Jimmy is right about trail markings-they are established by individual resorts and are relative to that resort. The ski industry desperately needs a set of uniform standards for trail markings but it will never happen because it will make some resorts look too easy.
Blue trails at some New England venues like Stowe are much more challenging than the blacks at Timberline. The double fall line on the first big turn on Perry Merrill is a good example. But in defense of Timberline, their blacks are steep enough, and long enough to be enjoyable for most advanced skiers. They are also excellent for racecourses.
To me, OTW is much steeper than Upper White Lightning. Snowcats might even have to winch down it to properly groom the slope.
Canaanman argues that the slope should only be groomed once: just after the snow mounds are made. Thereafter, it should be allowed to bump up. This approach would eliminate the huge mounds we saw last year on the dogleg part of the trail, and make the trail a tad safer. I think I am leaning towards his approach.
JohnL feels it should never be groomed because it is the big draw for experts. Experts are a small fraction of the skiing public at Timberline. The big demographic group at Timberline is church groups from the SOUTH and most skiers in these groups are fairly new to the sport.
With that being said, it is always the upper level skiers in those church groups who have the most say over what mountain the group chooses to go to. The same rule often holds true with families-the experts in the group often pick the resort visited because their terrain demands are the highest. So JohnL is basically correct in arguing that Timberline needs to protect its expert niche.
But back to the issue at hand....
Both of you feel that an ungroomed OTW keeps beginners away. That, I'm afraid is false logic. I can't tell you how many beginners I've seen giving up and walking down that slope. For some reason, teenage beginners will attempt double black terrain no matter how many signs the resort puts in front of the trail. I call it "evolution in action."
I agree with both of you, however, that a groomed version of OTW might lead to more accidents because of speed and that tricky dogleg at the end. It's for this reason that I tend to side with Canaanman's view that the trail should be groomed just once. For some reason, the worst accidents at ski resorts occur on the groomers: high speed and lots of skier traffic are probably the reason why.