WL Changes at Timberline: It Sort of Makes Sense
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johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
October 17, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
I was up at Timberline this weekend and took a look at the changes to White Lightning (merging it with Silver Streek by removing trees) and I think it makes sense.

WL is generally the first top to bottom trail to open early in the season because of its northern exposure. By widening it, Timberline has made it easier to negotiate for intermediates waiting for easier terrain (Sally, Twister, Dew Drop, etc) to come on tap.

The new supersize width will also give this trail an open, bowl feel similar to the North Face slope at 7 Springs. In short, it will be great fun for carvers.

I just hope that Timberline lets Drop and Off The Wall bump up so experts have some challenge... Any thoughts from Tucker, Jimmy, or Kim? Am I crazy or do you see some rationality to this recent decision by the Line.
kwillg6
October 17, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,023 posts
Actually, John, I've thought it was a pratical move for years. Notice that the top of the streak was left as is. now come the question.... will we see some trail/glade development between lightening and the drop. The terrain is perfect if it were cleaned out.
jimmy
October 17, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
John, iirc they had something blow up which prevented them from making snow later in the season. I suspect that the aggressive grooming we saw last year on OTW & the drop was for snow conservation and PRAY that they leave them *unfinished* this year.

There is, to me, a difference between closed and not skiable but Silver Streak was closed most of last season, so I guess, the widening is an increase in skiable terrain and new terrain is a good thing. You have the advantage, though, i haven't seen it yet. Anybody got any pictures to post?
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
October 17, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
I was literally scoping the trail out from the Beall Tract of the National Wildlife Refuge with my binocs--you can see the whole trail from that vantage point. The natural contour of the mountain will give the trail a slight double fall line, which is cool. Also, it will be a good trail for "showboaters" since much of it is now visible from the Queen. Queen rides can get mighty borring so we'll want to see some nice moves, especially from the carver crowd. Bottom line: this trail is going to ski BIG! It's going to feel like a little piece of UT, especially after 12 inches of fresh.
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Rickh
October 17, 2006
Member since 12/2/2004 🔗
132 posts
I know they widened it for races, and that's fine. But, do they need to groom it for races? If the groomers leave the old Silver Streak section of the wider trail alone I'm all for it. That will really give it an out west feel. It wasn't opened a lot last year, so now they can have it open first thing. But, please please don't groom it. Silver Steak was the best run on the mountain.
Tucker
October 17, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
I had some of my favorite runs I can remember on the streak ...it would drift deep on even marginal snows...true waste deep drifts often. I am excited to be able to make some big turns on lightning now that its wide... Anybody on a plate board will eat it up..I can't wait to see them rip it up. I remember my first and last ride on a plate set up(an ooold burton wide plate board and some vintage boots that was handed down by Chris on a snowy night to whoever wanted to give it a go,and many have thanks Chris!)...After a quick test run on Saly I hit lightning and set and edge over the first headwall on a large radius turn as far over as I could on one edge of the slope and before I knew it I was right on top of the other edge...I might of stayed on that board more than three runs that day if there was some wider terrain and I had a couple extra sets ot draws'...I'm gonna make some huge turns on lightning now.

My preference--->Big @#! Turns in waste deep at about 45 miles per hour, ridin' any powder and kickin' out rooster tails with a crowd, hitting the boxes in a terrain park, ridin' bumps and whale surfin, and then riding groomers I guess...as long as it's just in transit to all of the preceeds.
kwillg6
October 18, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,023 posts
Tucker! Stop that! You're making me cloud ski in the fog.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
October 18, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
My dream.....21 inches starting LATE Sunday and continuing until Monday Morning (my flex). Lifts open at 9. No one around--everyone made it out before the storm on Sunday. No Boy Scouts. No Church groups. Just me and a few patrollers. Utah in WV.....Car is buried. It's hard to find my skis in the deep powder but I manage to click in....Yes. WL, here I come...
JohnL
October 19, 2006
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
Quote:

Notice that the top of the streak was left as is.




