Canaan Valley/Timberline
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15 users
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(Anonymous)
December 6, 2001
I am thinking about taking a large group there at the end of January. I have never skiied at either hill- but it looks appealing because 1- its sooo much cheaper than Snowshoe and 2- I found some great looking slopeside homes for rent that would accomodate my group. Anyone who has been to either area- please share your thoughts! Thanks
Rich
December 6, 2001
Member since 11/30/2000
194 posts
Ahhh...Canaan Valley - my home-away-from-home. My 1st year skiing I spent most every weekend there. I still go back frequently. From someone intimately familiar with the Valley: 66 to Front Royal, down 81 a mile, 55West all the way. Avoid the northern route - Mt. Storm was named for a reason! Do Timberline Fri. night - great lit trails, peacefull and empty. Canaan on Sat., Timber on Sunday. Trust me. T-line is a madhouse on Sat., can't handle the crowds and narrower trails. Avid skiers will find both rather elementary, but it's the whole Valley experience I enjoy. I always have a good time there. AND, Canaan finally built the long needed new slopeside base lodge. Also, they brought back the Ski-the-Valley promo - 1 ticket fits all!
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 7, 2001
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Canaan Valley/Timberline

Pros:

69 trails between the two mountains. 1000 feet of vertical at Timberline with some nice steep, narrow trails-a good place for confident intermediates and a couple trails that will even challenge experts). Canaan has wider slopes with more gentle pitches and an 850 foot vertical-a better mountain for less confident skiers, cruisers, and riders who want lots of space for tricks. Canaan is also less crowded on weekends and has a beautiful new lodge.

Nice slope-side housing at Timberline at affordable prices.

Affordable hotel rooms and condo rentals.

The Canaan Hotel (lodge) has an nice ice rink for after dinner skating.

Ample cross country skiing opportunities exist at Canaan and Blackwater Falls state parks. More challenging cross country and back country skiing can be found at Whitegrass touring center-probably the finest touring center in the Mid-Atlantic.

Wonderful natural beauty and lots of wildlife. The base of the Valley is at 3,000 feet with mountains on 4 sides. Most of the land is owned by the state and federal government so there is very limited development. Canaan Valley-Land of Milk and Honey!


Cons:

Very limited nightlife. The Timberline Lodge has bands on Saturday night and there are a few bars connected with restaurants but other than that, the valley is pretty quiet. If your groups needs nightlife, head to Snowshoe or 7 Springs.

Limited restaurant opportunities in the valley itself. Deerfields is nice but CROWDED on the weekends. More restaurants can be found in Davis, but that's a 12 mile drive over a small mountain range-not fun in the snow. If your group likes eating out, Snowshoe or 7 Springs again would be a better bet.

Limited services. The closest grocery store (Foodland) is in Davis.

Old rental equipment. Your best bet for getting Demo equipment is to rent it at Ski Chalet or Ski Center before you leave town.

Limited lift capacity. Both mountains are served by slow lifts. For much of last year, Timberline only operated one top to bottom lift. This year, extensive maintenance was performed on the Silver Queen double (a new reduction gear was added) so this problem should be solved. Nevertheless, for those who want higher speed and more capacity-think Snowshoe and 7 Springs.

Limited night skiing and no night skiing Monday through Thursday.

