Snowshoe
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(Anonymous)
March 13, 2000
(Official disclaimer: I'm from the Pittsburgh area, not DC...)

I drove down to snowshoe this weekend, since everything my direction was hurting. (This morning, Seven springs lists 8 runs open, Hidden Valley is closed, and Laurel Mountain is holding a meeting as we speak to decide if they'll be open again this year or not; I predict "not.")

I had never been to Snowshoe, so I'm going to give y'all (they talk funny there) an account of my first trip there, followed by a summary thingy:

I spent Saturday night in Elkins, (cheap Econo lodge), about an hour from the slopes. Woke up Sunday to find snow beginning to stick to my car. This was a good sign. Drove to Snowshoe. The last fifteen or twenty miles, the snow was sticking to the roads and I passed one accident.

Weather conditions at the top of Snowshoe were frigid, cold, chilly, windy, blustery, snowing, and grey. Plus they were blowing snowmaking guns at the top of the lifts, so the top wasn't a place you would have wanted to hang around, unless you were inside. That's okay by me, the name of the game is to go down the mountain anyway. I think it's safe to say though, that the combination of man-made and natural weather occuring at the top of the mountain was horrendous.

Down was a significant improvement, but they were still blowing snow in our faces at every opportunity. The slopes were what I would consider to be absurdly crowded with people. However, the only real lift lines were for the high speed Ball Hooter quad, and those lines are mitigated by the speed of the thing. I must assume it gets more crowded, which I find hard to imagine, since they clearly are set up to handle longer lift lines, etc.

I skied around for a while and finally decided I liked the Widomaker slope, mostly because there were a lot less people on it than Ball Hooter (but I just love to write "Ball Hooter"). It was about lunchtime, so I decided to eat lunch then drive over to Silver Creek. After trudging to my car, loading up the skis, switching boots, and driving through a snowdrift to get out of the parking lot and on my way to Silver Creek, I saw the free shuttle bus for the first time and had an "I could've had a V8" moment. Oh, well.

I liked Siver Creek better than Snowshoe, apart from the architecture. The blues and blacks were longer and better (excepting, of course, the Western Territory, which I had not yet visited). There were a lot less people (not a lift line anywhere). Even the snowguns didn't seem to hurt as much. The architecture, however, leaves a bit to be desired. Whose idea was it to build featureless modern highrise hotel in the middle of an otherwise beautiful area? On the inside it just seems junky, too. If you build a rustic lodge, and the features become worn over hard use, like at Timberline, you just say, "oh, that's rustic." If you build a shiny, modern building and then it gets worn out, it doesn't look rustic. It looks like !@#$. I stayed on the more difficult terrain away from the hotel, so I didn't have to look at it.

Okay. I've been skiing for hours. Time to go try Cupp's Run, before I get too tired to handle it. I (intelligently, I believe at the time) leave my car at Silver Creek and take the shuttle to Cupp's. I like Cupp's run. Very nice run. Much, much better than anything else I've skied in the mid-atlantic. The new high-speed quad is actually too fast; it doesn't give you enough time to recover.

Now I've skied just about every trail at the place. I've skied Cupp's (lower Shay's was closed), and now I'm starting to feel tired and cold. I cross the street, and ski the mostly easy Snowshoe trails for a bit, before they close for the day.

I knew I had to get back to my car at Silver Creek in order to get home, so I wait for the shuttle bus. I'm exhasted, and now that I'm standing still, I start to get cold. Finally a bus stoped.

"Do you go to Silver Creek?"

"Nope. Next bus."

Wait. Cold. Brrr.

Anotehr bus arrived.

"Do you go to Silver Creek?"

"Sure do."

I climbed onto bus. Bluegrass, serious bluegrass, was playing over the bus' PA. I sat down, and waited to be delivered to my car.

An indeterminate amount of time later, the bus stopped somewhere, still in the Snowshoe area, and the driver announced, "This is the end of the line. Wait here for another bus to Silver Creek." Even though he told me he was going there. Nice. So, we wait, outside, in the getting-really-cold-now late afternoon, for another half-hour, at least. Finally another bus arrived and we were transported. Total time from beginning to wait for bus to finally getting to Siver Creek: 1 hour, 15 minutes. Moral: Never leave your car at Silver Creek.

