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Delinquent freeheeler finally pays dues. Whitegrass WV. March 6, 2010

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
 24 years after purchasing my first nordic skis, a backcountry rig, selected for mixed use, (XC and lift served) I went to Whitegrass Saturday  and for the first time, earned my turns.

That first set-up was used extensively for lift skiing, but never successfully for XC skiing. I still have the boots though and used them, with more recently acquired touring skis which feature patterned bases for climbing. The boots hurt my feet real bad. My feet are blistered and I'm sore all over but my quads are not nearly as beat as they get from lift skiing.

I lost my reading glasses sometime near the beginning of my ski, so I could not read the trail map. I couldn't really see my camera either, so I didn't get as good pictures as I might have. My glasses were in lost and found when I checked, apres ski. :)

There were a lot of people out there, all kinds.Lots of children, mostly skiing quite well judging from the looks on their faces. Flying downhill
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Working the switchbacks on the climb up Three Mile Trail
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Going down was more difficult than going up.
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Some people had to take off their skis and walk down the trail they had skied up.

The higher I got, the prettier the scenery got.
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Beech Lick and Bald Knob Grove were particularly beautiful little trails through the high alpine forest. Around 4000 feet above sea level
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This gully is probably a treacherous creek bed during most winters, but I found it full of snow, a gentle untracked powder line. I found several places like this.
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On my second lap, a local led me to an untracked southern facing meadow full of sweet West Virginia corn. Canaan Ski Area in  background.
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The vertical drop of Whitegrass, 1196 feet, exceeds that of every lift served run in the state except for two runs at Snowshoe.
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I know this trip report pails in comparison to most of the adventures posted here, but it will stand as the best day of my season, so I thought I would post a report. Whitegrass is so much fun. I know I didn't get the best of it, but I think I did OK for my first time. 
post #2 of 22
cool stuff, I alwasy wonder what kinda of looks id get there with 120mm skis and AT binding. I am sure id be slow going up that for sure.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
 I don't think you would need to haul that much ski up there, but some days, that might be the best. I guess they've seen it all. The wide mix of users is one of the really interesting things about that place. I think I may have seen an AT skier setting a traverse under the rock outcropping on Bald Knob. He had big heel lifters and a helmet hanging from his pack. I'm not sure his boot/binding system was convertible, it's hard to tell these days, but he wasn't the only one I saw with fat skis and skins. I'd recommend skis with patterned bases for that place. I think you can get fairly wide ones. I saw a lot of Karhu Guides. 

But the ideal equipment and what I have are very different. Nobody should hesitate to go because they are worried about having the right gear. My worries were unwarranted. Snowboarders show up to rent snowshoes for the uphill. 

Even if you rent stuff there, XC, Telemark, or snowshoes, including the trail pas. it's still cheaper than a lift pass anywhere.
post #4 of 22
 yeah the crazy thing is we have tons of great touring trails around here in stowe, but I can tell you straight up XC skis arent my style because I like not dieing on the downhills. Those guides looks more like I was thinking. I can kinda of tele turn already and would want some short fat(by fat like 90-100mm) waxless skis and would love someone to make it I would almost justify buy some with light weight tele boots just so I can ski like I bike in the summer. alpine touriing is fun but its slow and cumber some for anything but steep gnarly decents. 
post #5 of 22
 Whitegrass is a gem of a place.  One of these days I want to get up there with my AT gear and do a few laps.  I think even the most hardcore skiers on Epic would find something to like up there.

Bush, I like the comment "XC skis arent my style because I like not dieing on the downhills".  One of the few terrifying experiences of my life was going down a steep run on XC skis.  Friggin no control whatsoever.  There's probably a right way to do it, but it's not with alpine-skiing techniques.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

 I skied from the top of Bald Knob on these. I came down from there, maybe not skiing. Depends on what you mean by skiing.. I'm not good on steep rocky hardpack with touring gear. Equipment definitely makes a difference, but everybody had fun except maybe the people who walked down.
IMG_1559.jpg

Thanks for the bindings, Alpinord! I've used them a lot this winter.

