Snowshoe vs Timberline/Canann Valley?
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(Anonymous)
January 21, 2004
I'm planning a family trip for a week to Snowshoe or TL/CV in Feb. We've never been to either one and I'd love to hear any advice on which you prefer. Mom and Dad are beginners, kids much more advanced...THX
canaanman
January 21, 2004
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
358 posts
Personally, I'd recommend the Canaan Valley area. Timberline has excellent steeps in February (Off-The-Wall, The Drop, under the lifts), and some great intermediate terrain (Dew Drop, Almost Heaven). Plus, since you're going for a whole week, you could get a few days over at Canaan (or get a Ski The Valley ticket), where there are the Meadows to play in, a terrain park, and some wider runs than Timberline.

And if you really get bored, go over to Whitegrass for a day. It's a very pleasant area.

ndskier
January 21, 2004
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
56 posts
No disrespect to Canaanman, but Snowshoe it the better resort, plain and simple. This is my first post but i have been reading these while away at school and this is the first time i felt ready to chime in. Snowshoe has more terrain, and Cupp and Shays are just better runs than the Drop and Timberline's other steeps, plus your GUARANTEED that they will be open for your Vacation in February, with Timberline, you never know. Midweek skiing at Snowshoe as well as Timberline is absolutely crowd free, so that shouldn't be a factor in your decision. I think that Snowshoe takes the Cake in Scenery (the 11000 acre resort is engulfed in National Forest), Terrain Variety and numbers, It has 2 terrain parks, both of which blow away anything in the canaan valley area, night skiing every day of the week (timberline and canaan are usually just weekends), tons of lodging and dining options, great family activities like Split Rock Pools for after hours (those hot tubs are key after a long day), and FAR FAR better lifts. Cupp Run, when it is freshly groomed and you are the first one down it in the morning, is the most fun Run in West Virginia, no crowds, just high speed cruising through several interesting turns, On a good Day Cupp is a better groomer than any groomed run i've done out west at Snowbird, Steamboat, Big Sky, or Park City. If you choose Canaan you'll still have a great time, the ski the valley ticket is a great option, but i've gotta stick up for my mountain. Either way, have a great vacation.
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 21, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,923 posts
I own a place at Timberline and am a season pass holder so I must be biased...

Here's my take.

Snowshoe

Positives

1. Better snowmaking.
2. Better uphill capacity by a long stretch (2 high speed quads vs. some slowest lifts I've ever been on)
3. Much more convenient restaurants, shops, ski stores.
4. Better grooming
5. Better night skiing
6. Better terrain parks
7. More numerous trails
8. More skiable acreage by a longshot.
9. Excellent expert terrain.
10. Convenient accomodations if you pay the bucks and stay at the top of the mountain.

Negatives

1. Can be crowded on weekends.
2. With the exception of the the expert terrain on Western Territory, the trails are shorter and cover less vertical than Timberline's slopes.
3. More expensive.

Timberline/CV

Positives:

1. Beautiful, pristine area (National Wilderness, National Wildlife Refuge, National Forest, 2 State Parks).
2. Long trails, including one of the longest beginner runs in the region.
3. Great intermediate and lower expert terrain.
4. Better Nordic terrain--White Grass.
5. Some truly gnarly expert and off-piste terrain.
6. Convenient accomodations if you pay the bucks and stay in a condo or house at the mountain.
7. It only gets crowded on long weekend saturdays. It's empty most other weekends.

Negatives:

1. Lackluster snowmaking--especially at CV. Timberline is getting better but it still takes them ages to open terrain. Snowshoe's capacity blows Timberline/CV away. Also, Snowshoe can recover from a warm spell much quicker.
2. Horrible, slow lifts. Sadly, getting stuck on Silver Queen has become a regular feature of my Timberline experience.
3. Restaurants are not close to the mountain.

BOTTOM LINE: SNOWSHOE! For me, lifts and snowmaking are the KEY to a good ski vacation in this region--everything else is secondary. What good is vertical and great
terrain if you can't ski it? Until Timberline/CV improves both snowmaking and uphill capacity, the area will not compare to Snowshoe or 7 Springs. It's apples and oranges. Sorry but this is the truth.