-----

This is the Summary Part of This Post (don't the capitals make it sound important?)

I like Snowshoe. It has some excellent terrain in the Western territory, and some fairly good runs at Silver Creek. The Snowshoe side really only has a vertical of about 600', and is only really interesting near the top. That's not enough to excite me or make me want to drive the distance (4 hours from where I live). Silver Creek also has a vertical in the neighborhood of 600', but the steepness is more consistant the whole way down. I hate taking a black run and finding myself coasting along a green after the first hundred or so feet. Still, the great variety in terrain and great number of trails makes up for some of that.

Other considerations: Snowshoe is almost absurdly developed on the top of the mountain, and more construction is occurring. I don't really mind this, but at Snowshoe it seems to have been done with no consideration for what it would do to the natural beauty of the area. Development CAN blend with the environment. Or it can be a crowded, bleary mess like it is at Snowshoe. An insanely massive featureless high-rise box on top of a mountain? Yech. Giant muti-unit condominuim complexes forming a Chinese wall between the slopes and the road? Ick. Banks of townhoses that look like section-8 housing in my town? !@#$. It amazes me that people buy this stuff. I'd love to own one of the cute little slopeside houses at the top of Cupp's. I'd not pay a penny to vacation in a building that looks like it was flown in from Newark. Of course, a whole lot of people must think a winter vacation in a Newark high-rise beats real rustic mountain living, because it's sales of this !@#$ that are paying for the high-speed detachables, I'm sure.

Other items of note:

At the welcome center, I noted a releif model of the entire property, including the boundary lines. They own a LOT of land, including the entire slope facing the current Snowshoe area (across the lake), and all the land on the Western Territory side of the slope, all the way down to the welcome center. There is room for some serious expansion here.

Also, I noted at ther far end of the road, near the "Top of the World" and widowmaker lifts, remains of an old chairlift and ski trails on the western side of the mountain. Anyone know what the story is on this stuff? I'd think that could be re-opened again very easilly, if anyone would want to. On my maps, it seems to lead into a ravine, much the same way as Cupp's run does, and with as much vertical. That'd be nice.

Final thought: Nice place to visit. Wouldn't want to live there.


Drew

JimK - DCSki Columnist
March 14, 2000
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
Very interesting report. I've only visited Snowshoe twice, both times over a dozen years ago. I had much the same impressions you were left with yesterday. It's probably not fair for me to go into it more than that since I haven't been there for so long, but from DC it's around 5 hours and as curious as I am about Shays and the full Cupp run (it was only open half way when I was there) I still haven't quite gotten motivated to get out there again. I usually head to Vt if I'm thinking of more than a one day trip. Good to hear a little about Silver Creek, never been there. WVA is about the only game left in mid-atlantic now.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
March 14, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Oh Drew, cheer up..... Life's not that bad.

I'm one of these people who really really likes the "Shoe". So much so that I recently plunked some cash into a condo there. Not the new stuff on top of the mountain, as they don't accept pets. Bought in Sumitt Condos a stairwell down the hill from the Shavers Center on top.

I do agree that it gets crowded on holiday weekends. Really crowded. My answer? Put my condo out for rent on those days so nice people like you help me pay for the condo. Thanks.

I will disagree on your bus predicament, even though I sympathize with you. I'm one of those who would rather have free mass transportation everywhere along with many other tax and spend schemes. My experience with the Snowshoe bus service is that it goes where you want it IF you know what bus to take. One of the reasons why I bought at the place is that I get there and don't touch my car for three days.

Cold?!?!?? Having been raised in Connecticut and gone to College in northern Vermont, I know how cold it can get cold. I remember Stowe at -30F. Snowshoe seldom gets there. But on the other hand, I saw minus 25 Celsius on top of the Klein Matterhorn gondola two weeks ago and, after tanking up with nuclear hot Swiss chocolate, we skied down with no problem. Fleece works wonders. Two layers of fleece works even better.

Agree with you that Intrawest needs to expand the trails into the bowl accross the lake. Hope they do. Soon.

