When I arrived at Timberline on Friday, it was 10 degrees.
On Saturday, it was still ten degrees when I got up but by the time I hit the slopes, it was in the twenties. Conditions consisted of machine groomed and frozen granular snow--pretty decent. White Lightning and Thunderstruck held up well for nearly the entire day. Dew Drop, however, got skied off quicker but that's always the case when it is the only blue trail down from the summit (Upper Heaven was closed).
My only complaint with Saturday was with Silver Queen. It did not do a very good job handling the MLK crowds. It took us an average of 20 minutes and 6 stops to get to the top. Because of the small size of this triple, people have real issues loading. It's almost impossible not to bang your head, so wear your helmet. Once it started to snow, things got worse. People started slipping off the seats (which unfortunately do not have non-stick fabric on them) and this lead to more stoppages and delays. I hate to say it but this new triple is no improvement over the old double until the loading issues are solved.
I awoke Sunday to rain and fog but decided to ski. There were no lines of any substance on Sunday and conditions were sloppy but skiable. It started out as wet granular but by the afternoon, the rain had turned to snow, improving conditions tremendously. One of the most interesting runs I made was on Off The Wall. It appears that Timberline made huge mounds of snow on that trail and then did not groom it. This has created a sort of natural terrain park with huge moguls and a kicker that's about 8 feet high. Cool. I was thinking that Canaanman must be enjoying this trail.
Today offered excellent conditions but cold weather (8 degrees for the entire morning with wind and overcast skies). I whimped out and decided to get a jump start on the drive home rather than skiing today, but kind of wish I had made at least a couple of runs.
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-19-2004).]
Off the Wall was, short of insane, very pleasant. Sunday was a real disaster up there. People hucking themselves off of giant mounds of snow is going to lead to a fatality, and then they're gonna close it down, and I'll never be able to get down Cherry Bowl. I witnessed the construction of that '8 foot kicker' at the top, and trust me it wasn't 8 feet. Not even 6. The way they built it there was no way to clear the flat. I offered to help, but they shoved me off. If you want to see a big kicker, I'll send you pictures of the one in my front yard from last year's MLK weekend.
You really missed out on an excellent day today. Despite it being a healthy 3-4 degrees at the top, and feeling colder due to the wind, the snow was puuurfect. Thunderstruck and White Lightning were both groomed to perfection, then allowed some time to gather soft snow. Thunderdraft was a bit icy until lunchtime, when it became more skied-out. Off the Wall was the best of all today. They were making snow on it, and it was snowing (hard), and there was a lot of powder that didn't have a lot of ice underneath it. Each time you went down it, you got fresh tracks again, because of the snowmaking. Excellent. As close to backcountry powder as you could get this weekend.
About you stating that OTW was like a natural terrain park, I'm gonna have to bring my pocketknife with the mini-saw along next weekend, because there's a perfect tree jib about halfway down the trail on the right. Hit it before Christmas, but haven't hit it since. With a little branch clearing and run-in packing, it could turn out very nice.
Rain turning back to snow probably got pretty sloppy.
I had the flu all weekend so I would have traded the strange weather at T-Line for my weekend anytime.
I've skied 10 days at Timberline thus far this season and only experienced serious crowds on Saturday--that's not too bad all things considered. The Silver Queen was frustratiing, but that's the cross we will have to bear because there is no turning back at this point. Perhaps they could improve the lift for next season by installing seats with a less slick surface.
One thing that really impressed me about T-line over the weekend (besides the always awesome terrain) is that they are still making snow. In past years, the resort often started packing in the snow guns after MLK but this year, they seem serious about re-coating slopes as they need it. The horrible thaw may be one reason why, but I am still impressed.
[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-20-2004).]
Also, I have been frustrated in the past with key slopes being closed all day for races (such closings are never announced on the website), and I noticed there are races this weekend. Does anyone know if they are closing Upper White Lightning or other slopes all day this weekend for races?
The only possible explanation is that the owner simply doesn't have the money to operate the place. This, of course, results in a death spiral unless something changes because, again, if they don't make snow, they can't open the slopes. And if they can't open the slopes, ain't NOBODY going to pay to ride the lifts. Which results in declining revenue, so they can't make snow to open the slopes....
I am hopeful that the current lift "upgrade" charade is their last gasp. What is needed, imho, is for the present owner to sell to a group that has the financial resources to operate and improve the place. They clearly have the best potential terrain in the mid-atlantic. But until someone with reasonable capitalization steps in, the operation there will leave continue to leave much to be desired. In that case, depending on debt levels, it's just a matter of time until they go belly up. The irony is that for $3 or $4M (which is chump change in the development industry), they situation could easily be reversed....
Actually, the official name of the lift is Thunder Stuck.
It was a subtle attempt at humor. May a bit too subtle or not enough humor...
Well, I caught it, JohnL. And it was pretty funny, I told it to a few people that ski Timberline as well and they though it to be rather witty.
And it is definately 'catchy'. I've been stuck on that lift quite a bit. Now only if somebody could come up with a new name for the Vader. Maybe the unVader would be a good name... since its no longer an expert lift and its not shielded.