Sunday, November 4, 2012

Skiing Sandy - Timberline & Whitegrass, West Virginia

Around this time every year, my urge to ski is at its peak. I've already watched too many ski movies, seen too many reports from out west, and pored over too many ski magazines.  So, when the offer came in for a West Virginia ski adventure, I was definitely in.

Tropical Storm Sandy did a ton of damage to New Jersey, Staten Island, and Long Island. But, true to Lionel's word, it dumped over 40 inches of snow in the mountains of West Virginia. While this presented a number of technical challenges, it didn't really impact our travels too much at all. The weather was actually pretty nice on the drive down:

We started to see snow in the mountains, just south of Keyser, West Virginia:

Up and over a mountain (I'll let Patrick tell that story if he wants), and into the town of Davis, which was completely without power and eerily shuttered.

We decided to do some reconnaissance, and visited Canaan and Timberline. Snow depths were looking good, but  Timberline had more pitch . . . That was our target for the next day.

Now, Patrick and I were two of the first skiers to arrive in the area, so I was fielding all sorts of questions about conditions, lodging situations, logistics, etc. Talking with Harv, I allowed him to set up a thread on his forum with updates, pics and information for people who were thinking of heading down. I do NOT want to make a habit out of real-time Trip Reports. Even though Patrick and I discussed the possibility that it may be the future of ski blogging, I don't want to make it a regular thing. I just thought it would be helpful for the people who were headed down to the area, especially because the situation with the storm was so unsettled.

Anyway, because of the real time nature of the reporting, some things got lost in the mix. Apparently, I should have mentioned that this guy asked US for cigarettes when we got there on Tuesday night, and then again on Wednesday morning! I hope somebody eventually got that guy some cigs.

Oh, you wanted to see pictures of skiing? Here's Timberline the first day:

So umm . . . That was a good day.

After skiing we drove around until we found an open store (30 miles away), bought some beer, and went back to the hotel for some food and a game of headlight/ski clothes pool.

The next day, we skied Whitegrass Touring Center, which had the coolest vibe, and the best people. We instantly loved the place. It didn't have the pitch of Timberline, but the tree skiing and cool, relaxed atmosphere were definitely awesome.

And here's the video from Whitegrass:

West Virginia from Matt Charles on Vimeo.

So, ummm . . . That day was pretty good, too.

All in all, it was 18 hours of driving (more for Patrick), for two days that were just about as good as any days I had in the east last year. Totally awesome, and totally worth it. Now I can relax again.


  1. Nice report and I am sure there are a few tales left to be told from this adventure. As I commented elsewhere, your trip had all the the qualities of a Goat Rodeo: "... a chaotic event where many things must go right for the situation to work."

  2. Wow, I'm jealous. I'm still waiting for our mountains here in Oregon to get enough snow.

  3. Yeah Linda we're waiting too. No doubt the jones is highest in October, when skiing is possible, but not likely.

    I've done some posting from the mountain, but came to think that mobile posts lacked context that you could bring after later or at the end of the day.

    Still, the skinet (NYSB, TGR, DCSKI, etc, etc) appreciated your effort to include those of us stranded by Sandy, or just the constraints of life. I know I did.

    You got some great pictures, and a great story to go with it. Bet you remember this tale for a long time. I will and I wasn't there. Thanks MC and MadPat.

  4. This is one of those extremely rare trip reports where the word "epic" truly applies. I had no idea that WV had as many ski areas as they do, I thought Snowshoe was pretty much the only game in town. TL and WG both look very cool.

  5. Nice!

    I'm sure if everybody were off skiing their own thing, there wouldn't have been as much interest in the real time reports. But the anticipation for ski season and the unusual timing and direction of your road trip ramped up the excitement. Thanks

  6. It was quite an adventure. One that I will always remember. Skiing was pretty good too. Hoping that power gets to them soon. Virginia Vacations

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  8. Great write-up...makes me jealous! You should check out Snowshoe next time!