But it is a fact that with Intrawest's ownership of the resort, they have made it probably the largest resort in the East south of Killington. Construction? Yes. The new village will be a welcome addition, as it will allow for a pedestrian avenue that one can take to walk to the new restaurants, boutiques, cafes, ad nauseam. Sort of (hopefully) like a little Davos or a mini-Aspen. It is not supposed to be a spartan place. It is designed with increasing amounts of pampering and luxury and frankly, when it came time to dish out some greenbacks, that's the criteria I used to make my purchase. I guess its attractiveness can be gauged in the sale price of its real estate -- condos that used to sell for 60K three years ago are now worth 250K. So there is obviously a market. But in any case, I would hope you see the village once it gets built and it goes from a bleary mess to something captivating.

Lou

(Anonymous)
March 14, 2000
Lou:

I really wasn't complaining about the weather; I knew it wasn't going to be sunny long before I left home. I wasn't a big fan of the snow guns, but they were merely a nuisance, a necessary evil.

I'm from Ligonier, PA. This year, I got really used to Laurel Mountain, which I'd call the anti-Snowshoe. Development of overnight accomodations on the Laurel Mountain property is forbidden under the terms of the gift of the property to the state. Yes, you can buy an A-frame a mile away on a dirt road, but you can't put a high-rise multi-unit architectural nightmare slopeside. I like that. It keeps everything focused on the skiing.

Of course, since you mentioned Killington and other Vermont resorts, I'd rather ski Mad River Glen (over Killington, Stowe, etc.) any day. In fact, I'd buy a share of the MRG Cooperative before I'd spend the money on a dense-packed condo.

I guess we just have very different ideas about what constitutes a vacation. I ski for the same reason I backpack: To build up a sweat while communing with nature. Hard thing to do on the eighth floor. (The comparison to backpacking there makes me realize what a perfect ski resort would be for me: A couple runs, with a campground at the base. You can stay there, but you'd better pitch your tent and stoke the fire. ... Wait. That does exist. It's called Tuckerman's Ravine. I'll have to ski that someday...)

I'm glad you like Snowshoe. Clearly, I am in the minority. And the development does subsidize some very nice things, like snowmaking in quantity and high-speed lifts. I'd still rather see something that looks natural with my nature, however.

Droo

DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort
chuckie
March 15, 2000
Member since 12/29/1999
77 posts
Drew's report on SNOWSHOE was right on the money!

I hit SNOWSHOE early this season, and ran into mad construction, problems with crowds and the busses, and a general feeling that SNOWSHOE is for skiiers by skiiers. SILVERCREEK seemed a little better overall, but even considering the lack of snow here, I don't think I'll go back.

lbotta - DCSki Supporter
March 16, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Drew, we probably agree on more things than we disagree. I like communion with nature. I go on 100-mile bike rides on the weekends. I enjoy the solitude of the White Mountains. But I also like ending the day next to a fireplace and sitting at a table with friends with a plate of home-cooked paella, AND looking at the mountains from my own apartment. After 22 years in the military, I lived in tents and either froze or baked my derriere, from the frozen ground of Pohang, Korea to the Amazonian jungles in Leticia, Colombia, and stayed in tents longer than I would ever wish anyone to have to stay in tents. I don't miss staying in tents. I want to build up a sweat, whether it is bicycling the Greenbriar Trail or running a Marine Corps Marathon, but the "apre" is the prefix in which we differ.

There is room for all of us in this wonderful country of ours. To those who enjoy their Swiss Mocha at the Starbucks on top of a mountain, there are places like Snowshoe or Killington. To those who want to brew their own, Laurel Mountain or Mad River Glenn provide a welcome respite. I can't justify the protest burning of a Vail lodge anymore than I can justify trying to pave every inch of a wilderness.

After the winter, I'm planning to use Snowshoe as a base from where I can explore the nature and outdoor opportunities that the Pocahontas County and the Monongahela National Forest have to offer. Up to now, my enjoyment of one of the most beautiful areas in the Mid Atlantic has been sporadic because of the remoteness of the area. That is now solved. And despite the fact that the top of Snowshoe is now a mess, I think we may all agree that once the topside village is built, it will be a welcome addition to the place. At least it will provide for a pedestrian village where one can park the car, forget it for the entire weekend, and having all your needs solved up there instead of having to drive miles for even the smallest chore.

