And if you really get bored, go over to Whitegrass for a day. It's a very pleasant area.
Here's my take.
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.
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.
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.
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).]
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.
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.
It all depends on where you are driving from. From DC, it's 1.5-2 hours longer.
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.
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.
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).]
[This message has been edited by tromano (edited 01-22-2004).]
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.
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.
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.
Come to think of it, The Athenian Gadflies of the Mid-Atlantic would be a pretty cool band name, too.
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.