Are the "glades" at Blue Knob a joke?
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(Anonymous)
September 26, 2003
I've heard that the new gladed slopes at Blue Knob aren't worth the trip. They are covered with rocks, stumps and brush regardless of how much natural snow has fallen at BK. Also, I've heard that many of the glades probably won't be skiable this year due to brush and sapling growth. Does anyone know much about the situation at Blue Knob these days? Aren't they in some sort of financial and environmental trouble???
JohnL
September 26, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
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[This message has been edited by JohnL (edited 10-14-2003).]

JohnL
September 26, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
nm

[This message has been edited by JohnL (edited 10-14-2003).]

(Anonymous)
September 26, 2003
John L. you're obviously one of those mature, macho individuals who thinks skiing amongst rocks,trees and stumps is somehow grown up. What are you, 21 years old. As you grow older, you grow wiser and you don't risk your health for a cheap thrill just to show how macho your are. And you still have not answered my question.
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JimK - DCSki Columnist
September 26, 2003
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,693 posts
JohnL, I hesitate to weigh-in because I think some folks are having fun here, but yes, I concur. The glades (and everything else) at BK are worth checking out by adventurous, advanced skiers/boarders when there has been some natural snow. Snowsmith, get thee to Steamboat or other areas famous for intermediate level glades with deep snow bases and sparsely sprinkled trees. It's like a natural form slalom skiing. After a few doses of that sort of thing BKs glades might not seem so outrageous. But like John says bring your old eqmt or use poor BKs rentals.
(Anonymous)
September 26, 2003
Snowsmith, as you probably know, BK doesn't have REAL glades, just raw logged areas that they are trying label glades. Heck, they didn't even bother to remove the piles of logging waste or the large stumps that remained. The formation of real glades involves leaving the large economically valuable trees in place while removing the underbrush and small trees. That way, the ground is free of obstacles (other than the large trees) and the upper canopy (providing plenty of summer shade) is left intact so that the glades don't become overgrown with brush. I recently took a look at the so-called Blue Knob glades, they are now so overgrown with brush and saplings (due to plenty of rain) that they aren't really skiable anymore. Also, the Stembogan bowl is overgrown. Furthermore, the main ski slopes haven't been properly maintained with seeding and erosion control measures such as water bars. There are major areas of erosion, which has created a real rock problem. Snowsmith, I think that you have a real agenda against environmentalism and responsible ski area management! The Sierra Club has taken a formal stand against some of the environmental problems and practices at Blue Knob. Keep in mind that part of BK ski area sets on State Park Land; land that was originally donated to PA from the US Park Service. Snowsmith, you're not in touch with reality because it is YOU who has the agenda!
(Anonymous)
September 26, 2003
Sorry Snowsmith, the previous post was in response to "John L", not you.
(Anonymous)
September 26, 2003
By the way, "John L", I guess you approve of the large bulldozed clearing located just above the tubing park (and just below the beginners slope) at Blue Knob. The owners of BK (who , incidentally, are from Northern VA) were suposed to build a new snowmaking lake there. They destroyed 12 acres of 100 to 120 year old, rare, altitude stunted oak trees, failed to build the lake, and have never reclaimed the land, even though nearly 5 years have passed. Take a look next time you're on the summit of BK. And, keep in mind that this destruction took place on State Park land and BK sets within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. I can certainly see why you want to defend the management and owners of Blue Knob!
Scott - DCSki Editor
September 26, 2003
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,131 posts
Ok, time for me to step in.

The DCSki Message Forum is a place to provide reasoned, respectful discussion about skiing in the Mid-Atlantic region. The vast majority of conversations are mature, thought-provoking, and engaging.

This is not one of those conversations.

I have some strict policies on DCSki: I expect contributors to respect one another's opinions and never to make personal attacks against others. Profanity and lewd comments are completely unacceptable -- this is a family site.

The DCSki Message Forum is not a place to bash ski resorts. It's a place to provide candid discussions about local skiing, but if your agenda is to bash a specific resort, this isn't the place to do that.