How far down were the trees kept? Anyone with pictures?

I thought White Lightning was a pretty wide trail to begin with; not sure if it will ski any differently than before.

Silver Streak, on the other hand, was a classic. RIP.
kwillg6
October 19, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,023 posts
Actually, SS was one of those trails which probably just happened due to the lift being there. It's the same with thunderdraft. That is what happen at many ski areas and they are generally natural snow only. When open, these were two of my favorites. I can only remember them making snow on them once back in the mid 90s. Probably haven't done it since due to many variables, but now that lightening has consumed the streak, could we see a bump area form under the queen. Are you listening t-line????
TerpSKI
October 19, 2006
Member since 03/10/2004 🔗
167 posts
IMO WL was already pretty fun for carvers, widening will just draw more beginner-intermediate kamikaze straight-liners. I predict a blood bath .

Can't put the trees back though.
tgd
October 19, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
I took some pictures a couple weeks ago. I haven't had time to figure out how to post them. Anyone care to help me out on this? Anyway, the trees were kept up top until the first headwall, then cut from there all the way down almost until the cut off for white out. The overall trail width of WL appears to be double its original.

Tom
jimboc
October 19, 2006
Member since 03/30/2004 🔗
260 posts
There is nothing good to come of this (cutting the trees)- no positives what so ever....you have all lost your minds......
JohnL
October 19, 2006
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
Quote:

Anyway, the trees were kept up top until the first headwall, then cut from there all the way down almost until the cut off for white out.




From your description, only the short flat section at the very top has trees between the two trails? Heading down the trails, once the slope steepens, the trees are gone? If so, utter stupidity. I've said it before, and I'll say it again.
tgd
October 19, 2006
Member since 07/15/2004 🔗
585 posts
Quote:

Quote:

Anyway, the trees were kept up top until the first headwall, then cut from there all the way down almost until the cut off for white out.




From your description, only the short flat section at the very top has trees between the two trails? Heading down the trails, once the slope steepens, the trees are gone?




Yes.
kwillg6
October 20, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,023 posts
Let me say it a different way. Clear the brush from the trees between the queen and the drop. With ample natural snow, you would have glades which would rival the old cherry bowl, maybe steeper. Although I too enjoyed the runs seperated by trees, the removal of trees can and should add to the big skiing feel of a western run although much shorter. Nothing can be done, slope design wise, to prevent the figure 11 skiers. The widening will give those who LIKE TO TURN a chance to avoid those fools who bomb the hill. What I think has caused the uproar over the elimination of the streak is the lack of serious mogul terrain. That being said, we need to contact t-line's mountain management to let them know what the advanced/expert skier wants. Be specific as to what and where. They do listen when enough of the paying public wails. Since I will be in the valley this weekend, I'll begin by talking to the owner and those who may have some influence in the snow making/grooming decisions. After all, if you are not a part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
TerpSKI
October 20, 2006
Member since 03/10/2004 🔗
167 posts
Quote:

Nothing can be done, slope design wise, to prevent the figure 11 skiers. The widening will give those who LIKE TO TURN a chance to avoid those fools who bomb the hill.




WL wasn't real narrow, but it did seem to keep a lot of beginner/intermediates away. I think it will now be overrun. And the problem with the "fig. 11's" ( ) isn't avoiding THEM it's that they can't avoid YOU.

This would be bad enough even if it didn't also obliterate a great bump run. However SS wasn't skiable very often recently, at least when I was there.

I don't think TL should be using 7 Springs as a model for their trail layout. Snowmaking yes.
TerpSKI
October 20, 2006
Member since 03/10/2004 🔗
167 posts
Quote:

That being said, we need to contact t-line's mountain management to let them know what the advanced/expert skier wants. Be specific as to what and where.




