MLK Weekend Crowds
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JohnL
January 21, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
So how bad were they? Any day of the three better than the others? Anyone ski Blue Knob, Laurel Mtn. or Blue Mtn. this past weekend?

I normally take the holiday weekends off to avoid the crowds. Hopefully the areas made a lot of money this past weekend to support the lack of crowds on the days I go skiing.

PhysicsMan
January 21, 2003
Member since 11/20/2001
218 posts
Liberty had pretty long lines. Mid-afternoon frontside lift line waits were:

20 min on the never-ever quad
10-15 min on the novice double
10-20 min on the quad up to the top
1-5 min on the terrain park J-bar

As you might expect, by mid-evening the lines were down to maybe half the above times.

We knew what to expect, but really went just to socialize (and help out) a never-ever family, so we had no problems with the delays. However, if skiing "for real" I probably would have been mildly annoyed.

We witnessed some utterly hillarious incidents involving newbies - these incidents slowed things down, but they also produced some great laughs. If someone had a video cam, they could have produced great clips for "America's funniest skiing videos":

1) 6 pre-teen boys try to simultaneously load the never-ever quad - two kids get actually get seated (at opposite ends of the chair), then the remaining 4 kids try valiently to sit in the laps of the two seated kids. The liftie had the lift stopped, and was almost peeing in his pants doubled over with laughter. He commented to me that he didn't even know where to start to untangle the mess.

2) A beautiful oriental woman in a long woolen dress coat gets up to the loading line, then amazingly, she actually starts to turn herself and her skis around, and attempts to load while facing the chair by kneeling on it.

3) An entire family of newbies (mom, dad, 2 kids) trying to get their skis & poles together to hand to the ski check, but the equipment just isn't cooperating and is pointed in every direction imaginable.

4) Standing in the outside lane of one of the corrals, I am suddenly (but very softly) embraced from behind in a bear hug by a woman who has slid down the 1 degree grade into me. It could have been worse - it could have been a man.

5) One of the most overweight skiing newbies I have ever seen (female, maybe 5'3", maybe 300 lbs) giving it the old college try. Gotta give her points for trying. She was eventually recruited by mtn. management to groom the tubing runs.

A good time was had by all - it was worth going. (Note to self: Occasionally spend time on never-ever lifts ).

Tom / PM

[This message has been edited by PhysicsMan (edited 01-21-2003).]

snowcone
January 21, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
Laurel Mountain

We decided to go farther afield on Sunday knowing that Liberty et.al., would be mob scenes. We got to Breezewood, PA and did the pick-a-number from 1 to 4; Laurel Mountain won. We have never skied Laurel before so it was a pleasant surprise to see such a small crowd. There were freshies on most runs with the exception of Lower Wildcat, which was more sheet ice than anything else. The lift lines were non-existent which was great, but faster lifts would sure be nice. The temperature never got above 10 during the entire time we were there. And that, coupled with 20-30 mph winds, surely made the wind-chill a factor or two below zero, limiting the amount of skiing we actually did to about 4 hours.
Apparently, they had dog sled races on Sunday because we could hear the dogs. The only problem was they were held on the far side of the parking lot and the wind chill made it so hellish we didn't want to waste heat/energy getting across that open expanse to watch the dogs.
I have one complaint for Laurel Mountain: someone ought to get out there and mark the trails better. Very, very confusing for a 1st time visitor and could land a beginner in a lot of trouble.
Other than that, it was an easy ski, a very laid back, non-pretentious place.

