Pros: Glades, Low Key Vibe, Powder, 4 hours from DC/MD/VA
Cons: Lifts, Out of control beginners, Early season conditions
For West Virginia Discussions, Meet and Greets (not real active anymore): West Virginia Epic Group
Timberline now open for the 2013-14 ski season. Opening date was Thursday, December 12; scheduled closing date is Sunday, March 30.
2012-13: Opened on Friday, December 21, pushed back from the originally scheduled Thursday December 13 and closed on Sunday, March 31.
Daily snowfall and snow depth reports (this is the gold standard from a local weather buff in nearby Canaan Heights, WV): Dave's Snowfall TrackerAlso, the Whitegrass conditions page is useful.
NOAA Point Forecast - 1 (approximate ski area location)
NOAA Point Forecast - 2 (Davis, WV, closest town)
Davis, WV weather (a bit warmer than at the mountain):
Timberline Ski Area: Timbers Pub and Fireside Grill (Upper level in Timberline's lodge.) Menu Live music.
Timberline Ski Area: Timberhaus Cafeteria (Main level in Timberline's lodge.)
Canaan Valley (near ski areas): White Grass Cafe (Winter only. Lunch: Daily; Dinner: Friday and Saturday/Holidays. Reservations no longer required for dinner.)
Canaan Valley (near ski areas): Sirianni's Pizza and Cafe (304) 866-3388 (On Route 32 towards Davis)
Canaan Valley (near ski areas): Deerfield Village Resort Restaurant (Pizza, wings, etc.)
Canaan Valley (near ski areas): Big John's Family Fixin's (On Route 32 towards Davis) (304) 866-4418
Canaan Valley (near ski areas): Amelia's (At Winwood Fly-In Resort)
Canaan Valley (near ski areas): Breakfast Nook
Canaan Valley (near ski areas): Piccalo Paula's (On Route 32 towards Davis) 304-866-3825
Canaan Valley (near ski areas) Subway (On Route 32, located in BFS gas station)
Canaan Valley (near ski areas) Trail Mix (At T-Intersection on Timberline Road) 304-866-7080
Canaan Valley (near ski areas): Big Al's Pub and Grubberia (near Ski Barn, on Route 32 towards Harmon) Closed. Par for the course for this location.
Dryfork, WV: Golden Anchor Restaurant (Seafood and more.)
Davis, WV: Sirianni's Pizza and Cafe (304) 259-5454
Davis, WV: Hellbender Burritos
Davis, WV: Muttley's Downtown Bar and Grill (Steaks are a specialty.)
Davis, WV: Restaurant at Blackwater Falls State Park
Davis, WV Boomtown Java
Davis, WV Sawmill Restaurant
Thomas, WV: Mountain State Brewery and Restaurant
Thomas, WV: Blackwater Brewery and Restaurant (German, Italian and more.)
Thomas, WV: Purple Fiddle Cafe (Live music.)
Thomas, WV Tip Top Coffe Shop - Bar - Cafe
Thomas, WV Flying Pigs Cafe 304-463-4292
Thomas, WV Gargantuan Emporium
Timberline is now open for the 2013-14 ski season. Opening date was Thursday, December 12; scheduled closing date is Sunday, March 30.
Ski The Valley Combined Timberline and Canaan Valley lift tickets.
Dec 12: Opening Day for Skiing
Feb 28-Mar 1: Governor's Cup Weekend - Ski Clubs Racing Weekend
Mar 14-16: Snowy Luau Festival
Mar 22-23: Local's Cup Events and Race
Mar 30: (Tentative) Closing Day for Skiing
Special Programs - Call Timberline's Ski School Desk (304-866-6333) for more info.
GOOD, BETTER, BEST
Good: Very long and scenic Salamander (beginner) and Twister (intermediate) trails.
Better: Bumps/whales on The Drop or Off The Wall and fall line crusing on White Lightning.
Best: Tree skiing throughout the entire area.