1. Clear brush for better glades skiing
2. Let OTW & the Drop bump up occasionally; real bumps not the whales.
3. Since there is now an extravagance of expance on WL let part of bump up.
4. Make Silver Queen lift experts only.
5. Enforce the responsibility code.
JohnL
October 20, 2006
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
If White Lightning was widened for races, seems to me that Timberline will groom the entire slope (or at least up to the lift poles) for the races. How many races will there be a year? Converting a bump run to a race course (where you need a firm settled base) seems like a lot of grooming and prep work...

Advanced skiers doing power carves across a wide swath of a trail (like Tucker mentioned) combined with advanced skiers doing short fall line turns straight down the hill combined with a nice groomed surface so both groups can go as fast as they want sounds like a safety nightmare to me. Throw in added skier traffic from intermediate skiers probably more tempted to use the trail since it's wider and ...

Sorry, I'm not seeing the pluses here.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
October 20, 2006
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,918 posts
John:

Excellent point about grooming (a topic rarely considered here on DCSki ). Between the new trail and the expanded WL, T-line will have a hard time keeping up with grooming. On the plus, side that may mean more bumps whether T-line likes it or not.
TLaHaye
October 20, 2006
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
I don't know that it was widened for races, but widening it makes GS races possible. TL will host the SARA regional J1 to J3 USSA championships, I think the second weekend in February. Don't know of any college races, but they may host those also. Regardless, there should be plenty of slope available, and a GS course, in and of itself, won't require grooming out moguls. Have you ever seen the ruts that develop in a course? From the racers' perspective, depending how the course is set, it's just a terrain feature they need to contend with.
JohnL
October 21, 2006
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
Quote:

Regardless, there should be plenty of slope available, and a GS course, in and of itself, won't require grooming out moguls. Have you ever seen the ruts that develop in a course? From the racers' perspective, depending how the course is set, it's just a terrain feature they need to contend with.




No one would set any race course in a mogul field at any level or any race type (SL, GS). Ruts are different from bumps. Taking a bump run and grooming down the bumps a few days before race day would be less desirable than keeping the slope regularly groomed - you need a firm surface to minimize the ruts that you've mentioned. Snow compacts over time.

Maybe with the added grooming needed for a wider White Lightning TLine will not have the time to groom The Drop (poor name really) as often...
Bumps
October 21, 2006
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
Did they smooth out the SS trail. I think I remeber correctly but lately I find it hard to remeber where my keys are at. I thought it has a lot of 5-10 foot drops at about each lift pole. It also had always had a lot of bare spots making picking your line oh so important.I think white lightning was steep and maybe some small bumps but with a much smoother transition. I always liked going down white lightning and cuting through the trees onto SS and come back out on white lightning to give my legs a rest. I hope it doesn't lose its character and just become another steep groomed trail that tends to get iced up.
TLaHaye
October 22, 2006
Member since 02/9/2005 🔗
136 posts
Not sure I agree John, but I'll check around. Of course they wouldn't set any type of course down a mogul field, and course ruts differ from a mogul field (I've seen them hip deep, which is brutal), but, are you thinking they'll let the entire run bump up, or just a section? Assuming moguls down one side of the widened run, it wouldn't surprise me to see a few gates encroaching on the mogul field, or perhaps a few "scoops" groomed out as contours in the mogul field to allow terrain variations. This is actually the sort of "home field advantage" resorts have when they host races, not unlike the new double fall line I know one resort uses in GS courses.

The best news is ... we're going to find out real soon.
SCWVA
October 27, 2006
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
I can tell people are trying to put a positive spin on the demise of SS. So I thought long and hard to find something positive about a wider WL. Here's my list;

1.
2.
3.
4.
5..........

kwillg6
October 27, 2006
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,023 posts
The only way we will really miss SS is if we have a lot of natural snow. You had to have that in order to ski it. Rare was the day that I would feel safe in sking it without my rock skis. Now just watch, this will be an EPIC winter for big pow dumps, and we will have to resort to skiing TD instead.

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

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