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TR: Snowshoe, WV 12/6 - 12/7/08

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I spend a lot of my time just browsing and reading the forums, but seeing the lack of trip reports for the Mid-Atlantic, I figured it was time to step up and share the good news. I do have to apologize for the lack of pictures, though. It was COLD this weekend and I just couldn't bring myself (or convince my girlfriend) to take my hands out of my mitts long enough to snap some shots. I'll try to do better next time.

The girlfriend and I got up early Saturday and hit the road for the 2 1/2 hour ride to Snowshoe from Virginia. Roads were quiet and clear so it was all easy going. Good so far. We got up to the mountain, got our tickets and got our gear on and were ready to click in a few minutes after 9. I'm glad the girlfriend is such a good sport about things like this.

For anyone who hasn't been there, Snowshoe is one of those "upside-down" resorts, so we were already perched at the top to start the day and get our first turns of the season. We kicked off down Ballhooter, a great warmup run at Snowshoe. It's a moderate blue that's got some fun rollers and some nice places to catch a little air if you hit 'em just right. As expected the first couple turns felt a little strange, but halfway down and things were starting to feel normal again. No new snow overnight, but the snow makers had done a good job and it felt like some windloading had created an inch or two of the soft stuff on the far right edges of the trail.

We set out exploring the mountain a bit and tried to make our way over to Cupp Run, Snowshoe's signature trail. While it's black diamond rating is a little debateable, it's 1500' of vert, 1.5 miles long and definitely some of the best skiing you'll find at Snowshoe. Sadly, on our first attempt to check it out, we trek across the mountain to find out it was still closed. Finally around 1 they opened it up. It was nice. Real creamy up top. Excellent work done by Mother Nature and the snowmakers. They had the guns blowing still on some parts to cover some thin spots, but overall it was a blast. A few laps there to experience some quad burn, a few more on the other side of the mountain and it was just about time to call it a day.

Sunday morning we wake up and the winds are howling. I can see a lot of snow blowing past the condo window but I can't tell if its coming from the sky or being swept off the trails. Snow report said 8" of fresh. A trip to the parking lot made me think it was actually closer to 6", but somehow in my 50 or so days of skiing since I started a couple year ago, this was going to be my first powder day so I didn't care.

Getting out to slopes was an exercise in faith... faith that the skiing would be worth the 0 degree temps and blowing winds. And it was. Like I said before, you start at the top of Snowshoe which creates a uniqe situation in that you can't scope our your first run. And throw in some low clouds and blowing winds and it was tough to decide where to go first. So we took a gamble and dropped in on Grabhammer, a short black with some nice pitch to it. It was awesome. It wasn't really deep but it was the first time I was skiing in any really amount of new snow and I was loving every second of it, especially when I stopped to look back and saw my girlfriend completing some figure 8's on my tracks. The day continued with some more snow and lots of wind and we just kept hunting for for as much soft snow as we could find. It was also a demo day so when the vendors got set up I swapped out my Fischer AMC 73's for some 89mm-waisted Palmers. I didn't know much about them but the rep assured me they'd be fun. They were probably a little big and heavy for me but I just tried to ski a little more aggressive and it was a blast.

We skied til about 1 and were able to find nice soft snow the whole time. The middles of the trails got scraped off pretty well but that just meant the edges stayed extra nice. Sucks for the people who don't know enough to venture to the sides a bit.

All in all a great weekend and a HELL of a start to the season. My girlfriend isn't into skiing as much as I am but she loved every second of the trip. If anyone is stuck in the mid-Atlantic wondering if Snowshoe is worth the trip... go. Totally worth it.

Here's to hoping Ullr keeps the east coast on his mind and throws a little snow at NY so my holiday trip with my dad and brother can be just as sweet as this one.
post #2 of 5
Thanks for the report. You picked a good weekend to be up there (wish I was). How were the crowds?

I bash Snowshoe a fair amount, but I've been there on an empty bluebird weekday with fresh powder, and had a great time. It definitely has its moments!
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Crowds weren't too bad on Saturday. Ballhooter lift got a bit crowded, but could be avoided by going over to the south mountain area and skiing Camp 99 off the Soaring Eagle lift. It was pretty icy on that one Saturday but Sunday was a different story. Deepest stuff on the whole mountain, but I think most of that depth came from the snow guns because it was way heavier than any of the snow elsewhere on the mountain.
Cupp was a little crowded on the trail, but there was never a wait for the lift.
Sunday was great for crowds. The nasty weather kept most people inside and we never waited more than a minute for a ride on Ballhooter. We never ventured to Cupp because we got a tip that the wind had totally scoured the trail and it was nothing but hardpack and ice. When the sun started peeking through a few more people made their way to the slopes but it was still much quieter than most weekends.
post #4 of 5
Yeah, Cupp can be brutal on a windy day. I have been up there when 20+ inches of snow fell and yet Cupp was bare and rock solid with ice. Sometimes difference between one side of the street and the other is amazing. I think all the snow from Cupp must blow up and over into the basin side.
post #5 of 5
Well, I guess I can tell....

Sometimes when the snow blows off it ends up in the woods skiers left on Cupp and Lower Shays.

Also before the 'hook' in upper Cupp, look off to skiers left. There is a small path there that cuts over to the lift path. This is part of the MTB DH run. This fills in nicely with pow. Watch out at the end of the lift path as it comes back out onto the trail. The access road that runs perpendicular to the trail is sometimes sprinkled with gravel! Ouch.....
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