I have a great deal of respect for DCSki readers, and rarely put a stop to a conversation. But I'm going to exercise my editorial control now because I see little value coming from this conversation. Please do not continue to post on this thread, and let's try to keep conversations civil going forward. I hate to do it, but I will have to remove posts if this continues in the future.

- Scott (who hates being the bad guy)

(Anonymous)
September 27, 2003
I don't believe that Lower Route 66 and Shortway have snow making. Therefore, aren't they just as undependable and rocky as the glades? Also, isn't Extrovert rarely open due limited snow making or ice? It sounds like Blue Knob isn't worth the trip most of the time. Furthermore, aren't their snow reports usually inaccurate and untruthful?
(Anonymous)
September 27, 2003
Could someone explain to me why someone would wnat to risk injury and possible death skiing down a steep slope that is peppered with trees, stumps, rocks, etc. [deleted] Please explain what thrill you get out of this. I have been skiing for 30 years and have never had the desire to ski the glades. Perhaps it's for the young and foolish.

[This message has been edited by Scott (edited 09-26-2003).]

Otto
October 11, 2003
Member since 11/19/1999 🔗
176 posts
I have skied trees at Steamboat, Okemo, Pico etc. and dodged rocks, stumps and jumped off frozen waterfalls at Mad River Glen or the Bush. At its best, tree skiing is surreal, beautiful and thrilling. Great snow, total quiet, and an unparalleled combination of serenity mixed with the challenge of finding a path without wood in it. I have had great fun in the trees.

I have also snagged a root (I think) and rotated backward into a tree. I fractured three vertabrae and enjoyed a long up and downhill ride in a sled I will never, ever forget. I was very, very, lucky because I came within inches of becoming paralyzed from the waist down.

You pay your dime, you takes your chances.

If you have the skills, good health insurance, and enjoy the challenges of trees, gnarly terrain etc, have at it.

If you think this kind of skiing is foolish, that is your right. If you do this kind of skiing and disagree with those who think it is stupid, talk to me about what hitting a tree feels like. I have personal experience with both the magic and the pain of tree skiing. I wouldn't tell anybody who disagrees with it to grow up and I also wouldn't automatically characterize anybody who skis trees as a fool (unless they don't belong there.) Risk and adventure are part of skiing.

BTW, if you are going to hit a tree, go for a conifer. Hardwoods suck.

[This message has been edited by Otto (edited 10-11-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Otto (edited 10-11-2003).]

JohnL
October 12, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
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[This message has been edited by JohnL (edited 10-14-2003).]

Roger Z
October 13, 2003
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Ok, I have no clue what the environmental problems are/are not at Blue Knob. I have been suckered there before by bad snow reports and am suspicious of their conditions, but last winter there was plenty of snow and I had a chance to drop into the glades for the first time. On the whole, I've seen better glades. They are a bit cleared out and the trees that are left standing don't look to be the greatest... but to be fair, not many of the trees on Blue Knob look all that hot. My sense is the mountain has been logged none too recently (last 60 or 70 years?). Lots of rocks, yep... my skis are now officially rock skis and the local ski shop owner has turned my skis into his pet project, but that's the price you pay for glade skiing.

The magic is still there, though. Few people venture into the trees and there is a supreme joy in scouting out the runs, in the silence when you stop for a minute, in jumping off a rock and bunny hopping between trees that are less than six feet apart. The technical challenge and the ability to be close to nature when skiing (in good ways and bad-- running into trees is always a show stopper but it happens) is what brings people in. Yes it is much more fun out west because 10 and 12 foot snow bases *almost* guarantee you'll not get chunked on your skis, but even that is not unqualified.

The best glades I have seen in the south are no longer skiable. We WV skiers are hoping to do something about it. In the meantime, if you want to ski the glades at Blue Knob do bring your rock skis and enjoy! BTW-- it's not a glade run officially but D Trail is spectacular, one of the few truly double black runs in the south.

JohnL
October 14, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
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[This message has been edited by JohnL (edited 10-14-2003).]

gatkinso
October 14, 2003
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
Snowsmith - Skiing a glade can be a very fun and rewarding experience.

