Most challenging trails in the southeast?

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brigand
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Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:36 pm

Well, it's 98 degrees here in Raleigh as I type this. We passed the halfway mark for the off season a couple days ago (assuming we hit the slopes by Nov 21... which is sadly not guaranteed given the past 2 seasons.) So, we're either halfway there, or as far from snow as we can be, depending on your perspective. It's totally the wrong time of year to even remotely think about the slopes, and yet I found myself in the garage last night messing with my bindings and daydreaming about Snowshoe :(

Anyhow, it's dead on the boards, but I know someone else out there is obsessed like me. I started wondering what the most challenging trails are in our region. Of course we don't compare to the west, but I can't be on a Colorado slope within 3 hours on a whim and $45 bucks, either. I've skied most of the slopes in NC, VA, and WV (never made it to Tennessee), and ridden almost as many. I'm curious what you guys think are our most challenging slopes?

WV - Probably Shay's or Cupp? Or even Turkey Chute at Winterplace when it's moguled - I usually just ride on by.
VA - Outer Limits or Upper Wild Turkey on the occasion they mogul them? (I haven't been to Massanutten)
NC - Gotta be Whoopdeedoo, right?

Sorry so long, but I'm bored and need to talk about skiing to someone at a time no one cares :) Gotta do something to whittle down the next 3 months. Who else out there is dreaming about snow in this absurd heat?
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philipwicker
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Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:07 am

I pop in about once a week to see if anybody is alive on here and to see if there's any off season articles to get me excited. As a snowboarder, any black that is heavily moguled is a throw away and can't really even be in for the count (for me). I pretty much stick to Beech and Snowshoe. I used to frequent Sugar, but haven't dared to give it a chance it quite some years. Prior to sticking with Beech, I was a dedicated Hawksnest customer...still broken hearted over that deal. Also have ridden App and Winterplace a handfull of times. Having kind of gone all over since my early teens (now in my early 30s), Snowshoe's western territory in general is the most challenging terrain in the southeast in my opinion..and I can say that for both snowboarders and skiers. Cup Run will definitely get your legs burning, and there's plenty of steep sections that'll push your skills to the limit. Lower Shays, which I don't mess with, is a dang gauntlet...like I said, I'm no skier, but I've run through it maybe twice in my life and its a wild ride.
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marzski
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Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:28 pm

Assuming they have enough snow, my impression is that the blacks at Timberline in the Canaan Valley are more challenging than the Western Territories at Snowshoe. I've only been to T-line once during early season. Checked out the one black open that was all snowgun snow whales. There were PSIA trainers taking instructors down the trail to learn about teaching bumps. Was definitely harder than most SE intermediates can handle.

When Massanutten has enough snow, MakAttack provides 15-20 turns on big bumps that are about 2 wide. Not really too steep, but steep enough to for advanced skier/boarders who want to get better at bumps before they had out west. Paradice on the upper mountain usually has a bump line seeded by a groomer down the side. Don't remember anything equivalent at Snowshoe.

By the way, I'm in Cary.
2018-19: NH/ME in early Dec, Massanutten early Jan, Taos, Targhee, Bridger, Big Sky, NH in early March, Wachusett, Alta in April
brigand
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Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:47 pm

I'm in Cary, too :)

I have tried to hit everything in reasonable driving distance each season, but I haven't been to Timberline yet, simple because it about the same distance as Snowshoe (6+ hours) but a third of the size. However, I read somewhere the have real glade/tree skiing there. Is it worth a trip this season just for that?
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marzski
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Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:41 pm

brigand wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:47 pm
I'm in Cary, too :)

I have tried to hit everything in reasonable driving distance each season, but I haven't been to Timberline yet, simple because it about the same distance as Snowshoe (6+ hours) but a third of the size. However, I read somewhere the have real glade/tree skiing there. Is it worth a trip this season just for that?
It's not always about size. That's true even in the Rockies. Alta is not one of the biggest places, but it's hard for an advanced skier to get bored if they know enough. How much of Snowshoe's terrain were were you actually skiing? If staying mostly on the blacks, not too many choices.

Look around for the trip reports by davidski for Timberline.

