Snow Day Driving & Skiing - Seven Springs 27Jan09
January 28, 2009
Woke up Tuesday morning to reports that icy conditions had closed the schools here in the northern Shenandoah Valley. My teenaged son rounded up a buddy and we decided to head west to Seven Springs. He likes fast lifts, black diamonds and glades, and we'd had a great first visit to 7S last year. (We considered Wintergreen, but the sleety morning forecast shifted us to the NW insyead.)
The logic of this whole enterprise still escapes me somehow. School is closed because of hazardous road conditions, so, of course, you decide to drive 140 miles through those same hazardous road conditions in order to slide down a mountain covered with snow and ice. Then you drive 140 miles home at night as the weather worsens.
Normally, we'd leave home by 6:30 a.m. for a day at 7S but it was almost 9am before Winchester was in our rear-view mirror. We follow "the diagonal" (522 north through Berkeley Springs WV) when we go to Allegheny Front ski areas unless the roads are really poor. Based on what we saw at home, we decided to head up this way yesterday.
It worked out OK. There were a few mushy or snow-covered patches on 522, but nothing icy or slick. The PA Turnpike was clear (kudos to PennDOT). The only difficult stretch was the 30 or so miles of I-70 b/w Hancock MD and Breezewood PA, which always seems to be the case.
We reaches 7S in three hours, our usual driving time. Snow conditions, lifts, lodge, glades ... all were fine. The precip. paused for a few hours in the early afternoon and then resumed as a misty drizzle. We left 7S around 6:30 pm, driving east and south through a weather pattern that just didn't add up: temperatures varying b/w 19 and 25 degrees, with rain (not sleet) hitting the windshield and roadways staying reasonably passable. Warm air over cold, plus good road clearing, I guess. The route b/w 7S and Somerset had an inch or two of tracked snow and frozen-whatever, but we did fine in the mini van by keeping the speed down, tapping the brakes only gently when necessary, and holding off on my son's Motely Crue CD so I could listen to the road conditions beneath the tires.
PA pike: plenty of sanding and salting. I-70 b/w Breezewood and Hancock: snowy. We decided to forego the diagonal down 522 and opted to continue on I-70 E to Hagerstown MD instead. Maryland had cleared the route well. I-81 had some light snow, but we made it to Winchester OK by 11 p.m.
Dropped my son and his friend off in town for a massive snowball fight, went home, and dropped into bed.
Long day. Great time!
Did anybody else do the drive yesterday?
Thinking snow (but not sleet),
Way to get out there Woody!