Snowshoe Trip Report 1-18 – 1/21 by Dana Bolden

We arrived at Silver Creek Lodge at about noon. Our room was ready 🙂 so we "moved in" and had some lunch. Just about the time we decided to hit the Silvercreek slopes, they had a power failure and the lifts and snowguns shut down for a little over an hour. Once they had everything re-started, we finally hit the slopes. Conditions were very nice. The surface was a VERY firmly packed powder, not quite icy except for a very few spots, but very firm. Silver Creek had Slaymaker/Spur, Cascade, and, a bit later in the afternoon, Fox Chase open. Snowmaking was in progress at the top of Fox Chase. When Fox Chase first opened, the surface below the active snowmaking area was a very firm crust. As traffic broke up the crust and packed things down a bit it became very skiable. Most or all of the greens were also open too. The Cubb Run and Cascade lifts were operating. Lift lines for the Cascade lift were non-existent. The one time we rode Cubb Run lift there was no line there either. We skied until about 7pm when our legs gave out and then hit the hot tub and pool. It was pretty cool to be in the outdoor hot tub and pool with snow lying around all over.

We awoke Friday morning to a steady snowfall. Conditions were truly AWESOME! The traffic was so light the tracks were being covered in by fresh snow within a few runs of being laid down. We rode Cascade lift and skied Slaymaker/Spur, Cascade, and Fox Chase in rotation until we discovered that Flying Eagle lift was operating too. We rode it to the top of Silver Creek and got a look at the Flying Eagle run and a few glimpses of Bear Claw. There’s been no snowmaking on Flying Eagle so it doesn’t look like it will open this weekend. Snowmaking is in full force on Bear Claw so maybe it’ll open later to day or tomorrow. We skied for a couple of hours with no pauses at the lift and then took a hot chocolate break. After the break, we continued to ski Silver Creek’s blue trails in a steady and sometimes wind driven snow. The conditions improved all day even on the trails where no snowmaking was occurring. After another break to let our exhausted legs recover, we skied most of the night session on great snow. The natural snow stopped falling sometime between 5 and 6 pm. Snowmaking was still underway on Knife Blade, Cant Hook Greenhorn and Timberjack.

They were also still making snow on Buck Saw and Bear Claw, but neither were open for night skiing. Lift lines were still very short, but a bit longer than earlier in the day. Even so, we never waited longer than 2-3 minutes. We skied until our legs gave out and then hit the outdoor hot tub and pool with several inches of new snow all around on the pool deck. It was cold enough outside that our hair froze after only a few minutes in the hot tub! All in all, an excellent day at Silver Creek.

Saturday was clear and cold. We took the shuttle bus from Silver Creek area to the Snowshoe area. Snowshoe was reporting most of their green terrain, all but 4 of their blue trails, and a single black trail, Grabhammer. The shuttle service was very convenient and quick – a bus was waiting when we walked out of Silver Creek Lodge and one arrived at the stop very quickly for our return trip. The bus dropped us near the top of Heisler Way so we took it Powder Monkey to check out the conditions. Lift lines for Powder Monkey were tolerable, but longer than we had gotten used to at Silver Creek. Conditions were good on Gandy Dancer, Upper and Mid Flume (very crowded), and Lower Ballhooter. Our first trip to the Ballhooter lift was met with a 10+ minute wait. We made our way over the new Soaring Eagle lift to try it out. Widowmaker trail was not open, but snowmaking was going on. Since J Hook was closed, we rode Upper Flume to Lower Hootenanny a couple of times and then headed back over to the mid-basin area. We had decided to avoid Ballhooter lift, but decided to tune onto Lower Ballhooter trail from Mid Flume so ended up on Ballhooter Lift again. After a 15-20 minute wait we vowed not to make that mistake again. We took Grabhammer, the only black open, off the Ballhooter lift. Conditions on Grabhammer were very firm to icy near the top and firm from the middle on down. By now the line for the Powder Monkey lift had grown to at least 10 minutes. We decided to go back to Silver Creek since the intermediate and advanced terrain at Snowshoe was hardly worth the wait at the lifts. We were very pleasantly surprised to find almost no lift lines at Silver Creek for the Cascade, Mountaineer or Flying Eagle lifts! I was disappointed to find that for the second day in a row the Black Run Sugar House was "short staffed" and not serving breakfast. We grabbed a couple of burgers for breakfast (for the second day in a row 🙁 ). We skied the afternoon on Cascade, Fox Chase, and, once the race session was over, Slaymaker and Spur. Conditions were still very good, but much firmer after the bitter cold night. Snowmaking was still going full blast on Bear Claw, but it wasn’t open yet. No snowmaking has started on Mountaineer Terrain Park or Flying Eagle. It was a great day, but since it was the third day of all-day skiing, we wore out early and again hit the indoor and outdoor hot tubs.

We awoke again Sunday morning to a steady snowfall. We skied Silver Creek’s Fox Chase and Buck Saw to Knife Blade to Timberjack for a couple of hours before loading up to back to NC. Slaymaker, Spur and Cascade were closed for a race event. Bear Claw had HUGE piles of snow visable from both the top and bottom. It should be ready to open as soon as it’s groomed to push the piles out to cover the edges. Flying Eagle had only the few inched of natural snow that fell Friday and Sunday morning. Conditions on the open trails were excellent and getting better by the hour with the snow falling. There was absolutely no wait at the lifts. It was hard to put the skis in the truck and leave with snow falling! US 219 between Snowshoe and Lewisburg was snow covered but travel-able. We passed several WV DOT trucks scraping and salting/sanding. I-64 from Lewisburg to Beckley was also more or less snow covered with one lane each direction very passable. Once we headed south from Beckley the snow changed to rain and the trip back to Clyde was uneventful.

We’re already looking forward to out next-year’s visit to Snowshoe!

Be sure to check out the photos from this trip in full size by CLICKING HERE!