Charnita -> ??? -> Ski Liberty
Any old-timers around? Didn't Charnita/Liberty go by a third name for a season or two? Something pompous like "Ski America"???
Tom "of failing memory" PM
I only remember Charnita, then the switch to Ski Liberty, sometime in the 70's? In the last year or so they renamed to Liberty Mountain Resort (having a midlife crisis?)
We had an interesting article in our Liberty Employee newsletter this year regarding the history of Liberty. It was written by a lady who grew-up, literally, on a farm on the backside of the mountain and has worked at Liberty forever. Anyway, it went from Charnita to Liberty according to her article. We did change the name a year or 2 ago to include snowboarding and our summertime conference and wedding business.
You're probably right, there might not have been another name, but its just that I have this really clear memory of a brochure from them back in the '80's with these red, white and blue stars (sort of like the bases of last year's k2 Enemies) and some name that was neither Charnita nor Liberty.
The again, the theme of the brochure might just have been for the name change to "Ski Liberty" (... that's pretty patriotic sounding...).
My memory is obviously going, so I'll be sure to sign up for assisted living at Seizure World tmmrw (if I remember).
Tom / PM
Just Charnita to Liberty, nothing in between. There were a few other proposed mountains in the DC Market in the late 80's can't remember what the exact names, maybe one of those had the brochure you remember.
While we're on the subject on Liberty/ Charnita, is their anyone out there w/ any 60's 70's souvenirs they may be willing to part with? I have been a Liberty employee most of my life ( 16 ys and I am only 31)
and am trying to get together a collection of Liberty History. Looking for pretty much anything, pins,brochures,postcards,pennants
and more. Thanks in advance for any help.
Thanks for the info, TK.
I looked in my file cabinet of maps and ski brochures, and much to my own amazement, I see that I must have cleared it out ten or so years ago, so unfortunately, I don't have any old Charnita memorabelia. Sorry. If I find anything, I'll ping you.
Tom / PM
TK, I used to have a Charnita patch circa about 1969, the kind that was worn on jackets and clothing. I have to go look in my attic for it. I'll let you know here if I find anything good.
By the way, on the subject of old ski areas...I have a childhood memory of being taken by my folks to a ski area in Va near Shenandoah Nat'l Park around '68-71. I thought the name of the ski area was something like Seven Devils. But I could never remember specific location or name. The other day I found an old Appalacian Trail club hiking map dated 1968 of the northern section of Shen Nat'l Park and it had a "ski area" marked off between the east edge of the park boundary and the town of Washington, Va. I believe this mystery ski area only operated for a couple of years in the late '60s. Does anyone know more about it?
Tom/PM, you don't suppose your red, white and blue brochure was for Cherokee ski area? That area, also near northern section of Shen Nat'l Park and just off I66, operated for just a couple of years in the early '90s. I don't remember what their brochure looked like.
The ski area near Little Washington, VA consisted of a single slope with a tow lift (t-bar I think)- approximately 500 feet of vertical.. I'm working on the name. Eventually it was bought by Camelback, slopes and chairs were added and it was rechristened "Rappahannock Ski Area". I think this lasted only one difficult snow year, and Camelback literally took the snowmaking and chairs up to PA. For years the Rappahannock chair at Camelback was the new chair put in at the Rappahannock Ski Area and only used one year. I can not remember the name of the ar3ea before Rappahannock, it might have been Ski Washington, or something like that. It is too bad it closed, cause I always thought it had a lot of potential, there was at least another 500 feet of vertical feet above the top of the slope that was never utilized. Other local areas of note: There was a small ski area at the top of Afton Mountain, just west of Charlottesvill, right where routh 250 croses the peak (no, this is not
today's Wintergreen. I don't remember the name and never skied there. However some old lifts, etc. still remain. And there was a small area near the northern end of the Shenadoah Valley, near a caverns. It only lasted three or so years. In West Virginia, Alpine Lake used to offer lift serviced downhill skiing. I can remember when it first opened: the land-sales
rep on the phone told me, in response to my question about vertical drop that there was two thousand feet, and that the length of the slope was also two thousand feed...or in other words, a clift. I also remember that when I visited long ago, there were only temp facilites, and the bathrooms were literally in a modern "out house". I can still remember the unique toilets which used gas fire to burn waste, and my first experience looking down and seeing fire approach my.....! And in West Virginia, there was the ill fated Tory Mountain development, not far from Canaan Valley. This promised over one thousand feet of vertical, and actually cut slopes and for a while offered snowcat skiing. There was to be a huge building ala the Silver Chreek type of lodge, but alas, it went belly up before it could be finished.
I am now 61 years young and only have been skiing for the last 31 years, but I applauded and bemoaned the changes in the local ski areas. Anyone remember the other Maryland ski area with chairs and a small vertical, Braddock Hights!
Look forward to any replies.
Braddock Heights !!!
I went there for dinner one day and took a walk through the woods to look for the "lost ski slope". Found the cable and some ghostly deteriorated chairs. At the bottom was what looked like an early 50's pickup with bare rims that looked like the power for the lift. Almost Blair Witch like.
Regarding the West Virginia slopes, there are two areas that could potentially be developed:
Tory Mountain near Harmon (on 33 just east of the town)
"Almost Heaven": Mount Porte Crayon--West Virginia's second highest mountain near Laneville, WV (off of 32 south between Harmon and Canaan Valley State Park).
Of those, Tory offers the most potential: over a 1000 feet of vertical and good access by road (it will eventually be about a 3 hour drive from DC once Corridor H gets completed). The only limiting factor may be water for snowmaking (I don't know enough about this issue to comment any further). Currently, the majority share of Tory is owned by Yemenese investor. However, rumor has it that some Texans might buy it and again consider the place for a ski mountain.