 

post #7 of 22
Outstanding telerod, glad you made it to WV, she's been calling you  . I've done some trailwork at Whitegrass but never skied there. I've tele enuf to know that wedge and parallela turns are quite possible with free heels. Problem with all you heavy duty at rigs with skins and such is that the WG experience is more up/up/down/up/down/down/up/down/up/DOWN than UP/DOWN. Go rent what they recommend and be a beginner again, ha i've almost talked myself into it.
post #8 of 22
That place looks awesome.  What's the pitch like?  Any decently steep downhill lines?
post #9 of 22
Well played sir.  Looks like another beautiful day in what has become, thanks to climate change, the snow capital of the USA.
post #10 of 22
Those are some mighty pretty shots for a near sighted, foot hurt dude like yourself =)
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post

The higher I got, the prettier the scenery got.
 

I felt the same way many years ago.

I still feel that way today, but for different reasons

Sweet trip indeed (no pun intended).  We know you better than that amigo.  Thanks for sharing the photos and info.  I had never heard of the place.  Now I know what to expect whould I venture out there.. Bring some uphill muscle and enjoy the ride down.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy View Post

Outstanding telerod, glad you made it to WV, she's been calling you  . I've done some trailwork at Whitegrass but never skied there. I've tele enuf to know that wedge and parallela turns are quite possible with free heels. Problem with all you heavy duty at rigs with skins and such is that the WG experience is more up/up/down/up/down/down/up/down/up/DOWN than UP/DOWN. Go rent what they recommend and be a beginner again, ha i've almost talked myself into it.

Yes, when I recommended patterned (waxless) bases in reply BWPA's post, I also started to suggest freeheel bindings because as you say, there is a lot of up and down. I would find a nice downhill section, then come out on a groomer and without stopping, be skiing back uphill, ascending while looking for another nice downhill pitch. And I know he has the skills to ski without heel bindings. As you note, it is possible to keep your heels on your skis without clamping them down. But the best Telemark bindings, like AT rigs, are convertible, so you need to bend over to switch from climb mode to DH with them too. So AT would not be any more inconvenient really. I think putting skins on and taking them off would get old real quick though, which is why I think wide waxless, even if they aren't six inches wide and rockered, would be the way to go.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ta&Idaho View Post

That place looks awesome.  What's the pitch like?  Any decently steep downhill lines?
 I don't know. I've only taken a few runs from the summit with some side trips on the way down.

There is an steep open (cleared?) slope dropping from the top of Bald Knob that I had noticed when I visited the area in the past. I always wondered if it was part of the Whitegrass trail system. It appears on the trail map, but it doesn't have a name. I think it is usually unskiable. It was rocky and windswept Sunday, but also tracked out. Definitely in play and I tried to ski it, just to say I had. It wasn't good, Most of the rest of the open terrain that I saw looked pretty gentle, but I'm sure there are steep lines in the trees and possibly other steep open slopes.

The groomers are narrow with tracks set for up and downhill on each edge and smooth in between for skating up or snowplowing back down. When the super fit tights wearing skater dude on toothpick thin skis floated by me near the top of the climb, effortlessly like a butterfly, I was bitter, but I chuckled when I saw him snowplowing back down as I started my second lap. :)

Thanks Bumpfreak, jimmy, James, CRG for the nice comments.
post #13 of 22
 T-rod 6inches wide would be like 140 thats way to much, 90 would be awesome though.

I went searching and the best I found was the Karhu Guide is there anything out there wider and waxless?
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Haha, yeah I was kidding about the six inches, I haven't looked into skis like that. I live too far away to go there often. The Guides should be wide enough for someone with your skills, though. If you are doing a tour with a lot of ups and downs, you might be willing to give up some width in exchange for the convenience vs. skins.