The only reason to choose Timberline over Snowshoe is if you are an out of bounds type like Canaanman in search of real challenge. In deference to Canaanman, Timberline DOES DELIVER in that area (Off The Wall, TREES, Cherry Glades). You won't get your ticket clipped for ducking under the ropes at Timberline. It's very laid back.

Another secret to Timberline/CV's popularity is the lack of crowds on most weekends--especially early in the season.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-21-2004).]

DCSki Sponsor: Canaan Valley Resort
dmh
January 21, 2004
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
Let me give you the none ski profile for Timberline/Canaan Valley. Haven't been to Snowshoe for many years so I really can't speak to that. I will fully disclose my bias--I own a house in the Valley and absolute love the place, all four seasons.

Canaan Valley offers its own very unique charms. First, the character of the valley is very, very laid back, rustic, undeveloped. Once off the mountain you will find an area that has not been largely preserved, with most of the land either in national forest, state parks, or Nature Conserancy tracts. You get a real sense of being in nature, not merely observing. The wildlife is abundant and extends beyond the nuisance deer to turkey, fox, bear, eagles, hawks, and other creatures.

The nearest fast food resturant is 25 miles away, the businesses are all locally owned and unique, and there is a noticable absence of hustle and bustle. The arts and crafts you find at Canaan Traders, the Art Company in Davis, and Mountain Made in Thomas are some of the best available anywhere.

White Grass has a very homey yet sophisticated resturant/cafe. Davis offers very good pizza, etc. at Sirianni's and tasty beer at the Blackwater Brewery, which also has very good onion rings. The Golden Anchor is good if a bit overpriced; the same goes for the resturant at Deerfield. The real gem is the Purple Fiddle in nearby Thomas, very congenial with world class blue grass, mountain, and unclassifiable eclectic music and Guiness on tap.

Off mountain recreation includes ice skating at Canaan Valley State Park, a really fun sled hill at Blackwater Falls State Park, snowshoeing at both, and if you jump the barrier, the frozen Blackwater Falls is spectacular. If you are not wedded to staying mountainside, you can find really reasonable rentals on very nice houses throughout the Valley.

I think the skiing is fine at Timberline and Canaan, the nordic at White Grass some of the best around, and if you are really ambitious you can cross county the 15 mile Loop Road from Canaan Heights to Blackwater Falls SP. The entire Canaan Valley experience, while not for everyone, is really great if you are not looking for an overly produced apre ski experience.

ndskier
January 21, 2004
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
56 posts
One other thing you could try:

Ski/Stay 2 nights 2 days at snowshoe for just 99 bucks per person. Best Deal around

Then, head the hour and 40 minutes or so North up to TLine and ski a couple days there and decide for yourself which one is best.

myrto
January 21, 2004
Member since 10/4/2001 🔗
259 posts
The Guiness on tap gets my vote hands down
(Anonymous)
January 22, 2004
nobody mentioned the 4 hours of extra drive time to get to the shoe...doesn't that count?
johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 22, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,923 posts
Andy:

It all depends on where you are driving from. From DC, it's 1.5-2 hours longer.

jonjon
January 22, 2004
Member since 04/2/2004 🔗
70 posts
Speaking of beer -- for those of you who frequent CV -- the Mountain View Cafe which recently moved and is now across the street from Mutley's in Davis, is quaint, has good food, and best of all, 90 cent drafts -- I highly recommend it!
dmh
January 22, 2004
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
127 posts
And the Mountain View breakfast skillet is good and enough to feed a small army. Quite a bargain when coupled with the 90 cent beer.
myrto
January 22, 2004
Member since 10/4/2001 🔗
259 posts
If you want the best beer bargains in the valley I think it would be a tie between Purple Fiddle Thursday nite $1.50 Guiness pints and the Sampler at the Blackwater Brewing Company where they 6 different samples (in 10 oz. glasses) (that's what I call a sample!)for like $4.
Combine that with .20 cent wings om Wednedays and you've got yourself a genuine WV "Almost Heaven" experience
warren
January 22, 2004
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
For me, it's Snowshoe all the way. Although they can be busy on the weekends (you just have to go to the Western Territory to get away from the lines), the 'Shoe' is a much more consistent trip. They have most if not all of their trails open early and keep them open the whole season. After a warm spell, they crank up the snow guns (250+ at times) until they are back in mid-season form. There are good services within walking distance on the mountain-top. Our vacations have been consistently good there. On the other hand, I've been to CV and T-Line recently only to find VERY limited terrain open and in some cases less than was claimed on the Trail reports. Both seem to have no real interest in getting fully opened. We are in mid-season and still neither T-Line nor CV are fully opened! Anyway, it's a shame since there COULD be really good skiing. For me, I'll continue to go where I can be relatively sure that I'll have lots of terrain open with good quality conditions ... Snowshoe.