John Sherwood
johnfmh@yahoo.com

JimK - DCSki Columnist
December 7, 2001
Member since 01/14/2004
2,644 posts
I had a great mid-January ski-in/ski-out experience at Timberline about 5 years ago. Made a long weekend stay with a group of 12 at a slopeside house called, I think, Black Diamond. It was located adjacent to the Salamander trail and had a great hot tub ten feet from the trail, which was fun to use at 10 degrees F. I got it thru a local rental office. There are quite a few houses that are on or very near the slopes of Timberline. I've also recently stayed at CV Lodge (wrote a story about it for DCSKI). It has convenient bus service to CV slopes and might be better if you have a crowd bigger than a house can handle. If you can get a ticket good for both areas that would provide some nice variety for a multiday visit.
DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort
Jim
December 7, 2001
Member since 11/22/1999
317 posts
I had a bad experience at Timberline several years ago - specifically with their patrol. I like to ski with headphones to listen to music (don't knock it til you try it!). The volume level is not at outrageous levels and I can certainly hear things around me. While at Timberline, skiing a trail at a moderate pace and certainly in control, I got pulled over by a couple of their patrollers. First they made me hike over to where they were standing. Then they proceeded to lecture me in a condescending manner about wearing headphones. They didn't want to listen to the fact that I was a perfectly safe skier and that I wasn't causing any problems. I guess they just wanted to exercise their lungs. I was told if they saw me again anywhere on the area with headphones, they would pull my lift ticket. After that, I decided there were nicer places to ski without gestapo-type patrollers (e.g., Seven Springs).

[This message has been edited by Jim (edited 12-07-2001).]

Rich
December 7, 2001
Member since 11/30/2000
194 posts
Anyone that would ski with headphones on would probably love to toss a football back and forth on the way down too. Luckey thing I wasn't patroling...that ticket would have been clipped faster then... Bet there's plenty of drivers with a cell phone in one hand, coffee in the other, driving with their knee and swear: I was a perfectly safe "driver" and that I wasn't causing any problems. You've never explained to a parent why their kid is being air lifted out due to a "perfectly safe skier".

[This message has been edited by Rich (edited 12-07-2001).]

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 7, 2001
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
When I first skied Timberline, I started asking people on the lift how to get from Timberline to DC. I got about 6 different answers.

Since that time, I have made the round trip about 20 times via different routes. Unfortunately, I still am not 100 percent sure what the best route is. All I can say for certain is that there is no good way to go. All routes compel thr drive to take 2 lane roads and climb moutains via switchbacks. West Virginia is indeed wild and wonderful, but those mountains sure don't make for easy driving, even under the best of conditions.

My wife and my bird Franz, a Cockatiel, enjoy 220 to New Creek (home of Wal-Mart), route 50 to Mt. Storm, 42 to 93, 93 to Davis, and then 32 to the land of milk and honey. This route only has one bad set of switchbacks (just before Mt. Storm when 50 crosses over the Allegheny Front near Horseshoe Mountain). These switchbacks, however, have a passing lane on the steepest sections so you don't have to worry about a big rig slowing you down. The State of West Virginia, in its infinite wisdom, directs cars to take 93 after New Creek towards Scherr rather than staying on 50 and going through Mt. Storm. This is a more scenic route BUT just before Scherr, you hit a much nastier set of switchbacks than those on 50 and there is no passing lane!

It takes 2.5 hours to get from downtown DC to Cumberland, and then another 75 minutes to the Canaan Valley if you don't make any stops.

The only drawback of the 220, 50, 42, 93 route is that I-70 between Hancock and Frederick can be very congested. I hit so much traffic on I-70 coming back from the valley over Thanksgiving, for example, that the trip took me 6 hours (trucks use this stretch of 70 to get from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to I-81 South and that's why it is so bad). From Washington, I-270 also can be mess in Frederick because of the construction there.

The alternative routes are 50 through Romney and the 55 route already mentioned. If you can take 66, the Dulles Toll Road, then the Greenway, and finally route 7 to Winchester, this route can avoid some of the traffic in MD (although 66 can be a bear coming out of DC), but 50 has additional switchbacks between Winchester and New Creek. Also, the Fire Department at Capon Bridge often stops traffic and asks for donations--sadly, this is what happens in a town which does not have an adequate tax base to pay for basic emergency services.

There is some hope for the future with the construction of Corridor H--a four lane road which will run in an arc from Wardensville to Elkins and pass right above the Canaan Valley near Thomas. I am only luke warm about corridor H because it is cutting a huge swath of ugliness through one of the last unspoiled wilderness areas of the East Coast, but it will make the ski resorts more accessible. Some say it will cut an hour off the commute. I think 30 minutes is more realistic. In any event, it will certainly make the drive easier.