Note that if you are looking for high speed lifts, T-line is not the place to go. But then I drive past Wintergreen to ski at Massanutten on weekends because waiting 20 min for the high speed lift for Highlands does not beat lapping Lift 6 without ever waiting in line.
2018-19: NH/ME in early Dec, Massanutten early Jan, Taos, Targhee, Bridger, Big Sky, NH in early March, Wachusett, Alta in April
brigand
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Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:49 am

Yeah, you're right on the money. I usually only ski the blacks at Snowshoe (Western, Choker, Grabhammer, etc) so it does get boring if that's all I am doing. Lucky(?) for me, I am a poor to fair snowboarder, and I can switch up midday and ride blues and be sufficiently challenged, and Snowshoe has a lot of blue terrain :)

Given the distance, I would only drive to Timberline if it offers something the closer resorts don't (since it requires an overnight stay that far away), I will take a look at davidski's trip reports. Thanks for the heads up - I need some good reading to pass the rest of the off-season.
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spydeeTJB
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Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:24 pm

brigand wrote:
Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:36 pm
WV - Probably Shay's or Cupp? Or even Turkey Chute at Winterplace when it's moguled - I usually just ride on by.
Knotbumper Glades @ Snowshoe. In recent years it's been tough finding days where there's sufficient natural coverage. The pitch is equal or more to Knotbumper but with tight trees, rocks and roots. The upper sections is nail-biting paradise when conditions are right, a ball-buster when too thin. I dug up a pic from one of the better days....
20160124_131259.jpg
I think there's a tourist entrance lower that avoids the very top and lets you experience the less pitched lower section.

Lots of unmarked stuff too. Grabhammer lift line is one my favs when it's deep, but frowned upon by patrol. Maybe new ownership will bring a less risk-adverse approach to trail access.
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marzski
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Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:45 pm

brigand wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:49 am
Yeah, you're right on the money. I usually only ski the blacks at Snowshoe (Western, Choker, Grabhammer, etc) so it does get boring if that's all I am doing. Lucky(?) for me, I am a poor to fair snowboarder, and I can switch up midday and ride blues and be sufficiently challenged, and Snowshoe has a lot of blue terrain :)

Given the distance, I would only drive to Timberline if it offers something the closer resorts don't (since it requires an overnight stay that far away), I will take a look at davidski's trip reports. Thanks for the heads up - I need some good reading to pass the rest of the off-season.
What can keep me challenged at Mnut is when the bumps on MakAttack exist or when there are bumps on the side of Paradise. Both sets of bumps are seeded by a groomer these days. Short, but not that easy to do non-stop with good form so good practice before I head out west.

As for driving to Davis, you'll notice that davidski heads in that direction to catch big storms. There were issues with T-line snowmaking last season. So hard to predict what will happen this season when it hasn't snowed much.
2018-19: NH/ME in early Dec, Massanutten early Jan, Taos, Targhee, Bridger, Big Sky, NH in early March, Wachusett, Alta in April
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marzski
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Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:48 pm

spydeeTJB wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:24 pm
brigand wrote:
Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:36 pm
WV - Probably Shay's or Cupp? Or even Turkey Chute at Winterplace when it's moguled - I usually just ride on by.
Knotbumper Glades @ Snowshoe. In recent years it's been tough finding days where there's sufficient natural coverage. The pitch is equal or more to Knotbumper but with tight trees, rocks and roots. The upper sections is nail-biting paradise when conditions are right, a ball-buster when too thin. I dug up a pic from one of the better days....

[snipped pic]

I think there's a tourist entrance lower that avoids the very top and lets you experience the less pitched lower section.

Lots of unmarked stuff too. Grabhammer lift line is one my favs when it's deep, but frowned upon by patrol. Maybe new ownership will bring a less risk-adverse approach to trail access.
Nice pic!

Given that the Snowshoe GM is staying the same, I wouldn't expect changes in terms of off-trail access. In any case, nothing is going to change for 2017-18 at the former Intrawest ski resorts. The next season is when it's going to get interesting.
2018-19: NH/ME in early Dec, Massanutten early Jan, Taos, Targhee, Bridger, Big Sky, NH in early March, Wachusett, Alta in April
ski4me
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Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:01 pm

+1 for Knot Bumper. I skied it last season for the first time (the trail, not the glades) and it was definitely the most challenging trail I've done. Very steep and lots of moguls, which I'm not very good at, lol.
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