Most challenging trails in the southeast?

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davidski
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Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:44 pm

Hey Brigand it's totally never the wrong time "to think about the slopes", August is the time to start dreaming, visualizing, planning or simply being delusional about the upcoming season. Thanks for your posts and for getting things moving that way.

Most challenging? There's a question with a lot of variables, I agree that in NC Whoop is probably the steepest run and has the largest quotient of people passing and looking down it then shaking their heads and moving on, it is really hard by SE standards but so short. For me it was a landmark. When I took up skiing again after a 25 year hiatus on my first visits to Sugar it was really intimidating and the first time I skiied it comfortably meant something. But whether its icy, or slushy spring, or rare deep powder all of that changes everything.

So the most challenging? If you don't ski powder much then it can make everything a nightmare of resistence, if you can ski powder than the steeps and trees are fond and mellow friends.

Cupp run is often considered the best black diamond in the southeast and I think it is scary difficult because of the crowds and slick ice rollovers down the middle, the only safety is speed and that has inherent risks. Lower Shays is left to bump up while still getting a lot of sun so that is definately hard. The steepest sustained run at Snowshoe is still probably Flying Eagle on the silver creek side but given that it is wide, crowdless and rarely open I would not call it the most difficult.

Challenging, in the southeast, where we are not peering over a cornice at 12,700 ft into a 40 degree bouldered field below, is a collection of factors.

I think Marzski mentioned moguls and I have only skied Massanutten once but they keep a continuous portion of their blacks ungroomed, and I saw good skiers making that look easy but it's not easy for me (same is true of Turkey Chute at WV, and the sides of Squirrel cage and Face at Wisp, though they are also too short though not as short as Whoop or Boulder Dash) Some of the sections of Gunthers way at Sugar are steep enough to make your stomach flutter when you drop into them at speed, especially as an array of people crawling around looking for their skis, goggles and children are often waiting just two hard turns below.

Timberline's groomed runs are some of the longest sustained steeps (by SE standards) and their run Off the Wall (or the Drop?) is definitely amongst the most challenging in the Southeast/mid atlantic. It is long and relatively narrow but when open it is always choked with massive whales (the mounds generated under snow guns) and then it gets bumped up around the edges often just feet away from the edge of dense woods. It's amazing, I love it.

SpydeeTJB's great picture of Knot Bumper glades brings up another factor, glades, trees, tall immoveable objects that impede your path. Skiing in trees is another level of difficulty, for me it's the grail and it is hard and initially intimidating because it seems you have no choices, the trees will mangle you even if you hit them at a mere 20 mph. They are not more challenging than steep moguls, but they require some skill and a vison between the gaps. The best resort tree runs are definately at Timberline and Canaan. Of course the very best trees south of New England are found at Whitegrass Touring Center, but you have to be righteous and work a little for it and natural coverage has been rough lately. Snowshoe has a weird ambivelence where they market tree skiing but then will pull your ticket if for example you ski the obvious summer bike paths. . Wintergreen has opened a really impressive designated glade after being utter jerks for years about any off trail skiing, so hats off to them. Wisp has trees beside their short steep runs that are awesome. Devil's Drop should be on the list

At Canaan Valley, things are challenging because if the have a twelve inch storm they will open stuff up that others don't. In other words they treat us like adults and allow that your skis might lose a little ptex, God Bless Canaan Valley. Anyway when its open (or not) the lift line under Gravity triple is steep and challenging. The trees all over the left side are amazing.

actually I'm looking for pictures now -- allow me to pause. Thanks for the nice thread Brigand
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marzski
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Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:24 pm

Hey there, David! One of these days we should ski together at Mnut. I find it easier to deal with the MakAttack big bumps than keep going in the little ones along the side of Paradice. I've learned a lot about bumps from Walter doing the Silver Clinic (2 hours, $40, for over 50) the last few years. But really helped to spend a week at Taos last season.

Looking forward to a few pics.

Haven't been for a long time, but as I remember the bump run at Winterplace was reasonably long. Maybe 3 bumps wide? Don't think it's that steep though because I was willing to ski it when I wasn't skiing bumps on a regular basis.
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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Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:01 am

Awesome post David :) That's exactly what I wanted to read as I plan out the season in my head (it's either that or go snowboarding at Liberty, and I can only do that about once a season before I have had enough of it.)