finsoutoc
January 21, 2003
Member since 09/30/2003
172 posts
Roundtop

Not too bad. Snow was great but the waits werent all that long. maybe 5 mins at most. had the normal princeton ski mob on sat morning but sun wasnt bad at all esp in the am. monday was pretty mellow. had lots of newbies in the pipe that led to lots of laughs and some tension (loud mouth punks who thought they knew how to ride). had the first fairly major injury in the pipe this year. a ski patroller got too big and caught his ski on the lip and broke his arm on the fall back into the flat bottom. the walls are 12 feet so that was a long fall to nice clear ice. if it was the typical snow nazi patroller it would have been funny, but this guy was one of the good guys who didn't get on the power trip. the pipe issues (crowding, newbies, people who don't know the rules) have prompted RT to start a pipe crew on thursday to keep order in the pipe made up of local riders so things should improve there. if you could deal with the cold, RT was the call.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
January 21, 2003
Member since 01/14/2004
2,645 posts
I was at Blue Knob on Sunday 1/19. Pretty cold, like Snowcone comments below on Laurel, but not so windy. Large crowd, but not obscene, 10 min lift lines max. Provided First Hand Report to DCSki today, you may be able to read it soon. I too was doing a newbie thing like Tom/PM, so didn't get to fully explore the tougher stuff at BK on Sunday, but it was open.

Separate issue: I've been having problems with my digital camera freezing up on cold ski days (<25 degs F) this season, even with fresh batteries. I got a couple shots at BK on Sunday, but only in the first few minutes I was on the slopes. Wasn't able to get any of the lower mountain like I had hoped. I guess I'm going to have to forget the fanny pack and keep it inside all my clothing closer to my body? But that isn't real fun to get at when the temps are low and wind is howling. Anybody have any further suggestions? I hope to go to Whitetail tomorrow and will give it the "skin" test.
Thanks, Jim K.

JohnL
January 21, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Snowcone,

Did Lower Wildcat have bumps/terrain features or was it a groomed sheet of ice?

snowcone
January 21, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
For JohnL

Skier's right on Lower Wildcat looked to be deep piles of snow and we were warned to stay to the left. My buddy tried to ski the centerline as a local directed but gave up 1\2 way down because it was a solid sheet of ice for the last few hundred feet. I took the blues down so I can't give you first hand on if there were bumps. Suffice it to say Bob (aforementioned buddy) was very unhappy because some loose rocks on the slope left nasty gouges on his new T50 Five Stars. And very grumpy because putting his skis in for repair preclude skiing this coming weekend.

BTW .. how do you groom a sheet of ice?

JohnL
January 21, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000
3,509 posts
Lower Wildcat would be the only reason I'd drive past Blue Knob (and Extrovert) to Laurel Mountain. I was worried that it would be steep but with no terrain variation, compared with Extrovert which normally has tons of rolls and bumps. Sounds like Lower Wildcat is not uninteresting. Based on your report, I'm glad I'm still using rock skis this year.

I guess what I meant but a groomed sheet of ice is when a trail is groomed and then it immediately freezes. It's like an ice skating rink turned sideways. Sick as I am, I'd rather ski frozen bumps than an ice skating rink. At least you use the back side of the bumps.

When people tell me to avoid the right section of a trail, instead of going to the left, I always seem to head right ...

kennedy
January 22, 2003
Member since 12/8/2001
792 posts
went to Whitetail Saturday morning. Got on the Whitetail Express and followed tw other people over to Exhibition. They had blown snow and received some natural on it but they didnt groom it in, they just let it accumulate. We took first tracks and it was nothing short of awesome. Snowshoe is on for this weekend and I cannot wait. Reserved a lesson for Saturday for the terrain park and pipe.
ski_guy_59
January 22, 2003
Member since 11/9/2001
221 posts
Thanks for the laughs! I remember my days as I newbie...the lifts were a bit nicer to me though!
snowcone
January 22, 2003
Member since 09/27/2002
589 posts
JohnL

We saw several people come to grief on the right side; snow was very deep and sloppy. I think the description "ice skating rink turned sideways" is a pretty accurate description of the run. Still these things change from day to day and what may be crappy skiing one day becomes to-die-over skiing the next.

All I can say is give Wildcat a try and let us know.

(Anonymous)
January 24, 2003
How do the lines on ordinary weekends compare with the lines on MLK and other holiday weekends? For example, at places like Liberty, Whitetail, Roundtop.

Also, how do these three places compare? For someone like me who is a beginner-intermediate skier (can do most blue squares, but with some occasional trouble).

(Anonymous)
January 24, 2003
jaydreb: the three you mentioned are equivalent in most ways imho. they all get about 50% busier on holiday weekends. if you want to avoid crowds and you're a beginner-intermediate, try bryce.
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