Powdah! At Last
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Denis - DCSki Supporter
January 23, 2007
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,228 posts
It had begun to feel like a conspiracy. I knew that it was snowing in WV on Fri. 1/19. I loaded the car and headed W/NW driving though snow on mtn. roads for the last 2 hrs. Settled happily into the Blackwater Falls Lodge with powder dreams. Sat. AM up early, breakfast, put boots in the passenger seat under the heater, turned the key and let up the clutch - STALL. ??? Repeated twice more; the car tried to lerch forward then died - in neutral. Put it in reverse and same result. Nmad! What's going on here!!! ??? I called AAA. An hour later the son of a father/son garage showed up, looked it over and pronounced a transmission problem, probably linkage. Dad was out on a tow call in Elkins (20 miles away) with several others in line before me; after all this was a snow morning. I made a deal. I gave him my keys and announced that if the tow was to be mid afternoon or later I'd walk down the road to the Blackwater Falls touring center, rent some XC gear, ski and call him later in the PM for a report. OK? OK. So I did get in some skiing on new snow on Sat. and got to explore a new area. I got the wax perfect for the dry spots but it has been very warm and wet in WV and little streams ran everywhere on unfrozen ground. A dozen times I stopped, took skis off and scraped 10 lbs or so of ice/slush off the bottom of each ski. Nevertheless it was skiing.

On Sun. I got my car back at 9 AM. It had been stuck between 2 gears and the trans fluid was nearly gone. They unstuck it and filled the fluid and it worked fine. $30 with AAA. I gave him 40 and headed for the hills with more snow falling, bought a single ride at Canaan Valley ski area, ducked out the back door and headed for the "National Nordic Reserve". A NATO clinic was there but they took just one run and left. The past 48 hrs of snow amounted to perhaps 10-12" but it drifts here. It was Utah powder in WV with more falling ever more intensely. Nobody else was there and I skied 5 laps barely touching bottom in one or two spots. Each time I skinned back up my previous tracks were almost filled in. I doesn't get much better. I skied back down to the area base lodge on a run that has had no snowmaking and no grooming all season - a green run but with perfect powder and first tracks who cares? A deer bounded across not 50 feet in front of me looking like he was having almost as much fun as I was. I headed for the Whitegrass cafe for a late lunch, met up with Dickie Hall, http://www.whitegrass.com/graphics/report/DSC05296.jpg and watched the snow fall even harder. Right then and there I came down with the flu, ski flu. I did not relish a drive on mtn. roads in a blizzard with night falling anyway, and besides what can you do when you have the flu?

At this point the conspiracy resurfaced. I no sooner checked back in to the lodge than I heard the grating sound of freezing rain on the windows. Temp. had risen 6-8 deg. in an hour. It alternated rain, freezing rain, snow all night. In the morning I repeated Sunday's routine hoping with baited breath that the 4000 ft. temp. stayed below freezing. No such luck. I parted the snow covered evergreens to enter the path to the backcountry and the snow shattered like glass - breakable crust. I skied it anyway and surprise, did not fall and could link turns. It just required a very heavy rear weighted telemark to punch through to the soft snow below. Loud Powdah that made a ripping noise and threatened to bruise my shins. Breakable crust is probably the one condition in which a telemarker actually has an advantage over a fixed heel skier. Sometimes I enjoy getting down and dirty and dealing with whatever the mountain dishes out, but not at risk of a broken leg alone in the backcountry, so I did one run and skied out on the same green trail through more crust. I went back to Whitegrass and had an unexpected meeting with a friend I had not seen in 5 years. We skied together up 3-mile to Roundtop and back down on XC skis.

On balance it was an adventure. It almost always is.
fishnski
January 24, 2007
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
Always good to hear from you Denis. What is the price for a one way ticket at Canaan nowadays? Do you ever do the same at TL & ski the back country there? Does TL have a one way lift price? You mentioned deer & I have seen less & less up there lately. I have heard it is because the Coyotes are out of cuntrol + a wierd desease is affecting the deer. Have you seen any Coyotes or tracks? Too Many Questions? ......Yeh, It looks like the Table has turned for the east coast Highlands..I just looked at the NWS 7 day & everyone of the 10 little squares had snowflakes in them..a CLEAN SWEEP! then looking at a pinpoint 9250' park city,UT F-cast & there is 0 snow + reading Rogers report there hasn't been any freshies there the past week or so..Canaan is the jackspot!!(for now) even more snow to fall next week than Stowe!
Denis - DCSki Supporter
January 24, 2007
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,228 posts
A single ride at Canaan is $5, a bargain IMO. At Stowe it was $17 the last time I did it and they are very suspicious about selling it, particularly at the Mansfield Quad base area. You go to Spruce, where they are much more customer oriented, and ask for a Stone Hut ticket. This gives you a single ride up to the Stone Hut (it sleeps about 20 and people who go there need access) at the top of the Quad. From there you can access the Bruce trail right at your feet, and the Teardrop with a 1/2 mile easy skin up the Toll Road. You can also buy single rides on the Gondola to access the Chin. The entrance to the climbing gully is right behind the flat spot at the top where everyone puts their skis on. Halfway up the climbing gully is where Stowe takes all those brochure pics that look like the west and make people scratch their heads and say, "That's not Stowe, I've been going there for years and I've never seen that spot." But I digress.

