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Mid-Atlantic/SE skiing (PA, NJ, DC, MD, VA, WV, NC) for 2019-20

Any idea what Snowshoe plans to open? Usually they name a bunch of trails that are really just one long trail together and its a mess....
They posted on Facebook a number of greens around the Powder Monkey and Ballhooter lifts as well as blues Spruce and Gander Dancer will be open. Hoping they can open a few more next week.
 
Any idea what Snowshoe plans to open? Usually they name a bunch of trails that are really just one long trail together and its a mess....
These days Facebook is the best source of up-to-date info. Thinking of going for a family trip over Thanksgiving?

While it's still pre-season, here's an introduction to Snowshoe for new folks who haven't been there before and are curious because it's Alterra/Ikon. Snowshoe is a full blown ski resort, but the trails are relatively short. There isn't any trail that takes more than about 4 min to finish for an advanced skier who makes lots of turns but doesn't need to stop. The black trails would be blue at any mid-sized ski area in the northeast. The trails at Silver Creek are even shorter. That was developed as an independent ski area and eventually bought by Snowshoe. I prefer Silver Creek on weekends for afternoons because it rarely has long lift lines.

Snowshoe is a good place for beginners and intermediates who are willing to make the drive into WV. Note that it's an "upside-down" area so the resort village is at the top of the ridge. AWD/4WD is required if going to end up driving during a snowstorm.

With the money and effort spent to improve the snowmaking infrastructure in the last few years by Intrawest and then Alterra, the hope is that at least one black on the Western Territories will get open by Thanksgiving, along with greens off the Powder Monkey lift and the blues off the Ballhooter lift on the Basin side. They will try hard to open a couple blacks off Soaring Eagle, along with the connector trails between that area and the main Basin trails.

The vert at the Basin is around 800 ft and around 650 ft at Silver Creek. Meaning equivalent to most ski areas in PA. Western Territories is close to 1500 ft vertical, so that's why those two trails are so popular with advanced skiers in the region. Also that lift doesn't get much of a lift line since most folks who go to Snowshoe aren't good enough to enjoy those trails. Ballhooter and Soaring Eagle are the two high-speed quads. All other lifts are fixed-grip chairlifts.
 
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The vert at the Basin is around 800 ft and around 650 ft at Silver Creek. Meaning equivalent to most ski areas in PA. Western Territories is close to 1500 ft vertical, so that's why those two trails are so popular with advanced skiers in the region. Also that lift doesn't get much of a lift line since most folks who go to Snowshoe aren't good enough to enjoy those trails. Ballhooter and Soaring Eagle are the two high-speed quads. All other lifts are fixed-grip chairlifts.
Love Western Territory when not iced up and crowded. The long runs are lots of fun and the lift is the only one with a leg rest, which is nice. Unfortunately, there are often too many folks on the two trails who really have no business being on that side. They end up being hazards on the trail as they snowplow their way down and stop in the middle of the runs. Then you have guys bombing their way down the trail. Everyone else is meandering their way down with common sense and the skills to do so. I had the scare of my life last year when one guy bombed past me as I was making my way through the afternoon bumps, barely missing me. Scared the !@#$ of out me. I had to take a break and sit down after that run. Still haunts me when I think about it.

I enjoy Silver Creek late in the day. Not too crowded and the runs are always pretty nice because they've seen little traffic during the day. We tend to bail around 7pm when the drunk crazies show up and straight-line the runs without a care for anyone else. That's the time to head in and enjoy the chili that's been in the crockpot all day. :-)
 
A local paper did a good overview of what's going on for skiing in western PA: Blue Knob, Boyce Park, Seven Springs, Hidden Valley, Laurel Mountain. I saw that 7Springs is offering a Family Four Pack for Wednesday evenings. For $120 you get lift tickets, equipment rentals, and beginner lessons for four people, plus four hot dogs. The evening deal at Laurel is called “Friends of Laurel Mountain Nights” on Friday evenings. Can get a lift ticket and rental package good for 4-9pm for $45, and add a beginner lesson for $20. Hopefully all the repairs made to the Blue Knob snowmaking system will allow them to have fewer issues this winter. BK is on the Indy Pass and is clearly hoping to get some new folks to check things out.

Nov. 18, 2019, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Better snowmaking, better skiing expected this winter at region's resorts
 
It will be a while before the lifts are running again at Timberline in WV, but it seems far more likely today than it has for months. The family who own Perfect North in southeast Indiana paid just over $2 million to buy Timberline in an auction on Nov. 19, 2019. They have made it clear that the intention is to re-open as a ski area/resort. The target is to open for the 2020-21 season. Perfect North was founded in 1980 and is known in the region for great terrain parks and plenty of night skiing. It's owned and operated by the Perfect family.

In an interview with Mike Doble of SkiSoutheast, Chip Perfect noted that he's been watching Timberline for 15-20 years. Perfect North has 400 ft vertical and 100 acres. Timberline has about the same skiable acreage as Perfect North, but 1000 ft vertical. It's been known as a popular ski area for advanced skiers who like bumps. Hopefully a year from now it will be back on the list for Mid-A ski areas about to open.

Nov. 20, 2019, Ski Southeast
It’s Official! Timberline Resort Is Sold To Perfect North Slopes!
11/20/19 [press release text provided by Chip Perfect]

The land and assets of Timberline Four Seasons Resort were sold in Bankruptcy court today in Philadelphia. The top bidder was a group who has operated a successful Midwest ski area for 40 years.