Lou

Packyderm1
March 16, 2000
Member since 11/8/1999
36 posts
Hey Drew, don't blame the current management at Snowshoe for the big highrise at SilverCreek. They didn't build it. SilverCreek used to be a seperate resort, but when it couldn't compete with Snowshoe, they bought it out.

Intrawest just bought Snowshoe a few years ago and yes the construction is crazy, but only because they are really trying to improve the place. Give it a little time and the construction will be done, and there will be many more slopes to ski on from what I read in one of their plans they had posted on the web last year.

(Anonymous)
March 18, 2000
I'd like to add one thing if you're looking for something different. We were up at Snowshoe over President's weekend, but only had a room at the top of the mountain for two nights and had planned to stay three. We noticed the "backcountry hut" and decided to try it.

We made reservations for our family of five to spend the night there (you pay, but you get dinner and breakfast included). After finishing skiing, putting most of our stuff in our car, we donned snowshoes while carrying small overnight backpacks and headed out, unsupervised. The trail was pretty easy to follow even though we did the last part of it in the dark. We go there, ate dinner, played a board game, slept, ate breakfast, and snowshoed out. I'll go into details if anyone wants, but the bottom line is, IT WAS GREAT! I think you can also go out by snowmobile (more money) and you can eat dinner without staying. The rustic cabin was rustic, but plenty comfy. I think this will operate in the summer, but it was sort of one of the magical surprises for us.

(Anonymous)
March 18, 2000
As a long time condo owner at the 'Shoe, just thought I would add my two cents about the mountain. First off, thank goodness Intrawest purchased the property about four years ago. Every year significant improvements are made. It is rumored 4 to 6 new runs will be cut for next year. Most of them will be in Western Territory with 2 maybe in the basin area. The big item is a new water play area - Aqua Center(?) which will be operating (hopefully) for the next ski season. And this is mountaintop rumor so things can quickly change. And the mountain is really growing targeted towards the spendy crowd. A new village condo project could be announced in the summer.

So sorry Drew, the 'Shoe village is going to be offensive to you as it is going to be very 'trendy' - for good and bad. On the other hand, there are tremendous camping sites located in the national (or is it state) park located just on the other side of Rt 219. I think it is called the Gauley Mountain park. Miles and miles of beautiful wilderness. Just don't get snowed in. No telling when you'll get out as the dirt roads are not maintained. You can get information on this at the county visitors center in Marlinton.

And your complaint about the crowded conditions in the 'Shoe basin area is a known complaint. The comments summitted by rentors and skiers on the mountain are closely watched and I wouldn't be surprised to see the rumored items above to be incorrect after management weights in on skier complaints.

The lift remanents Drew mentioned in his chat is where the Hawthorne Valley lift was. This trail system operated for only one season - 83/84 and never again. It was installed to assist in selling real estate on the golf course. It didn't happen. And the Hawthorne system water requirements couldn't be handled without expanding the water reserves. So the lift was removed.

The first thing Intrawest did was greatly expand the water reserves.... so Hawthorne valley could be a functioning trail system again. But this system is mostly black and the 'Shoe is really trying to bring more greens into play. So it is down the road.

(Anonymous)
March 20, 2000
I have many of the same thoughts about Snowshoe as Drew does, however I do not mind the large building on top of the mountain. I do not understand why there is such a great need for more begginer trails. There are many green circles that I found at the far side of the mountain I believe serviced by the Powder Monkey lift(I may have the lift's name wrong). Snowshoe I believe is lacking in charachter on many of its trails. Many of its trails seem to be straight down or wide snowmaking fields. At Stratton Vt and Tremblant PQ(both owned by Intrawest), Intrawest has recently made an effort to add glades and more "classic" narrow trails to make the terrain a bit more interesting. I would hope that Intrawest would follow suit at Snowshoe in the near future. After a good snowfall I still find myself heading to the lower mountain of Blue Knob and even nearby TImberline with its Cherry Bowl Glades. I would hope that Snowshoe would captialize on the large amount of natural snowfall they receive by making trails that would not be possible at other ski areas in the mid atlantic. Drew lets hope for another fantastic year at Laurel Mountain (maybe with some expaned snowmaking?)and by the way I loved your old site. I hope you would update on DC ski about any news that you hear about Laurel.
(Anonymous)
March 20, 2000
Thank you all for your responses... I guess I stirred up some emotions or something. Let me say this about that:

1) I did say in my fist message "I like Snowshoe." (I just checked. It's there. Really.)