I don't have a lot of experience with powder, save a week in Vail that was supposedly unusual even for the locals - suffice it to say it was serious work. I wish we had places nearby that I could actually practice real powder skiing, but I am happy with what we have within 3 hours drive, so I can't complain much.

I am really curious to ski the little glade at Wintergreen you mentioned (Sunrise Glades or something like that, over on the right side?). I've been skiing there at least 10 years and never seen it open. Also, based on what you and marzski said, I think I may make the drive up to Timberline at least once this season, even though it seems like a brutal drive (though no more than the Snowshoe drive, I suppose.)

Yeah, I guess it's too early to start stirring things up on the forum - I am just starting to get antsy. 100 days to go. It's been such an unusually pleasant August so far; I am clinging to the almost certainly wrong assumption that an unusual August presages an unusually cold winter. Wouldn't it be great to ski on Halloween again?
skipanther
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Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:25 am

NC would be boulder dash especially if was longer,Whoop a close 2nd.Never skied Va and wonder how that state compares w/the others.WV-Turkey Chute(WP),Knot Bumper and Lower Shays and Knot Bumper glades,Sawmill Glades,Grabhammer liftline if there is enough snow(SS),the many acres of woods,and 2 bump runs(brain fart,names?)@T-line
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Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:56 am

Interesting read y'all have created here. Whoop is steep and tends to be icy, but it's too short to get a really good burn out of. I too remember riding up the old (non high speed) lift at sugar looking over at it thinking "you have to be crazy to do that, it's like trying to ride down a wall". But as I got better and tried it a few times it was not so bad, now I make an effort to shoot down it at least once everytime I go, but I prefer to ride blolder dash and Tim terrific when I am there. I have never skied outside of the Southeast, and have only had a few days of significant powder under my belt, so I find anything with powder to be more difficult due to my lack of experience, but have grown accustomed to icy patches. I need to get some trees under my belt to see what I think about that.
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marzski
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Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:25 am

skipanther wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:25 am
NC would be boulder dash especially if was longer,Whoop a close 2nd.Never skied Va and wonder how that state compares w/the others.WV-Turkey Chute(WP),Knot Bumper and Lower Shays and Knot Bumper glades,Sawmill Glades,Grabhammer liftline if there is enough snow(SS),the many acres of woods,and 2 bump runs(brain fart,names?)@T-line
Not really much in VA that can top what can be found in WV for those who like bumps and trees. Especially because WV is much more likely to get enough natural snow to make the trees fun.

Haven't ever been in the trees at Wintergreen.

What Massanutten has to offer is a short section that's left ungroomed pretty much all season on MakAttack, plus a seeded bump run down the side of Paradice. Both are good places to practice bump technique. Instructors working towards passing Level 2/3 exams learn a lot on those bumps. Definitely helped me as I started enjoying bumps. Good warm up before the trips I take out west to destination ski resorts such as Aspen/Snowmass, Alta, or Taos. Took 2-3 seasons of work to get comfortable taking MakAttack non-stop and at speed in any conditions.
2018-19: NH/ME in early Dec, Massanutten early Jan, Taos, Targhee, Bridger, Big Sky, NH in early March, Wachusett, Alta in April
fitzyfitz1313
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Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:42 pm

So is there some consensus that Boulder Dash is harder than Whoop? I did the former for the first time when I was at Sugar this past year (Whoop never opened as far as I know) and thought it was a little tougher than other NC diamonds...maybe it was the iciness and my poor choice of line (I kept going down the right side and there was this icy chute thing that made it hard to stay under control). I have been terrified of even trying Whoop because I know I'm going to end up flying down and having no space to level off/ease up at the bottom scares me.
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skipanther
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Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:43 pm

I usually ski down the left side of Whoop where it's bumped up some,I use the bumps to turn and avoid huge ice patches!Yeah,Boulder Dash is steep and narrow but too short to really scare someone,but I think the pitch is steeper and it's a lot more narrow,imagine if Boulder Dash had the same length as Whoop!
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Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:33 am

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davidski
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Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:28 pm

skipanther wrote:
Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:43 pm
,imagine if Boulder Dash had the same length as Whoop!

aka the liftline
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