Members of the Perfect North Slopes management team will be forming a new management group, with the intent to revitalize the Timberline Ski Area to its fullest potential.

“We are excited to bring our extensive ski area operation experience to the Timberline property” said Chip Perfect speaking for the group.

“The property has great potential, a stunning West Virginia setting and some fabulous terrain and ski runs.” “The property however is not without its challenges. It is going to take some time to overcome those obstacles”. The team’s current plan would be to reopen the ski area for the 20-21 season.

“Exceeding the expectations of our customers has been the key to our success in the Ski Industry. Our goal will be to do the same at Timberline in the future!”
 
I am super excited about the Timberline news! Now granted, they have a lot of work to do to turn that resort around. Would be awesome if they can open next season. They seem knowledgeable about making snow and that area is perfect for it with the higher elevation and much colder temps overall. I skied TL once many years ago and would like an alternative to Snowshoe for longer runs. Guess we wait and see now!
 
7Springs and Hidden Valley over in western PA are open today. The drone footage of 7Springs from a few days ago shows that they've been able to make a lot of snow. It was taken before the snow whales were groomed out.

 
If you are interested in skiing Liberty, Whitetail, and/or Roundtop at night more than 3-4 times, can do it on the cheap by joining the Ski Dome Night Tracker Club. It's based in DC and has been around for quite a while. Also possible to get a package that includes lessons.
 
Happy Thanksgiving to folks following MidA/SE skiing! Turns out there is skiing today . . . in NC, WV, and probably somewhere in PA too. Snowmaking was possible last night at the NC mountains. Too warm in VA but hopefully snowmaking temps are returning soon.

SkiSoutheast video from 11/24/19
 
Got up to Snowshoe as early as we could this morning, little before 11. It warmed up quick with the sun out. Conditions were soft, spring like, chunky and bumpy in areas. Great if know how to handle that type of snow but newbies seemed to really be struggling. Quite a few people here so at times was dodging people and other times just pulling off to the side to wait for groups of speeders to move thru. I poked around taking it easy, working on getting centered and shoulders angled downhill. I was finding my groove when I called it a day at 4:00 because I was starving having only had a banana around noon. Looks like rain in the forecast for the rest of the weekend. Booo!
 
Between the warm weather in the past week and the rain for today, Dec. 1, Massanutten won't be open for skiing/boarding as planned. Snow tubing is open during the day. I bet a lot of people who stayed on resort for the weekend are heading out early given the messy driving in the region today with all the rain.

Hopefully the cold front will allow for snowmaking in VA again before next weekend. Wintergreen has really not started their snowmaking at all yet.

Apparently there is even a chance of snow on Monday at Massanutten!
 
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Go figure we leave Snowshoe today in the wind and rain and they are calling for upwards of 9" from tonight through Tues morning. Of course...never happens when we are there. It's getting quite annoying actually to always be skiing in fog/rain and spring-like snow.
Was hoping to get a snow day before the holidays but they are calling for warmer and wetter weather than normal for the month. Not exactly ideal for the PA ski resorts much closer to me which have nothing right now. There's a lot of work needing to be done even at Snowshoe to bring all the runs online. I was getting a bit bored with the five runs available right now and having to deal with crowded runs.
 
I was getting a bit bored with the five runs available right now and having to deal with crowded runs.
I've been looking at a few websites for ski resorts out west. At this point, there are some that are only open with a few green runs in a couple regions. I learned when doing a ski safari the week after Thanksgiving in the northeast a few years ago to have no expectations much before mid-Dec. There is a difference between "open and fun for an hour" and open and fun for a full day." My Sat morning at Bryce mid-Nov was the former, even with only one Mid-A blue trail open. Had a good mid-week day at Loon in early Dec the first time I checked it out, but was far more fun last season when there were open trails on two peaks and both bases were open.
 
I’m been checking web cams at Liberty/Whitetail/Roundtop every couple of days. Not a lick of snow at Liberty and Whitetail. Roundtop is losing whatever snow was laid down fast, to the point this is the second Sunday in a row it’s closed. Looks like the best conditions so far at Roundtop were the opening weekend two weeks ago. Next week’s temps range from the low 30’s to low 40’s. It would be interesting to see if snowmaking starts/resumes, and how much it can put down.
 
By mid-Dec, the NC ski season will feel fully operational. The best source for conditions is SkiSoutheast. SugarFest is Dec. 13-15, with brand demo tents on the weekend. Beech is charging midweek rates on weekends thru Dec. 13. Night skiing will being on Sat, Dec. 14. Cat is having their kickoff weekend Dec. 7-8 with a ski swap on Sat, and the annual Can-U-Ski & Coat Drive on Sun (free lift tickets for donating 24 cans of food or 2 warm coats). App has their $5 rollback anniversary price (online only) for Dec. 7-8. That was the price when App opened in 1962.

No word yet about when Wolf Ridge plans to open. That's pretty close to Asheville so I'm hoping to check it out at some point this winter.

Sapphire Valley is shooting to open on Dec. 14. Pretty tiny hill that's part of a 4-season timeshare resort tucked away in the NC mountains about 1.5 hour drive west of Asheville. Had a chance to take a look during the summer.
 

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