2) I don't condone burning lodges. I won't shed a tear if the wrcking ball hits some specific targets, but that's not the same thing.

3) More Western Territory runs would be a good thing. So would Hawthorne Valley, but I won't hold my breath.

4) I am not offended by Snowshoe's development -- It just is not my cup of tea (or home brew).

5) Why more greens? Seems to me that the bowl is mostly green and blue. I count 18 greens in the bowl (and 5 more at Silver Creek). At only 600' vertical, maybe this is as it should be, but it seems to me that a lack of greens is not a problem here.

6) Glades -- Why does Snowshoe have trails now that are named "________ Glades" without any sign of a glade? This was mildly confusing, IMHO.

7) Jay - Narrow trails are often referred to as "New England-style" trails. Maybe there's not as much push to put a NE feature into WV as there would be in VT. Having said that, I'll take some NE-style trails any day.

8)... 8 ... I forget what 8 was for...

9) Also to Jay - Thanks for the nice comments about the Laurel site. I would have liked for that to have worked out. BTW, Laurel has announced plans for snowmaking and lights on Innsbruck and Dream Highway for next winter. Laurel's biggest problem is water for snowmaking -- they actually ran out this year. They are planning to deal more effectively with that problem, also. They are also, I believe, looking at expanding the lodge, as well as some other stuff. See ya at Laurel in about 8 months (or so...)

10) I will probably visit Snowshoe once again before they close for the season.

Droo

(Anonymous)
March 21, 2000
Hey Drew I guess everones right, But I never really gave a rats butt about the buildings as long as the bathrooms are clean. My kidds and I went up this weekend and had a blast. We stayed at the Inn at Snow shoe just before the entrance, nothing fancy but it was nice and they have some great package deals. But then when we go to ski we UH, SKI all day at snowshoe and silver creek at night. This place ROCKS we loved it there is nothing better than ridding the lift with your 13 year old daughter and watching her snowboard down the trail or chasing your 19 year old to the bottom of the mountain,so don't worry be happy and have a blast SKIING
JimK - DCSki Columnist
March 21, 2000
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
For Jay or anyone else who skied at Blue Knob this year, What gives up there? It seemed like they had a lousy season as far as getting all their trails open. Or am I mistaken, I didn't get up to Blue Knob this year. I was tempted, but they never seemed to have really good conditions and all terrain open, even around 1st of Feb when everyone else was in great shape?? Did their snowmaking capacity fall off? Have they given up on opening some of their more obscure trails? I'm afraid Deer Run is a big fat waste of snowmaking. Put me on the list of fans of narrow, old New England style trails!
(Anonymous)
March 21, 2000
I see both sides of the coin on these issues. It will be great to see the Shoe get some more trails going, with a little more variety. We skiied Cannan Valley this year for the first time and we were blowen away by the glades and meadows (obviously, we have not had the opportunity to travel much ) I would love to see Shoe add the New England style trails, and maybe some that the newbies would even be afraid to try. I have to stick up for the newbies though, because the only way to learn to handle different terrain and of course there has to be room for error.
I have never stayed anywhere else on that Mountain, except Silver Creek, and even though it might be gaudy looking, it is a wonderful place for children and it's nice to have a night ticket, go in, eat dinner and head right back out again. Silver Creek is usually the place to go if the crowds over at Shoe get to you. I guess the inside could use some upgrading, but all in all it is nice and clean.
We went up the mtn in Jan. during the huge snow they had and the terrian was awesome! The one problem though were those @#$% snowguns. We ruined two pairs of goggles in three days. Also, (at least when we were there)I noticed that they do not run the guns at night. Wouldn't it make more sense to keep running and grooming at night? One day, the winds were blowing so hard that Cupp was nearly impassable.
Yes, Shoe could use some improving, but we still think it is one of the best resorts you can get to within 5 hours of N.VA and DC area.
(Anonymous)
March 21, 2000
I hit BLue Knob only once this year and was a little dissappointed however that is relative. I went during Presidents day weekend. Many of the upper "glades" did open which were fun, and Lower High Hopes and Extrovert were open on the lower mountain. Super Steep Extrovert was filled with ridiculously huge car size Ice moguls and it seemed like a lot of wasted snowmaking because I saw few if any people skiing down it besides myself. Lower high hopes was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed doing high hopes non stop from the top fulfilling the 1000+ vertical though it feels like its much more. It seems however some of their great runs like Stemboggen, lower 66, lower shortway did not open the whole season. I did sneak on to Lower Shortway and Lower 66(dont tell the ski patrol) which were fun however I did have to take my skis off and walk for part of shortway. Lower Shortway I believe may be the most narrow trail in the mid atlantic, and is truely unique. Lower 66 was a little better in coverage(remember it wasn't open and only natural snow existed) however it was obvious that they concentrated their snowmaking on trails like Deer Run and some other boring trails. It seems that the snowmaking is limited at Blue Knob and it a shame some of the best trails South of New England are going to waste.
To tie in Snowshoe, I would hope that Snowshoe would make some improvements in its advanced trails so the mid atlantic could have some trails that are as good as Blue Knob, but open too. I anxiously await to see what happens.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
March 22, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
I guess we all agree on many things about the "Shoe" and frankly, I would hope that the senior management at Snowshoe would be listening or tuned in to this forum.