The other mountain, "Almost Heaven," is far more problematic. While it offers a huge, 2000 foot vertical, there is no good road to the mountain. The Laneville road would have to be completely re-constructed. The Red Creek also has been running very low as of late; hence, water would be a BIG problem. Finally, "Almost Heaven" sits in one of the great, unspoiled pieces of Virginia wilderness (Dolly Sodds/Roaring Plains). This is a proposed site for a National Park, and contains some of the best hiking and wildlife viewing in the state.
For more on corridor H:
For info on environmental issues in WV:
Regarding ski development on and around Mt. Porte Crayon:
Aparently a large percentage of it is on Teter's property. He doesn't want to sell and that put a stop on it. Of course, there's a lot of money involved, so this possibility may stay around for a while.
Also... I understand that the FS tried to purchase (some of?) his land. Teter didn't want to sell to them either because they don't/can't manage their own trails and land very well as it is. So on one side we are stuck with a rather ineffective forest service that has very little money to invest in trail and can't adequately protect the forest as I'd like to see. They do, however, have funds to expand their mediocre protections (they do log the forests after all!).
On the other side some rather well funded investors ready to develop a ski area.
On Dec 28th, I hiked through Teter's property. Its gorgeous. From what I saw, it would be a great ski area, not considering the issue of less than adequate water. I'm not saying I'm for it though.
I feel an all-out-fight against any ski resort may be extreme and may not be good publicity for environmental groups. Perhaps the ski resort would like good plublicity from environmental groups. To that end, perhaps they are willing to compromise and/or give something back to the local area. I would be for the ski resort if:
1. The trails were small and the forest was left in tact (no big swaths!)
2. No buildings at the top or roads building on the slopes.
3. They'd protect an area four times the size of the resort as a comunity service or make a large or continuous donation to the nature conservancy or similar organization.
How likely these gifts are, is another question of course.
Correction: it's the 6th highest mountain in the state.
Thanks JP for the clarification. This topic seems to come up about once every 6 months on this forum. You've given us some new info.
Regarding water, it is absolutely crucial to the success of any new ski area. In this part of the country, a ski resort has to cover a large percentage of its trails with manmade snow to survive the unforgiving Mid-Atlantic thaw cycles. Snowshoe can cover 100 percent of its trails with manmade snow and furthermore, turn its whole mountain white in as little as 16 days or less, weather permitting. That's the model for success in this market.
My sources claim there is not enough water at Mt. Porte Crayon for effective snowmaking. Is that true?
Also, can you tell us more about the slopes?
Do they face west or north? That makes a huge difference in terms of their ability to hold snow (either manmade or natural)?
Also, I think most skiers and riders in this forum want steep, narrow slopes. None of us want to see massive deforestation. Ski good or eat wood is the motto of Blue Knob and probably that of most readers of DCSki.
Finally, when you hiked the mountain, did you measure vertical either with a topo map or GPS?
Thanks in advance for all the info!
Col, your memories are great. Rappahannock Ski Area does ring a bell now that you mention it! One of these days I'd love to put together a brief history of mid-atlantic skiing, but the scope of the subject is a bit intimidating. I'd heard of Alpine Lake, but Afton and the place in Shen valley cavern area are totally new to me. I never skied Braddock Heights, near Whitetail, but drove by it countless times on the way to Blue Knob. It only had a vertical of about 300'. I believe it operated until the '80s.
Agree with John and others, strong snowmaking is the key around here (and entire East). Lack of it doomed Cherokee, which also had a lot of vertical drop potential. A WV ski area consisting of a dozen or more trails with 1500-2000 feet of north facing vertical and good snowmaking capacity would be something to see and a huge breakthrough for this region. I wonder if Snowshoe ever considered cutting a long winding intermediate cruiser in NW territory on either side of Cupp or Shay's?
I finally "almost" remembered the name of the ski area that was near Little Washington VA, prior to its incorporation into the Rappahannock Ski Area. I was called either SKYLINE or SKYLAND. It would be interesting to try to put together a history of skiing in this area, with the Cabin Mt. in Canaan being the first area, or so I believe.
In regards to the Ski Area near Little Washington. I think after Camelback took over the name was changed to Big Devil. Named after the trail across the valley. I went there once about 1972, they had only a couple of trails open. I believe they closed the following year.
As in big devil stairs? I used to go hiking in that area Devil staris / Old Rag Mtn area twice a year with the boy scouts. Talk about rugged terrain for us snot noesd kids to go trooping arround. Memories.
[This message has been edited by TBONE (edited 02-07-2003).]
Sorry that I'm responding so late to this posting but I just discovered this cool website! I skiied at Braddock Heights ( which had either a poma lift or a t-bar) and about 150 vertical feet.Also Oregon ridge up near Cal ripkens house! The place I would like someone to comment on is a place called Shawneeland. I remember skiing there but nothing else. I think it was in Virginia.
For those of you who remember Ski Cherokee (I am not one of them), you might be interested in knowing that the chairlifts are apparently enjoying a rebirth at the soon-to-be reopened Crotched Mountain Ski Area in New Hampshire. Here's a link to the info for anyone interested...
I would have thought the lifts would be a wee bit rusty by now...
ski cherokee (i dont remember it either) would be just a few minutes from my house. too bad. here are some photos of those rusty chairs:
Chad - dude I skied at ski cherokee that was africkin' weird pkace .... like the last time I skied there their snow makers were blowin' mud!!! And no bar screw that!