Blue Knob review ’14: An Addendum to an Extension
PA is done, over and crossed off
It was late in what was a full season, one of the lengthiest in a long while and one of the best of a lifetime – an extended lifetime of skiing (51 years as of this writing and still counting).
It was mid March between two trips out west (where I’ll finally complete all of the Colorado areas. The CO bucket is about to fill!). I’d logged an intensive season of teaching, coaching, and cavorting at the Buffalo Ski Club, even maser-minded an extended eastern expedition that combined visits to NY, VT, NJ (where I skied the Garden State’s one and only 1K. Yea, I’ve crossed New Jersey off the ski1k master list.)
Nut here I was, traversing PA on my way to Richmond VA to enjoy the South’s great spring weather. I was skirting the second highest peak in Pennsylvania, having passed within 15 miles of this mountain at least 20 times before on my commutes south. Knowing my skis were still in the trunk, I listened attentively to a recorded message issued over my cell phone.
(How did they do this? Maybe it magic. Was it Providence, technology or the devil?! Or was it a figment of my imagination? Wishful thinking? Watchful anticipation? Superb tech marketing? Well to date, it’s never happened again. But that voice was clear and my mind is lucid. my memory is vivid. I swear it happened!
It was an invitation I just couldn’t refuse. That young lady who made this recorded message should be given a commendation or better yet a raise. “COME ON OUT!”, she enticed. “You may think the season is over, but its not. Blue Knob still has coverage. The SUN IS A BLAZING. We have GOOD SPRING SKIING.”
I couldn’t resist. Sure I was anxious to see the grandsons, but there would still be time for our game a Scrabble before their bedtime on a school night. So I initiated my “bat-turn” to rifle up the mountain. Well “snake up” is more like it. The road was reminiscent of the long approach to Ski Apache outside Riodosa, New Mexico. It was a winding affair that offered some panoramas of the lowlands below. And this was central PA? William Penn could never have envisioned this looking out his parlor window from his colonial settlement of Philadelphia.
I introduced myself at the front desk staffer who directed me to the ski school office – sparsely manned as they were all skiing (or maybe golfing) on this fine spring day. I inquired of the youth program (a reciprocal “exchange” program proffer stirred no excitement, much less interest interest) But, my counterpart was very pleasant and encouraged me on my way with a generous, totally gratis pass.
Blue Knob review
The vertical drop at Blue Knob is very impressive: 1,072 feet to be exact, and pleasantly steep especially right under or adjacent the chair. I’d estimate one of the steepest in the east! I experienced every run although the woods were off limits with the obstructive “brown snow” of spring conditions visibly evident. What a great afternoon. I did ski only a half day, but it is a smaller area, (100 skiable acres) and the mogul troughs were mud-bare. But, I’ve added Blue Knob to my “must return” list.
There are ski-in/out vacation homes (rent-able I’m sure), but I’d advise: think short-term as the acreage is limited and Altoona. as nice a nearby city as it might be, is not exceptionally noted for it’s nightlife nor entertainment.
Another interesting note: The lodge is at the summit like Snowshoe, West Virginia and the Buffalo Ski club, my home-base. It’s a nicely sized facility, with a bar open to the public plus it sports a pleasant common room with a fireplace so the “never-ever’s” or “sunshine-only’s” can relax and enjoy their non-participation. As you might expect on this day, the common room was empty and the bar had only the old guy in the corner we see at every watering hole. I think “he” may just be a prop; you know fake; stuffed placed in that slouched position simply to entice others to enter.
Eureka! This chalked off my last PA 1K. Pennsylvania is now complete, although there a several other nice areas just under a thousand feet: White Tail, Camelback, and Shawnee to name the “nearly-1K-er”s. Plus PA has many other “well-worth-it” local slopes. And let’s not forget the posh Seven Springs resort: no where close to 1K, but still a memorable experience. Look, PA should be experienced, especially when good it’s coverage like we had in the east for the 14/15 season.
By-the-way yes, I did make it to Richmond in good time, and YES, my grandson did win the Scrabble game!