(Anonymous)
December 8, 2001
Rich/All:

Do you really find I-66 to be the fastest route to Canaan from DC? I have always found it to be a rather painful trip once you hit Route 55, especially when it's storming or you're behind a big slow truck. My experiences (leaving from Arlington) taking 270/70 to 68 and then down 220, etc. have been mostly good, although it is a slightly longer and more complicated trip. One advantage is the Wal-Mart in Keyser for groceries. Perhaps it all depends on where you're leaving from?

Really looking forward to the season! I am heading out to Aspen for the holiday, from what I hear they aren't much better off for snow than we are here.

Does anyone have any other fun things they like to do besides skiing/tubing/Whitegrass while around Canaan/Timberline in the winter? Any advice is much appreciated.

By the way, great web site!

(Anonymous)
December 10, 2001
Just want to thank everyone for their advice! I've decided to go to Canaan/Timberline (although Im not sure which road to take) Should be a great time.
Just hope it gets COLD and maybe even SNOWS a little!!
Rich
December 10, 2001
Member since 11/30/2000
194 posts
Having gone every possible route...spent 3 weekends a month there one year. I'll stand behind 66 to 81 to 55 West. You can make pit stops in Moorfield & Petersburg. Anything North will put you right into bad weather. My patrol buds told me to always follow the lowest elevation til the last possible moment (55 West follows the "creek") to avoid the bad conditions. P.S. - why do you suppose they named it "Mt. Storm". I've actually met people that spent the night in their car STRANDED up there. Frostburg was named for as reason too!
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 10, 2001
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Rich:

I'm going to take your route on 21 December. If you are right, I owe you a beverage of your choice anytime at the Timberline Lodge.

John

Packyderm1
December 12, 2001
Member since 11/8/1999
36 posts
John,

I live in Chantilly and I grew up near Elkins and go back there to visit the family from time to time. So here's my take on the various rts.

As Rich said, I-66 to I-81 and then 55 is probably the best way to go, most of the time.

However if you are leaving during rush hour, or anytime after 2:30 on a Friday, I-66 can be a nightmare, it will take you about an hour to get from Rt. 28 to 234 at Manassas (about 12 miles), thats in addition to all the time it takes just to get from the beltway to Rt 50. If you can, the Toll Road to the Greenway, Rt 7 to Winchester that you mentioned is the best way to go if you are trying to get out of this area during any evening rush hour condition.

If you are on 50, I am a big fan of using Rt. 93. 93 between 50 and Scherr is about as straight as a 2-lane road in WV gets with the possible exception of the section of 93 after climb the mountain after Scherr. The section between Scherr and the turn-off towards Davis has a bunch of curves as you are climbing the mountain, but not nearly as severe as the ones you find if you stay on 50. Plus if you take 50 and backtrack on 42 to pick up 93 to Davis, you have to drive through an area that has active coal mines, not a problem if you don't mind a car covered in coal dust. If it is snowing, I would try to avoid the Mt. Storm area if you are not real comfortable with driving in snow, Mt. Storm routinely gets the worst of the snow storms passing through WV.

As far as corridor H goes, the section between Baker and Morefield will be open by this time next year, with some of areas within opening as they are completed. Work on several other areas before and after this area have already started or contracts have been awarded. Basically, using the Rt 55 way is going to get faster and easier each year.

Like you said, I'm not sure if the new road is a good idea with all they are tearing up to build it, but since they are building it anyway, it will make my trips a lot easier. I think your estimates are pretty fair, I think it will save me about a 1/2 hour when it is done. It will probably save an hour for the people in this area who are not used to WV roads.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 12, 2001
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Thanks. I'll try the 55 route except during rush hour. Also, thanks for the corridor H update. The opening of the Baker to Moorfield section should trim a few minutes off the trip when it opens next year. The corridor H should do wonders for WV skiing and tourism.
Jim
December 13, 2001
Member since 11/22/1999
317 posts
Hey Rich:

Good thing you weren't patrolling. Guys like you give patrollers a bad name. Its no wonder people consider patrollers nothing but a bunch of jack-booted thugs when they have people like you in their ranks.