-Warren-

canaanman
January 22, 2004
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
358 posts
Ahem, if I may speak in Timberline's defense...

Last season they had EVERYTHING open from Christmas to mid-March... well, there was a week the Drop wasn't open, but they were making tons of snow on it... so it was still skiable .

Last season was the AVERAGE Mid-Atlantic winter... we've just had a few crappy ones over the past several years.


Also, watch your manners when posting on here... appearantly the employees at Timberline think all of you are a bunch of rich snobs. No joke.

(Anonymous)
January 22, 2004
2+2 =4 you have to come back from SS johnf.I also think that there are some rich snobs(smart too)here but i'm just jeolous!I talked to T-line also & they thought dc ski is full of whiners.they said the place is rocking & that people keep coming back.I told them that they were blessed to be in canaan valley with all M-natures bonuses!(the reason for a lot of comebacks)I said that if they had 1 fast dependable lift my neg comments would stop.You know how some people stay with someone even though they are abused,because they love that someone?I have had too many GREAT times at timberline to give up yet.I think i need counseling!!
ndskier
January 22, 2004
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
56 posts
Can't all the SS and timberline people just get along? I am a self proclaimed snowshoe man, but i have had a fantastic time at T-line every time i've skied it. Its just i have a more fantastic time at snowshoe, where i get 2-3 times as many runs in per any given day. 5 minutes of lift ride for 1500 ft. of vertical ain't bad folks, or just spin laps on the ballhooter lift, i got 10 runs in just one hour once on that. I have never waited more than 5 minutes for the ballhooter lift, its all about picking the right days and hitting that lift at the right time of the day. Snowshoe's day lift tickets are more expensive, but it's because you get to ski MORE! They put together very competitive midweek packages as well, esp. if you don't stay in there new "mega condos".

This forum started with trying to give some advice to steve here, and we've gone everywhere from rich snobs to guiness on tap. By the way it sounds this family is not necessarily interested in what is the steepest trail in WV or in what kind of daring out of bounds adventures canaanman could line up for them (however i would like to find out more about this backcountry skiing in the valley). Snowshoe is the better fit for steve because it has EXPANSIVE beginner terrain with the powderidge and powder monkey lifts (the northern tract is great for learning because all runs are long greens and you won't have advanced skiers zipping by you and between you)as well as the Silver Creek area, and the kids will have plenty of challenge on the other areas of the mountain. Last year was a fantastic year for mid atlantic skiing...Snowshoe was 4 FEET above average in snowfall, this year is obviously not quite as good, and Timberline simply cannot match Snowshoe's resources in the snowmaking department. Intrawest can bail snowshoe out of any thaw that might strike between now and Steve's vacation, and everything WILL be open.

johnfmh - DCSki Columnist
January 22, 2004
Member since 07/18/2001 🔗
1,923 posts
Andy:

You obviously have not been stuck on Silver Queen as many times as I have this year.

According to a source at top of Timberline's food chain, the break even point for Timberline is 100,000 skier visits. Last year, the resort did 82,000.

In short, the place may be rocking but it's certainly not rocking down the house. If Timberline can only do 82,000 visits in an epic winter like last year and 7 Springs and Snowshoe can do 5.48 times that business, something must be rotten in Denmark.

I like Denmark, but us Norwegians are ready for a little independence.