I won't deny the hazards of it: I have never known anyone to get hurt in the trees, but I came close once (actully did get hurt if you consider a mean scratch on my scalp from that close call). But then again I broke a bone out in the open on a seemingly innocent trail in Vermont. Like the other poster said, "...you take your chances..."

Some would say simply strapping a pair of skis on at all is a foolish endevour! (My wife immediately comes to mind - when "we" go skiing she stays by the fire with a glass of wine.)

Also, I dunno what you posted to raise the ire of the Admin, but maybe you need to calm down! Feel the love!

PS speaking of glades, I enjoy The Glades at Canaan - they aren't real glades, but they will give you a feel of glade skiing so try them out.

While on the subject of Canaan, has anyone ever skkied Prosperity (off of Dark Side)? I have never seen it open.


[This message has been edited by gatkinso (edited 10-14-2003).]

Roger Z
October 14, 2003
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
JohnL,

Uh-oh... I am not a member therefore I cannot delete or edit after posted. But what's up with The Trail Formerly Known as X??? It's on the map... no illegal poaching here. If you want some illegal poaching at BK, however, I've seen some lines and would be willing to discuss their feasibility with other rock skiers on another message board... we could call those runs "W", "Y", and "Z".

JohnL
October 14, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
nm

[This message has been edited by JohnL (edited 10-14-2003).]

Roger Z
October 14, 2003
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
It has been read... excellent point. The feeder trail rocks too. Both of them make you feel like you're up at MRG. Very, very sweet terrain there.
(Anonymous)
October 14, 2003
Thanks Gatkinso! You are right! My apologies to John L. and other skiers. Sometimes I speak before thinking. This is about outdoor fun and adventure. While I'm not into glades, I do like to ski fast and there is inherent risk in our sport. Thus I need to scrap my soap box and keep my comments in the spirit of this wonderful web site. Since I recently purchased a condo at Hidden Valley, I am fairly close to Blue Knob , so I am going to give it a try. I have not been there since 1975.
gatkinso
October 14, 2003
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
Seven Springs has some good tree skiing for the unadventurous as well. I have only been there twice, so I don't know the name - but there are a couple of woody patches that were open for skiing - with LOTS of room between trees and otherwise unchallenging terrain.

I like a fairly sparse glade everyonce in a while: fun, but fairly easy and minimal danger. Perhaps if my skill were greater I'd be more into it, but I have only been skiing for 5 years so I try to keep it under control.

(Anonymous)
October 25, 2003
In response to Roger Z comments about the "glades" at Blue Knob....he's correct, the trees in the glades are in bad shape. This is because the entire mountain was commercially logged for PROFIT (a heavy select-cut timber harvest without a timber management plan or erosion control measures). In a select cut logging operation (as occured at BK), the large, healthy economically valuable trees are removed, leaving only the less healthy smaller trees that aren't worth anything. On the other hand, it actually costs money to make REAL gladed ski slopes, the underbrush and smaller trees are removed while the large (economically valuable) trees are left in place. Prior to the "glade" formation, Blue Knob hadn't been logged for over 100 years. The timber was very valuable, that's why BK was logged, to make money, not to create glades. Calling the logged areas "glades" was just a way to explain the terrible environmental damage (there is currently an erosion problem on some of the gladed slopes) that took place at Blue Knob. The heavy rains of the past summer have taken their toll on the logged areas at BK. Take my word for it, even if there's lots of natural snow, few of the "glades" at BK will be skiable this ski season due to exposed stumps, rocks and brush.
JohnL
October 25, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
OK,

Steve V, Tree Skier, Snow Skier,

Quit yapping and propose a solution. Belly up to the bar. If you continue to do nothing but complain, you are part of the problem not part of the solution.