|Snow making percent||100% of trails|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar|
|Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person|
|Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person|
|Lifts-Total number of lifts||3|
|Lifts-Total lift capacity|
|Runs-Steepest run||Off the Wall|
|General-Base elevation||3268 ft|
|General-Vertical drop||1000 ft|
|General-Annual skier visits|
|General-Back country access||Yes, mostly touring but some side country. No gates.|
|General-Total area in bounds|
|General-Snow making coverage||100% of trails|
Pros: Glades, Low Key Vibe, Powder, 4 hours from DC/MD/VA
Cons: Lifts, Out of control beginners, Early season conditions
Pros: Excellent terrain & snow conditions (for the region), legit tree skiing, great skier vibe, scenic location, access to Whitegrass and Canaan Valley
Cons: Slooow lifts, older infrastructure, not the most efficient operation
Timberline has been my home mountain for 5+ years now. For hard-core skiers, it is a gem in the Mid Atlantic. I grew up in the Northeast, skiing Vermont and Western Massachusetts; Timberline has a lot of the same skier culture. It doesn't have the same stats as Vermont, but it is still pretty respectable: 1000 feet of vertical, annual snowfall of 150-200 inches a year (greater in some years), and some pretty impressive tree skiing most years. And some epic tree skiing during blizzard years. With some nice groomers for high speed cruising and several challenging runs with moguls and man-made snow whales. And two long and twisty runs for beginners and intermediates: Salamander and Twister.
With the openings of new stretches of Corridor H, the trip from the Washington, DC area is about 3 hours (non-rush hour.) This is short enough for drives out every weekend, but long enough to be safely removed from the stresses and yahoos of DC.
Timberline has greatly improved their snow making capability in recent years. That said, they have an approach to snow making that has distinct positives and negatives. Mountain operations will concentrate on blowing a large base on a small number of trails at a time. Trails are often slow to open; this can result in lesser early season trail counts than expected. The positives are that 1) when the trails open they have excellent cover 2) with the large man-made (and natural) base, Timberline trails generally keep their cover late into the Spring; they generally have the best cover in the Mid Atlantic in mid-March. This makes for some excellent Spring skiing.
Speaking of Spring skiing, the Timberline Snowy Luau (mid-March), is the preeminent snow party in the Mid Atlantic. Generally warm weather and deep snow base, Hawaiian dancers, roasted pig, funky ski attire, mogul and park competitions, build yer own contraption to get down the slope races (one of my ski buds mounted a toilet bowl on a set of skis and slid down the hill while reading a newspaper in a Yeti suit), capped off by Saturday evening fireworks and a skier torchlight parade down White Lightning. And plenty of other shenanigans.
Timberline has an excellent youth ski race program (many families come up nearly every weekend from adjacent cities), hosts college and other races, and has an excellent ski instruction program. I have many friends who instruct at Timberline, and they are solid skiers, great teachers, and better people. Plus the slopes are less crowded than other Mid Atlantic areas such as Whitetail, Liberty, Wisp, Snowshoe and Seven Springs.
For better or worse for us Timberline regulars, it is a popular destination for large groups such as Scout trips. Timberline offers affordable accommodations (bunk house), meals, tickets and lessons for these groups. They are the future of skiing, but they often have a bit to learn about ski control. Their chaperons have their work cut off for them. Hey you kids, get off my snow and don't block my way to the bar!
From boundary to boundary, you can find tree lines to ski between every trail. You'll find very low angle, widely spaced trees suitable for intermediates (Pearly Glades) to 30+ degree tight tree runs. I've had years where my best tree skiing was actually at Timberline, and not in Utah or Vermont. (Obviously, this does not happen every year.)
Timberline is situated in the somewhat remote high alpine Canaan Valley. Don't go there for the city-like ammenities that you'll find at Seven Springs, Wisp or Snowshoe. Do go there for a getaway where you can see the stars clearly with no lights blocking your view and have deer cross your backyard. Two ski areas within 10 minutes of Timberline contribute to the ski culture. Next ridge over is Whitegrass, which offers cross-country, touring and tele skiing (no lifts.) It also has an excellent restaurant for lunch and dinner. One more ridge over is Canaan Valley Resort, which offers more skiing, tubing and ice skating.
What are the weaknesses of Timberline? For starters, it has some of the slowest lifts known to man. It is typical for a 13 minute lift ride to climb the 1000 foot of vertical. Even mid-week. That irritates when you are skiing during less busy periods and expect more vertical for your time/money. The lodge is tiny, dated, and has a funky inefficient layout. Expect slow service at Timbers Pub. If you are buying a lift ticket or renting skis, expect a bit of a wait. (Season passes holders don't have to worry about that.) The parking lot can be a frozen or muddy free for all at times.
Despite the weaknesses, it's where I spend most of my winter weekends and money. And it keeps me stoked on the sport. I don't live in Burlington or Salt Lake City, but Northern Virginia still offers some decent skiing thanks to places like Timberline.
