Snowshoe, West Virginia – mountain mama- takes me home, by country road. If you can get there, you’re gonna love it. The highest and largest of West Virginia’s two 1k slopes.
It is the last of three southern visits. Each stop on this run has allowed me to close out the state. Sugar Mountain is the sole 1k in NC, Wintergreen sewed up VA, and now a stop at Snowshoe will finish off WV.
For two days I laid low at my daughter’s house in the Richmond area. But the weather was clearing just in time to enjoy Snowshoe on this Friday. Saturday I am due to teach for the weekend at BSC back home in Buffalo.
It was a bit of a drive, but I arrived atop the mountain with plenty of time to explore. I say “atop” because Snowshoe has their ski village and lodges at the top of the mountain. Everything is downhill. Both sides of the are developed, but the “Western Territory” is the highest vertical and offers the most challenging runs.
The older side is well renown for the snow making and grooming, but the runs are much shorter and in my experience the lines are long, But it was a Friday which is the first day of the weekend. Well, for skiers it is!
The temperature had dipped back to where I would expect for a February day. A week prior, a rare storm had deposited close to two feet of powder. But then a big warm up followed melting away some of the base, and over night the surface had frozen again.
I found the surface very similar to back home: hard packed crystals dusted with man-make which was being added to with all guns blazing. I lowered my goggles and skied away. But in short order, I was iced over producing near zero visibility. Yes, I could handle these conditions, but again I could have found as much back home.
I did make several runs and covered all the slopes on the west. The pitch was good and the ruins fast. There were hard wood trees that could offer inviting opportunity, but not on thid day. The meltdown had thinned the coverage to a foolhardy level.
I stopped at the snack hut nestled at the bottom just above the lift loading area. Yes they did serve brews. It was here that I realized I was actually cold, here well below the Mason-Dixon line. It could well be an indication of age, but I feel the snow makers are at least equally responsible. At any rate, I though why not try the other side?
I’m glad I crossed over, for the snow was much better, even nice. But the runs were a bit tame and the lines were unbelievably long. The crowds had arrived before me. I slipped into the singles line, but still had plenty of time to chat with a father who had the same idea in mind – save on the wait time as his daughters queued up in the longer lies. He and his family made this an annual trip and the entire family loved it.
I know I wasn’t giving it a fair chance. There was undoubtedly great watering holes and night life. The top rim was lined with condos, lodges, and restaurants, and every guest had no reason to leave the summit. The nearest down was a lo0ng drive down, and of course that would be repeated if one was silly enough to explore the remote rural base,
Hey I,m sure the area rocked that night. But I was tired and perhaps grumpy, so I set off for home with plenty of day light and some ski time left. But I could get a decent but of sleep before my lessons started the next morning back in Buffalo.
(This post is the last in the string “[Gone South] that includes visits to Sugar Mountain, NC and Wintergreen, VA .
[Link to prior post in this series]