Thanks for the intel everyone. I ended up skiing Seven Springs today. Wow, a completely different world from skiing in the West, for better and for worse.
I suppose I was fairly fortunate as far as conditions went? It was snowing all day and though that didn't translate to a a ton of powder, at least there were a couple inches of new snow over top of some icier stuff I scraped underneath. On the other hand, the snow felt really strange; heavy and sticky, even compared to wet Sierra snow. I can't tell how much of that had to do with my skis, which seemed like they could use some TLC despite being "high performance" rentals.
Everyone in Pittsburgh is of course freaking out about the cold, but it's really only moving in tonight, so it was 20 degrees most of the day and still a not-bad 10 degrees when I left at 2:45 aka "mid-day grooming". (A foreign concept to me!) Maybe the coldest weather in several years moving in had something to do with it being completely deserted, or maybe it was just normal for an early January Monday, but it was pretty surreal.
CR, you're right about it skiing smaller than my 12-year-old self perceived it. I remember standing atop what must have been either Avalanche or Goosebumps and being terrified. Now...not so much. Those two runs were probably the most fun; they at least had the deepest snow. Too bad that Goosebumps didn't really have bumps. I would have loved a bump run somewhere to make the short vert last a little longer.
The back side was the other spot that was fun, though all the flat bits between steeps were aggravating, especially with the skis I was on. Speaking of which, I was surprised to find out that Willi's doesn't rent skis on the mountain for whatever reason. The Seven Springs rental center is a sad place with lackluster service. $50 got me a pair of E78s, which would have been fine but it seemed like they needed a real wax and some edge work. A steep price to pay for not-so-well-maintained skis. If I ski back home next year I'll figure something else out.
Since it was Monday the lift ticket was only $58, which is fine with me. $75 (the normal price) on the other hand would be tough to swallow on a regular basis. Oh well, as a hardcore Pirates fan I'm willing to cut Bob Nutting some more slack after the 2013 season.
I'd post some photos, but between the snow, incessant guns all over the mountain, and what seemed like fog, conditions were mostly whiteout.
A nice day, but I'll be happy to go home to Tahoe, drought and all. Next time I think I'd have more fun at Blue Knob from the sounds of it.