Pacific Northwest Ski blog (and a few other places!)

Lots or reports from skiing around the Pacific Northwest, with some East Coast excursions thrown in for good measure

Skiing south of the Mason-Dixon line at Snowshoe, West Virginia

If a year ago someone had said to me ‘You’ll be a season pass holder at Snowshoe by this time next year’, I’d have replied ‘Where?’.

Now I know. Snowshoe is in West Virginia, and sits atop a 5000 ft ridge line with fingers of skiing dropping off both sides. The jewel of the terrain is the Western Territory, with two long runs and a few unofficial tree and lift line shots that make for some pretty darn good skiing. The Village side has less vert, but some delightful runs darting through trees, interspersed with short steeps and bumps runs that almost feel manicured. It’s a real destination resort, and as we found out over the last two weekends of skiing, it attracts crowds from the Confederacy in their masses.

The first weekend in March was cold, firm and by Sunday morning somewhat blizzardy. The bitter wind whipped snow up the west-facing slopes, and with temperatures not rising over 10F all weekend, even polar bears would’ve been heading for cover. Saturday’s 2 inches weren’t really enough to put a dent on the firm packed groomers and solid off-groomed, but another 5 inches by Sunday made a huge difference. We spent the day mining the edges of Cupp Run and Shay’s Revenge, where the for some reason most visitors feared to turn. A deep instinct to avoid ambushes perhaps in this state where so many Civil War battles were fought? Never mind the reason, the super light pow made for an excellent day.

What a contrast with this weekend. 18 inches of fresh snow during the week from a monster east coast storm left the cover in tip-top shape all over the mountain, and sun and warm weather brought soft Spring-like conditions after a frosty Friday night. Smooth, forgiving, fast groomers were the order of the weekend early each day. By late morning, the bumps on Shay’s Revenge and Camp 99 were skiing superbly, and the middle pitch under the Western Express chair was a moderately steep and huge enjoyable luge run through a big boulder field. This was primo Spring skiing from start to end.

After 4 days we also gained some insights into the rhythm of the mountain. Saturday mornings are busy. By 9.45am lines are getting big at the main Ballhooter (!) lift. It takes until 10.30-11am for long lines to build at the Western Territory and Soaring Eagle chairs, and these diminish rapidly by early afternoon, seemingly in inverse proportion to the amount of beer that gets drunk. Saturday afternoons are reasonably clear everywhere except Ballhooter, which stays crazy all day. Sundays are quieter. Many folks leave for long drives to all points south, lines aren’t a problem pretty much anywhere, and beer isn’t sold until 1pm by West Virginia law 😉

Oh, and that season pass. It cost $199 for rest of this season and all next. Looks like we’ll be regulars soon.

Saturday 8500m, Sunday  7400m vert

Saturday 11,300m, Sunday 7700m vert

Season Totals: 55 days, 22 powder days, 504,200m vert

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