Back from T-line 19 January
17 posts
8 users
1k+ views
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 19, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
What a strange weekend weatherwise...

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).]

canaanman
January 19, 2004
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
John, I will not elaborate on the issue of the new triple, other than its a double that's forced into a triple. Hmm... lets see, taking twice as long to reach the top and carrying 50% more people, is that really worth it? The lift attendants sure don't think so. They hate it.

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.

JohnL
January 19, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Some of the best skiing can be had when it's raining out. Before it gets too saturated by the rain, the snow is almost like corn snow in the spring. Plus the slopes are empty. The key thing if you're no longer 20 years old is Gore-Tex.

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.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 20, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I'll take rain, fog, and no people any day to the crowds we had on Saturday. Anyway, skiing on low visibility days is good practice for above tree line skiing.

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).]

DCSki Sponsor: Massanutten Resort
aschir01
January 20, 2004
Member since 11/21/2003
4 posts
I have a trip to T-line coming up this weekend (ski Fri-Sun) and I am watching the weather and conditions closely. I noticed that T-line closed a couple runs as of last night - might this be to blow snow on them get them ready for the weekend? Also, are some trails really open just for night skiing like the website says? Could anyone take a guess as to how crowded a Fri, Sat, and Sun would be there? Lastly, is the new glade open and marked? Sorry about the barrage of questions, but I'm just psyched to be going there this weekend...
dmh
January 20, 2004
Member since 12/11/2003
127 posts
This weekend, if my hunch is correct, may well bring crowds to T-line and other midAtlantic resorts. The Northern Virginia schools are closed on Monday, creating another long weekend. Based on what I have heard from my rental agent in Canaan Valley, almost all their units are rented this weekend.
MitchH
January 21, 2004
Member since 03/29/2004
41 posts
Is Timberline planning on making snow on Almost Heaven and the Drop, and opening those slopes, this season? I consider upper Almost Heaven to be a critical intermediate slope for Timberline yet they seem to consider it unimportant to try to open up this run. When I was there a week ago there didn't seem to be any snow action on Almost Heaven, despite lots of idle snow guns sitting around (Dew Drop was closed also, so there were no blue slopes opened from the top, to the chagrin of some of my less skilled friends).

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?

tommo
January 22, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004
303 posts
In the case of TL, all of their actions (inactions?) suggest the classic symptoms of being grossly undercaptialized. I find it ironic that, in some of the posts, the declining skier days at TL are mentioned. I, for one, would go there far more often, but the lift situation is simply abyssmal and, even more importantly, you can't ski on slopes that have no snow! The last three times I've gone there, only a couple trails were open all the way down, even though, as is the case now, the snow making conditions were as good as they will ever be. The last straw for me was an early March weekend two years ago when we drove up early on a Friday morning in a raging snowstorm. Everything (and I mean even Liberty and Roundtop) were fully open. Even so, TL had only about 2/3 of the terrain open. Worse than that, they only ran the 1 lift to the top, so the line, by mid day, was about 1/2 hour long. They never did open the second lift. I, and most of the other people I spoke with, were pretty pissed. When I pay $35 - $50 for a lift ticket, I expect the resort to at least RUN the frigging lifts. I fully understand lines when there are a lot of people, but to just not run the lift for lack or 3 lift attendents or something was infuriating. That was pretty much the final straw for me and the guys I was with and we've never been back.

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....

(Anonymous)
January 22, 2004
My daughter and I skied at Timberline on Jan 19. It was our first time at Timberline. We rode the Silver Queen lift 2 times, but it was very cold and we didn't like how long it was taking us to get to the top, so we switched over to the other lift that goes to the top (Thunder Draft? Thunder Struck?) Late in the morning (from around 11:00ish) that lift had a wait of 15-20 minutes. I realize that it was a holiday weekend, and I'll be the first to admit that I have less patience than most folks for lengthy lift lines, but 20 minutes was more than I could take. At about 11:45 we decided we'd break for lunch, but the cafeteria line seemed endless and appeared to be moving slowly. At that point I lost my patience and we headed over to Canaan Valley and bought afternoon tickets - we also had lunch there, and we were thru their cafeteria line in about 3 minutes. At Canaan we never had a lift line that exceeded 2 minutes. Sure, the terrain at TImberline is VERY impressive, but all in all the place made less than a stellar first impression on me. My wife and daughters were considering a long weekend trip to Timberline in late Feb, but now I'm considering 7Springs or Snowshoe - I know the Springs can handle a crowd without 20 minute lift lines....
(Anonymous)
January 22, 2004
Correction to my last post - we were at Timberline on Sat Jan 17, not Jan 19 as I said earlier.
JohnL
January 22, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
>> (Thunder Draft? Thunder Struck?)

Actually, the official name of the lift is Thunder Stuck.

(Anonymous)
January 22, 2004
Seven Springs can handle crowds better than any resort in this area. Even on a packed holiday weekend, yo wont wait more than 8 minutes tops!
(Anonymous)
January 23, 2004
I know we have had this discussion a million times -- but there is no excuse for these 2 resorts not to be 100% open. With RECORD COLD temps (aka EXCELLENT snowmaking) -- how could a resort NOT be fully open? Absolutely unreal.
(Anonymous)
January 23, 2004
JohnL, I believe the main triple at Timberline is the Thunderdraft Triple, not Thunderstruck.
JohnL
January 23, 2004
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
>> JohnL, I believe the main triple at Timberline is the Thunderdraft Triple, not Thunderstruck.

It was a subtle attempt at humor. May a bit too subtle or not enough humor...

canaanman
January 23, 2004
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
*watch out for the landing gear*

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.

(Anonymous)
January 24, 2004
Whoops, and it really was funny once I actually read your post.
DCSki Sponsor: Massanutten Resort

Ski and Tell

Snowcat got your tongue?

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.14 seconds