Advice on Blue Knob's Access Road and ... ?
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bousquet19 - DCSki Supporter
January 30, 2007
Member since 02/23/2006 🔗
704 posts
I'm thinking of visiting Blue Knob for my first time this Thursday February 1. What's the story about the access road...is it OK for a mini-van or not?

Any other advice for a first-time visit to BK? Thanks!

Woody
JimK - DCSki Columnist
January 30, 2007
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,728 posts
Woody, it is a significant climb, similar to or perhaps exceeding the last few miles at Snowshoe or Wintergreen and maybe not quite as nicely graded as those approaches. I had a few adventures on it back in the 70s and 80s. Follow the weather for the area, if they have a significant fresh snow the night before you arrive, then you might want to bring a set of chains for your minivan or non-four wheel drive vehicle. But don't let that deter you, you can always park your car at the bottom of the state park and hitch a ride with someone driving a four-wheel drive vehicle.
bousquet19 - DCSki Supporter
February 1, 2007
Member since 02/23/2006 🔗
704 posts
Quote:

Woody, it is a significant climb, similar to or perhaps exceeding the last few miles at Snowshoe or Wintergreen and maybe not quite as nicely graded as those approaches. I had a few adventures on it back in the 70s and 80s. Follow the weather for the area, if they have a significant fresh snow the night before you arrive, then you might want to bring a set of chains for your minivan or non-four wheel drive vehicle. But don't let that deter you, you can always park your car at the bottom of the state park and hitch a ride with someone driving a four-wheel drive vehicle.




Thanks for the advice, Jim. I really appreciated it and kept an eye on the weather. Tim (Marketing Mgr) told me he drives a VW bug up and down Blue Knob, using lower gears and discretion (i.e., if it's snowing, be patient and wait for the snowplow).

I arrived there at 9:30 this morning (Thursday). There was some snow on the road (they recently had 9"), but I reached the summit bldgs with so little difficulty that I thought that the real summit must be further ahead. Turns out the distance from the well-plowed road at the State Park entrance to BK's parking lot is 1.2 miles.

The conditions...wow. Matched the best snow I've skied in the past two years. Two-day-old powder was groomed on most trails but left for powder fans on several. No wind at the top, and virtually no ice. The majority of trails are now open, including some of the shorter glades. Mine Shaft and Bone Yard need some brushing out but those off Jackrabbit are clear. Extrovert looks as if it has enough machine-made snow to be opened up, but the ropes are still up.

I didn't leave until my 8 hours were up and the light was fading. Incredible day.

Woody
GGNagy
February 2, 2007
Member since 01/5/2006 🔗
452 posts
Boy, Bousquet19, you are going to be in for it when the nelsappers discover you tricked them with a non-New England ski area
bousquet19 - DCSki Supporter
February 2, 2007
Member since 02/23/2006 🔗
704 posts
Quote:

Boy, Bousquet19, you are going to be in for it when the nelsappers discover you tricked them with a non-New England ski area




Uh-oh GGNagy, my secret is out!

(For those on DCSki who don't regularly read SnowJournal.com, I posted a pic from BK on SnowJournal and asked of anyone knew the ski area. Most of SJ's readers ski New England and NY, although these are several posters from the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and West and others who ski those regions. Here's the link to the SnowJournal thread. Since there's a great deal of interest in older ski areas and unusual lifts at SJ, I will post some more BK pics from yesterday someone names the area.)

Woody
Mountain Masher
February 4, 2007
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
bousquet19, I'm not sure which road you took to reach BK's summit parking lot; but, from the ENTRANCE to Blue Knob State Park (located at the bottom of the mountain just past the Village of Pavia) to the summit parking lot is 4.2 miles. Perhaps you measured the distance from the last switch-back (where the stop sign is located) to the summit parking lot, which would be close to 1.2 miles. Or, you might have taken the "condo road" located on the North side of BK, the last mile of which passes through BK State Park land.

You mentioned that some of the glades were open at BK. I'm not doubting that, but I can't imagine that the coverage was particularly good, given that there was only about 1 foot of natural snow on the ground at BK mountain (as of last Sunday). As a general rule of thumb, most gladed ski slopes require 2 to 2 1/2 feet of snow to be skiable (depending on how rugged the terrain is). A friend of mine from Johnstown dropped by last Sun. to telemark ski the State Park side of BK. We left his car at the bottom of the mountain at the BK State Park swimming pool parking lot. And I drove him to the summit parking lot where I dropped him off. After completing his descent, he dropped by my place to warm up and have something hot to drink. Anyway, he told me that the snow coverage was marginal; of course the natural snow depth might have been a bit deeper on the North side of BK.
bousquet19 - DCSki Supporter
February 4, 2007
Member since 02/23/2006 🔗
704 posts
Mountain Masher, since this was my first visit, I followed the directions given by the ski area: Exit 15 off I-99 at Claysburg, left in Claysburg onto Ski Gap Road. Then left onto Knobby (?) road, passing through the settlement of Frigid and then past an entrance to BK State Park. From that entrance, it was 1.2 miles to the lodge and p-lot.

Sounds like the route you use through Pavia would be shorter.

Woody
Mountain Masher
February 5, 2007
Member since 03/13/2004 🔗
541 posts
Woody, I kinda figured that you drove up from Claysburg and made a left onto Blue Knob Rd., which took you to the summit parking lot and lodge. I think that getting off I-99 at Osterburg (rather than Claysburg) and taking the road to Pavia (I believe it's Rt. 869) is a bit shorter and more scenic. But, in reality, there's probably not 10 minutes difference between either route.
jimmy
February 5, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
MM, That's the route we took from Bedford, glad we scoped it out Thursday night, they really should put some signs up.
bousquet19 - DCSki Supporter
February 5, 2007
Member since 02/23/2006 🔗
704 posts
Quote:

Woody, I kinda figured that you drove up from Claysburg and made a left onto Blue Knob Rd., which took you to the summit parking lot and lodge. I think that getting off I-99 at Osterburg (rather than Claysburg) and taking the road to Pavia (I believe it's Rt. 869) is a bit shorter and more scenic. But, in reality, there's probably not 10 minutes difference between either route.




Mountain Masher, I'll try the route via Osterburg and Pavia next time. From my DeLorme atlas map, it looks more direct. (Wish they'd put up more signs!) Thanks for the comments and advice.

Photos from my Feb 1 visit are here: at this link, incl. a shot of Friendship Glades off Jackrabbit.

Woody
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