Roger Z
October 25, 2003
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Interesting comment Steve V. about the logging. One thing, though, that I forgot to raise in my original post is that the upper mountain glades (over on the intermediate side of the hill) are quite nice. Better snow cover, good trees, nice spacing. If Blue Knob really was logging the profitable timber, why did they log the steep slopes (and hence the more expensive slopes to log) and leave the easier access trees in place? Moreover, how do they get away with logging in PA without implementing erosion control? Additionally, how exactly did they log those trails without creating a system of logging roads and clearing debris such as stumps and large rocks out of the way?

These are curiosity questions-- not meant to put you on the defensive. They are having financial trouble, so the profit logging is plausible. But there are good glades on the mountain, so just doing a poor job on some of the trails is possible, too.

(Anonymous)
October 25, 2003
Roger Z, it is very easy and cheap to log steep slopes, it happens all of the time in Central PA. At Blue Knob just enough skid trails were cut to get the skidders (a special vehicle just for logging) reasonably close to the felled trees, the trees are limbed (leaving the logging waste) and the trunks of the trees are pulled down the mountain with very long cables that are on big spools on the skidder vehicles. At Blue Knob, gashes (which are now gullies) were created where large numbers of huge tree trunks were cabled down the mountain over and over again along the same skid trail. Once all of the timber is removed, responsible logging contractors go back and try to repair some of the damage, but this adds considerable cost. In my opinion, little was done at BK to repair the damage done by the logging, that is one of the reasons why few of the glades are skiable on a typical winter at BK. If the glades were in better shape they would be skiable more often as it would require less snow to adequately cover them.
(Anonymous)
October 25, 2003
BK should have spruced up the place years ago. With SPRUCE trees!! They shade,they cusion,they help with erosion & you cant beat the snow covered scenery.That was one of my dissapointments growing up sking with leafless sticks(hardwoods) In pa & va Thank god i discovered wv!! Hope you read this sugar mtn,nc
JohnL
October 25, 2003
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
See continuing discusion on

http://www.dcski.com/ubb/Forum5/HTML/000151.html

Thread title is also more appropriate for reasonable discussion.

tromano
November 13, 2003
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
123
tromano
November 13, 2003
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
I checked out the glades at the knob last year for the first time. There were very good conditions there in early to mid january. I went about 4 times. The glades on the more intermed terrain were open all 4 times. Especially in the steeper laurel run glades, There were a number of exposed rocks and tree parts and this required me to stop every 5-6 turns or so to plot my way through. None of the other glades were open except the wall glades which looked too difficult for me and didnt seem to be holding snow very well. Last season was my first time at BK and also my first time off piste skiing so I cannot compare it to much else.
(Anonymous)
January 4, 2004
If only Blue Knob wasn't run by a national (state?) park then that place would be rediculously awesome. The Glades are some of the steepest Glades in our area by far, i don't think seven springs has anythign that could match them, Timberlines got some good ones but they aren't that steep. I hate to say it but i wish Big Buisiness would step in and take it over because it has the most potential of any resort in the area. If they updated their snowmaking capabilities and groomed a little bt better and threw in a nice terrain park, that place could easily steal buisiness from 7 springs, hidden valley, whitetail and all the other eastern PA resorts.

To the admin, Im not trying to slander any resort at all, but merely speaking the truth as i have skied practically everywhere in the US. I was an Amatuer Freeskier living in Mammoth last year with my home area bieng here and having skied all these places i don't feel what I'm saying is slandering. Im just telling it how it is. Im sorry if you don't like my brutal honesty