Once the construction mess up there is transformed into a walking village, I think even some of the most ardent critics will have to recognize that the Intrawest plan does work. It will be a beautiful and functional addition to a previously haphazard and motorized transportation-oriented topside.

I also will say to those who criticized Silver Creek Lodge that I agree with it being an architectural eyesore. It looks like one of those stark military hospitals the US Government built in Europe. Maybe the new management can panel it with barnwood or something. Anything will be an improvement.

I DO agree that the resort needs to expand its trail system pronto, both in quantity and quality, before the thousand new units become populated with people who will rightfully expect to ski safely. I purposely avoid Snowshoe on three day weekends now -- I can imagine what it could get to be next year if there isn't at least a corresponding expansion in the runs

I definitely DO agree (as a transplanted New Englander) that more New England type runs are a necessity. My day at the Shoe consists of doing Widowmaker ten times, Knot Bumper ten times, Shays ten times and Cupp ten times. Need some diversity for the advanced crowd.

But I do hold that South of Killington, you really won't get better snow, better conditions and as of two years ago, better ski area management. Intrawest has some impressive credentials.

Besides that, yesterday they had 7 inches of new snow. What other area can claim that?

Drew, I'll buy you a beer if I see you at the Shoe before it closes. I am planning on being there every weekend. Too bad it can't be at Eli's Tavern, because I understand it closed due to management problems last week.

