First time at Wintergreen
February 17, 2009
So I was supposed to be at Vail, but my wife for some reason did not want to go this week, so I ended up at Wintergreen. Adding to this is that we had available a condo within steps of Eagle Bahn at Vail for no cost. So the Wintergreen trip will end up costing me more than Vail. Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of Wintergreen, but have never skied here and usually come in the Summer or Fall. From a TR perspective, my impressions are that this is a well run resort. We are staying at the Highlands so I can walk to the lift and ski the expert area without having to deal with the masses. The expert terrain is nice and sizeable but there are no serious steeps or bumps here. And I am one that will never complain when I have a few expert slopes within walking distance from my bed--serviced by a high speed lift.
One interesting thing to note is that at 11:30am today the Big Acorn lift went down and my wife and daughter and I had to walk up 1/2 of the Eagles Swoop slope to get back to "lift serviced terrain." Not sure whether it was better to be stuck on the lift or walk up the slope. I remember a Warren Miller movie where locals "boot packed" a bowl at Aspen and I have a whole new appreciation for this effort. Otherwise, I had a good first day and was happy to loop the six pack in the Highlands all afternoon until exhausted. My only complaint is that a frequent visitor told me that they were having trouble with the Big Acorn lift on Thursday night. Not sure of the truth of this, but if true, perhaps they should have put a little bit of effort into this before the loss of 1/3 of the resort's terrain during peak hours on a major holiday weekend. Imagine if WT's HSQ or expert lift, or Liberty's Alpine, went down for three hours today??? That's what they were looking at--
Man...I ski at WTG quite often, and on a Holiday weekend it must have been a zoo in the Green terrain and the terrain park with that much of the resort closed off. Probably did not increase traffic in the highlands much though.
How were crowds and snow conditions? Slope report shows all open but was there decent coverage?
We are sitting out this weekend to avoid crowds.
Not sure about Blue Ridge HS lift, but I skied Highlands from 12:00-3:00 and never waited--ever. No lines at all--at most 1-2 groups ahead on the HS lift. Perhaps all the Acorn folks went to lunch or went home. Conditions were variable (true variable) For example, upper Outer Limits was packed powder at 2:00, while lower was mashed tater's before lunch due to the sun. Cliffhanger was all over the place with LG, PP and FG depending on the pitch and sun exposure. By 2:00pm the edges of the runs in the Highlands were LG on the sides and FG in the middle. But with the temperature it was not all that bad for southern skiing all day. They are grooming the Highlands right now off my deck at 11:00pm but nothing blowing yet as it is still too warm.
Thanks Keith...hope you enjoy yourself tomorrow.
I have twice seen the Big Acorn lift shut down this season. Both cases they had to run the diesel to get everyone off. One time for sure I know it was due to a power outage, not sure about the other time.
Both times they brought in a slew of snowmobiles (over a dozen) to ferry people back to the crossover trail. Were they not doing it this time? I'd hate to have to hike up lower Eagle's Swoop
So I went over again this morning to finish out this side of the mountain and the lift went down again. Took the snowmobile out this time as I was moving slow from a long dinner at the Copper Mine. Anyway, they used the back up to get everyone off the lift. The rumor is an "overheat" issue and this would make sense as later in the day they left every third chair empty and the lift speed seemed slower but not being a regular here I could be wrong.
It's not a fast lift anyway and over the years I have seen it fail more than most. We keeping thinking its days are numbered but it's still there every year. Oh well. Tyro is a good slope but the highlands is better.
can't believe you passed on vail
Sadly, that lift is new in the grand scheme of things, and may be around for a while longer. It was put in sometime back in the mid 90s, somewhere in the 94-97 timeframe I think, to replace a much older lift. Maybe someone else will remember the exact date.
I do remember when that lift was way faster than the old Highlands chair. Now it seems like a snail in comparison. If they ever put in a high-speed detachable over there, it would be awesome. I like those trails a lot.
When I first started skiing at WTG, several of the chairs had the bottom station enclosed in a barn -- you skied into the barn to load, which was kind of strange to me coming from New England...
A high speed quad would be nice there...but I wonder if the length would make it worth the investment anytime soon. I recall it being only around 1100 or 1200 feet in length. Still...the current ride seems like an eternity. If you really want slow, try the triple chair over by the terrain park.
I think they will wind up having a great season this year...hopefully that will encourage more investment. This year they bought a bunch of new tower guns.
As for the Ski-in-barns, I am hesitant to admit I know this but the Potato Patch (beginners lift) still has the barn.
Massanutten still has barns, definitely on the double serving the blue area and the I think on the double on the beginner hill. At Wintergreen, not sure how much HS lifts costs in comparison to fixed, but on Acorn a two lift quad arrangement like Liberty has would seem to solve the issue as it probably has the uphill capacity of a six pack when crowded, but you can shut the second lift down during the week.
Had a nice third day at WTG. They blew about 4 inches and there was 2-3 of natural first thing in the morning. We were staying right at the Highlands lift, so as soon as I saw the lift crank up I was out the door.