In all seriousness, my concern is for the people who own property on the mountain and desperately need rental income to meet their expenses and assesments. Several people in my own development had to sell out last year because rental income did not defer enough of their expenses to keep going. The Timberline management has a moral obligation to make the capital improvements necessary to retain customers. Otherwise, selling $350,000 lots is nothing but a ponzi scheme.

[This message has been edited by johnfmh (edited 01-22-2004).]

tromano
January 22, 2004
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
I think Steve Smith would have a great time at either place. It just depends on the budget and what he's interested in. TL/CV is getting back to nature. SS is going to a resort community. IT all depends what you want to do. I personally think that TLine/CV would make a more interesting trip because I am a hippie at heart, at least when I'm on vacation, but thats just me. I think it the best idea was to do both, if there is time.

[This message has been edited by tromano (edited 01-22-2004).]

tommo
January 22, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
303 posts
I wanted to stay out of this but I just can't help myself....

I like tromono/ndskier's idea of visiting both. Snowshoe has excellent facilities and good skiing, but after two or three days pretty much anyone is going to be bored with the place. Combined with the general remoteness of the place, many of us would be ready to see somewhere else. At that point, heading up to Canaan to the State Parks, downhill at TL or CV, and XC at Whitegrass would be outstanding.

On a somewhat related note, I have only recently begun posting here but have been reading DCSki for a couple years. The tone is almost always positive, and I think we should endeavour to keep it that way. In general, we should not bash any of the resorts in the area - they are all small, somewhat tenuous operations that are trying to survive.

On the other hand, I resent that I would be considered a "rich snob." I spent many years tent camping either at CV State Park or on the Loop road while skiing at CV and, in later years, TL. My preferred "vacation" is on the seat of a bicycle, my XC skiis that I use regularly are 25 years old, and the BEST thing about the "Deer Valleys" are that all the Beautiful People go there and leave the other areas less crowded for our enjoyment. That said, what I am after when it comes to skiing is quality and VALUE. So, when I am paying $45 to $49 for a lift ticket (and another $130 or so for my family), I want (expect?) the slopes to be open and the lifts to run. That's not being a rich snob or whining, that's wanting a reasonable value for my limited bucks.

As so many others have stated, Canaan Valley is a very special place. And Timberline IS trying and we all should be glad it exists. And, unfortunately, the employees cannot change the fundamental issues there (if they could, there is no question they would). I just wish the management would blow enough snow to open their slopes and put in even 1 decent lift. Then I would personally add probably 20 full price skiier days a year to the revenue stream.

Roger Z
January 22, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Are those T-line employees comments true? Seriously? I can't post anything else without cussing, those comments have me steamed.
snowcone
January 23, 2004
Member since 09/27/2002 🔗
589 posts
Steve Smith:

I think in order to really assess which resorts areas would be a happier trip for your family, it would be nice to know the ages of your 'advanced' children, how many days you as parents and your kids ski per season, and how many years you all have been skiing. There is a whole lot of difference in terrain for an advanced 6 year old vs. an advanced 16 or 26 year old. It also might help to know why you consider yourselves as beginners and your kids as advanced?

Just my 2 cents worth.

(Anonymous)
January 23, 2004
Well, I can see the whole "dc ski whining" going on becuas its just a typical stereotype thats given to anyone from our area. With our SUV's that rarely see 4wd to the 2k they dropped on some new skis and outfits. I see it all the time. Its just a jealousy thing. Being from one of the richest counties in virginia i deal with these people all the time everywhere but thats not to say that dc ski is full of em. anyways, putting my 2 cents in id have to say timberline for me. Since im an expert skier i get really bored with the flats on the frontside at snow shoe and so im forced to ski 2 "black diamond runs" which are only blues at any out west resort. So i get tired of those real quick. timberlines got a great mountain thats got a lot of diversity to it. no flat spots or short steeps like the front of the shoe. the runs intertwine and you can haul anywhere you want. trees, glades steeps, it doens't matter. the only drawback is the slow lifts. if snowshoe ever really harvested more of the westernt territory they could have a top notch mountain, comparable to some new england resorts. plus they need to figure out a way to make it less than 4 hours from dc cause i ahte driving that far for 2 runs and an average park.but then agian this is my opinion, so if you like the blue runs snowshoes is great and so is timberline. one way or the other you'll have a blast no matter where you go
gatkinso
January 23, 2004
Member since 01/25/2002 🔗
316 posts
Well, the lines at SS are completely ridiculous... but then again they have working lifts.

