Blue Knob conditions
February 21, 2002
Spent this past weekend at the Knob and once again was not disappointed. Blue Knob was *crowded* which meant once in a while you had to wait in line for a minute or two. I got in the last two hours Friday night and conditions were suprisingly good. The lower mountain was closed but, as those of you who have been there know; the Blues have teeth at the knob and there were no lines at all.
It snowed all day and night Saturday and they made snow for most of the day as well. So you can imagine what first tracks were like on Sunday when extrovert opened for the season with 6 inches of Fresh on top. Amazing conditions and almost had the moutnain to ourselves for the first 1 1/2 hours.
I have read some disparaging comments about Blue Knob on this site recently and to those who don't like it I say : you're right. Stay way , why would you ever want to go there
Both Upper and Lower Extrovert just opened for the season? I thought the Knob could make snow on Extrovert. Are they having snow making restrictions again due to environmental/water supply concerns?
I don't quite share your enthusiasm about the BK blues; however, the blacks and double blacks (when there is enough snow) are definitely more Vermont-like than any in the mid-Atlantic.
Upper and lower extro may have been open before the early Jan thaw but I don't think so. They broke a pipe on the lower mountain and had some water issues early I believe. Stembogen is still not open although they were making snow like crazy last week when the conditions were good. I was prety disappoitned about the lower mountain not beong open but they have not had a lot of natural this year and those trails depend pretty heavily on them. This thaw is probably going to hurt the lower mnt even more. so who knows..
Still my favorite "close" mnt, which is what I was comparing the blues to, and a lot better than sitting home.
as for the blues
One natural snow trail I really like at the Knob is Lower Route 66 (right under the chair). It's narrow (15-20 feet across?) and it skis even narrower since it has chairlift poles and bare spots in the middle. It's the only Mid-Atlantic trail that I can think of where you have only one or two lines down the trail and you have to stay on your line. Fortunately, it's not that steep.
The glades on the lower mountain have some awesome terrain but they never seem to have enough cover for skiers. A couple of years ago during/after a two day storm that dropped at least two feet of snow, I skied the glades and needed three base welds. Despite tons of snow, there were rocks everywhere under the surface. In some sections, it would have been difficult to walk down without stepping on rocks. Anyone else have the same experience with the black and double black glades at the Knob?
If the Knob received just a little more snow ...
I've taken those rock glades for a spin before. I love Blue Knob. Which is part of the reason I'm not going there this year.
Last year with all the snow, everything was open and in decent shape. Sure there were ice patches (this is the Mid-Atlantic), but there were some great spots in the glades and down extrovert (which is more like out west than stowe).
On my last ski day last year, everything was open except the glades near stembogen. I couldn't resist and I ducked the tape. The only place it really mattered was at the cliffs. And that really mattered.
Hopefully they will get dumped on so I can go back this year. If not, I'll have to wait because I don't want to ruin the memories I have of last year.
Lets get a few things straight about Blue Knob. First of all they don't have real glades there. About 3 years ago the owners had all of the valuable timber cut down in the most destructive manner possible; they didn't have a timber management plan and the logging contractor whom they used has one of the worst environmental reputations in PA. Real glades are formed when only the small trees and brush are carefully removed; at Blue Knob the large trees were removed leaving large stumps, skid trails, and piles of logging waste. Also, nearly 3 years ago, the current owners of BK cleared and bulldozed a large area just below the beginners slope (and on State Park land) to ostensibly create a lake for making snow. The lake was never created and the area remains a bulldozed mess. The old growth, altitude stunted, oaks can never be replaced and worse yet, this land was originally donated from the US Park Service to PA. The logging destruction also continued down the valley below the ski lift loading points where a sensitive watershed was destroyed (keep in mind that BK falls within the Chesapeake Bay watershed). Also, it is believed that the owners of BK logged a massive area that they didn't even own. Keep in mind that several environmental and citizen groups begged the owners of BK to stop the destruction AS it was occurring, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. It's up to the individual, but I am hesitant to ski at an area that is believed to be (at least in some circles) one of the most environmentally destructive ski resorts in North America!
The patrons of Blue Knob have had a love-hate relationship with the place since the '60's. Great mountain, but skiing potential has never been maximized. Too bad about logging situation. The impoverished area that BK seems to be located in may contribute to exploitive behavior.
Blue Knob is located over the Allegheny Front(160 inches of snow a year) and therefore is not in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Chip, you're totally wrong, BK sets to the East of the Allegheny front and is located within the Susquehanna River basin watershed. And, of course, the Susquehanna river flows into the Chesapeake Bay. So, indeed Blue Knob falls within the Chesapeake Bay watershed! Also, BK receives only 100 inches of snow per year (average). As far BK being a PA State Park concessionaire, indeed it is. Specifically, the top portion of the mountain is owned by the Commonwealth of PA and is leased to the ski area. I might add that this land was originally donated to PA from the US Park Service for the principal purpose of preservation. The Tom Ridge administration allowed the current concessionaire to devastate most of the State owned land on the North side of the mountain. Now there is very little wind block and it is harder than ever to make (and keep) snow on the North (ski slope) side of BK. The destruction for the lake (near the summit) was approved by the Ridge administration WITHOUT the following: soil porosity tests, an environmental impact study, knowing where the water for the lake would come from, drawings and specifications, and knowing what the lake would cost. Despite letters to the Ridge administration and the governor himself, no answers were forth coming. There was a deadline of Oct. 99 for the completion of the lake, but the Commonwealth of PA backed off and did not enforce the deadline because they were afraid that the ski area might close. Today the ski area is run on a shoe string, the so-called glades are a dangerous joke! The ski slopes often have brown snow that contains rocks. The terrain park is a joke and almost never open. The tubing park is also a joke as it is too flat. Unfortunately, BK is a very sad example of how NOT to run a ski area and how, due to the greed of the out-of-state owners, a precious natural resource (BK mountain) was severely destroyed by a for profit logging operation. Because the mountain was donated to PA from the US Park Service, the Commonwealth of PA, together with the owners of the ski area, betrayed every taxpayer in the country when they allowed all the needless environmental destruction.
I was under the impression that Blue Knob did'nt own any of the land that the actual Ski area is on, but was a concenssionair ofor thed state. If this is not the case then you make some valid points. COuld you provide some more detail?
Anybody go to Blue Knob over the weekend? I am planningon going up this Friday ( 2/22) and was wondering what the conditions were really like?
The conditions at Blue Knob should be somewhat limited and VERY ROCKY during the weekend of Feb. 23-24. It is raining there right now, but it is going to get colder by the weekend and the slush should harden to ice. I would suggest that you bring your rock skis. Not only are the bogus "glades" covered with rocks (when they are open, which is rare) the main trails have been littered with rocks most of this season.