Lou

JimK - DCSki Columnist
March 22, 2000
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
Maybe we can get Intrawest to buy Blue Knob, wouldn't that be a hoot? Strange about not opening Stemboggin, that used to be one of their prime alternatives to the Mambo Alley side of the mountain? But like lower shortway and 66, it's not a trail that can handle a lot of traffic well.
I too would be most interested in Snowshoe if they put a few more runs down the western side to give some diversity to the 1500' vertical. Just guessing, but I always thought maybe they held back on developing the west because it didn't hold snow well?
(Anonymous)
March 27, 2000
Well all we can do is wait, I hope Intrawest does as much expanding on the trails as they have done on the mountain top. Until they do it really isn't worth the 5 hour drive from DC, or the high ticket price. Laurel Mountain has just as good of terrain, I'll be it a little limited on diversity for about half the price with no lift lines.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
March 27, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Spent this past weekend at the "Shoe" again. Yes, there is still skiing in the Mid Atlantic. When I got there on Friday, there were remnants of the previous storms that had deposited 7" of new stuff over the week. Saturday was good skiing but weatherwise it seemed like the top of Snowshoe was trying to compete with Mt Washington as the windiest place in the US. Friday night was what I can call bitterly cold. Saturday was still windy but as the day warmed up, it became increasingly more pleasant. Sunday was gorgeous, period. Spring skiing at its best. We got sunburned faces and a few sunburned torsos as the weather continued to warm up. As far as snow, there is still lots, although I don't think it there will be any substantial skiing after Monday. The stuff was melting rapidly. Staying open until the 2nd of April may be more marketing than reality, although they may just pull it. I will be there to see it or perhaps to go trail biking down the Greenbriar.
(Anonymous)
April 29, 2000
The 'Shoe really is a great place. Certainly hands above anything in the area. 'Course it ain't Whistler. I know what you mean about Silvercreek Lodge. The first time my grilfriend saw it she said it looked like a soviet block building. She also feels they desecrated the mountain by not hiding everything in the trees. Me I still think the area is gorgeous. Nice place to beat the heat in the summer, and it's the only place within driving distance that gets real snow.
there are some nice condos up there. the new stuff is really nice. I even stayed in a really nice Summit. I stayed in a total dog Stemwinder that cost twice as much. Whistlepunk is overated. I've actually stayed in everything but Spruce Lodge and Top of the world. I have to say that I've always had a good time though. Great atmosphere. Electric, maybe it's the altitude? Friend people too. I could rant and rave about The Red Fox and Eli's. Great great food and atmosphere. Now a trail down the eastside from the sunrise hut, to the Greenbrier river would be some serious vert 2400ft? Probably cost a fortune in snowmaking in slow snow years like the past two. Anybody know what's planned for next season? Intrawest usually announces in April.
Thompsc
October 23, 2000
Member since 10/23/2000
1 posts
WINTER 2000 SEASON PASS: Need 3 others to simultaneously purchase season passes so as to receive discount. Please reply to cthompson@deweyballantine.com.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
October 24, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
For those who visited the Shoe during the summer months, the Shoe was a super place. I was impressed by the quality of activities in the mountain. It is obvious the management has taken pains to make it into a four-season destination. The mountain biking trails were super and whether a beginner or an expert, there was something for everyone. And the proximity to the Greenbriar Trail made it possible for fat-tire bikers who didn't want the ups and downs of the mountain, to go long distances on a 1 percent gradient (Greenbriar is not suitable for skinny-tire bicycles). This summer we biked the Greenbriar, and the scenery was spectacular. There are quite a few neat little towns in the area surrounding the trail. The other side is that with the ski crowds gone, the mountain top was one of the best places on earth to relax. It may have been 90 degrees in DC, but it was barely 70 at the Shoe. With as much work as I had to do in the condo, I barely got to do the off-resort restaurants. That will be for this ski season and next year.

[This message has been edited by lbotta (edited 10-24-2000).]

(Anonymous)
November 1, 2000
Have to agree with Lou that the 'Shoe has made significant progress in developing the resort and it is really has become very active in the summer. Long time visitors to the 'Shoe remember when it became a virtual ghost town in the summer. Really is a big plus.

But there is also a major downer in all this...... the skiing experience has really dropped. The addition of Rimfire (and now Highland House) has greatly increased the number of 'pillows' available on the mountain and, hence, the number skiers on the runs. To the point that some of the trails in the basin area are unsafe with the density of skiers and their varying skills/speeds. A reckless situation might be a good description.

I know, the usual response is to head over to Silver Creek and ski the greens and blues (Flying Eagle can't be a black, can it?). I find that fine for a couple of hours but is just not varied enough for me.

The situation has developed because the 'Shoe has focused on higher skier visits with stronger amenities and not develop new trails. Good for the bottom line but can only be pushed so far before the skiing experience falls.... and, for me, that point has been reached.

For me, I guess the choice is to either ski there during the week or go elsewhere. Definitely don't go on a weekend.

lbotta - DCSki Supporter
November 1, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Have to agree with JEB on the issue of overcrowding. The Snowshoe management must either open up new trails or suffer the loss of many of their loyal clients in the mid to long-term future.

I have to agree with the general upscaling of the place. It's made it a more... (yeah, some will call me a snob, but it's my opinion and I don't apologize for it) livable place. I like to commune with nature and then be able to go to a five-star restaurant at night. After 22 years in the military, I do not stay in tents period. There is much to be glad about the new Snowshoe.