SS is really not a very tall resort at all with the exception of the previously mentioned two trails... I dunno it is a hard decision but I lean toward TL/CV.

(Anonymous)
January 24, 2004
I just realized why i was one of the few pro "almost heaven" posters out there.If they built the new WV resort there would be no more of this endless comparing & wishing & whining,That would be too boring...the case would be closed!!
Roger Z
January 24, 2004
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Andy no way! Even if they somehow managed to build Whistler in West Virginia we'd find something to pick at. That's our job: we're the Athenian gadflies of the Mid-Atlantic.

Come to think of it, The Athenian Gadflies of the Mid-Atlantic would be a pretty cool band name, too.

(Anonymous)
January 24, 2004
4" of new at WT Thought you were leaving early??What the heck kind of gadflies?Are they like snow gnats?From my weather command center here in tampa i also see 8.5" in Canaan 4 at the shoe & 5 at 7springs + the new cam at CV showed it dumping still at 930am!!Yeh i can see the treads in 8 yrs.."Almost nothing"," Mr Bill bites","Windy city"..ect..."
VTSkibum
January 28, 2004
Member since 01/18/2004 🔗
11 posts
Good lord this has been a whirlwind discussion.

It's really hard to convey reality to those that don't live on site day in and day out. I realize that we have really sophisticated weather predictions and recordings in today's technological lifestyle, but in all reality I'm watching it with my eyes while most of you probably watch it with fiber optic, wireless, satellite or some other form of media. The weather channel never gets snowshoe completely right the NOAA never gets it completely right and acuweather never gets it right. Reality the weather will do what it wants despite my snowdances for a powder morning. Sometimes snowshoe gets a kicken year sometimes the Valley and Timberline region gets a great year. Perhaps we should all take about an hour and watch Warren Miller's Vertical Reality and appreciate what we have. Go visit all the resorts at different times of the season they all have some wonderful assets and they all have some disappointing issues that need work. Remember it's only as fun as you make it.

-Think Snow

(Anonymous)
January 28, 2004
Hey vt ski(i'll leave out the bum)Its all good,But its even better somtimes!I'll bet the snowshoe inn at the bottom of the mtn gets a quarter of the snow SS reports.Sorry my heart is in the valley & couldn't stand the thought that anybody in the mid atlantic was getting more snow.I do appreciate the Island in the sky though,its a great scenic alpine resort.
(Anonymous)
January 28, 2004
I need to continue where i left off..great scenic alpine resort THAT needs to service ths south!!DC & BALT skiers should not have to travel that far to get the big mtn experience.not with the valley & MPC a whole lot closer.Its a shame that the only bragging rights that i can come up with for the valley area is the more abundant snow.I tell everybody down here in the south to go to the shoe.I rarely even mention the valley.
VTSkibum
January 29, 2004
Member since 01/18/2004 🔗
11 posts
Woa Hey that's not right. I live down at the bottom of the mountain and have a plow to run so I can tell you when we get snow at the top we get snow at the bottom and on some days when there is an inversion you can get more snow at the bottom. Take it from someone who lives here and works here. We get just as much snow at the bottom as we do at the top.


-Think Snow

warren
February 2, 2004
Member since 07/31/2003 🔗
485 posts
I've been out of the loop for a while. I'd like to echo other comments that I'm not a rich snob to want a good value for the lift ticket price. The other thing that seems to ring clear is that in order to get these challenging and long runs, I get the impression that out of bounds (off the designated trail) skiing is required. Now, out west, that is cool and they simply give you avalance gates to enter through. Here, if caught, your lift ticket is clipped (unless there's something I don't know...) I've skied T-Line and CV in the past and most likely will again (maybe even this season w/ my daugher if I can weasle it!) I'm just confused by the comments of long challenging runs (OTW and the Drop are fairly short).

-Warren-

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