley from the north. The alternative is on 55 via Seneca Rocks, but that is consistently 15 minutes slower. If you leave during rush hour, add at least 30 minutes to the trip from Falls Church to Gainesville on 66. It is virtually a parking lot from 50 until past Gainesville.
tommo
January 17, 2006
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
Quote:

Canaan Valley is 2 hours and 50 minutes if I drive straight through




Lift tickets, $45. Beer in the pub afterward, $12. Speedlimits, meaningless.
MattD
January 17, 2006
Member since 01/17/2006 🔗
3 posts
dmh:

It's is great to know that the drive is possible in a reasonable amount of time... those internet things can be way off, and of course as you pointed out traffic is the big factor getting outta town around here.

Besides the drive time, I'm also interested in perspectives on the current conditions (vs whats posted on resort websites) or expectations.

Thanks!!! -- Matt
dmh
January 17, 2006
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
75 to 80 mph on 66/81, as fast as the curves and timber trucks allow on 55/42/93/32, 75 mph on H. Only two tickets and well worth the price.
Eug
January 17, 2006
Member since 03/3/2005 🔗
142 posts
dmh,

Thank you for your directions. I will be going there the weekend of the 27th.

I guess there is really no direct way to get there once you get to Petersburg. Is the route that you prefer, 42/93/32, as hilly and twisty as the 55/33 route? I am assuming that these routes are somewhat hilly and twisty. Correct me if I am wrong as this will be my first time there.

- - - -

Matt,

I just noticed that you are a Holiday Valley alumni. I went to SUNY Buffalo and had a great time in HV and KB.
fishnski
January 17, 2006
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
dmh,Have you or anyone else tried to get off the H2 at 220 & head north to Oldfields where you can take a CR2 route to Williamsport & then a slight sw jog on Cr5 & then a right turn back on Cr2 to Falls to greenland & Scherr & on up 93?? Looks a lot shorter on the map...but then they ARE named CR for country roads! Be nice if they worked though!
dmh
January 18, 2006
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
The virtual of the Petersburg to Bismark to Davis is that it is shorter (about 10 miles) than the southern route and the road is altogether, straighter. From PB to Scheer is largely flat, if curvy. Scheer to Bismark is a steep, curvy climb that requires great patience. Bismark to Davis is flat and straight and but for the risk of cops or snow, can be driven at 80 mph. I don't want to overstate this. The northern v. southern route is only 10 to 15 minutes different but it feels shorter and easier.

fishski, I have not tried that route but may if there is ever a time I am not in a hurry.
tgd
January 18, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
dmh: I have to try the "blended" route you suggest. Sounds good if it shaves 15 minutes off coming through Seneca Rocks. I usually take the 66-81-55-32 or 66-81-37-50-93-32 straight up. I do like to avoid that stretch of 93 from the powerplant into Davis in snow or fog though - visibility can be a major issue then.
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