tromano
January 5, 2004
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
unknown, I think most people will agree with you. its not slander to speak your mind. Most people here agree that BK has huge potential.
(Anonymous)
January 5, 2004
Unknown, I couldn't agree with you more! However, fixing the glades at Blue Knob wouldn't be an easy task. In effect, you would be attempting to convert raw, logged areas into gladed ski slopes. Such a task would be very expensive, and perhaps, only partially successful. First of all, the many piles of logging waste would need to be removed. Second, all of the large stumps would have to be removed by stump grinding machines. And, in some areas, the erosion damage would need to be fixed as well as the implementation of erosion prevention measures. Even IF ALL of the aforementioned were accomplished, there would still be the problems created by the removal of the upper canopy by the logging operation, which CAN'T be fixed. Since the logging operation at Blue Knob removed the large, economically valuable trees, the upper canopy was removed in the process. As a result, the sun now shines into the glades, which has created an explosion in the growth of brush and saplings. To keep the glades skiable, the brush and saplings would have to be cleaned out each Fall. And, many of the trees that were left standing after the logging are now dying or have been blown down by the high winds that are common at BK. The sad part about the logging at BK is that the tree skiing was superb BEFORE the logging. The logging greatly dimished the quality of the tree skiing, and, in some cases (like the "Ditch Glade"), the tree skiing was destroyed completely.
(Anonymous)
January 31, 2004
Just skied at the Knob yesterday. Yes, don't believe the ski reports. Not all was open as reported. Extrovert, Lower 66 and Lower High Hopes were in fine shape. A few people ventured past the ropes into the steeper glades on the left of the mountain but there appeard to be lots of saplings and sticks and those now famous rocks. The moderate glades on the right side and Ditch Glades were in fair condition. Stemboggen was a mess but has been since they logged a few years back. The cruisers were in nice shape but Deer Pass was a bit icy but not as bad as the entrance road. Stick with the Park road entrance. Not nearly as steep and better maintained even with the snow drifts. I managed to take my yearly Blue Know hunk out of the bottom of my skis. Certainly will be back next year if they open.
(Anonymous)
January 31, 2004
T, the false BK snow reports and the exposed rocks and debris are very typical at Blue Knob and, in fact, have now become legendary. Keep in mind that the current conditions at BK are about as good as things are going to get with nearly 3 feet of natural snow and a month of ideal snowmaking weather. It's unlikely that the conditions a BK are going to get much better than they are now. The owners aren't likely to make any additional significant amounts of snow. And, once the base starts to melt a bit, the glades will quickly close and plenty of rocks will start to show up on the main trails. Blue Knob management and ownership bet that they could remove all of the valuable timber from the mountain in the most profitable and destructive manner possible and, at the same time, improve and expand the skiing. They guessed wrong! The logging has actually hurt the quality of the skiing, not to mention the terrible damage that has been done to the environment, which falls within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
(Anonymous)
February 1, 2004
Went to BK yesterday the conditions in my opinion were great. Probably the best they will be all year. Everything was open, and I was able to find pow stashes here and there. Stembogen, my favorite run at BK was in excellent shape, the bowl reminded me of the backside at Snowbird for some reason! It's nice to know that we have a gem like BK within 2.5 hours from DC!! Oh and Muellers pub was a blast after our day on the slopes, you just cant beat a live band after a hard day of boarding.
(Anonymous)
February 1, 2004
Snow_Bored, just curious, can I presume that, during your recent visit, you DID NOT find a significant amout of rocks and/or debris on the slopes and/or glades at BK? As far as making a comparison between the back side of Snowbird and Stembogan, I've skied Snowbird extensively over the past 25 years and I simply don't see any similarities with Stembogan, but that's just my perspective.
(Anonymous)
February 1, 2004
SteveV, obviously the backside of Snowbird does not resemble Stembogen bowl, one; because there aren't any trees on the backside of Snowbird and two; much longer vert! thats why I added the "for some reason" clause in my last statement. I guess I was just feeling nostalgic at the time....any how, yes there was some debris in the East Wall Glades (I think that's what they are called), but it was easily maneuverable...Cmon take it for what it is!!!
(Anonymous)
February 1, 2004
Snow_Bored, OK I understand, but I'm still somewhat curious. Did you notice many rocks on the trails of BK?
(Anonymous)
February 1, 2004
No I didn't notice alot of rocks, I'm very carefull what I take my snowboard on and I felt very confident that I wouldn't ruin it boarding the glades. If they get some descent snow fall this week I will definitely go back...
(Anonymous)
February 3, 2004
It's a well known fact to Blue Knob locals that the snow-cover on the glades is never a sure thing, even if the trail is marked open. This doesn't mean you should avoid skiing/snowboarding the glades, but be prepared. Just think of the protruding rocks and weeds as fun obstacles making the run even more fun!
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