TR - Paoli Peaks - a Blue bird day in Southern IN
This weekend found me at Paoli Peaks in Southern Indiana for the 3x in as many years. This resort is another link in the Peak Resorts chain that dominates Midwestern skiing. They put a reasonable product on the hill. And today was one of the better days I have had at one of their hills.
I did two things today I almost never do. I paid full price and I didn't start skiing till after noon. I am usually a discounted ticket (by hook or crook) and first chair kind of guy. However domestic issues delayed departure and I wanted to get a morning workout in. So it was noon when I walked away from the ticket window with my full price $40 ticket and my son's $35 child ticket hanging from our jackets. I was a little bummed that he is now 7 as 6 and under are free!
The sky was a bright blue and the snow a fine white carpet of frozen grandular. The web site was claiming 17 out 17 trails open. However I found at least one trail closed for snowmaking and one lift not turning. But there was more open terrain than I had found in my last 2 visits.
I was worried about temps as the weather had been in the single digits all weekend with wind chills pushing below zero the day before. However the late start allowed the bright sun to warm the air. The killer midwestern winds never kicked in.
The resorts at this low an elevation get hammered by rain a couple times a season. A strong rain can knock them out in a couple of days. Thus I understood why they continued to blow snow on prime time on a holiday weekend. They need to make it when they can. The result was a lot of whales on the trails and some heavy snow near some of the guns.
Pailo is like Snowshoe in that it is upside down thus the beginner terrain it at the top. On some of the green trails you have to kind of wade across the beginner area to get to the trails leading down hill. The flat skiing on top meant that Dad skated while my son clung to pole water-ski style. We did one quick pass down one of the longer beginner trails dodging first timers on the way down. Then we stood in a long lift line wait. We realized this was not the place to be on the hill.
So we traversed to the more difficult slopes on the hill off the left side. For the rest of the day we stuck to the more challenging slopes of "Grabers Express" and "Oak trail" and skied off their triple chair. The coverage was excellent. The guns where not blowing on these trails but probably had been all morning as there was lots of untracked snow.
My son also discovered glade skiing as recent natural snows and blow over from all the guns on the hill had open the "Bobcat Glades" area. This short area of tree skiing provided some of the best skiing I have had in the Midwest in a while. My enjoyment was further amplified when my son all of seven skied by me at yelled "ski good or eat wood"! I almost fell over laughing! That became our mantra of the day as we skied in the trees and dodging each other. After about 5 hours of skiing we called it a day.
When skiing these border state ski resorts, I am always amazed how far some folks had come to ski. We rode the lifts with folks Indianapolis (2hours) Bowling Green, Ky (3 hours) and from Nashville, TN (4 hours) I also saw a couple of GA tags in the lot as well. That these folks would drive that far to ski this little 300 ft hill speaks to the draw of snow sports. It is good to know we are not alone.
Great report - Thanks! I've never skied in the mid-west but it sure sounds like you had a lot of fun.
Wow. They just improved there web site.