A little easterly move – skiing at Seven Springs, PA
February 14, 2013
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All good things have to come to end. We’d just skied 35 from 37 days during December and January at numerous Pacific Northwest venues. And then reality returned. We relocated to Pittsburgh for new pastures. Good professionally, not so good skiingly.
Ah well, new ski adventures to be had, I guess. And they started on an early February Sunday at Seven Springs, a 70 minute home-to-parking lot ski hill to Pittsburgh’s south east. ‘Hill’ is the operative word here, with 750 feet vertical and some 30 runs to sample. It’s a bit of come down from Mission Ridge, never mind Whistler, our previous two ski venues.
Expectations were not high, to say the least. But crowds were manageable, the snow cover decent – there was even some glade skiing out of range of the snow guns – and it softened nicely as the day went on. The north face area off the 6-pack Gunnar chair had some fun little gullies, pitches and bumps that made for surprisingly good skiing. It was firm, but far from the East Coast bulletproof that everyone had warned us about. If only the runs were twice as long ….
It took us the best part of 6 hours to rack up 6100m vert (from 29 runs!!). This slow pace wasn’t caused by the obvious – short runs and long lift lines – as the lines weren’t too bad anywhere but the 6-pack Gunnar chair, and even there the singles line usually made for a 5-ish minute wait, which was very respectable. The slowness was due to the lifts continually stopping as people hit the deck on the increasingly icy on and off ramps. The lifties, mostly fine looking Appalachian woodsmen, simply watched and helped people get up off the deck. No attempt to throw snow on the ramps, or raking to break up the surface. They just watched as things got more and more treacherous at every lift. And picked people up from the deck.
The consequence was every lift stopped multiple times as the day went on. The 6-pack took about 3 minutes normally, but it seemed nearer 10 by the afternoon. The fixed grip chairs moved slower than an average glacier, stopping every few seconds to allow the carnage to be cleaned up. It was all very weird. Fun, but weird …
Season Totals: 48 days, 20 powder days, 448,800m vert