Another day at Snowshoe, another day of fantastic skiing. Maybe it’s my attitude coming in, or maybe they do a little snow-voodoo, but every time I go there I am amazed at how good a job they do with their snowmaking and grooming. I got there early enough to have some first tracks on the groomed slopes as well as through a little untracked powder from the snowmakers, and it was by far the best skiing experience I have had this year so far.
The snow was great early, with packed powder/groomed conditions on all of the trails they had open; they started out at 26 trails and expanded later in the day to include Hootenanny down to the new Soaring Eagle lift, which makes the trip back to the general parking lot much less painful than waiting for the bus. Later in the day the snow started to get scraped off and I had to deal with boilerplate, but I didn’t really have problems with this until the end of the afternoon.
Early on (and practically for the rest of the day), I felt like I had the entire resort to myself. When I was there last week it was packed, with 15-40 minute lift lines and very crowded slope conditions. Today I was able to ski right onto the lift almost every time, and the intermediate/advanced trails were never crowded at any point in the day. Part of the reason for this was probably the snow conditions; as the day went on moguls started to form on the Gandy Dancer trail, and lots of people seemed to be having issues with them as they skied down (and by issues, I mean spectacular wipeouts).
Speaking of moguls, if you are up to Snowshoe for a trip and fancy yourself a bump skier, they currently aren’t grooming Grabhammer, their only open black diamond. As a result, some small moguls have formed on the steepest part of the trail, just after the beginning run. I noticed early on that all of the better skiers I saw today were gleefully going down Grabhammer over and over again, testing their mogul mettle. Get to it while you can, because it wouldn’t surprise me if they did groom it sooner or later, especially given the large piles of snow they have built up at the top of the trail.
…and speaking of snowmakers, they were able to put down snow all day today. When I got there this morning, the temperature was reading 8 degrees at the bottom of the mountain, and by the middle of the day, it had warmed up to around 35. Still, even given the warm-up, they had the snowmakers at the bottom of the mountain on until early afternoon, at which point they turned off all the guns on the lower half of the mountain. They were able to keep all of the guns on at the top, and I won’t be surprised if they continue to make snow all night. Here’s a little bit of exciting news: They have begun making snow in the Western Territory. They have put down lots of snow at the top near the lift, and are slowly working their way down the runs. I’m hoping that with this cold snap coming next week, they will be able to have those runs open in a matter of 2-3 weeks, if not sooner.
I skied as long as I could, from 9 to 4:30, and loved every minute of it. If you are a southerner deciding on where to take your skiing vacation, I HIGHLY recommend taking the extra time to come up to Snowshoe. Their village atmosphere, efficient lifts, and great trails make it one of the best places to ski in the southeast. Also, if you are going to be in the Pocahontas/Tucker county area for a while, I would also recommend taking a day at Timberline as well, when they get all of their trails open. They have some very long runs, including a 2-mile long beginner run; even if you are an experienced skier, the novelty of such a long run in the southeast is very refreshing.
Check out my trip report from Winterplace Friday; they are opening to the top of the mountain!
Also, check out my website: www.skieastlookwest.com I will be posting this trip report, as well as a video of my day at Snowshoe. Think Snow! Also check out the Photos of the Day by Clicking Here to see ALL of Rob’s Photos!