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Backcountry skiing in West Virginia?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Yep, you heard me correctly...in West Virginia. I heard there is some backcountry access from the top of Canaan Valley. There is a trail that leads from the lift to the backside of the mountain (funnels down into the Whitegrass area, I think). I've looked at some topo maps, as well as some aerial photos and it looks skiable. There appear to be some small cliff bands to navigate though.

Just wondering if any of you Mid-Atlantic East coasters have done this.
post #2 of 3
Sorry. Never heard of anything. I can't imagine we'd ever get enough snowpack to be able to ski anything though, except maybe some power lines. Otherwise, I'd be afraid of chewing up my gear or running a tip under a branch or something. I'd be sort of interested to hear if anyone has any first hand knowledge. I'll ask some locals this weekend. We've got a couple of back country tele types on staff.
post #3 of 3
All of West Virginia is backcountry! Some of it is actually skiable, though subject to the variable winter weather of the Central Appalachians. The Allegheny Mountains of northern WV are actually in the eastern lake-effect snowbelt and average 150" of snow a year. The Dolly Sods plateau area has a lot of open terrain, which is unusual in those forested mountains. There are cliff bands in the area (usually 50' or less). Tele skiers do use the lift and downhill that you described. Haven't done it myself. I did a lot of xc touring southwest of there in the Cranberry Glades highlands.

Check out: http://www.whitegrass.com/ -a nordic area.
They have an interesting ski report, you might find some beta in the narratives. This is where you'll find the local pinheads to talk to.
is the main outdoors website for the state - should be able to find the local shops through there.
has some description of the terrain, look for links to the National Forest.

The National Forest office may have some ski specific information. Look for a link on the WVoutsite site.

150" doesn't sound like a lot by western standards, but their rocks are a lot smaller and easier to cover up. The mature hardwood forests can have very open stands with minimal debris, so tree skiing is a real possibility. On the other hand, avoiding trees while skiing down steep narrow hiking trails is a challenge to expect.

I spent a lot of time in the Appalachians, home to some of the most diverse and beautiful forests in the temperate world. But had to leave to find deeper snow and the big views above the trees.

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