I was quite happy really on 60mm waisted 169cm double cambered BC skis, but would really like a pair of comfortable, supportive, light, plastic boots. Like Garmont Excursions maybe. Not that a bigger ski wouldn't help, but I think my boots are the weak link.  

I don't know, maybe it was the socks. I actually skied Expert Chute at Jackson Hole in those boots. Well, I slid down that one on my ass, but I skied a bumped up Paintbrush and some other advanced terrain with those boots on even skinnier double cambered skis. I don't remember how to do that. Long, long time ago...
post #15 of 22
Wow Rod, I missed this report. My daughter and I went the following Thursday. I'll post some pics later. White Grass is a gem, no slide and glide in the park an more glades then most downhill areas. I'll be going back again, might even learn to tele-turn.
post #16 of 22
@Bushwacker

I'm just getting into making skis (three pair so far), but I could probably make you a custom-shape ski for pretty cheap. You'd just have to convince your favorite ski tech to put a coarse grind on them. PM me if you're interested.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
 Yea Rob, good for you!

You know, I wouldn't have travelled out there by myself if you hadn't posted that you would be out there. Plus I wanted to go to Whitegrass this season to get some bindings mounted by someone who knew how. The fact that you didn't get there until Saturday night meant I was on my own Saturday. Chaga's encouragement to try Whitegrass was all I needed... So it all came together for me to try it. Thanks Rob,  for putting into motion the set of circumstances that led to my long overdue introduction to hiking for turns!

Did you use your freeheel gear or rent?

You can tele turn, I've seen you do it! Practice in your head over the summer. It works just as good as practicing on snow. Visualization. I taught myself to do a tip roll one summer in my head and when I got back on snow I could do it! Maybe I'll learn to do freeheel tip rolls this summer... :)
post #18 of 22
I sent my stuff back with Kathy because I didn't know that my daughter wanted to give White Grass a try. Just as well, we were both on the same equipment, backcountry touring gear with metal edges. We went up to Round Top then skied down Fern Gully. We should have tried a steeper trail but I wasn't comfortable on the gear. The snow was soft and sticky so uphill was easy but down hill was slow. After lunch we headed up the main Weis slope and skied down to the lodge then we did some X-C along Gandalfs and the field below the lodge. Tony helped me with the rentals and skiing tips. I met Chip later during lunch. He's a real interesting guy, very hospitable and outgoing. He made me feel right at home. In fact the whole crew there were just great folk. He took my picture and posted it on the daily report page. He liked the shirt I was wearing.

I don't have the pics uploaded here yet and most of what I shot were pictures of glades but I'll get some up here in a day or so.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
 You have a nice set up for lift skiing, but not ideal for Whitegrass. I think it was a good idea for you to rent. Fern Gully is the run that Chaga recently posted video of in a thread called "Luge run..." on DCSki. Check it out. It doesn't look slow to me, more fast and narrow. Depends on conditions I guess. He says it gets Lindsey 'Vaughn' fast at night! 

Chip is a hoot. I'm glad you got a chance to meet him. It's really impressive how Whitegrass has thrived. That place was really crowded the day I went!  What vision he had to foresee that business model working. Crazy genius. First class Televangelist. Did you get some of his patented Snake Oil?
post #20 of 22
Good on ya Telerod. The chilis look happy after getting out. Whitegrass looks somewhat similar to some of the terrain and trees out back here.

The world would be a better place if everyone got out and toured every now and again.
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
I can't speak for the world and everyone, but I think I'm a better person for getting out there and doing that. Haha.

Thanks again Alpinord for the bindings. This year we had by far the most snow here in the neighborhood in the twenty plus years I've lived here. Whitegrass was great, but I also did a lot of skiing around the 'hood this winter on this set up!
post #22 of 22
You're welcome. We've also had a stellar year thanks to El Nino. I heard that this was the 3rd warmest El Nino year in the last 50 and tracked a lot of storms in the southern US (including SW CO). Did these end up in your area?
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