Pros: good terrain, relatively abundant natural snow, fairly economical
Cons: creaky infrastructure, somewhat remote
Pros: 150-200in natural annual snowfall, great tree skiing, challenging advanced and expert terrain, making more infrastructure improvements
Cons: Slow lifts but are manageable
Boasting an average annual snowfall of 150-200in of natural snow, 40 named trails, an alpine summit of 4,268 feet, 1000 ft of vertical excitement, and the best glades skiing south of Vermont! Timberline is definitely the place to go to for skiing/snowboarding in the Mid-Atlantic region! Timberline has been my home mountain for the past four years and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the area after a big storm dumps snow! Located in a real skiers environment in Canaan Valley at a high elevation, a liberal in-bounds policy, and temperatures 10-15 degrees lower than the DC area make this a real legit ski resort destination! Closer resorts to DC receive less than 50in of snow per year and have really crowded trails. Timberline bucks that trend!
THE MOUNTAIN: Featuring the longest trail in the South, 2 miles, is the Beginner Salamander trail which meanders through the alpine environment of Dolly Sods Wilderness area. In addition to Salamander, there are over 10 other short green trails to enjoy. For those that want to take it up a notch, Timberline features three fantastic & long Intermediate trails (Almost Heaven, Dew Drop, and Twister) from the summit to the base of the mountain. Where Timberline really excels is in its offerings of Advanced & Expert trails and glades! The center part of the mountain features groomed Advanced and Expert trails of White Lightning, Thunderstruck, and the Drop where you can pick up some great speed and let it rip down the mountain. The Expert trails of Thunderdraft, Silver Streak, and Off the Wall are all ungroomed for most of the season and are intended to create moguls and whale formations (Off the Wall trail) to challenge expert skiers. With 5 listed glade areas, and two more glades in the works for this season, get pumped for some serious action when a good snow base forms in the woods! The lower part of the mountain offers the Pearly Glades, a good introduction to glade skiing at a low pitch. The upper part of the mountain offers the Parkway Glades, Just Beachy Glades, Glade Runner, and the Cherry Bowl Glade. The Parkway and Just Beachy Glades are adjacent to the Upper Dew Drop and Upper Almost Heaven trails, respectively. Glade Runner can be accessed from the Upper White Lightning and Thunderdraft trails. Cherry Bowl is accessed from Upper Salamander and is an excellent true double black glade and should only be skied when there is a sufficient snow base on the ground and in groups. Follow on facebook for trail openings & weather updates!
^Video of skiing in Parkway/Little Pearl/Pearly Glades in February 2015
IMPROVEMENTS: 1) Now with the new Corridor H Highway, it's made access to Timberline now just 3 hrs from the DC/NOVA area! Head west on Interstate 66, south on Interstate 81 for about 2 miles, then head west on Route 48/55 (starts as a two lane road for 10 miles then opens up into a smooth sailing four lane highway) out to the Davis/Canaan Valley area. 2) Timberline has made major improvements to their snowmaking for the 2015/2016 season to open up terrain earlier by implementing new water pipes and adding 20 more Snowlogic guns increasing their snowmaking capacity 30% more than last year! 3) Two new glade areas are in the works for this year! Get ready to make those quick turns and bring out your serious skis! 4) A second terrain park is in the works to open up this year so get ready to catch some air and ride some rails! -Some people complain about the lift lines and the slowness of the lifts but I bypass that by taking a weekday off from work and skiing on a mountain where I can cruise in solitude! Hopefully in time the lift will be improved at my fav resort!
ACCOMODATIONS: For large groups, look into renting a house nearby at Timberline 4 Seasons Realty (http://www.t4sr.com/ )For small groups, look into renting a slopeside room at Timberline (http://www.booking.com/hotel/us/timberline-four-seasons-resort.html?aid=809090 ). For those looking to save cash and don’t mind the 15 min drive, the Alpine Lodge offers rooms for about $60 (http://alpinelodgewva.com/ ). For those die hard skiers that don’t mind roughing it so as to save more money in their budget for more lift tickets ($25 a night), the Purple Fiddle in Thomas WV (17min drive) has a hostel with numerous rooms and is located on premises of the Purple Fiddle Bar (http://purplefiddle.com/ ).
RESTAURANTS AND NIGHTLIFE: Timberline has a good restaurant on site called the Fireside Grill and also offers live music. The nearby towns of Davis & Thomas offer some great options such as Hellbenders Burritos, Sirianni’s Café for excellent pizza, Blackwater Brewing Co. for a some excellent microbrews & pub fare, Stumptown Ales for some great craft brews, Mountain State Brewing Co for a few cold ones, and The Flying Pigs for a delicious breakfast to start your next ski day! The Purple Fiddle is an excellent pub for nightlife, great local micro brews (some for just $3!), and live music. It's wild & wonderful out here in WV and you have to experience it for yourself!
^View from top of Timberline
^View from Cherry Bowl Glade