I don't want to start a flame war or anything. I will still love Timberline, The lovely Winterset cabins and will be here again in Feb.
Reports like yours are of much more value than a stack of official "snow reports" and webcam shots.
Tom / PM
Rumor has it that Salamander may open tomorrow. Timberline is no longer making snow on the trail and I think it is ready to be groomed and skied. Snow guns also are going full blast on Dew Drop and Lower Almost Heaven so it is conceivable that these slopes may open in the near future as well.
I spoke to Timberline Mountain Manager Tom Blanzy about the situation, and he said the "trails will be open when they are ready." Timberline wants to put a sizable base of over 60 inches on each trail before it opens. Tom claims that Timberline skiers like it this way--it cuts down on ski tuning costs and it also prevents bare spots on thaw days.
On a positive note, Tom stressed that the mountain intends to double its snowmaking capacity in the next 2-3 years. That should improve the situation during future freak winters such as this one.
When Timberline is going full bore, it is certainly one of the best values in the Mid-Atlantic. With all the cold weather in the forecast, let's this happens soon.
I share the above concerns of how bad a job Timberline is doing in getting its slopes open and communicating progress in opening the slopes. I think Timberline has always been poorly run and poorly financed (like Canaan Valley). This is a pity because Timberline and Canaan probably offer the best skiing conditions within a 3-4 drive of Baltimore/DC. Skiers would be much better off if a company like the one that runs Ski Liberty/Whitetail bought it up.
Also, In regards to a previous post about 60" base is what "timberline skiers" want. They should realize that their won't be any timberline skiers if they can't open their slopes until the end of January. I'll settle for 48" bases.
This is the worst ski trip I've ever been on and I don't think I'll ever come back to the canaan area until they get their act together. It's more insulting that I have to pay $35 to ski on essentially one icy Black diamond that merges into a parking lot of newbies and todlers s-turning all the way down the slope.
At least they could discount the lift tickets until they opened more than 2 slopes.
Sorry for all the venting. Very fustrating situation.
I was thinking of skiing Canaan on Monday. Thanks for the report--I'm glad I stuck to Timberline. Canaan does have a serious water problem. For that resort to survive in years like this one, it will have to build a new water holding pond. Given environmental concerns in the valley, such an endeavor will be an uphill struggle.
As a unit owner, I feel your frustration. Believe me. It is indeed embarassing that yesterday Snowshoe hit 100 percent and Timberline was still a 1 trail resort.
I also agree with Mitch that if the current owner (a physician from Philadelphia) does not have deep enough pockets to run the mountain the way it should be run, he should sell it. Snowtime would be a good company to manage Timberline and the mountain could become a very attractive addition to its Mid-Atlantic empire. Another option would be for the current owner to sell the mountain to the unit owners and then we could agree to forego profits for the next 10-15 years so that revenues could plowed back into the mountain and additional money could be raised through matching loans--we would see immediate profits through the increase in property values and rental rates.
For any new mountain owner, the first thing that needs to be accomplished is for the mountain to buy new snowmaking equipment, build another holding pond, and buy more groomers. Currently, Timberline does not have the resources to do what Snowshoe does: i.e. put a light but very skiable base on all of its trails and then go back augment these efforts as the season progresses if no natural snow arrives. Timberline can not afford to keep moving its limited supply of guns around the mountain. Snowshoe, by comparison, has fixed guns on most of its trails and ample cats (and more importanly, labor dollars) to move guns whenever and wherever they need to be moved. Snowshoe's management is first-class! My hat goes off to them.
The next step would be to cut some new trails on the western side of mountain so that more property can be developed on that side. More condos mean more revenue for the mountain--through direct sales, utilities sales, and ticket sales.
After that, Thunder Draft should be replaced with a high speed 6 pack, and the Silver Queen should be eliminated altogether--this would save labor costs and allow the resort to get more people up that mountain in a much shorter amount of time. The Silver Queen also runs down a very steep, very narrow, double black--a trail that would be much better for experts without lift towers.
Finally, one can not blame Tom Blanzy for the problems at Timberline. Tom has the right ideas as far as improvements are concerned and is working hard to overcome a record warm December. His problem is limited resources--a situation well outside of his control.
Timberline currently offers lift tickets and accomodations far cheaper than Snowshoe. Unfortunately, this weekend, you got what you paid for. In the future, this may not have to be the case. I am sticking with the mountain because when the skiing is good there and at Canaan, it is the best skiing within 4 hours of DC. The Dolly Sods Wilderness (the area just behind the mountain) is one of best hiking spots in the East--one day it may even become a National Park. Davis, just up the road, has some of the best Mountain Biking in the state, and the streams in the area produce EPIC trout. I don't hunt but deer and wild turkey are also abundant in the area. In short, this is probably the best 4 season resort within a reasonable drive of metro DC/Baltimore.
If anyone wants to talk more off-line about the subject, e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org