Just because I enjoy listening to music while I ski doesn't mean that I am automatically a hazard on the slopes. Would you take the radios out of every car? Probably. Comparing skiing with headphones to talking on a cell phone in a car is a ludicrous analogy. Do you have accident statistics to support the hazard of skiing with headphones? I doubt it. And your holier-than-thou attitude about counseling parents of an injured skier are just some much fluff and conjecture. So you and Timberline can keep your authoritarian attitudes. My ski dollars go elsewhere.

[This message has been edited by Jim (edited 12-13-2001).]

myrto
December 13, 2001
Member since 10/4/2001
259 posts
Jim,

I understand your love of music, but from everything I've heard it is a big time no no to ski with headphones out west as well as here. It is against the law to drive with them and not a safe idea to ride a bike with them, so skiing should be no different.

Jim
December 13, 2001
Member since 11/22/1999
317 posts
Hey Myrto:

I appreciate our input. Guess I just disagree that skiing with headphones is inherently unsafe. With the volume my headphones are set, I can hear background noise well enough to ski safetly. I compare the level of hearing to being no worse than the wind noise I get from skiing or the reduced hearing others have from helmets. I know about the latter having tried a helmet for skiing last year.

As for the prohibitions, I haven't seen any outright rules against them out west or run into trouble with it. I ski in the Rockies every year - usually with my tunes and at times with patrollers. Even chatted with some of the patrollers at A-Basin last year in their shack with my headphones in plain sight. No problem with them. Never had a problem, except the one time at Timberline. But that's my personal experience and my earlier post about Timberline was my opinion based on that experience. I appreciate your response.

As for the legalities, you're right that it is often illegal to wear headphones while driving a car. However, I would compare my skiing with headphones to someone driving while listening to their radio/tape/CD player.

[This message has been edited by Jim (edited 12-13-2001).]

canaanman
December 8, 2002
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
john-They fixed up the old clunker? I knew that Silver Queen double had some faults (mainly after getting stuck on it 5 feet from the unloading platform and evacuated last year), but I think the triple needs a lot of work done to it. Good to hear that I won't have to have a panic attack on the double though.

Slow lifts on Saturday? If you can load/unload a lift just ride the double, the line goes a lot faster.

Btw... the guy running the double is great, and listens to AC/DC.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
December 9, 2002
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
The Silver Queen is actually Timberline's newest lift. However, it was purchased "used" so it may be longer into its life cycle than Thunderdraft. I love that lift. It's very close to my condo and rarely crowded due to its upslope position from the base lodge. The resort apparently replaced the reduction gear last year, so it works much better these days.

Anyway, Canaanman, don't worry about riding old lifts. Mad River still has an original single chair and nearbye Stowe has a double that is over 50 years old. If maintained properly, a lift can have a very long life indeed.

PS I enjoy the tunes from the cool dude who runs Silver Queen.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 12-09-2002).]

canaanman
February 1, 2003
Member since 03/5/2004
358 posts
Maybe next year Silver Queen will get a new Safety Gate at the top of the hill. Nothing like waiting in line for 20 minutes while the lift is stopped as they try to reattach the safety gate. I, as usual, suggested a generous amount of duct tape to be used to the guy working at the top. Sure, if maintained right, or with a lot of duct tape, they can easily go 50+ years in operation.
Arnold
February 22, 2003
Member since 02/22/2003
1 posts
I huv a bunch of questions to ask you and I van them ansad imediately. Can anyven confum ze conditions at timbaline. Ven i say conditions i mean cuwent conditions. Weatherman say rain, but i vanna know if it is snowing on ze hill. Conditions say packed powda - is zis affumative?

Thank you my friends.

'HASTA LA VISTA, BABY!'

PhysicsMan
February 23, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
I know Arhnahld, and you are nothing but unt schweinhunt imposter/poseur. Zis is Arhnahld:

[img]www.biglines.com/photo/pbpic6992.jpg[/img]

Ze true "Arhnahld" hangs out at powdermag.com and epicski.com and wouldn't dream of sluming around here.