I have bought a single ride at TL but it's been years and I don't recall the price. CV is closer to the goods so I go there. The deer looked very healthy, bounding in the air with that characteristic high kick and tail held high. I must have startled it.

Agreed, an inch or two of snow each day with below freezing all week will make for epic conditions. I will miss it; I'm in LA all next week on business. The following weekend I'll be at Mammoth, so don't cry for me.
jimmy
January 24, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Denis glad you got the flu , my wife left the valley Sunday afternoon, roads were terrible, 3 hour drive turned into five. Must've just missed you Monday, I stopped by for some chowdah & conversation before driving down to Snowshoe; looking forward to this flu bug staying around a while.
camp
January 28, 2007
Member since 01/30/2005 🔗
602 posts
Made it out to White Grass finally yesterday w/ tomimcmillar. We ran into Denis out on Weiss Knob. I thought I read somewhere that Denis wouldn't be makin' it this weekend I get the feeling Denis misses very few opportunities to ski.

Pic of Denis taking his skins off pro-style, after his 6th lap on the pipeline
fishnski
January 28, 2007
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
You got to love it!! Denis walks the walk...He is the MAN! I Get so sick of all the Love West Fest we hear on DCSKI...Get out & Ski OUR MTN'S..... Dumping Powder Tonite...Long live the Alpps!!
ono
January 28, 2007
Member since 01/26/2007 🔗
5 posts
wait-
by a single-ride ticket, i'm inferring that you're heading outta bounds...

so there's actually backcountry skiing in WV? i always thought it was under-the-guns-only skiing. hmm... gotta get away from my northeast-centric perspective on eastern skiing if this is the case.

gotta get out soon, and experience it first hand... just picked up a pair of dynastar 8800's that were demos for REALLY cheap- wouldn't mind using em as semi-rock skis if the mid-atlantic holds some hidden treasures...
Roy
January 29, 2007
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
ono I've skied backcountry in North Carolina. Conditions have to be just right but it can be done. It's all about timing.
appskiah
January 29, 2007
Member since 09/16/2006 🔗
88 posts
roy, where did you off-piste ski in NC? i did quite a bit while at AppState in Boone. good times. PM me if you prefer
Swimmer
January 29, 2007
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
I bought a one way ticket at Timberline on Sunday. 7 dollars, the liftie never even looked for it.

I skied from Whitegrass over to Timberline, bought the ticket, hopped on the lift, cut out the backdoor to the Forest Road for a little while, then bushwacked my way up the southeast aspect of Cabin Mountain. TONS of very fresh deer tracks and feeding digs. Saw two deer but there were more tracks than just them.

I continued my little jaunt here and there, ended up above Powderline just shy of the summit of Stone Rock Mountain lost in the stands of spruce and thick birch. I gave myself 30 more minutes to find a real trail or I was going to start looking for a bivouac site. I carry enough gear that it wouldn't be a problem, but it wasn't something I was looking forward to.

Finally made it out and back down exhausted. Great day

Steve
Denis - DCSki Supporter
February 5, 2007
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,228 posts
Good to see you guys! I had no idea I was on Candid Camera. True, I did not plan to be there. Normally I ski one day of the weekend and hang out with my non skiing wife on the other. But my wife went to see her sister in Boston and the snow looked like it would be great in WV so it would be a no brainer. Sun. AM early I was on a plane to LA for a week long meeting followed by a weekend at Mammoth. I just returned to a 16 deg. temp in the IAD parking lot as this is being written. It was 55 yesterday at Mammoth and it hasn't snowed for a month. I have never seen the eastern Sierra with so little snow in late Feb. Nevertheless I found powder, more than a foot deep in places, in plain sight of the lifts. It seems that most SoCal skiers would rather ski rock hard porcelain with a little scapings on top than venture into the trees (and rocks) where the best snow on the mountain was located. Those WV backcountry skills came in handy.

At 8000 ft (at the base) with the 10-20% humidity of the past month, the snow does not melt, it sublimes directly to vapor, thus never going to slush and ice. Their pattern is supposed to change and they are expecting snow on Wed.
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