Well, what I can I say? Well, here we go. Unfortunatly, I don't have pictures as in my infinite wisdom, I forgot my camera! (doh!) Anyway, this was certainly a very interesting and unique ski trip!
I left work Friday afternoon in the pouring rain here in Fredericksburg, VA, only to start hitting sleet and snow just north of Warrenton along 17. There were a few dicey areas, but for the most part, the roads were still in pretty good shape, although that last couple of miles on 32 and going into Canaan Valley Lodge was getting quite interesting, to say the least!
Me and The Colonel went and split a room at the Canaan Valley Lodge. He was a great roommate and a lot of fun to ski with. I'll definitely would not mind doing this again. Of course, after that pretty hairy drive to get up there, one of the first things I had to go do after I got checked in was to go to the hot-tub! It was friggan nice, despite the pool being mobbed with a bunch of screaming kids!
Also, pretty funny when I first pulled up, three deer come wondering up to me after I got out of my car. They are as bad as my dog, standing there staring at me looking for a handout! What was that sign I saw on the way in to the lodge about feeding the wildlife?
Saturday morning, I was greeted with something like a good 5 inches of snow on the ground with plenty more coming down! The drive over to the Timberline ski area was a little on the hairy side, but I guess all you can do is just take it easy and slow. Go figure my iPod decided to act up as I could not get it to play through my radio via the interface. Must've gotten frozen since being the dunce I was, I left it out in the glove compartment overnight. So, I just randomly threw in a CD so I could at least listen to something! Go figure it turned out to be Luca Tirelli's King of the Nordic Twilight
! To make it even better, just as I was driving up the access road and nearing Timberline itself, the track "Lord of the Winter Snow" came on! I don't think it could've gotten more appropriate than that!
Of course, as was already mentioned, the skiing itself was just friggan unreal! The top of the hill was getting blasted by the wind, thus the snow was pretty much getting blown off. It was pretty icy in many places, until I got down to where it was shielded from the wind, then the snow got really nice.
The coolest part of this was finally getting to meet several of the folks on here. I got to spend quite a few runs skiing with The Colonel. Also finally got to meet Clay as well as kwillg6 (Kim). Kim was taking me around and showing me all kinds of cool stuff around the mountain. Apparently we did not get to all of it, but it was fun. Of course, being it was Timberline during a major dump, had to go find some lines in the Timber. I was finding fresh lines in the Pearly Glades right up until around 7 PM on Saturday until I had to go in and meet up for the lava parade. I was also grabbing lines in other wooded areas, such as that stand of woods between Lower White Lightening and Lower Thunderstuck. Also took a few runs down Upper Thunder Draft. For the most part, they were pretty nice, although a bit crusty in places. I was still able to pick out a decent line to ski down. I wish I could remember that big guy's name. The guy with the yellow jacket and the curly blond hair - I think Jerry. I got to ski a run with him and two other guys who's names I could not remember either this afternoon and that was pretty wild! We both almost had a close encounter of the worst kind in the Glade Runner glades. Physics just does not allow two skiers to try for the same line at the same time! It was a blast, and it was a damn shame they had to go in, though.
Of course, Kim had to take me down the Drop on Saturday and got to ski those infamous whales (which is also where I first got to meet that blond curly-haired guy)! The powder did make for a pretty sweet run though!
Of course, the ski patrol were awesome, and treated me as part of the "family" there!
To top it all off, skiing in the lava parade was just something entirely surreal! How much weirder skiing experience could you get beside skiing down a pitch-black slope in a snowstorm, holding an 8 foot length of bamboo pole with two red lit flares on each end, and fireworks going off overhead! At least I was the fifth person in line as it would've been interesting to break that line in front! It was also pretty neat because it was so quiet up there until the fireworks started. Also cool that as we were getting down closer, we could start hearing the cheers from the crowd below! Definitely one of the coolest experiences I've had in my 26-some-odd years of skiing. A hell of a way to get "indoctrinated" into the "t-line family". That is one thing I definitely noticed about Timberline was just how close-knit that skiing community seemed to be, and they seemed to have welcomed me in with open arms. Several of the guys from the patrol and the ski school already told me to please come back again anytime I wish as I always welcomed. I told them that I may very well be there on the weekend of the 31st and 1st, unless the conditions and weather are complete crap.
I guess the only bummer of the trip is that I did not get the chance to get over to Canaan Valley ski area, as I've never skied there either. After seeing those pics that "crunchy" posted in that one other thread, I wish I had. In fact, during breakfast this morning at the lodge, I've encountered one of the ski patrol from Canaan Valley and briefly chatted with him. He already told me to make sure to stop by the patrol if I do ski over there as they will definitely hook me up there as well. I'll definitely will have to try to get over there, but unfortunately, it'll have to wait till next year (although I am very tempted to take up that offer for this upcoming weekend on the $35/night lodging - we'll see, although I hoping to get to ski Liberty one last time). At a very minimum, I may have to make the Snowy Luau an annual event.
The other bummer part was that today was the last day that Massanutten was opened for the season, and I wish I could've been there as well. It has been a nearly annual tradition for me to be there for that, especially this year as I was there for opening day, and would've been nice to be there for closing day as well.
The drive back was pretty uneventful, thankfully. The roads were in excellent shape, even coming out of Timberline, despite that just this morning, they were completely snowed over. Interestingly, I ran into some pretty heavy snow on Corridor H as I was approaching Wardensville! It was even starting to turn the road a little white!
Overall, it had to of been one of the coolest and most interesting ski trips I've had the pleasure to do! I also really enjoyed Timberline itself as a ski area, with some really cool terrain and a lot of sweet tree-skiing that I just don't get to do very often. Yeah, we could nit-pick on the friggan slow lifts and such, but still... Also, it was great to finally, FINALLY, get to meet some of you folks on here, let alone to get to ski some runs with you as well!
Thanks for an awesome time this weekend, not only the DCSki folks that I got to meet (especially The Colonel and "kwillg6"), but the staff of Timberline as well for making me feel welcomed and "part of the crew".