Tom / PM

PS (in edit) - I guess UBB is not turned on.

[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 02-23-2003).]

Kahuna613
November 20, 2003
Member since 11/20/2003
56 posts
Can anyone give me an idea of how much of CV/Timberline is open around the week before Christmas? CV has ridiculously cheap packages during that period and I would really like to go. Its really not worth it though if only a few trails are open.
PhysicsMan
November 21, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
Perhaps you should consider participation in the Christmas wild bird count, or perhaps mountainbiking over Xmas. From what I hear, the long range forecast is not good for skiing around here.

Tom / PM

PS - As the post previous to yours was dated in Feb 2003, I will now say that with the latest information in hand, Arhnahld *definitely* wouldn't dream of sluming around here.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
November 21, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
Ok. We're all kind of pessimistic right now b/c of the weather, but in all seriousness, Timberline usually has at least 2 top to bottom trails open (Salamander and White Lightning) by 25 December. If we can get some cold weather, the improved snowmaking at Timberline will allow the resort to get more terrain open than in past seasons. Still, better early season bets are Snowshoe, Wisp, and 7 Springs. Snowshoe has always had much more terrain open early season than Timberline because of its superior snowmaking. That resort only needs about 9 cold days to get 100 percent open.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 11-21-2003).]

JohnL
November 21, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Tom,

You're forgetting that Arhnahld has acquired a new job since last February. Don't think he's too concerned about skiing anymore!

tromano
November 21, 2003
Member since 12/19/2002
998 posts
PM,

I am still optimistic. Its still novemebr 20th for crying out loud. Looking at the 10 day for T-line from [url=http://www.weather.com/outlook/recreation/ski/weather/tenday/304002]weather.com[/url] there are 4 days in the next 10 scheduled for sub 32F lows and 2 others where the wetbulb maybe low enought to crank the guns as well. So 6/10 may alow snow making. Additionally there doesn't seem to be a high likely hood of rain. For the near future it looks cooler and drier. And after 50F rainy for the past week things cant get any worse.

[This message has been edited by tromano (edited 11-21-2003).]

aschir01
November 21, 2003
Member since 11/21/2003
4 posts
I have a weekend planned for Timberline for Jan 22-24 (ski Fri night - Sun). After reading the posts here I just want to ask if I should ski Timberline or Canaan on that Sat? I gather that it is less crowded at Canaan that day, but almost everyone else in my group will ski Timberline on Sat. Also, is the Valley (T-line and Canaan) ski ticket for sale and if so, where? Thanks for your help...
Kahuna613
November 21, 2003
Member since 11/20/2003
56 posts
aschir-
I called about getting the ski the valley ticket a few days ago. It is available and you can get it from almost all of the lodging operators in the area (except CV Lodge I think). Its good everyday up til January I think, and then its only midweek. I really cant remember, but you can call the tourist bureau for that county and ask them (they run the program) and their number is 18007822775.
warren
November 22, 2003
Member since 07/31/2003
485 posts
The last I had checked, the ski the valley pass was only good mid-week. Canaan is generally less crowded but the terrain is easier. T-Line has some decent runs (Thunderdraft, Silverstreak?, The Drop, Off The Wall) if they're open. That seems to be the problem though. I went last year after epic snows and they weren't open!?

-Warren-

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
November 22, 2003
Member since 07/18/2001
1,914 posts
I've looked at the 10 day forecasts as well, and my past experience with the resort is that Timberline will not flip the switch on the guns until it is fairly certain that its harvest of white gold will not melt significantly during the day. Translation: the resort will not make snow until after 30 November at the very earliest. Only richer resorts like Snowshoe can afford to lay down inches and inches of snow only to see much of it melt in a thaw. That's why the best choice for early skiing in the Mid-Atlantic, for now, is 7 Springs, Snowshoe, and Wisp.

No one wants to see Timberline open early more than myself but the reality folks is that it is a privately owned ski mountain with limited financial resources. As result, it tends to be conservative when it comes to making snow.

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