But enhancing the overnight capability of the place must go hand in hand with the space alloted to skiing. And that hasn't taken place. There hasn't been an expansion of the area, save for a couple of green trails. As a result, the few "blacks" available have got overcrowded with "green" skiers, creating a real safety hazard for all.

My answer is the same as JEB. I own a place at the "Shoe" and spend some weekends there, but on three-day weekends I will go to Blue Knob, 7-Springs, Wintergreen, or other places where the crowds are more proportional to the skiable acreage.

Lou

JohnL
November 13, 2000
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
I haven't been to Snowshoe since '93 - and even then I thought the main side was hopelessly over-crowded. I hate to think that it has gotten any worse. How crowded are Cupp and Shay's on typical weekends? Back then, Cupp could get a little dicey since there were an appreciable number of skiiers who didn't belong on the run - nothing makes me more nervous than someone doing a power snowplow at 25 mph.

Since I'm thinking of spending a weekend with friends @ Snowshoe this winter, I'd appreciate any feedback on crowds. I'm planning to ski Cupp/Shay's roughtly 80% of the time.

Scott - DCSki Editor
November 13, 2000
Member since 10/10/1999
1,096 posts
On the weekends that I've been to Snowshoe in recent years, Cupp and Shay's weren't that crowded. Shay's really added a lot of surface area to the Western side, essentially doubling the terrain there. At some times of the day, there weren't many people at the Western Territory at all - even when the main side was fairly crowded. The bottleneck seems to be the lower portion of Cupp, where it gets narrower and steeper. I've had a blast every time I've skied the Western Territory - and I probably did end up spending 60-70% of my time over there. Even during the busiest time, I can't remember waiting more than 1 minute in line at the Western Express lift. (Actually, I'm having trouble remembering a time when I couldn't ski right into the chair.)

The best tip I can give anyone in the Mid-Atlantic is to try to visit resorts midweek. I know this isn't possible for some, but here's what you get:

(1) Discounted pricing.
(2) No crowds.

Also, statistically there's a higher chance that there will be a big snow dump midweek. (Since there's 5 midweek days to 2 weekend days.) Ok, I'm sort of making that up.. But, there's nothing better than having 3 feet of fresh snow all to yourself midweek at a resort.

Sometimes you get the resort to yourself. Sometimes you time it wrong and end up going when local schools have off that day (I made that mistake once at Whitetail; didn't know PA schools had that day off, and I think all of them ended up at Whitetail.)

Another tip for avoiding crowds: you'll probably fare better if 100% of terrain is open as opposed to 30%. Snowshoe has a lot of trails, and when they're all open, they distribute the crowds pretty well. When resorts *first* open, they have limited terrain, but usually only the die-hard skiers show up so crowds aren't always bad. Shortly after that - but before they reach 100% open - is when it can be most crowded.

Another compromise is to try to go on a Sunday/Monday. Crowds start to disappear by Sunday afternoon, with hardly anyone left by Monday morning.

- Scott

lbotta - DCSki Supporter
November 14, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
I was at the Shoe last week and hiked the new "green" trail Yew Pines near Powder Ridge. What I understand is that the lessons and much of the green ski crowd will transfer to that side, hopefully providing for less crowding in the main side of the mountain. Still, I gather substantive expansion of the terrain will have to wait till next year. Agree with Scott that the best way to avoid the crowds is to go to the Cupp/Shays side. The Widowmaker side gets unsafe and dangerous with green skiers trying to negotiate a supposedly black run.
Dave
November 16, 2000
Member since 11/18/2000
1 posts
Ibotta,
Is the Yew trail actually on the other side of the Powderidge Lift (away from resort)? Powerderidge trail is very short and at the top of the 'Shoe basin. Boy, I wish that Intrawest would update their maps for this season on the net.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
November 20, 2000
Member since 10/18/1999
1,526 posts
Yep. And I agree with you - the maps need updating. How hard can it be for an aspiring artist to overlay the information and then have their web publisher scan it as a Jpeg and put it on the web? Duh...
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